Jokingly I asked Moe if he would sell me his swing. He said “Sure, for ten thousand dollars but you can’t buy talent,” he said. If I could have purchased Moe’s golf swing without having to work at it, I would have happily paid him. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. That’s why the next best thing to buying Moe’s swing was to match him.
I have one word that describes how I learned Moe’s swing: Modeling. I don’t know what that word means to you, but it means “copy.” Yes, I admit it. I copied Moe’s swing. He was the notes scribbled on my hand during a test – my cheat sheet.
To be more exact, I picked out various aspects of Moe’s swing positions and movements, and I mimicked them, starting at the address position. Once I understood the points of the swing I put them together and using video and pictures, I mirrored his movements. Eventually, through repetition, I could feel what he felt. The practice wasn’t about hitting balls; it was about learning how to move like Moe.
EVENTUALLY, I am starting hitting the ball with pinpoint accuracy. My misses became great!
Moe Norman Said, “You’re only as good as your misses.”
An excellent on-plane golf swing that can repeat impact consistently is what simplifies the game because the bad shots it produces are still pretty good. That’s the point of putting in the effort to build a solid Single Plane Swing. It breeds consistency, repeatability and the ability to be good when you are average.
I matched Moe’s swing by observing his movements and then matching what I saw. By pairing his actions, I began to feel how he achieved his golf swing. Later I developed training tools that helped me think it so I could eliminate mistakes when I practiced because I quickly learned that what you feel you do and what you do are very different.
Here is a word of caution: If you think you are matching Moe – you probably aren’t unless you have video proof or a coach to watch your movements. Personal feelings are unreliable. The goal is to match your action exactly to Moe’s move making sure you hit all of Moe’s positions.
“Hit your positions, always hit your positions” – Moe Norman.
Moe had a Club to Body Relationship
I always have difficulty describing what I mean by “club to body” (C2B) relationship. I’ll give it another try here. At impact, there is an ideal position of the club shaft as it relates to the rotation of the body. Think of it as a single spoke of a bicycle wheel. When you turn the wheel in one direction, the spoke maintains its relationship to the hub or center of the wheel. When you turn the wheel back, the spoke returns back to the exact position it started.
Moe Norman had the same sort of “hub and spoke” relationship with the golf club.
If Moe didn’t hinge the hands, the lead arm and club would act exactly like the hub and speak of the wheel. The only difference is that he had a hinge where his hands meet the club. The center of Moe’s “wheel” was what I call the “pivot point,” a point above the lead hip. When Moe moved into the backswing and then into the downswing, the club always had a reference to the pivot point allowing him to return the club to the same relative spot – producing a consistent impact point.
Swing Plane is a product of the C2B relationship
One way that I practice Moe’s club-to-body relationship is by exercising with the Single Plane Trainer. The Single Plane Trainer (SPT) aligns the club and lead arm forming a connection to the leading side of the body. As you take the club into the backswing, the extended SPT maintains this relationship (staying against the body).
Midway back the hands hinge, and the SPT comes away from the body moving up to the swing plane. Then in the downswing, the hands move down the plane and unhinge allowing the hands to return to the lead side of the body at impact.
Todd Graves demonstrating the swing with the GGA Single Plane Trainer
The hub of the wheel, Moe’s pivot point, is NOT the center of the body. It is forward on the lead side above the lead hip joint. The Since the body is more ahead of the impact that at address, the pivot point has moved forward but throughout the entire swing, the C2B relationship has remained.
To maintain the C2B relationship, you must maintain the tilt of your back throughout the golf swing. Think of the wheel and the spoke analogy. You must keep the wheel rotating at the same angle. If you altered the tilt of the wheel, by standing uplifting your back, you would change the plane of the golf club. Maintaining your slope keeps the club moving around the pivot point on the plane.
The GGA SPT
Notice in the photographs that the spine tilt is maintained from address to impact. The GGA SPT has a Feeling of Greatness Single Plane training grip installed to perfect your hand position. With the hands correctly placed on the trainer, it is designed to help you monitor the “connection” of the club to the pivot point throughout the swing motion.
You can find out more about the GGA SPT here: GGA Single Plane Trainer.
Thanks for posting these photos showing the positions I need to emulate. By the way do you have any DVDs in the works that teach using the single plane trainer?
What superb advice. “Hit your positions!” Played my first two rounds of the year and didn’t hit any practice balls; I did some putting and chipping but that was it. I just worked on hitting my positions for the last few months. 75 – 75. Not the greatest but it’s only February. I need to work on ball position and secondary spine tilt. I’m at a good place right now, without hitting one practice ball.
Thanks Todd, Tim and staff.