Another Feeling of Greatness research job, is chatting up friends of Moe Norman, and sifting through stories about the heralded Canadian golfing savant.
During those chats, I often ask for details about the interviewee’s most memorable story with Moe. Yesterday it occurred to me that I might ask myself the same question.
Well, in sifting through my personal inventory there are funny, funky and frustrating days, but the one that lasts forever is actually a week-long experience that included Moe, of course, but was seasoned by a sprinkling of other strong golf personalities.
The setting was St. Petersburg’s historic landmark Vinoy Resort and Golf Club and the event was the principal photography and filming of the A Lifetime of Better Golf instructional package marketed by Natural Golf and featuring Todd Graves and Moe.
The cast included Todd, Moe, Ken Ellsworth, Bob Rosburg and Chuck Hogan, an assemblage of unique and truly memorable personalities whose off-course uniqueness was entertainingly emphasized as we dawdled through two early days of film-canceling rain.
Rossie, of “He’s got no shot, Jim” broadcasting expression fame, actually played in The Masters with Moe, so it was a reunion of sorts. He regaled us the hour on hour with hilarious golf stories during the adult beverage soaked rain delay, including how he won the 1959 PGA without hitting a practice shot—just a few chips and putts. I treasure the old-fashioned flip book of his ten finger golf swing that Rossie gave me.
Then there was Chuck Hogan, the genius teacher, and video pioneer. His Nice Shot! the video is the first in the genre to have commercial success, allowing of course for the classic Al Geiberger Sybervision hypnotic repetitive swing video which preceded it. Chuck’s blazing personality espoused simplicity and complimented Moe’s approach, so he was there to add insight and clarity to the production. Though he’s infirmed today his seminal work Rethinking Golf is always at the top of my must-read list.
Then there was PGA Tour winner Ken Ellsworth the basketball star, cum golfer who served as Natural Golf’s first director of instruction. Ken would deprecatingly brag that he was the only basketball player he knew to turn down a hoop scholarship from John Wooden. Ken’s love of fishing and golf got assuaged when he moved back to Lake City, MN to teach and fish.
Of course, Todd was there, as was now renowned movie producer Dave Nixon and Golf Digest co-producers and business builders. All in all, for me it was unforgettable.
One of my favorite pictures, similar to the one shown above, is framed and staring at me in my office. The only question I ask myself when I look at it, is “What the hell were you thinking, Peter, hitting balls along-side those legends?”
I guess that’s why pins and balloons don’t mix.