Stack and Tilt vs. Rotary Golf Swing
Many golfers have been asking me what the difference is between the "Stack and Tilt" swing taught by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett and the "Rotary Swing" that I teach from my book, "The Rotary Swing." For those of you who like many of the concepts of the Stack and Tilt swing, but are unsure about the more questionable aspects of the golf swing, you are in luck. The Rotary Swing shares many similar principals with the Stack and Tilt swing, but balances out the less desirable traits that are either difficult for the average golfer to perform or potentially stressful on the lower back, especially for those who are less flexible.
At address, it is unlikely that you would see any differences between a Rotary Swinger and a Stack and Tilter. You will notice that both golf swings will have a slightly more tilted over spine angle at address compared to the traditional more upright swinger of the club. This angle is flexible, but is in the range of 30-35* when viewed from down the line. Viewed from face on, both golfers will have a spine that is basically vertical with very little "axis tilt" away from the target, if any.
At address, both swings share a similar starting positiong. The difference in the arm angles at address is mostly due to the longer club being demonstrated on the right.
Ball position is also very similar. My preference is for the ball to played approximately off the logo of your shirt, or off the target side ear. Of course, this can be adjusted for club length. The Stack and Tilt swinger will have the ball in a very similar position, although they may tend to play the ball back slightly behind the left ear as one of their swing objectives is to have what they refer to as the "Swing Centers" in front of the ball at impact. The Swing Centers basically refers to the center of the hips, chest and head. You can see the differences in ball position in the photo below.
The backswings of the Stack and Tilt and Rotary Swings are also very similar. In both cases, you will see the club travel slightly to the inside of the hands when the club is parallel to the ground and follow a generally shallower swing plane and more inside path to the top of the backswing. This allows both swings to have a steeper shoulder turn going back and a more connected and shorter position at the top which dramatically increases clubhead control and accuracy. However, it is also at this point that we start to see the first main differences in the two golf swings. The Stack and Tilt instructors want for the spine to shift and angle toward the target at the top of the backswing, thus increasing weight on the lead leg. In the Rotary Swing, our main objective is to turn around a somewhat fixed point, the spine, and maintain that angle throughout most of the swing. Because the spine is located at the back of the torso and not at the center, when you turn around your spine, the mass of your torso moves slightly to the right, similar to a door on its hinges. This natural pivot of the body allows an ample turn by anyone of average flexibility and athletic ability. The Stack and Tilt move requires much more flexibility and athletic ability to achieve their desired position at the top, and more importantly, to recover from this position during the downswing.
Notice in both takeaways that the club moves to the inside on a shallower plane and is slightly inside the hands while the left arm is angling in towards the body.
At the top of the swing, both swings appear very similar to the casual observer, however, there are significant differences. Note that the Rotary Swinger on the left maintains flex in the right leg, whereas the Stack and Tilt golfer straightens the leg as he leand further into his left side. If you were to view this from face on, you would also see a spine angle that has not changed from address for the Rotary Swinger, whereas Bennett and Plummer want the spine to lean toward the target at the top of the swing. Note that both swings share a position where the left arm is on the same plane as the shoulders and a right arm that is close to the body.
Downswing & Follow Through
As mentioned in the Backswing section, the Stack and Tilt swing puts the golfer in what would be commonly referred to as a "reverse pivot" at the top of the swing, whereas the Rotary Swing would be in what I would call a "centered pivot". Because of the severe angles created at the top of the backswing, the Stack and Tilter must make a compensatory move to keep from sticking the club straight down in to the ground on the downswing. Plummer and Bennett refer to this move as feeling as if you are jumping up and thrusting your hips forward during the downswing. This move is very effective at shallowing out the steep angles they've created during the backswing, but requires great athleticism, flexibility and timing to ensure solid contact. The other significant issue of this move is that it puts undue stress on the lower back because the "thrusting" of the hips forward puts the body in the classic "Reverse C" follow through position that has ruined many golfers backs as they tried to imitate the likes of Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus in their prime.
The Rotary Swing's main goal from the top of the backswing is simple to "unwind". There is no jumping or thrusting, simply an unwinding of the torso while maintaining the spine angle established at address. This puts the golfer in a tall and stacked position in the follow through with the hips more undearneath the torso which is as gentle on the back as you can get.
Both the Rotary Swing and Stack & Tilt share very similar impact positions and fundamentals.
The follow through positions and swing plane of the two golf swings is identical when viewed from down the line.
Into the finish, both swings are nearly identical once again, the only difference that can only be slightly seen from this angle by the educated observer is that the hips are more "underneath" the Rotary Swing who has a taller finish, whereas the Stack and Tilt golfer has the hips more driven toward the target, creating the reverse C follow through advocated by Plummer and Bennett.
During the downswing, you can see how the Stack and Tilt golfer on the right has moved his head in front of the ball whereas the Rotary Swinger on the left keeps his head behind the ball during the downswing and into impact. Keeping the head behind the ball at impact is a position that is consistant with all the top golfers of any era, from Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods. When a golfer tends to "get out in front of the ball" at impact as demonstrated here by Aaron Baddeley, directional control can become difficult as pushes and snap hooks are a typical result.
This article addresses a few of the main differences between the Rotary Golf Swing and the Stack and Tilt swing and hopefully helps you the golfer make a more informed decision when deciding which golf swing is most appropriate for you. For more information about the Rotary Swing, visit www.RotarySwing.com. If you would like to learn how to perform the Rotary Swing and have access to over 100 instructional golf videos online, visit http://www.RotarySwing.com/members
Chuck Quinton is a golf instructor and professional golfer out of Windermere, FL who has produced two top selling golf instructional DVD's, "Swing Plane Made Simple" and "Short Game Made Simple", and is the author of the new book, "The Rotary Swing." He has published over 100 instructional golf videos and articles on his popular golf instructional website, www.RotarySwing.com