Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Made Moe So Accurate?

I was over at Brian Manzella's forum and a question was asked (paraphrased) 'what is the best way to make a good ballstriker into a super accurate ballstriker.'

Hmmm....that's a tough one. I don't think there's just one way to do it. I contemplated it even more and then thought about the most accurate golfer I ever saw, Moe Norman.

I actually never saw Moe hit balls in person. But back in around '97, one of my college teammates showed me a video of one of Moe's clinics he attended. Moe came out and didn't say word at first, and was hitting what looked like a 6 or a 7 iron. He hits a few balls and they look like solid shots, but I start to wonder what is so special. Then the camera pans out to the range and I see Moe hit a shot, the camera tracks the ball and when the ball lands, a few balls bounce up (kind of making a splash effect).

I then understood what Moe was demonstrating. Essentially Moe was hitting a few balls out to the range and then he would try (and succeed) to hit the ball so it would land on the balls he already hit on the range. 'Impressive' doesn't do it justice, considering I can't hit the RANGE PICKER with a 7 iron. This guy is hitting GOLF BALLS as his target.

So what did Moe do?

Well, here's a video of his swing

Here's 3 things I notice about Moe's swing that I *think* made him so accurate and that were different from the rest.

1. The plane lines of the swing (DTL viewpoint). Todd Graves explains it well here. However, I don't agree with everything he said. Graves thinks that you need a good plane to have a successful swing and really you don't, just ask Jim Furyk and countless others. Also, I'm *not sure* if Moe *technically* had a single axis plane (I could be wrong). But I believe that Graves is very much on the right track, if you keep the angles of the club parallel to the shaft angle throughout the swing, you've increased your chance to hit the ball accurately. However, you still need a flat left wrist at impact, otherwise all bets are off.

2. Moe had a very good pivot. This video looks like Moe's swing just before he passed away. I've seen video of Moe's swing 5-10 years before this and he has a much better pivot. And then I've seen pictures and video of Moe's swing from the 60's and 70's and he had a phenomenal pivot. This pivot allows him to keep the left wrist flat at impact.

3. Spine angle. Look at the video and look at his spine angle from the DTL and then the Face On View. The spine angle stays the same through the swing from both vantage points.

Perhaps I'm right or perhaps I'm wrong, but this is what I see. Particularly #1 and #3 are things I've never seen somebody do nearly as well as Moe did it. And I believe all of it is for not if Moe couldn't pivot well and keep that left wrist flat through impact.

I still think pivot is what needs to be learned first because you don't have to have #1 and #3 to be a very good ballstriker. Furthermore, most golfer's pivots are not worth a damn. So learn the pivot first and if you get that down and want even better, you may want to try some of the things I see from Moe's swing.


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