Try Moe’s swing? And look weird?

Moe at address GD 2


Ok, I admit it. I was afraid.

If I switched to Moe Norman’s swing, I was fearful people would make fun of me. Most people think Moe’s swing is weird.

Hell, people made fun of Moe. “Everyone says my swing is wrong, so I guess I’m not any good,” Moe said to me in exasperation.

Once Moe was in motion, he looked powerful and athletic to me. But at address, when he was momentarily at rest, that’s when he looked the most different.

Instead of letting his arms hang down from his shoulders and bending his knees in the “athletic position” we’ve all come to recognize as the address, Moe’s set-up looks to some golfers like a teenage driving range hack swinging for the fences to impress his girlfriend. 

Moe stood with his arms pointing out kind of like he was divining for water, his legs straight and wide, the club head set about a foot behind the ball. He was tipped over at the waist. Obviously, it worked—he was the best ever—but his address wasn’t particularly elegant.

And there, my friends, is the No. 1 reason that people resist trying Moe’s swing.

Where’s my proof? I don’t have empirical data, but I believe that my experience is pretty standard. For most of my life, I’ve been extremely self-conscious how I am perceived. Whenever I have felt that I looked geeky or—later—unprofessional, I have felt a shiver of fear. I’ve structured my life to keep that feeling at bay.

It’s my contention that most guys are similarly constantly on guard, and that male golfers are hyper-self conscious, especially about their games. I recall years ago someone said thousands of golfers want to hit it like Moe, but they want to look like Jack Nicklaus.

Years ago, I remember walking toward a guy who was alone on a range wearing a David Leadbetter Swing Link, which pinned your upper arms to your sides. As soon as he saw me, he tore it off hastily and shoved it in his bag. He acted like I’d caught him pleasuring himself. 

You might recall Tin Cup when Kevin Costner’s character is suffering full-swing yips and Rene Russo catches him in flagrante delicto with all the training aids in his trailer.

The majority of us choose our golf equipment like another piece of our gear is being measured. About 10 years ago, golf professionals started to tell amateur golfers they should play with driver lofts of 12 and 13 degrees to hit it farther. Even so, most guys, boasted their driver loft was below the girly threshold of 10.

Same with hybrids. Few testosterone-driven golfers replaced their 2- or 3-irons until the pros on TV started to play them. 

Yes, I admit to the same kind of insecurity, and that it played a major role in my resistance to adopting Moe’s swing. I was afraid of the pointing, snickering herd of jackals at my club. I was weak. A follower. A golf lemming.

But no longer! I am boldly taking on Moe’s swing in 2014. For now, in early February, it is easier. In the privacy of my basement, I can stand in that unique address position fearlessly. The true test will come in the spring when I step on the range at my club. 

Moe, give me strength.


About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!


  1. John A. Barnes says

    This is not a comment it is a Question. Can you help me only if you do know. I was just wondering if you would be so kind to straighten the history of how Moe became known to us all. There are many that knew Moe and some made video’s with him and wrote books and they had befriended him like Craig Shanklin,Doc Suddie, Jack Kuykendall, Lorne Rubenstein, Todd Graves and I am sure I am missing others but if you don’t know the exact years maybe you would know how chronologically the times they may have been in Moe’s life. Who may have been first second and so on. I also wonder if you would know when he made the 10 finger change. I have seen him in video being questioned and he had said 20 years in on video and then I have heard others say like Jack Kuykendall that he shown him the 10 finger grip. This is just for my own Info I am not writing a book or anything just want to get it straight in my head who and in what order did they come into contact with Moe and of course include your self. May I also thank you for being part and parcel of making Moe a big part of my life.

    I want to thank you so much for even considering
    to help me In this endeavor. . John A. Barnes

    • John:
      Sorry for the late reply. It’s wonderful to see your interest in Moe. Honestly, I’m not sure of the order he met people but Lorne was a teenager when he met Moe. I think the rest came when he was in his 50s and 60s. He met Todd in 1994 at a clinic that Moe was putting on when Kuykendal started his relationship with him through Natural Golf. The 10-finger grip started in the early 90s, I believe after he met Kuykendal. Thanks for the kind words. Again, my apologies for the delay responding.

  2. William Drummond says

    I came across Moe Norman some time ago. I was impressed with what I saw and as an engineer it made complete sense. I have been a poor golfer and it hasn’t helped that I only play a few times a year. Sort of chicken and egg if you know what I mean.
    Anyway I decided to try out the Moe’s swing and it has been miraculous! From the first swing I hit the ball like never before. The sound of the club face hitting the ball was a joy and the ball flight straight as an arrow. I have watched as many youtube clips showing Moe as I can find and tried to do exactly as Moe did. All I can say it is really working for me. For the first time I feel I have control and I can really hit the ball hard knowing its going to connect and fly straight. What a joy!!

    Do I care what I look like ? Actually as an engineer I feel the Moe swing is a thing of beauty though I admit people around me in the range look at me funny. That is until they hear me connect with the ball time after time (I hit fast with no practice swing )which makes them try harder with the inevitable consequences! Who’s laughing now!

    • That is fabulous. Nice to read comments about how much you appreciate Moe’s swing. I always thought Moe’s swing just looked a bit strange at address. Once he started moving, it was powerful and flowed–a thing of beauty for sure. Folks don’t laugh once they see your ball flight. Keep on rocking.