Erik Kaplan / Alison Thietje of Axys Golf Reverses Story, Admits to Using RotarySwing for Own Benefit
In a signed affidavit, Erik Kaplan was forced to reverse his story and admitted to using RotarySwing’s proprietary teaching system and content for his own personal and financial benefit in Federal Court. In court filings with the Denver Federal Courts, RotarySwing proved that Kaplan consumed over 17 hours of content watching dozens of videos, all of which Kaplan had previously attempted to deny. However, facing deposition and undeniable proof of his joining and accessing the site, Kaplan reversed course and admitted to joining the site under several different email addresses and binge watching dozens of videos which he then copied the content of on his website. In the affidavit, Kaplan admits “I joined [RotarySwing.com] as part of my research into the field of biomechanics and how it was being applied to golf.”
Kaplan made many wild false claims that didn’t add up, including that he started doing his golf biomechanics research at the Mayo Clinic in the year 2000 - at which time he would’ve only been only 12 years old. Yet, in another court document filed by Kaplan’s attorney, he states he didn’t become a professional golf instructor until 2014. It was shortly thereafter that he joined RotarySwing, and then began publishing content on his website that directly mirrored that of RotarySwing.com founder Chuck Quinton, even using the same names for courses he was selling such as “Bomb Your Driver”, a product and domain Quinton has been using since 2007. Quinton began publishing his unique concepts on the golf swing back in 2005 online and has published three books on the topic since that time.
When Kaplan was originally caught for publishing Quinton’s content as his own, he immediately removed all of the videos from both his YouTube channel and his website. “It was obvious Kaplan knew he was busted, otherwise why immediately take down all the videos? If someone asked me to take down my content, claiming it was their's, I would just laugh. I've literally been doing this longer than anyone in the world as RotarySwing was the first golf instruction membership site on the internet which I started in 2005. I assumed the issue was over at that point, but then a week or so later he started putting them back online, as if no one would notice,” stated Quinton. When Quinton suggested legal action would be the next step if Kaplan didn’t take the content back offline, that he was reportedly profiting from to the tune of $700,000 a year, Kaplan didn’t respond and forced Quinton to take legal action to protect his registered copyrighted material.
“I knew once the facts came out and everyone had to testify under oath that this case would be swiftly resolved,” Quinton stated. Through numerous court filings, the facts came out that refuted every single lie that Kaplan had published on a defamation website. Kaplan’s lies of not paying Alison Thietje was easily refuted with IRS W2 filings proving Thietje was paid well over $20,000 dollars.
"When someone has been caught red handed, they tend to only make things worse by trying to cover the lies up further. Unfortunately for Kaplan, these lies caught up with him and the proof is black and white with W2's and submitted to Denver Federal Court," Quinton stated.
Quinton did terminate the working agreement with Thietje due to complaints from clinic participants regarding her credibility and mental health. "Alison made my team and I aware shortly after we met that she was on several different 'mood stabilizer' medications. As someone with a degree in psychology, I take mental health very seriously and it wasn't until we had numerous complaints from our clients whom she worked with that we had to take action," Quinton stated. "We had clients asking 'what's wrong with her?' and 'why does she seem spacey and zone out when I ask her a question?"
Quinton and Thietje's relationship got off to a strange start that raised red flags like when she asked Quinton and his wife if she could move in with them the very first time they met in person. Her personal trainer business was failing in St. Louis and she was desperate for work and was looking to move to Florida immediately to work with Quinton's thousands of members. However, shortly after their initial meeting, Alison met a golf pro named Brian Crawford whom she married shortly thereafter and stayed in St. Louis after closing down another failed business.
The marriage lasted just one month before Crawford called Quinton to let him know he had filed for divorce as he couldn't deal with her constant mood swings any longer and understood why Quinton had to terminate the agreement.
Thietje is neither a golfer nor an instructor, she is a fitness trainer who touted herself as a golf expert. At the final clinic Quinton and Thietje did together at Castle Pines Golf Club, where Quinton was the teaching and playing professional, the clinic participants asked Thietje to demonstrate her ideas about the swing by hitting a few shots. She proceeded to top 5 shots in a row before giving up. "Honestly, it was embarrassing for me," Quinton said. "I have always prided myself on being a 'doer', not a talker. To me, being able to demonstrate what you teach is critical for your own personal understanding and credibility. If you can't do it, you can't fully understand it, and you surely can't teach what you don't understand."
After this clinic and the previous clinics, RotarySwing received numerous complaints about Alison and her "spaciness" and lack of professionalism and it was shortly thereafter that the partnership was terminated. "I had to protect my brand and my reputation. Alison and I also completely disagreed on so many aspects of the swing at this point, and with all the complaints we had received, it was obvious we had to terminate the agreement, which we did following the outline of the mutually signed contract to the 'T'," Quinton said.
After RotarySwing parted ways with Thietje, she moved to south Florida where she said she was going to become an archery and dressage coach, even though she had little to no experience in either field. "That was the last time we spoke. After another failed marriage and failed business in St. Louis as a personal trainer that she had to close down, she moved in with her sister and said she was leaving the golf industry," said Quinton.
Together, Kaplan and Thietje published numerous other lies such as one that Quinton had never worked with any tour pros. "What was funny about this is that I literally used to document on my forum the lessons I was giving to tour pros. It was literally documented in black and white dating back to 2006 when I documented the swing rebuild I did with Blake Adams (a PGA Tour pro with millions in earnings) on the forum," Quinton said.
Quinton filed with the courts a list of dozens of tour pros who have made millions of dollars that Quinton has taught during his 25 year teaching career that refuted the lies by Kaplan. Kaplan and Thietje even made up lies that Quinton used to sell snowboards for some strange reason, where again, Quinton provided evidence to the Federal courts that he was, in fact, a professionally sponsored snowboard mountaineer with sponsors such as The North Face and Patagonia, and has never sold a snowboard in his life.
The lies were so abundant, even Kaplan’s attorney was called out by the magistrate for lying on a call where he suggested that the attorney not do that before the Federal judge, according to Quinton’s attorneys.
"It's ironic that, after having his website up for the past 5 years, that not once did Kaplan ever mention Alison Thietje in any video or anywhere on his site," Quinton said. "Through our attorney's due diligence, tt became obvious that the two had never even met and Kaplan was simply trying to fabricate another lie to explain how he had developed a teaching methodology that exactly mirrored RotarySwing that Quinton has been publishing for 15 years. "My method is not something that you would just magically arrive at. I would have NEVER come to the conclusions about the golf swing without the injuries and experiences I went through in my life, from breaking my neck to the numerous other injuries I endured during my career snowboarding and racing downhill mountain bikes. My professional playing career was also a huge influence on my teaching, as were all the lessons I received from different coaches during that time. Kaplan has never played professionally and not had to endure any of the things that I have dealt with that lead me to emphasize a swing pattern built around protecting the spine. Break your neck, have it fused, go through 4 surgeries, develop scoliosis, have severe nerve damage, spend 5 years in physical therapy and 8 years trying to make a living as a professional golfer, develop and work with a medical panel of neuro and orthopedic surgeons, a Ph.D. biomechanist from the US Olympics Committee and a NY Times best selling author and expert on learning, then, maybe, just maybe, you might have a small glimpse of what it would take to develop the RotarySwing method. It's taken me 30 years of researching the golf swing to develop my teaching method, apparently Kaplan wants the world to believe that he came to the exact same controversial conclusions in a matter of months."