The Difference Between Foley, Stack & Tilt for a Golf Swing

World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship - Previews

Sean Foley is a highly regarded golf instructor who’s worked with players such as Sean O’Hair, Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose, though he’s best known as the man who succeeded Hank Haney as Tiger Woods’ swing coach. The stack & tilt golf swing was developed by teaching pros Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer, and has been used by players such as Mike Weir and Aaron Baddeley. Some observers believe that Foley’s philosophy is similar to the stack & tilt.

Weight Distribution at Address

Keeping your weight on your front foot during the backswing is a stack & tilt trademark. Bennett and Plummer state that a player should rest 55 percent of his weight over the left leg (for a right-hander golfer) at address. Rather than shifting your weight backwards, you should maintain the same weight distribution during the backswing, before shifting even more weight forward on the downswing. Foley also argues against a back-and-forth weight shift, and agrees that 55 percent of your weight should rest over your forward foot during the backswing.

Shoulder Turn

The manner in which the shoulders turn during the backswing is another key similarity between Foley’s thinking and the stack & tilt method. Many instructors teach players to tuck the left shoulder under their chin at the top of the backswing. The stack & tilt method advises golfers to dip their left shoulder during the backswing. In essence, a stack & tilt golfer rotates his shoulders around the head, which remains fixed. Foley says that dropping the left shoulder during the backswing puts the twisting pressure on the middle of the back, where it belongs, rather than on the more fragile lower back.

Back Leg

Foley differs with the stack & tilt philosophy on a less noticeable aspect of the backswing. Bennett and Plummer believe the golfer should keep her back leg straight during the backswing to allow freer hip and shoulder movement. The more rotation a player achieves during the backswing, the more potential energy is available for the downswing. However, Foley says a straight right leg causes the right hip to rise more than the left -- because the left knee is flexing -- thereby straining the lower back as the hips rotate.

Weight Shift at Impact

Both stack & tilt and Foley follow the conventional wisdom that a player’s weight must shift forward significantly at impact. Even further, both philosophies agree that about 90 percent of a golfer’s weight should be over his front foot on impact.

Follow Through

Despite some similarities, the two swing methods leave you in different positions on the follow through. Foley advises golfers not to remain tilted forward through impact, again citing excessive strain on the lower back. He teaches golfers to rise into a vertical position on the follow through, while pointing the midsection toward the target. Stack & tilt golfers keep their heads in position during the follow-through and retain their forward tilt.