Stack Secrets – The System That Made Matt Fitzpatrick a Great Champion

Stack Secrets – The System That Made Matt Fitzpatrick a Great Champion

Matt Fitzpatrick - David Cannon/Getty Images

Matt Fitzpatrick – David Cannon/Getty Images

Everything changed for Sasho MacKenzie in a matter of hours after Matt Fitzpatrick’s first major US Open win on Sunday night.

University professor and leading golf biomechanic, MacKenzie is the brains behind The Stack, the product that Fitzpatrick quickly credited with turning him into a world champion. “I’ll be honest, it worked very well,” said the Englishman.

In an instant, a niche product has gone global. “We were fine and very happy selling 20 to 25 units a day,” MacKenzie told Telegraph Sport. “Now we’ve done a few months of overnight sales.”

One of the most notable aspects of Fitzpatrick’s triumph was his significantly improved driving distance – a development he attributed to MacKenzie’s creation.

A speed training system that uses a physical club with different weight attachments to increase clubhead speed, The Stack has been available to amateurs and professionals alike since February 2021.

If the science behind it is complicated, the logic is pretty simple. By requiring a golfer to repeatedly swing a club of varying weights – overloading and underloading the ideal weight – at maximum pace throughout a rigorous routine of reps and sets, he aims to build strength and speed through personalized programs.

“I’ve been doing this religiously week after week,” Fitzpatrick said of his three weekly sessions using the device. “It’s like going to the gym, basically. It’s like a training program.”

The results were in evidence last week, with Fitzpatrick routinely outplaying playing partner Dustin Johnson, one of the longest-serving drivers in world golf. This marked a turning point for a player whose game wasn’t traditionally about distance.

The start of something special

Less than two years ago and with a share of the lead halfway through the BMW PGA championship, Fitzpatrick was in good spirits, only for a reporter to ask him about Bryson DeChambeau, the recent US Open champion and the man many argued was ruining the sport. with his muscular physique and the resulting long ride.

“I’m sick of everyone talking about him,” Fitzpatrick replied. “I know I’m not the longest off the tee and therefore a little biased, but I drove brilliantly on Winged Foot [the venue for the 2020 US Open]played very well in general and even finished miles behind.

“I really hope that R&A does something with their remote insight project. To me, it’s not a skill to put on 40 pounds and hit the ball 40 yards more as a consequence. Anyone could do this. The skill is hitting the ball in a straight line, but he’s taking the skill out of that, in my opinion.”

With Fitzpatrick finishing only seventh in the tournament, a few days later his coach Mike Walker contacted MacKenzie to see what help he could offer.

Matt Fitzpatrick - Instagram

Matt Fitzpatrick – Instagram

“Matt would be successful in some places, but he wanted to win majors,” MacKenzie said.

Having worked on his project for the past six years, MacKenzie was ready to seize the opportunity.

“Fitzpatrick really had the first Stack we did,” he said. “Back then I did everything in an Excel spreadsheet, so he would fill in his workout weights and I would do some math to figure out his workout for the next day. At one point, he actually lost the only existing Stack when he left it in Abu Dhabi.

“We did this for six months and after that the app was developed and the prototype turned into a real club.”

Speed ​​is a skill

The effects were noticeable even before Fitzpatrick’s US Open success. From an average distance of 287.9 ​​yards on the PGA Tour in 2019, he’s increased to 298 this year.

Despite being relatively moderate – by modern elite golf standards – 5 feet 10 inches, he also climbed from 119 in strokes won off the tee on the PGA Tour in 2018, to 59 in 2020 and 10 in 2022.

When he emerged victorious from Brookline Sunday night, he averaged 309.2 yards for 16th place, fifth in driving accuracy and second in shots won off the tee in four rounds of the US Open.

At the heart of his transformation was an increase in club speed of over 5mph from 2019 until now.

“If I had been in this position for four years and I was playing with Will [Zalatoris] in the final group, I would be worried about being 15, 20 [yards] behind him,” Fitzpatrick said. “And I felt comfortable all day that I was going to pass him, which gives me confidence for the next shot knowing you have less club.

“There’s a bit of a mindset, that when you’re walking past people, it’s really good.”

MacKenzie believes that such a benefit is not limited to the best in the world.

“Speed ​​is a skill, and any golfer has a window of around 20 mph at any age where their speed with the driver can vary,” he said.

“If you’re swinging at 80 mph and you haven’t done any speed training and you’re not in shape, you have the potential to increase that to 100 mph. Also, it’s the most fun part of the game to hit the ball far. It makes golf so much more enjoyable.”

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