backinit I am starting to lean towards the snake oil camp.
Welcome to the club.
Ok, so I browsed through that article by Tutleman and pulled out some excerpts that tell the tale.
…as viewed by an engineer… [That tells a story in and of itself]
There is no provable best direction for aligning the spine. Theories differ, and the experimental evidence is not conclusive.
There are plenty of theories why spine alignment should work. We examine them. None fits the data…
1. You should align so that the direction the shaft 'wants' to bend is in the target plane at impact. This sounds nice and intuitive, but is never offered with a sound physical rationale -- and I could not find any. Not viable. [NOT]
Placing the NBP in the target plane allows the hands to square the clubface at impact. This is plausible, based on the assumption that the shaft bend is in the target plane in the vicinity of impact. Unfortunately for the theory, the shaft bend is not in the target plane during the tens of milliseconds before impact. Not viable. [NOT]
When the shaft bends during the downswing, any bend not in the spine plane or NBP plane produces forces that tend to move the clubhead out of the swing plane. This is definitely a true statement. The question here -- so far unanswered -- is whether those forces are large enough to produce the observed results of misalignment. Possibly viable. [MAYBE]
Since the shaft bend at impact is in the vicinity of the clubhead's center of gravity (CG), align the NBP with the CG -- using the same rationale as #2 above. This theory suffers from an assumption contrary to fact. The shaft bend at impact is not in the direction of the CG. Not viable. [NOT]
The advantage is in feel at and after impact, where the clubhead "rebound" from the ball is in the target plane. This is consistent with experimental results based on feel. It is not as clear in explaining experimental results reporting performance differences. Possibly viable. [MAYBE]
Any consistent alignment strategy results in a consistent set of clubs, and that is the best we can expect to do. This does not explain why experiments tend to show that certain alignment positions seem to be better than others. Not viable. [NOT]
NOTE: That’s a whole bunch of “not viable” and a couple “possibly viable”, but nothing is definitely viable.
…at least one anecdotal test came out with a 10:30-4:30 orientation winning for some golfers. The vast majority view 10:30-4:30 or 7:30-1:30 as worst-case alignments.
We still don't know how big spine has to be to affect shots.
Residual bend does not affect the golfer's shot nor feel. [I just put this in here because, hey, if the guy can’t use proper English, then can we really rely on his findings?]
[Here’s one I agree with!] “…don't confuse 'because I can' with 'it matters in terms of tangible results'”
Let us assume for a moment (the assumption turns out to be true) that the off-centeredness of the hit is monotonically related to the size of the spine and the degree to which it is misaligned. ("Monotonically" means that, any time you increase the spine or the misalignment, the off-centeredness increases.) [This can only be assumed if we also assume that golfer’s all have 100% repeatable swings. Anyone here wanna be the first to say their swing is 100% repeatable?]
I go out of my way to order shaft models that I know to have negligible spine -- then I just don't worry about aligning. [Hell, Dave even says here that he doesn’t align his shafts. I guess that says enough.]
[So, I guess that'll lay that to rest. If Dave doesn't align his and it really only helps if your swing is 100% repeatable, then it's of virtually no use to 99.999999999% of the golfing world.]