Moe Norman: How to hit the ball dead straight
Lorne Rubenstein knew the legendary Moe Norman better than any other writer. And he has put that relationship to good use with his book Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf's Mysterious Genius, published recently by ECW Press in Canada. The book is full of great anecdotes, told in a first-hand approach by a writer who knows his stuff. Rubenstein has written a column on golf for The Globe and Mail for more than 30 years, and is a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. I've gleaned a few quick tips here from Moe through Lorne that I think could help your game, especially if you're having trouble finding the fairway. Certainly Norman rarely had that trouble.
Norman, who died in 2004, might be known as the straightest driver the game has ever known. But he could also score. He won eight of nine Canadian Senior championships between 1979 and 1987.
The book is available on Amazon.com. I highly recommend it, not just for the instruction but also for the stories. We're indebted to Rubenstein for recounting them for the record.
Below are some of Moe's gems for hitting the ball with accuracy.
"Quiet hands through the swing. 'Fingers are fast, fingers are fast, palms are calm, palms are calm.' Moe said to hold the club in the palms of your hands, not in the fingers.
"Wide stance. He [keeps] his feet on the ground as long as possible, thereby ensuring the clubhead will travel as far along the line as possible and not turn over. Moe wants the sensation of the ball on the clubhead all the way through
impact. His feet roll, but they do not lift." *Schiffman's note: This reminds me of what Jack Grout taught a young Jack Nicklaus. For the first year of Nicklaus' golfing life, Grout had him roll his ankles back and through. Only later did he lift his left heel off the ground.
*"Ball position. Moe plays the ball off his left heel because he's thinking of tearing through it and down the target line. He puts the club 14 inches behind the ball.
"Downswing. Moe begins his downswing with a move of his left knee forward, still keeping his feet flat on the ground. His arms drop into the 'slot,' all of 21 inches, as Moe says. His knees separate as his left knee moves forward. He appears to be squatting slightly to the ball, as Sam Snead did. At the same time, he has created clubhead lag.
"Impact. Moe creates an extremely long 'flat spot' at the bottom of his swing. Moe feels his hands are still square to the target 22 inches past the ball."