Spine Tilt

A student recently e mailed me about spine tilt, and had questions about how spine tilt seems to be at odds with some
of the modern thinking such as Stack and Tilt.

Claims that S&T is historically supported by the great strikers is more than questionable. Is it possible to find a photo of a player doing that? I would think so… depending upon the shot they might have been hitting. But by far and away, having good spine tilt at transition allows a much easier path and better access to get the arms working properly as supporting spokes for a 4:30 line delivery of the shaft into the hitting arena. The weight being on the left foot at the top is not consistent with measurements taken of the games best players in the late 80’s and early 60’s.

I know this topic was beat to death earlier in the LTLGM thread two years ago,but for new readers here who have been struggling with this conceptually, I hope this might give some more solid footing for understanding what has been working best historically.

That is a great table! Thank you Lag.

Only way that could be topped if it would show a dynamic weightshift within the feet during the swing. But keeping the weight on the inside and toes up cant be too wrong, can it?

I don’t think those red lines traces the spine, Lagpressure.

Look at the image of Hogan for instance. The one where he wears a red Piquet. I can see the top of his spine. It’s right there between his shoulders. Straight up from where your red line starts. The bottom of this line is probably much closer to the spine than the upper part.

I firmly believe that Kelvin M has worded some major fundamentals when it comes to this. Here, for instance: aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/h … dosis.html

Also, his last blog is interesting in this context, where he discusses the Harrington’s and Casey’s swing issues and the help they are receiving to deal with it.

What Kelvin states does seem to contradict what I heard Tom Watson said the other day: Watson said that the key to a good swing was a stable shoulder turn. Kelvin’s motion is a vertical drop with the shoulder followed by the turn. I am still on the fence about this, but I like how Kelvin presents his point of view.

Lefthook: Those lines appear to be good angles to me in relation to spine tilt.

Kafka: There was such a article about where in the feet the weight went during the swing. I think it was in Golf Digest about 15 years ago or so. I would be surprised if Two doesn’t have a copy of it…he seems to have everything else. :laughing: It showed, by use of different colors I believe, where the weight went. There might have been numbers associated with the weight transfers…but for some reason I think some different colors were involved too if memory serves. I think the conclusion, based on the evidence, was that the weight went towards the R heel at the top. Don’t recall if it had weight transfer readings for the L foot post impact, but I would be surprised if that information was not included as well. :slight_smile: RR

Range Rat;

I am 100% certain that none of the depicted golfers have their left eye on their spine axis.

Lefthook: I understand your observation…but I don’t think that is the purpose of the red lines…hell, if I attempted to make those red lines onto those photos, no telling where they would end up :laughing: RR

Is this the article?
I am thinking it is…straight from my box of goodies just for you


That’s it…amazing :laughing: RR

I suppose we could call it torso tilt instead of spine tilt, but I don’t think even the spine is leaning toward the target as what I have seen S and T promote. As long as I am making myself clear, I choose not to be lost in translation about definitions… but if something needs to be cleared up, then by all means.

I think we can agree that “the torso” in the photos posted is not leaning like The Tower of Pisa toward the target. There are players who are more this way than others, and I have even found myself looking like this at times, usually when I am in a ball striking slump.

Certainly the spine (torso) if tilting toward the target, must move back. The bigger question is… does it really need to do this?
and if so, what would be the advantages of doing so? I simply don’t see any reason to wabble the structure. It’s not supported by the majority of great strikers, and I find it a detrimental move from my own experience with it.

If you don’t think the arms need to be working from behind you, and that the arms can move effectively independent of the torso for the majority of their journey, by all means explore… but I would not predict the consistent ball striking potential of a golf swing built around a more stable torso rotation from P1 to P4.

I agree that they aren’t leaning towards the target. But the upper part isn’t leaning away from the target as those red lines indicates. On at least some of the golfers, the upper part of the spine is only leanind towards the plane line at the top.

The answer to your “if” would be that it enables you to hit the ball with your hips and feet to a much larger extent than you can do when you only rely on a pure shoulder turn. You move your hips forward and drop your back shoulder down behind you. It can be a huge power move.

Also it helps the golfer to keep the lag pressure on plane instead of towards right field. Turning away from the target line can be a swing killer although there seems to be ways around it.

I’m not saying that the spine tilting is the best thing for precision golf. But I’m not saying that it isn’t either. I don’t know.

Kelvin M has the same issue with independant hands motion as you do Lag. Seems to me like the diagnosis is the same but the cure is different. Spine tilting & hip sliding will bring the hands down to where you like to see them without independant hands motion. So if you tilt more you need to take the hands higher. If you tilt less, you need lower hands in the back stroke, IMO.

Hogan’s spine looks pretty vertical to me at the top there. Almost as vertical as it gets.

I will always favor a golf swing technique that is geared more toward accuracy. I simply don’t see the wobbling of the torso from steep to tilted back via a hip slide as working efficiently toward an accuracy objective.

When you add a moving part to the equation, and something as vitally critical as the actual rotational procedure of the core that is going to power the golf swing… and you set that core into some kind of horizontal motion. To me it spells trouble.

I would agree that if I try to keep rotating my shoulders more and more at the top and I lose some of the cohesive tension within the body that would normally be created if I preserve spine tilt (away not toward)… I will certainly have a tendency start moving the spine or torso tilt toward the target… similar to S and T.

Assuming I do get there… now I have to reroute the spine back, because you will never see any kind of decent golfer with reverse spine tilt coming into impact. The arms need a path to travel on from behind the body for no other reason than the golf club is swung on an inclined plane. If this rerouting is not done exactly the same everytime, you have a problem.
The other issue for the better players is dealing with less than full shots. I very rarely hit a full iron shot. I would much rather hit a 6 iron from 150 if I have green to work with that try to kill a 9 iron. I would never want to feel any kind of hitch in the spine during my rotation because to vary the length of a shot with a given club, I simply limit torso rotational range of motion… but I DON’T vary the intensity of the strike itself. If I had to worry about my spine moving around laterally this would add a dimension to the golf swing that would not be beneficial in anyway.

This is one of the real secrets I learned from Moe, and he was very big on this technique of varying distance by simply varying the range of motion of the shoulder rotation… not the intensity of the strike. Moe told me he hit the ball just as hard with a wedge as a driver. Of course he hit the ball with his chest and legs as he would always say. It works.

Trying to feel some kind of variation in the spine wobble depending upon how far you rotate not only sounds like bad advice, but bad science also.

If you train the spine to rotate on a tight axis back and down… it simplifies the golf swing. The weight transfers to the right foot because the weight of the arms and club move to your right or P1. The only thing you have to do is bend the right elbow at some point. You can do this quickly or later, or even on the downswing if you prefer.

If your weight is on your left foot at the top… and then you slide your hips left from there… I don’t see how you are going to keep ground pressures into the right foot. Now maybe they don’t want you to do that… but this goes against every historical great golf swing. If you understand the necessity of having sufficient ground pressures in the feet especially the right foot, so that the torso can leverage against something post impact, then you would never want to cut off that lifeline to proper use of opposing forces in the golf swing.

As far as “the perception” of lag pressure moving on plane, I would have to disagree there, because the golf swing plane is simply not two dimensional. Any golf swing where the club moves above hip high is plane shifting… there is no “one plane” swing as seductive as that sounds. When the plane shifts, it shifts into the third dimension. When this happens, lines become arcs and ovals of “height, width, and depth”. The pressures applied to the shaft through the grip are not moving in a straight line back and forth… especially if you are hitting. As soon as you are deliberately trying to move the clubshaft on plane… flashlights, all that stuff… forget it… game over.

If you are trying to swing the club steep on the downswing, with your hands out in front of you, rather than coming from around and behind you… you’re making golf much more difficult than it needs to be.

Me thinks focus of discussion is on the difference between spine angles at the top between Stack/Tilt and of those angles contained on the pictures. Stacking over center is a little different animal than a full rotation about, and around, an axis. In stacking the chest fights to get to a wall outside the R foot, as opposed to rotating in which the chest gets onto the wall with ease.

Stack and Tilt is real easy to do…it’s accurate for sure but there are some differences in both distance, ground pressures, attack angles, and a few other things versus an ABS approach. However ABS is extremely accurate, I would say even more accurate than S/T, and with far greater distance if as Lag says all the ducks are properly lined up. As just one example, in S/T there is a pretty pronounced upmove with the legs and feet at impact which will cause a little roll-over prior to P4. S/T is really kind of a timing thing as one is concerned with things arriving, and firing at the stack point…with less left for post impact get go with the body…which is where all the fun starts with ABS! :laughing: RR

This is a very interesting point of discussion. I think some of it is perspective and some of it is what it is. I think there is an amount of tilt in the spine as a result of set up and holding the club- the hands aren’t level, so they off set the shoulders, and that imparts a degree of angle to the spine. The other thing is where we’re trying to impact the ball, this dictates a lot of intent and we angle our bodies accordingly, then there’s head position from set up and through the swing etc., etc. There are lots of things that add together to impart some tilt to the spine. I’ve thought about this at length, and even if you’re only talking millimeters, or fractions of a degree, but I think it’s more, I really do think there is SOME tilt to the spine- even though I don’t really like the word ‘tilt’.
I’m a right handed golfer, and quite dominant historically with my right side. Learning to use and think with my left side has been something I’ve trained myself to do over the years, and it’s been invaluable. So looking at the golf swing, I was always looking at it through the lens of the right side. One of the things that has always stuck out to me, is the line formed up through the right leg, that at the top of the backswing on good players, tends to go up through the hip and to the right shoulder. If you’re drawing lines, you could make a case for the spine tilting to the right, it wouldn’t be very good, but you could at least visualize it as possible with that line from the right hip to right shoulder. I’ve gotten a lot from using that image of the right side line, and feeling a sort of compressing forward of that angle starting down. The reality is that that is basically the axis that the right side rotates on- it goes forward, down, and out from it’s top of the swing position, at least structurally(it actually goes backwards too for a bit at least in terms of it’s axis since it has to travel from 12 to and through 9 on it’s journey) The left side goes forward, around, and up on it’s axis(basically). The spine is between the two sides, and is at the end of the day, inert, since it’s bone and cartilage. It would be cool to get the scientists perspective on this, but it seems to me that things don’t really move from the middle, things rotate because of side motion around a centre. That may be completely obvious, but I was thinking about it recently and how it’s often said that it’s important to keep the middle moving in the golf swing, but it’s really not the middle moving, it’s the sides. To me, that seems like an important reality to grasp especially when you look at the spine and see all the bones that don’t move a whole lot, and you realize that it’s an axis of energy and not really a physical axis like the hub of a wheel would be, where the wheel glides around a fixed point. We talk about the shoulders rotating around the spine all the time, but that’s conceptual to a large degree, I think. This may be off on a tangent from the original point, but it seems related. Overall, I do think there’s a tilt to the spine, even if it is, like I said, a fraction of a degree. Seeing no tilt in the spine may be just as bad, if not worse, than seeing too much tilt- in terms of your mental image because I imagine you could get kind of steep thinking that way.
As an aside, one of the difficulties I ran into in the past with spinal tilt was that my image of it was from face on, so I didn’t appreciate the ‘around’ aspect of the left shoulder’s journey- this is not a good thing to miss, mark my words… I’ve got a dodgy left shoulder to show for it… NEVER run into your left shoulder- I reckon you could take that thought to every shot you ever hit, from a putt to a drive.
I’ve liked some of the stuff I’ve read by Kelvin, it seems like some very fresh thinking on the swing. I haven’t delved that far into his stuff, so i don’t know his golfing pedigree. Anyone know? I think as a general athletic action, he seems to be very sharp, but from what I’ve read, he doesn’t seem to get into specific skills in terms of applying the club to the ball. That can be enough for a lot of people, as I’d say most people who pick up a club these days essentially want to hit it far, and those general big picture thoughts can get people a long way towards that. I don’t know enough about him to say that he doesn’t teach some of the finer points, but the things I have read and liked, were big picture focused, and good.


call me blind but I see a huge difference. The poster child for the move and the promoter. It looks leaning toward the target to me. Completely different from the many pics I posted. Maybe I need my eyes checked.


Driving accuracy stats are not impressive. If the tour was based upon accuracy, back to Q school for these two.
I saw someone arguing that one of these S and T guys needs to win on tour to validate it. I would say that has nothing to do with it.
Mickleson is right down there in the bottom of the barrel for driving accuracy also.

Before I work on the reverse C finish, I’ll schedule an appointment the next morning with my Chiropractor. It hurts just looking at it. Maybe because I’m not 22 anymore.

As far as I know both Badds and Weir have jumped ship from the SS Stack&Tilt…it’s a balky ship and exactly what myself and Lag have both said many many months ago on another website…
We both said S&T was a fad that was pushed down people’s throats thru marketing…BUT would never stand the test of time…because it IS NOT what is necessary to produce quality shots and would be a quick fix for many but would eventually cause long term problems in direction control, distance control and in back aches

MY EYES!!! They’re burning!!! Please take those photos down, I’m going to have nightmares tonight… I’ll never understand how they came up with this abomination and managed to sell it. I know a couple of very good golfers who aren’t very good golfers anymore because of this garbage… scary

Charlie Wi is about the only player having any success taking this approach…and his playing stats don’t jump at you except for the scrambling and putting…which obviously aren’t a golf swing and therefore unrelated to his S&T principles…His short game is saving him just like the short game saved Weir and Badds
Eric Axley and Tom Scherrer were S&T guys and kapoomp…their games have dropped well off to almost non existant…

When history doesn’t back up a swing thought, feeling or approach to the game…it is not worth pursuing


Joe does it year after year after year. The tour’s most accurate ball striker.
Most people have never heard of him… but it’s not because of his ball striking.

The spine has some 32 bones stacked on top of each other because us human beings need some flexibility and motion range between the hips and the head. It doesn’t rotate like en axle in the golf stroke and I don’t see any point in pretending that it does.

I see the stuff that Kelvin M talks about in most of the great swings that are posted here on ABS - lower back sway at the top (lumbar lordosis) and vertical drop of right shoulder during transition that creates a side bend that lasts all the way through the ball.

It is not the same as Stack & Tilt.