Byron Nelson is the greatest ball-striker ever on the PGA Tour, though not many would know it or even remember his name as something other than the man for whom the “Iron Byron” golf swing machine is named.
I would ask anyone who says Byron Nelson wasn’t the greatest swinger ever, why did they name the machine after him? Tom Watson had said once that Byron hit at least two flag-sticks every round he played.
Byron himself, when asked how the more modern equipment would have benefited him, said, “Not at all – I always hit the ball on the sweet spot, and the new equipment is to make imperfect shots longer and more accurate. They wouldn’t have helped me any…”
His swing was very mechanically-correct, so it’s an MCS swing all the way.
The problem is that Byron Nelson was a simple man with simple tastes and desires, and he retired from golf just when it was becoming more mainstream with television and the like.
It is likely that his retirement helped Ben Hogan become the legend he was, because Hogan was always the second-best against Nelson before Byron retired.
Byron Nelson’s “Shift & Post” Pivot
He won 11 tournaments in a row and 18 in the 1945 season, and he said his only motivation was to earn enough money to buy his dreamed-of ranch to which he would retire to become a full-time rancher, which he did the very next year at age 34, likely while still at his peak.
Ken Venturi On Byron Nelson
Get this: In his 12 years as a playing professional, he won 52 PGA Tour events, 5 of which were majors. 52 wins, 5 majors, in 12 years, before retiring at age 34. He was awesome, and left the Tour much too early, or he would likely have set more unbreakable records.
Nelson had a “shift & post” pivot action that is different from Hogan’s floating pivot. Nelson is said to have developed the first “modern swing” of the era when hickory shafts were replaced by stiffer and stronger steel shafts as well. So much greatness in a man so unknown by the general golf public.
I’ll talk more about the great ball-striker later, but here’s a great example of a “shift & post” pivot.
Come to think of it, the golf machine should have been named the “Iron Ben Hogan” or something, because the purpose of the floating pivot is to swing in a stable position much like the Iron Byron itself, but using the lower body to power the swing.
Nelson has a shifting pivot, which is nothing like the Iron Byron.
Still, the man was a natural great, and largely had the same swing his entire pro career once he figured out how to hit the steel-shafted clubs, and there has been none like him since.