September 23rd, 2012

Stack and Tilt – the good and the not-so-good – In Anatomy

Stack and Tilt - the good and the not-so-good - In Anatomy A fellow- LPGA Pro who knows of my interest and research in anatomy and golf-specific-biomechanics recently said, “You must see the Charlie Rose interview of the Stack and Tilt guys”. Also, I’d asked for and received some information from S&T because they are now an LPGA-approved certification provider. The basic backswing moves of S&T are a ‘extension, a left tilt and rotation of the spine’. In strictly anatomical terms this means:
  1. The spine is ‘extended’ or straightened backwards (away from the ball/straightened up compared to the forward posture of address)
  2. The trunk/spine is in left lateral flexion (bending sideways towards the left)
  3. The spine is rotated - mainly thoracic and lumbar (because S&T requires a steady head)
S&T have many things absolutely correct, and some quotes from the Charlie Rose interview of 2009:
  1. Shifting weight makes the process more chaotic
  2. S&T makes the clubhead hit the same spot repeatedly
  3. No players have injured themselves in the lower back with S&T
  4. The good players do not like to make swing change, practice what they have and simply throw out the bad shots to chance
The best thing about S&T is the lack of side-to-side movement - even if it looks like a reverse weight shift - which always results in much more solid contact. Another point in the method’s favor is that because of the inside backswing path generated, it is difficult to come over-the-top with the upper body, and thus many injuries are, indeed, prevented. As body-weight stays predominantly on the target side, the club rarely connects the ball on the upswing, thus making crisp contact. The not-good-in-anatomy factors are that the advocated backswing ‘side-bend’ requires a lateral trunk flexion with the back straightening out of posture. Then at half-way down the golfer should be back in the spinal flexion of address, before once more straightening the back past impact, at the risk of hitting the ground if the second straightening out does not happen in time. Two factors prevent S&T from being a superior movement:
  1. It is very timing-dependent
  2. It requires a lot of re-routing of several joints. Split second re-routing! The most important ‘joint’ being the spine, which must go from a bend of the left side to a bend of the right at impact. EVERY golfer of the world has to hit the ball with the trail (in this case right) side lower, simply because the right hand is lower at address! A lot of other joints must simultaneously re-route along with the spine when going from one side low to the other side low.
See a screen-shot from the Charlie Rose interview of a former S&T user, which shows how he will require to re-route his right wrist, forearm and upper-arm. The Minimalist Golf Swing on the other hand, places all major joints in positions from which they need no re-routing to drop the club down correctly for ideal impact.

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