Moe Norman Proves “Feel Isn’t Real” But… That “Master Move” Was!

I love Moe Norman.  There were two swingers I looked at primarily in the first years of my swing research, and they were Ben Hogan and Moe.

That’s because of more than one reason – the first, being my 2nd and last swing instructor was a Hogan/Moe fan, and had build his own swing model that he taught, based on Hogan and Moe.

Second, all I ever heard in the 90’s (when I began to play golf) was about Hogan’s perfect swing, and Moe’s perfect swing.  Neither was perfect, mind you, but their ball-striking and accuracy were unparalleled.

The problem I discovered was that Moe Norman’s swing was little more than a half-swing, as you’ll see in the below clip, so you could be deadly accurate, but you can’t play golf on modern courses with a swing that short.

Second, there was the “feel vs real” problem, where I chased many of Moe’s statements and found most of them to be untrue.


For example, watch what Moe says here at this point in the video, and watch what he’s actually doing:

1:10 – “I don’t believe in hip turn – shoulder turn not hip – my hips hardly turn at all…”

Um, no – what you’ll see is that is a pretty big hip turn for even that pretty short back swing:


And, even with that, you see his left foot rolling inwards – not a floating heel per se, but still a big enough hip motion that it causes his left foot to move on the back swing:


That’s a pretty nice “swinging gate” there, wouldn’t you say?

It wasn’t that Moe was trying to mislead people – for one, feel is almost never real, which is why I use concepts and visuals to try to convey how I swing or how I feel the swing should be performed.

Second, if you know anything about Moe Norman, he let many people put words into his mouth, whether it was to flog their own particular product (the whole “Natural Golf” fiasco comes to mind) or to advance their own agenda on swing mechanics (don’t move the hips).

Third, both of the swings that made Moe Norman and Ben Hogan well know – weren’t the swings that made them famous.

Ben Hogan won 30 Tour events in 3 seasons before his car wreck, and the reason his comeback to win the U.S. Open following that near-death experience is so legendary is because he was already a house-hold name in golf… so the swing with which he won the triple slam in ’53 was the swing he was left with after his wreck.

Before then, it looked like this:


Same with Moe Norman – the swing he shows above, is not the swing that made him “Moe.”

He won two consecutive Canadian Amateur titles and played twice in the Masters Tournament when they still invited the Canadian Amateur champ, and when he played briefly on the PGA Tour, his swing looked like this:


One thing I love in this clip however – listen to the very first things he talks about in this clip, the “master move” which is how he drops that right side into the down swing.

Kind of like the “drop and pop” move I’ve talked about in the MCS swing videos, right up to where I describe Mike Dunaway’s down swing in the “MCS – Dropping The Hammer” video!


So, I have a great deal of affection for Moe (I once drove to Kitchener, Ontario, where he was born and grew up, and I have pictures of his childhood home, the golf course where he first shot 59, and the park across the street from his home, where he’d hit golf balls to from his front yard), all I’m saying here is “beware the golfer explaining his swing.”

 

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Moe Norman Proves “Feel Isn’t Real” But… That “Master Move” Was!

  1. Laser

    “feel is almost never real”

    –True. But, maybe Moe’s statement about “hips” is better than it appears at first glance. Moe had no video feedback, so he wasn’t referring to what he looked like to an outside observer.

    It’s complicated, but the bottom line is that Moe wasn’t trying to turn his hips…but, they got turned by what he did. Hip-turn technically doesn’t come from the hips. It comes from leg muscles that are attached to the pelvic bone (and Moe didn’t know that, or care).

    If anyone is told to put their hands on their hips…that’s not where hip-turn is coming from…not that it matters a whole lot from an athletic (rather than anatomical) point of view.

    1. D Watts Post author

      … the bottom line is that Moe wasn’t trying to turn his hips…but, they got turned by what he did.

      Which brings us back to…

      Jack Nicklaus in 1974:

      Stand erect with your arms at your sides and keep them there. Now hold your hips still and turn your shoulders. Impossible, right? Even the slightest shoulder turn forces some hip turn. And the more the shoulders turn, the more the hips are forced to turn, right?

      Which is why I don’t listen to what people say about their swing, I watch what they’re doing.

      You can’t even listen to what they think they’re doing, you have to watch what they’re actually doing

  2. Laser

    “watch what they’re actually doing…”

    –Yeah, but a very reliable person once wrote: “The thing that made them [the all-time greats] so accurate and repeatable was not apparent or readily visible – it was their internal machine, working along it’s intended design.” ~ DJW

    By the way, here’s what happened to one guru (he was a long-drive champ, and would have been TWICE, if not for a funky rule that has since been changed): he wrote for quite a while that what he SAW was “shoulders turning around the spine.”

    And, then one day he figured out (perhaps from unsuccessful teaching) that when someone tries to turn their shoulders around their spine, “there’s no LIFT.”

    1. D Watts Post author

      LOL – I remember that quote, Laser. When I despair that no one is paying any attention, you’re right there to give me hope.

      Two points – I stand by that statement, as you will know that I only recently cracked Dunaway’s action, and only when I replicated the motion myself.

      I could tell you what I saw (a low heel impact and near-complete extension through the bottom), but I only recently figured out what he was doing, so it is very difficult, even for someone who has done nothing but look at swings for over a decade, to know exactly what a swinger is doing.

      However, when you’re looking at what a swinger is doing compared to what they say they’re doing, it’s pretty easy to tell when what they’re saying doesn’t match up to what they’re doing.

      I don’t need to know what Moe was doing internally to see that his hips are moving, and quite a bit. So, it’s much easier to spot that discrepancy (between words and actual motion) than it is to copy what they’re doing, which is what I was talking about in that quote.

      Still, it’s gratifying to have someone ready to throw my words back at me to test my consistency – I love the challenge. 😀

      Cheers.

      DJ

  3. Laser

    “I only recently cracked Dunaway’s action, and only when I replicated the motion myself.”

    –Then, you’ll probably love Moe’s words from a Youtube video. He was with Todd Graves, who said something about shoulder turn, and Moe said, “Don’t turn. Tilt.” (Sounds a bit like drop-the-hammer.)

    I think the camera has its greatest application for determining what doesn’t happen. (And, of course we know about the misinterpretation of reverse-bend in a clubshaft, which was a result of shutter action.)

    You’re obviously a sharp observer if you can look at a film of a runner and gain some insight. But, I’m going to go out on a limb and submit that 2-D photos have limitations in teaching because people performing athletic acts aren’t picturing how an outside observer sees them. That’s a field that’s overdue for study: somebody should ask football place-kickers, baseball pitchers, bowlers…and golfers what they’re thinking about. (The answers will probably be something like…POW!)

    1. D Watts Post author

      Well, this is quite unprecedented – you have just hit upon two posts I was working on, the first of which will be up soon, and the other perhaps for tomorrow.

      Today – what’s the difference between golf and the “other sports,” which you just hit upon:

      But, I’m going to go out on a limb and submit that 2-D photos have limitations in teaching because people performing athletic acts aren’t picturing how an outside observer sees them.

      That’s a field that’s overdue for study: somebody should ask football place-kickers, baseball pitchers, bowlers…and golfers what they’re thinking about.

      The post for tomorrow – what Moe said about the “drop” and how it’s exactly what MCS is about.

      Gimme a few minutes!

      1. Chief Cowpie

        Great connection Laser! This article by DJ along with connecting comments were very helpful for me in further connecting the dots and integrating MCS theory onto my 3-d body for replication. Gracias

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks Chief, and correct – it is a consistent theme and will remain so. 🙂

Comments are closed.