Justin was so kind to track down this photo and the philosophy of Joe Norwood, who in the 1920’s and 30’s was considered one of American golf’s premier swing instructors. He was the head professional at very exclusive and still fantastic Los Angeles C.C.
To module students, this might look hauntingly familiar…
Here are some of Norwood’s concepts I found relevant to what we are striving for.
[i]The feet and legs give power to the golf swing, by stabilizing
the body movement into a still position
Norwood also places the right leg from the knee to the foot in a
straight line, perpendicular to the ground and holding 70 percent of the body
The right leg maintains this position for the backswing.
the arms are not out
in front of the body, but fairly close to the body.
Norwood demands a threequarter
backswing, as the three-quarter swing will give the same distance as
the long over-swing power stroke. Don Trahan did a study and verified the
accuracy of this statement.
Joe wants the right elbow close to the body throughout the swing as Ben
Hogan did. The right elbow is the key to power and accuracy. For the
backswing the right arm is swung back to a horizontal and not a vertical
position. The right elbow is at a 45-degree angle.
The first move on the downswing is the Vardon move of dropping the hands
down towards the right heel before any other movement. This is a short move,
but it is important in preventing hitting over-the-top and cutting into the ball.
Make this dropping move and the swing takes care of itself. In the downswing
the golfer swings down and under his hips.
Joe wants the golfer to hold the left arm
and hit it with the right arm. Tommy Armour, of playing and teaching fame,
stressed the same procedure.
Norwood wanted the body to stay behind the ball at impact by staying on a flat
right foot at impact. This helps to keep the body still at impact. This procedure
leads to the famous Òsit-downÓ position, where the knees seem to separate
wider at impact as the body lowers into impact. Sam Snead and Ben Hogan
were highly noticeable with this sit-down or Òsquat.Ó This sit-down position also
helps the body in being still for impact. Joe stresses this position, as he claims
the body at impact is lower than at address. This position lowers the hips into
the thighs to aid in balance.
From the hands dropping into the slot, the right hip drives down into the right
leg, which does not move. During the backswing, the left shoulder goes down
to put solid feeling into the right hip. The right hip is now ready for its move,
and the feeling of the move is as follows: take the stance. Place the right hand
on the right hip or hip pocket. Now push down and forward with the butt of the
right hand, and you should feel the hips go down into the squat position like
Hogan and Snead for impact. The right leg does not move forward and stays
in position with the right heel flat on the ground.
There is a controversy on whether the golf swing is mechanics or feel.
Norwood sums this up easily: you have to learn the mechanics and then you
get the feel. Relying on feel can be elusive, especially when one loses the feel
for the swing during a round of golf. Feel must be acquired by learning the
knowledge of the mechanics of the swing. This is like a piano player who must
learn the scales and other procedures to acquire a feel for playing. Regaining
the feel process can be difficult, as one will often start thinking too much and
pressing the action. Norwood recommended to always go back to
fundamentals and knowledge in order to regain feel.