Film Study

Best ball-striker ever? 3 consistency keys from Moe Norman's legendary golf swing

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It's not often the game's great players dish out compliments as freely as they did with Moe Norman.

Tiger Woods and Lee Trevino, two icons who many golf fans consider the best ever, themselves considered Moe Norman one of the best ball-strikers ever. Fellow Hall-of-Famer Vijay Singh's praise went even further, calling him "God's gift to golf."

Moe Norman was one of golf's truly fascinating characters, with an equally interesting and unique golf swing to match. We break it all down our latest episode of Film Study, which you can watch in full below:


The quirks of Moe Norman's golf swing have been studied by Golf Digest for years. Norman was our cover star in 1995, with future Golf Digest Best in State teacher Todd Graves (whose Moe Norman-focused YouTube channel you can check out to here), the model in the article as he broke broke down some key moves in his swing.

We talked to Todd in our Film Study video, and if you're looking for a few tablespoons of Moe's move in your own swing, here's a few tips he suggests...

1. Pre-set some tilt

Through 3D analysis of his own golf swing, which is modeled directly after Moe Norman's swing, Graves found that Norman set up with his upper body tilted about 15 degrees away from the target—almost identical to his impact position. Many pros set up with less tilt at address, but Moe pre-setting some tilt helped him hit up on the ball, which is why many teachers suggest amateur golfers would do well to tilt their upper body away from the target at setup.

2. 'Hammer the nail'

There are lots of ways to grip a golf club, but Moe Norman gripped his club with his right hand at a 45 degree angle. That placed Norman's arm in a position where it would fold into his body on the backswing, then return to impact with minimal twisting, Graves explains.

One drill in the original 1995 article Graves recommends, and still uses, is to hold one club upright with your left hand, and then swing under it with your right hand under it. The feeling should be that you're holding a hammer in your right hand, which you're using to hammer a nail into the back of the golf ball.


3. Torso powers the takeaway

Perhaps the most unique part of Moe Norman's swing was his takeaway: He started his swing almost two feet behind the ball. This prevented any margin for error in his initial move away, Norman said, because you can't take the club away lower-and-slower than when it's fully stopped.

This move also worked to pre-set some of Norman's shoulder turn on the backswing, ensuring that his torso powers the initial move away—something Rose Zhang recently talked about in her own golf swing.

Again, you can watch deep dive into Moe Norman's golf swing right here: