Moe Norman, My years learning from The Legend

I first met Moe in 1987 at Thunderbird CC in Toronto at Q school.
This guy was on the range just rapid firing shots, one after another,
he would hit balls so fast, talking while he was swinging, and calling his targets on the range as he was doing it, and moving them around.

He wasn’t really known much outside of Canada… I think when Golf Digest did the article on him (Cover)… that is when most people started
hearing and talking about Moe.

I played with Moe in a pro am in Saskatchewan and spent a lot of time talking to him. He wasn’t all that easy to get to know… but back then people still kind of ignored him as some kind of wierdo, crazy guy…

If he wasn’t hitting balls he was usually sitting alone somewhere just talking to himself or eating a sandwich alone in a corner like a rejected child. He didn’t shower often so you would have to deal with a lot of body odor, and that pushed people away.

Like a lot of people in golf (good players) they can describe what they feel, but most don’t really know what they do. Moe let me film him at Red Deer CC in Alberta in 1987, I used a Sony CCDV101
with a 10,000 shutter speed camera, I got every angle imaginable
and then some, different clubs, even sand shots… It is probably some of the best footage of Moe ever recorded, there was stuff from before with film cameras, and later in the 90’s when everyone was interested in Moe, but he still hit it pretty good in 1987, much better than he did later in the 90’s…

So I spent a lot of time looking at those tapes and learned a great deal.

The biggest impression Moe gave me was that he made golf look easy.

Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm, and the ability to rapid fire shots in practice is something I took to heart and worked into my practice routine.

He treated golf as if it was a reaction sport, like tennis, he would just give his brain no time to think, everything was on automatic. Probably the fastest player ever.

The stories go on and on, but I remember when we played he would putt so fast… that if you were stepping over his line the ball might just roll between your legs as you were doing so. He hated slow play. No concern for yardages, everything was instinct… automatic and just incredible rhythm…

I have never seen anyone else swing like him effectively…
and he did hit millions of balls to get there.

It’s a swinging move, with a full roll duel horizontal hinge an a ton of 5th accumulator. He just pulls forever!

Back in the days of Hogan and Snead, distance was a huge advantage so they really would work on getting the most out of what the body could do… in the new game with the modern gear, you see players like Tiger actually toning things down, such as keeping the right knee bent, to help control the ball…

Moe Norman who is one of Tiger’s idols, actually started his swing with his right leg already straight…hips turned too… and upper body of course was closed as well… (turned) … “less moving parts makes for easier repeatability” Moe would say….very interesting stuff…

I was fortunate to watch Moe in person hit hundreds of balls, and
it can make a believer out of you very fast… what he was doing was correct.

Hogan’s right leg started pretty straight too, not as much as Moe, but certainly more than most… a wide stance has a tendency to straighten your legs, and Hogan’s stance was on the wide side for his stature…

Moe used to tell me his right leg was a solid post, it was the anchor of his swing…

Once you get a clear picture of the true difference between radial acceleration and longitudinal, a light bulb will go off, and you will understand these posts…

I really can’t think of a better way to explain hitting and swinging
and the forces and hinges necessary to execute those protocols.
Go back and re read the posts on here about it, I have posted a few.
But DO ask questions, as a new light bulb may go off for me so I can better explain what I believe to be true…

It is a very hard thing to see unless you have stop action photos…

The high speed photos of the clubface position just after impact to the
4rth parallel are like DNA samples to a forensic scientist. It tells the whole story really.

Moe Norman has all the trademarks of a hitter, yet he is a swinger.
He even talks like a hitter, yet his photos show a full roll duel horizontal hinging after impact. He looks a lot like Hogan but his trick was to swing on almost a shoulder plane. He almost swings on a true non shifting swing plane. This may very well hold the secret to his amazing accuracy and could be the swing of the future. It is the simplest swing I have ever seen. He eliminates so many unnecessary movements it’s easy to see why it repeats so beautifully.

I would have to say that if I were to go back to swinging, I might very well take a look at what Moe does and apply that concept.
He uses what I believe to be the 5th accumulator, but does it swinging, which you can’t do if you are swinging from a flatter plane.

Moe starts by grounding the club two feet behind the ball, well into his backswing, his right leg is already straight at address, closed and turned. He sets himself up to make a great turn every time by setting up at address with half his backswing already in place.

With his hands set high from the start, his impact alignments are right there too, and with great extensor action he picks the ball clean with little or no divot much like a hitter would, and unlike the big divots that most swingers should feel from a standard set up.

Moe in a sense sets new standards for what a swinging protocol can look like. It’s really great stuff, and I am so blessed to have seen him, met him and picked his brain for a few years while I was playing on the Canadian Tour in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Lag,

Could you comment a little further on Moe’s address position? Do you feel this offers true advantages? Drawbacks, if any?

I’m especially curious about what you said in the straight right leg at address. I’ve always read and been told that the constant flex in the right knee was a key element to consistency. Is this not so? I thought I remember Ben Hogan saying something to the effect of, “You know why I’m so damn good? My right knee never moves” Perhaps, as with many of his statements, it has been taken out of context, but I would love to hear any further thoughts you have on this. Thanks!

Soup

Moe’s address position is exactly what you should do if you are interested in being a pure CF swinger.
The left arm and shaft seek an inline position, pulled straight by the forces, and allowed to do so by
passive hands and arms… this is “swinging” not hitting.

Swingers that set up their hands lower, on the elbow plane or even lower on a hands plane are creating
a golf swing that is much more complicated than it needs to be. Moe’s protocol is model stuff. For swingers.

As far as the right leg, I also agree that a constant flex in the right knee is a great secret for consistency.
If you start with the leg straight like both Moe and I do, you eliminate a moving part on the backswing.
I think it’s great. Hogan’s knee did move, it would straighten some on the backswing as did Snead’s. They
would do this to increase their hip turn or slat… which of course allows for a bigger torso turn… this is all good…
but I like Moe’s take, just start with it straight… why not? Golfers are way to over concerned about their address
alignments. I can hit draws or fades or straight shots from either open or closed stances… hips, shoulders the same thing…
we need to know and feel what to do from P3 to P4… that is the key… certain address alignments do encourage or aid
in making a certain shot easier, but they don’t in any way create it.

Back in the days of Hogan and Snead, distance was a huge advantage so they really would work on getting the most out of what the body could do… in the new game with the modern gear, you see players like Tiger actually toning things down, such as keeping the right knee bent, to help control the ball…

Moe Norman who is one of Tiger’s idols, actually started his swing with his right leg already straight…hips turned too… and upper body of course was closed as well… (turned) … “less moving parts makes for easier repeatability” Moe would say….very interesting stuff…

I was fortunate to watch Moe in person hit hundreds of balls, and
it can make a believer out of you very fast… what he was doing was correct.

Hogan’s right leg started pretty straight too, not as much as Moe, but certainly more than most… a wide stance has a tendency to straighten your legs, and Hogan’s stance was on the wide side for his stature…

Moe used to tell me his right leg was a solid post, it was the anchor of his swing…

Lag,

Just guessing, but does P3 to P4 mean from impact to the fourth parallel?

Also, so is that set-up is only permissible for swingers?

What makes his approach not advisable for hitting? (Other than the fact that he, himself, was a swinger)

P3 the parallel before impact to P4 parallel after impact…

To the naked eye, Moe looks like a hitter, but he does not angle hinge…
It’s a pure CF throw, full roll hinging, very pivot driven. I filmed Moe in
the late 80’s with a 10K shutter frame camera. I still have it, and it leaves
nothing to the imagination… it’s all there… I know what he does…

His setup is exactly how swingers should set up… it’s makes sense, and it works.
Moe was also an obsessive ball beater, and I really believe he just hit so many balls
he just found it… and it is correct. I have never seen a human strike the ball more solid
and straighter.

Moe’s swinging protocol limited the off plane post impact equal angular spiral that creates
problems for most CF swingers…

Moe’s swing was a left side pull all the way…

Beautiful stuff…

I do think I could teach Moe’s swing, but it would be more difficult for me because it is so opposite
of what I do, so I would not be able to speak with as much direct and personal knowledge as I can regarding
pivot driven hitting. I’m not sure I could explain the feelings as well as Moe could. I could guess… and I think
I could guess pretty good…

Any guinea pigs?

Lag,

You’re definitely on the money with everything you said. What I was wondering was if you can set-up like moe and still execute a hitting pattern effectively?

The reason I ask is because 1) I’ve had success in practice working with the “moe action”, although I do not use a horizontal hinge (at least it doesn’t feel like it to me lol) and 2) when mike maves demonstrates his moe action, it looks to me as if he is using an angled, hitter’s hinge. Obviously, mike is way better of a ballstriker than I am, but I was just trying to pick your brain, Lag.

Thanks!

Soup

Let’s stop right there… because Moe did not use an angled hinge…
Moe used a swingers full roll hinge action… from an inline DTL shaft and left arm.

Swingers use dual horizontal hinges because that’s simply what the clubface does with passive
no manipulated hands through impact.

Hitters use an angled hinge because the are pulling the club out of an equal angular spiral and to do that
effectively an angled hinge is clearly the best choice…

Swingers make big circles…
hitters small faster ones…

Thanks for the clarification, Lag! Haha sorry, didn’t mean to cause a fuss.

Soup

When I saw Moe for the first time I had never seen anything like it…
I was a rookie in 1987 getting my Q Card in Toronto, and this old guy is on the range with a crowd around him just putting on the most amazing ball striking exhibition I had ever seen… calling every shot, hitting the range signs in the distance often twice in a row, some from over 200 yards. It was just unearthly stuff.

Moe would pretty much follow the tour around, on occasion he would play an event… but mostly he would make his living from what ever was put in the hat for him.

It looked like a hit to me… until later in the season when we got out west and I had spent a lot of time with him, he let me film him which was pretty rare… he at that time was very camera shy and felt a bit paranoid that someone was out to exploit him for their own gain.

Later that year at the Alberta Open I asked if I could film him… I suppose I had gained a bit of his trust over the season, as I would go out of my way to spend time with him… he loved to talk, and certainly liked an audience, but most of the guys ignored him and just wrote him off as some kind of freak almost like a circus or carnival sideshow type of guy. He wasn’t famous like he is now…
he was in Canada but few had heard of him down in the States unless they had played up in Canada. I don’t think it was until 1995 that Golf Digest did a cover story on him… so this was 8 years before that… I can tell you… the footage I have of Moe is the best I have ever seen… because I shot it at 10,000 shutter frames, and he was compressing the ball much better in 87 than 95…

I can’t tell you how excited I was driving back to my hotel room and hooking up my camera to the TV there and watching Moe in slowMO
all night… I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Moe swung on a true shoulder plane, yet very flat… and he had the shaft fully inline from both front and DTL at impact. This screamed swinging… because CF wants to put things inline. I have no doubt that Moe’s swing evolved from massive ball beating and he just over time felt the CF pull, and just let it go into an inline situation. This would not evolve from any kind of manipulation. If the hands are passive, dead hinges, this is exactly where things want to go…

The second proof is in the hinge action…

The arms fly off the body just as Doyle and McHatton would love.
They fly off because the club is coming very much down the 4:30 line and from very inside, then just straight out off the body inline.

The wrist just hinge over into an extreme full roll about two feet after impact. They flip over so fast… this could only happen from a passive hand protocol. Any “HIT” in the hands would put too much tension in the wrist for the roll to happen that quickly…

I was so surprised to see that horizontal extreme flip over of the clubface. This is not the stiff wristed crush of a hitter. Dead hand swinger all the way…

I would agree with anyone that it looks like a hit from the naked eye… but based upon the high speed stuff… there is not much to argue.

PURE CF SWINGER!!!

But because Moe is not starting from an elbow plane, or hands plane, there is minimal plane shifting, and with impact coming into a turned shoulder plane, he avoids the dreaded post impact parallel off plane equal angular spiral that I think is a highly questionable procedure.

Swingers would be wise to swing like MOE!

Lag,
When Tiger worked with Harmon it looked as if he tried to swing on that turned shoulder plane he had that outside takeaway up to the shoulder and tried to come down it but always shifted back to elbow. I notice alot of teachers are obssesed with shifting back to elbow seems like Moe simplified it by going from A to B . Does the shifting process tighten up the wrist muscles more than keeping them passive for true CF. It seems when anyone makes a deliberate shift i see the veins popping out and tightness resulting in the hands becoming active therfore mixing components? Thoughts?

I think elbow planes are best for hitters,
and turned shoulder planes are best for swingers.

Swingers with dead hands simply allow the shaft to move into an inline situation.

Hitters are manipulating anyway, so an elbow plane keeps the shaft in tighter and closer for a smaller high speed circle hit.

Moe 1987…


.

It is very interesting to read about Moe’s use of the “LEFT SIDE” pulling,from someone. Every source on Moe norman fron both the Graves and Natural golf,reference Moe’s use of his right side to dominate the swing. Even Moe has said in several of his video’s that the right side is the power source, but I believe he didn’t tell us everything. I think he only used his right side very, very late in his downswing.

Please give me your detailed beliefs about what you believe Moe did on his downswing, specifically pertaining to his right and left side.

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks leftofmoe

Moe used both sides as all good strikers do…

No one hits the ball as long if they swing with just one arm…
Moe had a very pivot driven swing, very strong post impact, and this is why he compressed the ball so well.

Moe’s hands were very passive, full rolling post impact. The passive hands allowed the clubface to roll over so quickly.
The reason it worked so well is that he swung on a shoulder plane, allowing his left arm and clubshaft to work into
an inline position through impact. This is pure CF swinging, not hitting… by setting things up this way, he avoids the equal angular post impact spiral that plagues so many CF swingers leaving them at the mercy of extreme timing.

moe.jpg

Here is Moe explaining what he is FEELING on the downswing…

Look familiar?

Extreme spine tilt?
elbow tucked in?
right palm skyward?

rings a bit of module #1 I suppose.

Hogan spoke of the same thing in his little lesson after the Snead match on Shell’s…

Dear lagpressuse

Now that you have driven us all insaine over your great footage of Moe, when do you plan to share it?
I would love to see some new footage of Moe, especially, some taken at 10,000 fps.
A pictures is worth a thousand words. Please share with the hungry. Maybe you could put some footage on Youtube!!!

                                                                                      Thanks-Tim