Twelve Years after his passing, I am still learning from Moe. Every time I watch his golf swing in the hours of footage I have collected, I listen to his comments and his thought on the simplicity of his swing and technique. When I practiced with Moe Norman he would say things that seemed nonsensical. There was a time when I thought some of his ideas were a bit outrageous and yes, sometimes crazy.
I learned to tame that judgmental before I know the facts. I have learned to take an objective approach to learning to swing like the best that has ever struck a golf ball. Here are a few thoughts that might help you to get your mind prepared before I get into some “radical” concepts.
First, I learned not to take anything Moe Norman said for granted, even if it did sound unconventional. Most of Moe’s ideas of the golf swing were his way of explaining the unexplainable. Moe’s descriptions were his way of doing his best to describe his feelings.
But you must be careful if you listen to literally to Moe. What Moe felt and what he actually did often looked, by all video evidence, inconsistent. Video and biomechanical analysis shows that some of the things that Moe said he did were not actually true. Or were they? I learned there is a difference between what happens when you move 3 Dimensionally (through 3D motion analysis) versus what you see on video (two dimensionally.)
Release and Extension – what you see is not what you feel
For example, Moe felt that he did not rotate the clubface during his release and extension.
He would say “The clubface stays square, I can eat off of it”, referring to the position of the club face facing upward at the finish of his swing. Clearly the club face naturally rotates back to the plane when you watch the video however, the biomechanics of this movement tells another tale.
When looked at 3-Dimensionally the appearance of the rotation of the arm is matched by the rotating on of the torso. Therefore, when the right arm extended and the torso rotated, Moe did not feel rotation. In one perspective it did rotate (camera perspective) and on another (Moe’s perspective) it did not.
The key is not to judge Moe’s feelings until you understand them. There are many things in the golf swing that don’t make sense but once you finally learn to understand them they start to feel correct.
Like a Pendulum
Moe considered his swing like a “pendulum” but the club clearly moves in a circular path however, it feels like an up-and-down motion.
I found Moe’s insights into his feelings to be a very important tool for understanding his golf swing.
Moe’s Address Position
Most people see Moe’s address position and see some major differences in Moe’s swing. When you understand what Moe is doing at address, he is establishing a perfect “club to body” relationship. I call it spacing. Moe established the ideal distance from the ball to reduce the movement of the body to reach the most important point – Impact.
With this understanding, I began to understand his address position and discovered that some of the things I thought of as “idiosyncratic” were quite possibly “secrets” to great ball-striking and consistency.
Consistency is a characteristic of great ball-strikers and Moe was the personification of it.
I describe the Single Plane Swing in this video: