Can golf’s ‘hot new swing’ win the U.S. Open?

June 18, 2007 | Drew Forrester

Technology has certainly contributed greatly to this generation’s golfing boom.  Players – pro and amateur – are hitting the ball farther and straighter than ever…and the golf ball is still getting a lot of the blame (or credit) for the distance and accuracy of today’s player.

But when you watch the U.S. Open today, you could be witnessing a historic changing of the guard.  But the change has nothing to do with equipment.  Rather, the changing of the guard could be in the way you swing the golf club.

Aaron Baddeley is one of 20 or so players in the stable of two not-so-well-known teachers, Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, and their hot new swing theory – called “Stack and Tilt” – might very well become the rage if Baddeley hangs on and wins today at Oakmont CC.

Plummer and Bennett have worked with several players who went on to win their first-ever PGA Tour events (Eric Axley and Dean Wilson are the two most recent), but none of their students have won a MAJOR title using the “Stack and Tilt” swing.

I’ve been dabbling with “Stack and Tilt” for about a month now.  I saw an interview with Plummer and Bennett on The Golf Channel right before The Masters, where they were showing the changes they have made to the swing of Mike Weir, who struggled throughout ’05 and ’06 before turning to “Stack and Tilt” prior to the ’07 season.  I found their discussion about the golf swing to be interesting enough that I swatted at a few range balls at Mountain Branch in mid-April trying the “Stack and Tilt” method(s) and immediately started striking the ball more cleanly.  “Beginner’s luck,” I mumbled to myself, and thought nothing more about it.  I continued to devote 5-10 minutes every time I practiced to trying “Stack and Tilt” and it continued to produce impressive results.

Then I saw the June ’07 edition of Golf Digest with Vijay Singh on the cover and inside was a full 10-page feature on Baddeley and his “Stack and Tilt” swing.  Here is the link to the article (go down to the middle of the page and you’ll see the section on Baddeley).  I’m now to the point where I’m going to try and incorporate “Stack and Tilt” into my golf swing.  I’ve read enough, seen enough and felt enough results on my own to know it’s not just a golf swing “fad”, it’s a new way to hit the golf ball.

Just wanted to bring this up today for those of you watching the U.S. Open.  There’s no doubt Baddeley’s swing will be under great scrutiny today since his “move” off the ball is almost the exact opposite of what all great teachers communicate to their students.  In short, “Stack and Tilters” actually put their weight on their forward foot at address and keep it there in the backswing, then straighten their right leg in the backswing before starting down towards the ball.  It looks and feels like a “reverse pivot”, but when you read (and see) about the swing, it’s not as odd as it might seem.  Then, when you hit a golf ball or two, it gets your attention rather quickly.

Johnny Miller commented several times during Saturday’s broadcast on NBC how well Baddeley was swinging the club.  When Dan Hicks mentioned something about Plummer and Bennett and “Stack and Tilt”, Miller stopped gushing over Baddeley’s new swing, probably in respect to the thousands of PGA teaching pros who would fill Miller’s inbox with “WTF?” e-mails if he openly endorsed a non-traditional golf swing theory.

So, pay particular attention to Baddeley’s swing today.  Will it hold up under the final round pressures of the U.S. Open?

If so, a couple of guys named Plummer and Bennett will get much of the credit, I’m sure.

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