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Moe Norman

Moe Norman Golf Swing Pose
There has never been a more colorful character in golf than Moe Norman. His legendary accuracy and prolific tournament record are renowned throughout the world. Among his many victories are two Canadian Amateurs, two CPGA Championships and five CPGA Senior Championships along with multiple victories in the Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan Opens. Though his idiosyncrasies kept Norman from enjoying a brief PGA Tour career, he returned to Canada where his ball-striking ability and love of the game earned him a place in the hearts of all Canadian golfers

Moe Norman was a Canadian legend and a man revered by golf professionals, touring and teaching, all over the world for his uncanny ability to hit a golf ball straight every time.  Moe’s golf swing was called many things during his lifetime, “weird, unorthodox, different” , but his genius for striking a golf ball could never be denied.

Lee Trevino said of Moe, “When you talk about Moe Norman you are talking about a legend.  And I'm talking about a living legend.  Because the public doesn't know Moe Norman.  But you ask any golf professional whether you are an Australian or whether you are in the U.S. or whether your are in Great Britain, and you say that's the Canadian guy that hits is so damn good and I says that's him.  He's a legend with the professionals.....I think that if someone would have taken Moe under their wing and  I think if they would have taken Moe and said, look we are going to play here, and don't be afraid there is no telling what Moe Norman would have won.  I think he would have won the U.S. Open, I think he would have won all the tournaments around the world.  I mean he is that good and he is still that good....I think the guy's a genius when it comes to playing the game of golf."
Moe Norman Golf Swing Instruction
Moe developed his ‘unique’ swing over 5+ years of trial and error starting at the age of 15, and enjoyed much success as both an amateur and professional golfer.  With 17 holes in one, three scores of 59, four scores of 61, and over 30 course records during his career , Moe dominated Canadian golf through the mid 20th century. 

An unnaturally shy man, Moe shunned public appearances and speaking.  His shyness only disappeared while he held a golf club in his hands.  During tournaments, Moe would hit drivers off of 6” tees, soda bottles, and play par 4 holes ‘backward’, hitting a wedge off the tee and a driver onto the green and still make par or better.  After a brief stint on the U.S. PGA tour, these antics earned Moe a ‘dressing down’ by some members of the tour, and he left to never play in the U.S. competitively again.

Moe’s accuracy with a golf ball earned him a meager living until in 1995.  During one of his clinics, Moe hit over 1,500 drives in a little over 7 hours, all of which where within 15 yards of one another.  It was this accuracy that eventually earned Moe the respect and notoriety that true genius deserves. 

In January 1995, Titleist decided to pay Moe $5,000 per month for nothing more than his unique contribution to the game of golf.  Moe passed away September 4, 2004 at the age of 74, with hundreds coming to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada to pay their respects to the legend.

The Tour Players Recognized Moe Norman as the Best


Moe’s genius with a golf club was seen by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, throughout his lifetime.  He often hit balls at the Canadian Open for the touring professionals when the tournament was in town.   

When asked “Who’s the best golfer you’ve ever seen?”   in a September 2004 USA Today interview , Vijay Singh answered, “Moe Norman. I've hit balls with him lots of times. He was incredible. Whatever he said he could do, he could do. If you talk to Lee Trevino and other greats of the game they'll tell you how good he was. He could talk it, and he could do it. God gives people little gifts, and Moe had a gift for golf."

After his win at the season ending 2004 Target World Challenge, Tiger Wood's commented , "Only two players have ever truly owned their swings - Moe Norman and Ben Hogan," Woods said. "I want to own mine. That's where the satisfaction comes from".

As one of the most colorful characters to ever play the game, there are hundreds of stories about Moe Norman. 

One day in the 1950s, Moe and Ben Hogan were on the practice tee together at a pro tournament when a spectator asked Hogan to take a look at Moe.  Hogan believed any ball hit dead straight was an accident.  After each of the first six balls he watched Moe hit Hogan said, "Accident."  After watching Moe hit several more Hogan said, "Just keep hitting those accidents, kid."

Moe Norman was a true philosopher of the game.

"What's the longest walk in golf? It's from the practice tee to the first tee. I don't care if it's 10 yards. It's the longest walk in golf. Winners take their swing with them. Losers don't." Moe said.
 
Sam Snead and Lee Trevino have openly said Moe was the best striker of a golf ball in the game. Ken Venturi coined the nickname "Pipeline Moe" in describing Moe's infallible accuracy. He said, "Because Moe is kind of eccentric, he never got the credit he deserved or played the kind of golf he was capable of. . . But he could do anything. Hell, I'd give Moe three strokes a side just to watch him hit the ball."

Moe understood his genius golf swing and he often related his technique with feelings and perceptions.

"Every time I hit a shot, I feel like I am shaking hands with the flag stick." – Moe Norman
 
His skills were unparalleled.

Moe once played an exhibition match with Sam Snead in Toronto in 1969. On a par-4, a creek crossed the fairway about 240 yards from the tee. Snead warned Moe that he couldn't clear the creek with a driver. "Not trying to," Moe said. "I'm playing for the bridge." Snead's shot landed safely on the near side of the creek. Norman's drive landed short, and rolled over the bridge to the other side.

Moe often commented on his greatness.

"It takes hard work, you have to want it" Moe said. 

Later in Moe's life, Moe understood this success.

"It's not what the world gives you, but what you can give it. I'm lucky. I can give the world talent. I can explain it and show it to people. That's what I love doing. I just love it."
 
At one exhibition, Moe hit 1,540 drives in just under seven hours. All went longer than 225 yards, all landed inside a marked 30-yard-wide landing zone.

Lee Trevino said of Moe, "I don't know of any player, ever, who could strike a golf ball like Moe Norman, as far as hitting it solid, knowing where it is going and knowing what he wants to do with the ball. Moe Norman is a genius when it comes to playing the game of golf."
   
In the late 1950s Moe won dozens of amateur tournaments in Canada, including the Canadian Amateur two years in a row. After 1979, Moe won seven straight Canadian PGA senior championships, tied for fifth in the eighth, and won the ninth.


 

Moe Norman Bio:

Moe Norman Winning Golf Tournament with Uniqe Swing
Born: July 10, 1929
Died: September 4, 2004
Category: Golfer, amateur and professional
Inducted: Canadian Golf Hall of Fame 1995
Club Affiliations: Rockway Golf Club, Foxwood Golf Club, Brantford Golf & Country Club, Royal Oak Golf Club

Moe Norman's Record


International:

  • 1954 America’s Cup Canadian Team Member
National:

  • 1955 Canadian Amateur Champion
  • 1956 Canadian Amateur Champion
  • 1957 Runner-Up Low Canadian in the Canadian Open

Professional:
  • 1964 CPGA Millar Trophy Champion
  • 1965 Runner-Up Canadian Professional Golfers Championshp
  • 1966 Canadian Professional Golfers Champion
  • 1974 Professional Golfers Champion
  • 1980 - 1985 & 1987 Canadian Professional Golfers Association Seniors Championship

Provincial:
  • 1958 Ontario Open Champion
  • 1963 Saskatchewan Open Champion
  • 1963 Ontario Open Champion
  • 1965 Manitoba Open Champion
  • 1966 Alberta Open Champion
  • 1966 Manitoba Open Champion
  • 1967 Manitoba Open Champion
  • 1968 Saskatchewan Open Champion
  • 1971 Alberta Open Champion
  • 1976 Alberta Open Champion
 
           
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Moe Norman on the Golf Range with Todd Graves
Moe Norman on the Golf Range with Todd Graves demonstrating the Single Plane Golf Swing
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Todd Explains the Single Plane Golf Swing
Todd Explains the Single Plane
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The Man. The Legend.
The man. The Legend.
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Todd Golf Swing Practice Session January 2009
Instructional video of Todd demonstrating the Single Plane Golf Swing
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Todd and Moe Short Game Practice
Todd discusses the short game with Moe Norman
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Moe Canadian Press
Moe Norman Story Canadian Press
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Moe Norman On The Ball -CBC
Moe Norman "On the Ball" CBC
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