By Stan Silliman
Golfer Moe Norman: The Best Ball Striker
You Never Heard Of
Murray Irwin Norman died in 2004. He was the greatest striker of the golf ball to ever play the game.
You never heard of him, right? Neither did I, so we'll let this settle in. Canadian golfer Moe Norman could hit the ball more accurately and better than Woods or Palmer or Snead, and he knew exactly where it was going every time he hit it.
You know how it's big stop-the-presses news when someone shoots a 59? Moe did it three times.
He had so many hole-in-holes it bored him. His vertical hole-in-one leap became less than Mickelson's. Moe Norman was said to be the "Rainman of Golf," slightly autistic, repeated his words often. One has to think maybe that's why his golf swing was so repetitious. Seriously repetitious. The guy would hit 20 balls; all 20 would end up in a little circle you could cover with an apple crate.
So why hadn't you heard more about him?
After all, this guy played in the Masters after winning the Canadian amateur two years in a row (1955, 1956) and also won 20 pro tournaments while closing out his professional career by winning the Canadian Senior Open seven out of eight years (1980 through 1987).
He was extremely shy, for one. He didn't fit in with the golfing crowd. He dressed funny. And for other golfers to think you dress funny, you REALLY have to dress funny.
He was considered an "odd duck" which is a Canadian term distinguishing you from an "even duck." He was very non-athletic looking. It might be one of the reasons he developed this strange swing, which now people are calling a "natural swing."
You'll see it on videos. People are teaching his swing. I didn't know you could patent a swing, but there are folks teaching the Moe Norman method. I joined the Moe Norman Golf Academy to find out more about it.
There's also a company called Natural Golf Corporation out of Mount Prospect, Illinois which teaches the Moe Norman swing. Plus, they make special clubs so you can play the Moe Norman way. In 13 years, they've instructed over 200,000 golfers.
"Be your own best friend—have a good attitude" That's a Moe Norman quote. Here's another: "Golf isn't supposed to be a business. It's to have fun."
Okay, good attitude. Doesn't fit me with my Masters of Self-Deprecation, but it might work for you. A reporter asked Moe, after his drive had drifted about five feet into the rough, when was the last time he missed a fairway. Moe replies "About seven years ago."
There is tons of debate regarding Moe Norman's swing.
Some say, Moe included, that it takes more hand-eye coordination to do the Norman swing. Others say it's easier and more repetitive because you're not swiveling your hips and stressing your joints.
There are always two schools of thought for any activity. On their website, Natural Golf says this method is easier and simpler because you eliminate much of the hip and body rotation. Natural Golf emphasizes the palm grip, a wider stable stance, their trademarked Single-Plane setup and facing the ball at impact during the golf swing.
I promised not to dwell on swing mechanics, but there's no way to talk about Moe Norman without discussing his swing. Some call it pig ugly. Some say that's extremely denigrating...to a pig.
There's a chance if you learn the Moe Norman method your game will improve. However, don't count on the groupies flocking to you. Gals won't be running in your direction cause the ladies love the long ball.
Do you remember the line Moe said earlier "Golf should be fun. It is not a business." Well, he is wrong. While it might be fun, it's also a business, especially Moe's swing. Moe's swing is big business.
He's in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. His bust is right there next to the Moosehead beer can. He was loved by many.
His name needs to be spread even more. Tell people that Silliman on Sports did a story on him. Upload this story and send it to every golfer you know. No, check that, send this story to EVERYONE you know.
If you're on facebook, share it with all your facebook friends. I'm not trying to promote his academy or Natural Golf or any of the many golf entities spreading the good word of the short swing.
I'm trying to let everyone know about Murray Irwin Norman, a schlubby guy who left his mark on the world. And whenever I can showcase a schlubby sports guy who done good, I will.
2405 Wilcox Drive
Norman, OK 73069