The Moe thread

It was suggested elsewhere a Moe thread was started, so let’s go for it. Carrying over the pictures posted:


Moe was autistic and we know this can lead to extraordinary abilities in very specific areas, often heightened senses of awareness. Plus he was known to hit over 2000 balls a day with calluses on his hand so rough he could draw blood if drawn across your face.

Has the mere mortal got a chance with this sort of swing?

It’s not confirmed that Moe was autistic… according to, Graves Golf Academy, and other sites he was in an accident as a child that caused him to become introverted. He withdrew into hitting golf balls. Could he have been autistic, sure… but without a proper diagnosis I hate to “label” him. I’ve spoken with Todd Graves and he’s not sure if he would label Moe as autistic either.

Here’s a video that I have watched maybe 100 times. It’s powerful.

Moe could do those insane mathematical multiplications… I witnessed it. Not sure that is any kind of proof… but I was there.

Moe did carry the Hogan flip book in the back of his car, and he showed it to me on more than one occasion. I was watching Moe bomb drivers on the range one year in Saskatoon, and he said, “67 drives in a row without the tee moving” (coming out of the ground)

Moe just picked everything very clean. Very shallow.

There were a couple of guys on the tour who were working on a swing similar to Moe’s, but not always with the same success.
But as some of the teachers who are trying to teach “Moe” , I don’t think they understand that Moe’s swing worked because of what he did post impact, not before.

Nice one, Steb…
I don’t know a ton about Moe’s swing other than what I’ve been able to gather from looking at videos of him through the years, and listening to, or reading about his thoughts. His swing seemed to evolve as he got older and became more of the ‘single plane’ vision that is associated with him- though the whole single plane concept is erroneous to me. His swing from his younger years, even up through the 80’s was pretty close to ‘normal’ looking. He had incredible footwork in my mind, and clearly had super strong legs, as well as hands and arms, it appears.
To me his mind was probably his greatest strength. The mental concept he had of his swing was so simple, and so clear to him, that I think it was the real drive behind his consistency. It seems to me like his understanding of his swing came from the bigger structure of it, as opposed to the minutia of hand action and release. Not every golf swing can be judged physically because on analysis some swings don’t add up to what they produce.
Lag, do you know if Moe ever saw much, or studied film of himself? You were saying that the key to his swing was post impact, how does this play in to how he released the club? He had that swingers release with a relatively fast closing face. If the face has already succumbed to CF, how does what happens after that have such a big effect? You’ve also said a few times that he has a perfect ‘swingers action’, why is that?
It will be cool to get some Moe thoughts going on…

Me too. It’s often claimed that single plane is simpler, less moving parts, but I see it like straight-back/straight-through putting–a lot of manipulation going on to conform to this self-inflicted restriction. If single-plane just happened for someone, a vapor trail, then great, but forcing it can’t be good. I always look at Furyk, he found his own personal channels to swing in and stuck to them and not many have been as consistently always up there over the last 15 years.

Let me point out a couple of things that I believe are slightly off with those photos …IMO…(They were posted by someone besides Steb…he just installed them on this new thread)

1)The yellow line regarding plane in photo number 1 is off the mark…why?.. because Moe’s clubhead is a good 18 inches or more back behind the ball at address- so the line is a true reflection of where his club is to start the swing…but not where his club will be at impact because they are a good 2 feet apart in difference between the 2 photos… I think that is logical enough to say they will be varied to a larger degree than what these 2 photos try to show

  1. You can see his head/knees have dropped considerably at impact (when you compare the tree behind his head)…so going by that his angle at impact has changed also to some degree.

So yes…the shaft still runs up his arm, but the angles have changed because of variance in setup position of club position and by kneeflex/head drop into impact— SO— is it a true perfect one plane swing like we have been led to believe by the original poster? … probably not- but still an excellent action as the results show

Just nit picking but if we are going to discuss Moe’s swing we need to look at everything and discuss because some things that appear, aren’t always what they are shown to be

In one of those Graves videos Moe says…“I hit it so straight…the face never rolls or crosses over”… BUT…as we all know he DID roll the face…so what was he really feeling or doing?

I would listen to what Lag has to say about Moe’s swing more than anyone else…not only did Lag spend a bunch of time with him practicing and picking his brain and talking … he spent his time with him before The Natural Golf phase and when others tried to cash in on Moe…he saw the younger better version before age and health stalled him a little

I think you just said exactly what we’re talking about Twomasters… that line is pure bullshit…

Exactly, Steb. Unless the shaft comes straight out of your forearm as well as a million other things, then there’s no real single plane. I get overwhelmed when I think of trying to discuss the issues I have with that idea.
I think Moe knew what he was doing because he had big grips and had the club in the meat of his hands- as close to straight out of his arms as you can get, and the fat grips make this tons easier. His swing was short because of this too since he had a mostly a backward and forward hinge of his wrists- this also explains how he released it imo.
The fatter the grip the more your left hand will appear and act ‘weak’ because there’s less to wrap your hand over. Imagine how your left hand would look on the side of a ball and you can see that… Maybe he was on to something with super big grips too.
Lag, did he have big grips when you were spending time with him? Maybe I should have a separate ‘Moe Questions’ thread!
Lots of potential for interesting discussion on this thread…

Moe supposedly said to Jack Kuykendall when they met that 1966 was the best he swung the golf club EVER! And that swing could really help somebody.

The Hogan flip book Moe carried around was a thin book and it is shown in the Pipeline Moe video although its from a distance so you cant see any of the pictures, what’s interesting is you see that book in his back pocket on a lot of other footage like in the Journey Man video.

1966 Footage

Moe is somebody I’ve studied a lot of because, IMO, he was the greatest ballstriker of all time. I wouldn’t get in a debate with somebody who thought Hogan or even Snead were better because it’s splitting hairs.

The first time I ever saw him hit balls was in 1996 on a video a college teammate of mine had of Moe doing a clinic in Florida…I’m guessing it was '93-95. The video would show some shots and their ball flight and would also pan out to the range to show where they landed. It was pretty incredible. I often wonder if he still has that tape and maybe he could put it into a DVD and eventually put it on YouTube. I had heard of Moe before them, from Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, but at the time I just couldn’t figure out what all the rave about him was until I saw that video.

When I got back into the game last year, one of the things I wanted to know was how Moe did it. I eventually started up my blog and started talking to numerous readers who had played with Moe. Some as early as 1978. The stories were about the same to the effect of Moe hiting almost every green and every fairway, shooting something like 64-68 and could’ve shot in the 50’s if he could’ve putted a lick. Also, these stories also stated that Moe was actually pretty long back then compared to the consensus he was short in distance. I think people who think he was short probably didn’t see him until the mid to late 90’s when he was in his 60’s and heading into his 70’s.

There is also the consensus that all he could do was hit it dead straight (like that’s a bad thing). I can tell you from watching that tape my old teammate had that Moe could work the ball on command with ease. He call a draw, and hit a draw. He’d call a slice, hit a big slice at the target. Call a hook, hit a hook at the target. Then call for a straight ball and bust one dead straight at the target.

I started to draw the conclusion that Moe was the greatest ballstriker when Hogan said that if he ever hit the green in regulation at #11 at Augusta, you knew he pulled his approach shot. Obviously, Hogan could hit that shot often, but Moe had no doubt in his mind that he could and could do it. I also started to contemplate whether or not a golfer should be able to work the ball or if they can be better off hitting it dead straight. My conclusion is that the reason why so many good/great golfers work the ball is that they cannot trust themselves to hit it dead straight on command. However, Moe was the one guy who could and that is what seperates him from the rest IMO.

I don’t think Moe was autistic because he was able to communicate too well for an autistic person. I probably tend to side with him possibly having asperger’s syndrome, although it seemed that later in life he could put on those clinics with ease which doesn’t sound like somebody with aspergers syndrome could do. I do agree that his mind was his greatest asset. I honestly believe that if I could strike it like Moe, I would still have the inability to just ‘let it go’ on every shot like Moe did.


What was Moe’s distance truly like Lag?

Is this style of swing optimized for accuracy too much at the expense of distance?

A good mate of mine has the Moe look swing. Straightest guy in the club, he hits 4 in 5 fairways, the misses are never more than just off, approach shots always on the green or around, ok chipper, ok putter but only plays off 8.

His obstacle to shooting better is distance. Par 3’s he’ll be hitting 2 or 3 more club than others his standard and age. Par 4’s, he’s still putting a drive 240 yards (sweet spot nearly every time) but he’ll be hitting maybe 4 or 5 more club in. At these distances, he simply isn’t getting realistic birdie opportunities.

Is my story just anecdotal or is distance why we don’t see even one top pro swingin’ like Moe? Graves claimed above its because pros don’t know Moe’s ‘secret’, but given that Graves uses every marketing trick in the book and a personal belief that there is no single secret, I don’t buy it.

As I understand it Moe wasn’t lacking for distance. +250 off the tee w/ persimmon and balata… pretty good. But that doesn’t mean that someone copying his technique will be able to hit it far AND accurate.

Moe was not a guy out on the range with a video camera filming himself, and I don’t think he spent much time looking at his own swing.
Everything he said was in relation to how the club felt within his body, and his birds-eye pulpit vantage point.

Moe was just an unbelievably pure striker of a golf ball. He was not a short hitter. He was in his 50’s when I played with him, and he was strong as an ox. I would say had he been playing on tour every week in the late 80’s he would have been average length even with all the young guys then.

Moe was always a great showman at his unofficial clinics, where he would just show up and start hitting balls, people would start to gather around, and within 5 minutes he had a decent gallery. At the end of the session that would often go on for an hour, one of the veterans would go around with a hat and try to collect money for Moe. He was homeless literally, living out of his car. He needed money for food and gas, and driving across Canada was a lot of gas, and gas was very expensive with Canadian taxes even back then.

He would shoot a lot of 70 to 74 rounds when he played which was not often. If I remember right I think when I played with Moe he shot 73. Mostly because of three putts and just careless play. You would get the feeling he absolutely couldn’t care less what he shot. Didn’t seem like he would even line up… just walk up to the ball with one look and smack it. I didn’t and still don’t think that approach works all that well inside 50 yards and not so good for putting.

Moe hated playing slow, and just thought the guys on the Canadian Tour were silly taking so long to hit their shots. Everyone on tour had more of less the same cautious mindset about each shot… so Moe was really coming from somewhere else. Even the legends we looked at from long ago, Hogan, Nicklaus, all seemed more than slightly meticulous.

The main things that I learned from Moe where the importance of developing a feeling that golf is easy, and I learned how to rapid fire golf shots on the range like he did… and eventually over time I learned to bring that feeling with me to the course. In other words, once I made up my mind about a shot, I would send it on it’s way quickly.

I learned about stance and posture, and working a straight right leg as a post to turn on … during the backswing. I learned not to discount taking the club back flat, laid off, and inside on the backswing, and not to fear that.

I learned that hitting into a bent but firm left knee through impact is an excellent procedure… and I learned why.

I learned the importance of pulling with the torso long after the ball is gone right into PV5

I learned that if you are going to swing, then setting yourself up to work off a shoulder plane swing is ideal to avoid the post impact off plane clubshaft moving into an equal angular spiral.

Moe beat a lot of balls… everyday… so I am still not convinced it is the kind of swing that would be practical for a guy who plays once a week.

My own intuition is that if I stood farther from the ball, and extended my arms out to full radius, and used that to sense the club and it’s relation to the golf ball, it would not be as reliable for me compared to a swing that is much more tighter in arc and rotation where the sensations in my body are very easily identifiable… but I can’t claim this with complete conviction because I have never tried swinging like Moe for any extended amount of time.

As far as Moe’s grips… they were only built up slightly, but he used these wrap ons… that he could just peel on and off, and they were a bit thick and he would wrap them on and leave 3/8 inch spaces in between the wraps for his skin to sink into giving him fantastic connection to the club. I have never seen those grips sold or promoted anywhere, even back then. Unique from what I remember.


Thanks for answering some of those questions, Lag, some great insight there.
I really liked the idea of learning the attitude that golf is easy, what a way to walk onto a golf course or stand over a shot. Moe seemed to really encompass that idea that your own reality is your reality. I read a thing description of Babe Ruth one time that described him as ‘the most unaffected person that has ever lived’. I get that sense from Moe too, it seemed like he had no need for social graces or anything fake, he could only be himself and no outside influence was going to alter that. Great stuff.


Seems also like he was setting up for the path or way he wanted to feel he was coming down into impact…so over the top was out of the equation

Moe did that in such a way that it looked totally natural as if it was “the way” the hit a golf ball. It looked as if the body wanted to be there.

I have always felt that there may be a better way to set up to the golf ball. I like what it encourages.

Check out the callus on Moe’s left handmoe callus left hand.gif


Are you sure you do not want to debate the issue of who the greatest ball striker was? :laughing: I would have left it alone, but you gave Moe top billing at the expense of the Hawk with the #11 example. No doubt Moe was the greatest range pro, but there is something to be said for Hogan’s prowess under major championship pressure and playing conditions. If Hogan had peers it would be the likes of Snead and Nelson, not Moe Norman. Premier ball striking is not gauged by striping one range ball after the next but dealing with variable conditions on a championship layout against the best players in the world. Moe never did that.

Met him when I was 3, 1961. Dad first plated with Moe in '57 Canadian Open after the RCGA stripped his amateur status and the CPGA had to basically adopt him. FAR FROM AUTISTIC…but he would not suffer fools. And to him most people were fools! They would waste his time and after a while he just said screw it. If you spent hours and hours with Moe he may even acknowledge that your there.He was similar to Hogan in that he would talk in riddles just to get people to piss off because they really had no idea what he was doing and kept asking stupid questions, Hogan just basically told them to piss off without the riddles…Nick Faldo “Mr. Hogan would you watch me hit a few?” Ben says “piss off I’m eating my lunch” I guess Moe had better manners is all!!

…Oh Ya and his ball striking prowess can be attributed to his being left sided. A lefty all the way. The pulling force of his left side was so strong and thats how he kept the club so shallow and on line so long.