How to Recognize the Perfect Golf Swing

August 12, 2009

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Of the millions of people who have played the game, a staggeringly small number could wilfully hit the ball where they aimed.Just two. Who were they?
 The one most would immediately recognize is Ben Hogan. Moe Norman is the name of the other golfer. Moe is a legend among three generations of tour players. He was a Canadian pro who rarely left his home country but was well known to all the top touring pros from Lee Trevino and Nick Price all the way to present day superstar, Tiger Woods.

I have bucket loads of video and film clips of Ben Hogan, but never saw him live. As a teenager, I saw Moe play several times in Canada and I saw him again much later in his career when he gave clinics around the country.

Because I caddied from time to time on what is now the Canadian Tour (The Peter Jackson Tour in those days)I actually spent two days in Moe’s group during one particular tournament.

What made these two players so unique? What set them apart?

Just think what an anomaly they are. Millions have enjoyed the game over the years, however, only two gentlemen could consistently hit the ball where they aimed.

There is little doubt that Moe was not your mainstream personality and was difficult to fathom and comprehend at the best of times. He certainly had a penchant for clashing with the governing bodies of golf at the best of times.Because of his behavioural issues, Moe struggled to explain the intracacies of his swing. Often accused of uttering idiotic drivel, few serious teachers or writers gave any credence to whatever insights the man attemted to share. Despite his prodigous talent as a player, it was exceedingly rare that anyone would take the time with Moe to unlock the secrets of his incredible swing.The best you could get were bits and pieces of insight but nothing comprehensive bordering on a methodology.

New theories now abound from an assortment of golf lab rats who are now trying to re-engineer the magic of Moe’s swing. Rival swing theories have emerged, each proclaiming to have unlocked the secrets to Moe’s unique and powerful swing  . Unfortunately, these theories are often the product of well paid copywriting which promises much but delivers little.

Make no mistake, Moe’s move was both powerful and explosive through the ball. Few of the methods which purport to piggyback on Moe’s move replicate the man’s powerful action through the ball . Ever the tinkerer, I have explored these methods and like many of my fellow golfers I experienced a significant loss of distance in all clubs throughout the bag.

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When I had a strong back and a weak mind, I used to practice the darkest of the dark arts; that of being a caddy on the minor tour(it certainly wasn’t for the money!). You will remember that I once was a caddy in Moe’s group at a pro tournament. Patience was not Moe’s long suit when it came to the pace of play among pros. I could empathize with Moe roving and vocalizing to himself to pass the time. He would often drop 5 or 6 balls into a bunker on a just played hole and spank them out to keep himself amused. Because he was a bundle of energy, he needed outlets for his nervous tension.

Through the years the stories of Moe’s behaviour and decorum have multiplied to the point that it is now difficult to sift fact from fiction. The stories are certainly more suspect when they come from former caddies! Though it might be difficult to sort fact and fiction,no one disputes Moe’s ball striking. Remarkably, long into his senior years Moe still struck the ball with potency and purity.

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I saw up close and personal just how unerringly straight Moe Norman was . Because Moe conducted his exhibition up the fairway of a par 4, I had the unique opportunity to shag balls for him.So oblivious was the golfing public to the genius of the man, he only drew a handful of people to the clinic. So accurate was the man that he literally was bouncing the balls at the feet of my colleague and myself.After each series of balls he would simply wave us to a new location. There is no way you could exaggerate the enormity of this man’s skill.

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What a divide separates these two golfing legends. Inasmuch as Moe was eccentric, Ben Hogan was both aloof and dismissive. One man suffered from a failure to connect, the other happily drew a steel curtain around himself.Mountains of text and video have been assembled in an attempt to explain the Hogan swing. The mystery of the Hogan swing has been an elusive quest which has consumed hundreds of golfers for over a half century.

Perhaps to Mr Hogan’s satisfaction, no one has fully revealed the intracacies of his swing. Hogan has many imitators but few would claim that they are true exhibitors of the method.  It is likely that Hogan would not be dissatisfied with the current state of affairs . When asked to reveal his secrets, Hogan often gruffly responded by telling his audience to go find it themselves. You could never mistake Ben Hogan as a kindly father determined to patiently share his accumulated knowledge with his offspring.

Hogan was not filled with bon homie and a gentle nature. Hogan was an island surrounded by inhospitable waters.Hogan preserved a studied distance between himself and his world.The roots of friendship were never nurtured and tended with golfing fans?

With qualification, there is a positive answer . The swing can be described and almost mastered!

 

Can you explain what you mean? It is essential that we become aware of what the human body can and cannot do. Your comprehension of this puzzle is aided by an understanding of both human physiology and the laws of physics. Do I need to be a rocket scientist!

Wouldn’t it be better to stand on the shoulders of a great teacher?
 
 Those with likely fewer physical gifts than you have mastered it. Weeks and months are not required, two buckets of balls is all you will need.

   
 
 

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