Many people claim that Moe Norman has the most underrated or unknown golf swing in history. He was a very unconventional, unique person, and he had a swing to match.
Although many believe he could have had a very successful PGA career, he stayed away from traveling too much outside of his home in Canada. Also worth noting is that he felt bullied in the few tournaments that he played on the PGA Tour.
He taught himself the golf swing, never wanting to take a lesson from someone else. When it came to ballstriking, not many players could compare. Sam Snead even considered Moe to be the best ballstiker ever at one time.
Unique things about Moe’s swings:
Setup: not many people have a more unique setup than Moe did. He had his hands very far away from the his body, to form a straight line with his arms and the club shaft. Also, he had hardly any knee bend at all. His legs were very far apart from each another.
Ball Position: his ball position was always much more forward than is typically taught. It appears as if he just “helped” (pushed, guided, etc) the ball to his target, as opposed to taking large divots.
Flatness of the swing: He pulls the club to the inside very quickly. His right elbow stays extremely low and far back behind him to allow himself to swing the club more around him. His top of the backswing appears even below a single plane top of the backswing position.
Shortness of the swing: His swing was much shorter than other golfers in his time. He stopped well short of parallel. I’d like to think this played a large part in his consistency over the years.
Feet Stay Grounded Much Longer: After making contact with the ball, everything (especially his lower body) appears to stop and he rotates his forearms over. His feet stay on the ground much longer than average.
Followthrough: As he had an early release of the golf club, he quickly lifts his body up on his left foot and abruptly holds the club off from turning over an more, ending up is his notorious finish position.
I find Moe Norman to be extremely interesting, so here are is a SUPER LONG list of more facts about him:
- he played golf extremely quickly, hardly ever lining putts up or taking too much time to read greens
- when told that he could get to a hole with a driver and 9 iron, he funnily hit the 9 iron first and then the driver into the green.
- instead of laying up or carrying a water hazard, he would sometimes just hit right down the middle of the bridge
- he once said “Titleist [has never] done anything for me,” after which Titleist signed him to a lifelong contract
- he reportedly shot a 59 three times
- he had many signs of autism, often times repeating his words when he spoke
- he would lay a blanket out on a range and hit ball after ball that would stop right on top of it
- there is a Moe Norman Golf Academy that teaches his swing
- Tiger once said, “Only two men owned their golf swing… Ben Hogan and Moe Norman.”
- He worked as a caddy and a pinsetter (setting pins at a bowling alley) when he was invited to play at the Masters
- he would drink more than 20 cokes a day at times
- other weird quirks: he never used head covers, he hated typical golf clothes, he rarely ever matched, he avoided doctors, he didn’t like having caddies, he hit off of super long tees.
- He talks about himself having “a little robot walking around with him…that tells him what to do”
- After Sam Snead gave him a piece of advice, he hit around 800 shots on the day before a round at the masters, hurt his hands too badly, shot 78, and then withdrew
- He says that the PGA Tour beat him up. “I couldn’t do what I wanted to do”.
- He recorded 17 holes in one and 9 double eagles.
I won’t lie to you. I am actually a fan of Jim Furyk’s golf swing. I think that it is extremely repeatable, and he has made it his own. He learned the game from his father, who was a golf pro at many different courses throughout Jim’s childhood.
Here are the strange or uncommon things about Jim Furyk’s golf swing:
Most Unique Move – Club Path: It’s like a figure 8 almost. His takeaway stays very close to his body, where he then lifts the club very vertically, and he then drops the club significantly and rotates his body quickly through the shot. His path is “in, up, around, down, around”.
Distance from the ball: Jim stands extremely close to the ball. His hands are almost touching his legs at address. The common advice is to stand with a hands width distance between your body and your golf grip.
Overlapping grip: Most pros use a interlocking grip for more control, but Jim uses a interlocking grip. That’s just not what most pros grow up using.
Shoulder Turn Stops, Arms Keep Going: he finishes his shoulder turn very quickly. He then keeps the backswing going with only the arms. Most players tend to stop their backswings around when the shoulders stop turning.
Aggressive shallowing of the club: At the top of his swing, his swing is incredibly steep. If he doesn’t correct it, he will come into the ball extremely steep and take large divots. So, to correct it, he drops his hands straight down allowing the club to fall behind him significantly. He turns through impact to bring the club square to the ball. His downswing is very much “down and around”
Knee bend through impact and follow through: Jim maintains or even adds some bending to his knees when he hits the ball and releases the golf club. This is not typical, as most players unflex the legs to create more power and upward movement from the ground.
Interesting facts about Jim
- he once said: “I didn’t realize my swing … was that much different. I did everything through feel…Dad was my video…It wasn’t until I got to the tour that I saw my swing a lot and realized how different it was.”
- he shot a 58 in the last round of the 2016 Travelers Championship. He was the first player to shoot 58 in a PGA Tournament
- he is the first player on the PGA tour to shoot two rounds below 60 (59 and 58)
- From 1998 to 2003, he won at least one tournament every year on the PGA tour, the longest streak behind Tiger Woods at the time
John Daly is notorious for a lot of things. His untamed personality, his drinking problem, his inappropriate comments, his bad attitude, and more of than not: his incredibly long golf swing.
The length of his golf swing isn’t the only thing that is weird about John Daily’s swing though.
Inside Takeaway: John pulls the club aggressively inside at the start of his swing. This gets the club very far behind him. The club them comes up and around him, ending up in a very across the line position.
Flailing Trail Elbow: often seen as a “chicken wing” in the backswing, Mr. Daly has his right elbow fly very far away from his body. It is a very disconnected swing, but he has been able to rely on timing and feel to get everything coming down together.
Across the Line at the Top: Due to his extremely flat backswing and his high trail elbow lifting up so high, the momentum of the club coming up causes it to wrap around his body and point far to the right.
Extremely Long Backswing: Due to a very large hip turn, shoulder turn, and arm swing, he has one of the longest golf swings of all time. After reaching parallel, John keeps lifting the right elbow and allows his arms to get extremely high. The club head is nearly directly in front of his eyes when he (finally) completes the backswing.
Steeper Downswing: compared to other PGA pros, his downswing starts out a lot steeper due to his position at the top, until he finally drops the club and flattens the plane.
You might not have ever heard of him, but he has played in 6 PGA tour events and made 3 cuts, with his best finish being a T43 in his first tourney in 2011 at the Honda Classic.
I personally watched him Monday qualify for the Barbasol Championship in Auburn, Alabama in 2016, and I was BLOWN AWAY.
He plays cross handed. Yup, with the right hand on top and left hand on bottom. It’s not just his unusual grip that makes his swing unique, though!
Crosshanded grip: obviously there is nothing more unique that he could do besides play cross handed. There have been some mini tour players and juniors that play cross handed, but as far as I know, he is the only one to play in multiple PGA tour tournaments.
Vertical Backswing: His backswing is probably the steepest that you will ever see. He lifts the club straight up, with the club pointing not at the ball, but behind him at half way back.
Huge Club Rerouting: he reroutes the club severely from a steep backswing to a very shallow downswing. Maybe the biggest difference between backswing and downswing planes that I have ever seen.
Arnold Palmer’s swing was the most powerful swing during his time. Known for his helicopter finish and the impressive speed of his hips, Palmer finished his career winning 7 majors. More importantly, though, he made golf cool for the upcoming generation and was a role model for so many.
Here are a few things that were the most interesting about Palmer’s swing.
Inside takeaway: Although it wasn’t abnormal for that time, the current advice is to take the club back square, with the clubhead not getting behind the hands too early. Mr. Palmer takes the club back very low and to the inside.
Steep Shoulder Turn: it’s clear that Arnold turns his shoulders on a very steep plane. Look how he pushes his left shoulder down and far under his chin early on in the swing. From the face on view, you can tell how steep it is by how much his right arm stays above his left arm.
Nearly Straight Right Leg at the Top: at the top of his swing, his right leg would be nearly completely straight, with a lot of bend in his left leg. All of his weight at the top of the backswing was inside his right heel, as you can tell by his left heel coming up.
Left Heel Comes Up and Then Comes Down to Start the Downswing: his left heel comes up and allows his hips to turn even more in the backswing. All his weight shifts inside his right heel. To begin the downswing, he would stomp all of his weight into the left heel, turn the hips aggressively, and finally rotate his body through impact.
Incredible Hip Turn and Speed: Mr. Palmer was not afraid of too much hip turn. For one second, stand up and address an imaginary ball. Turn your hips as much as you can while keeping your front foot on the ground. Then lift the front foot and see how much more hip turn you can get. This is exactly what Mr. Palmer did. And the speed he had at unwinding and getting open at impact was incredible!
Helicopter Finish: his most famous position allowed him to avoid hitting hooks, which he absolutely hated. Due to his slight over the top motion, he had to hold the club off from releasing, or else he would hit severe pulls and hooks to the left.
Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey came out of nowhere on tour to win in 2012. His swing is unique in a lot of different ways.
Besides wearing two golf gloves while playing, here are a few other unique things about his swing.
Extremely strong grip: he holds the club with his hands rotated significantly clockwise or to the right on the grip. This encourages a more closed club face throughout the swing and at impact.
Straight(ish) Trail Arm at the Top: While most pros have about a 90 angle in their trail arm at the top, Tommy pushes his hands very far away from his head at the top of the swing and stops his swing relatively early. This leads to great extension but a much shorter top of the swing position.
Bent Over Posture: He bends over a lot at address, with his chest practically pointing at the ball. To make up for this, his arms are a little bent at address, whereas most pros start with straight arms.
Laid Off at the Top: Due to excessive wrist pronation and forearm rotation in the backswing, he ends up with the club pointing far to the left at the top of his swing.
Lots of Lag: He beings his downswing by “down cocking”, creating a very small angle between the club and his lead arm. This is great for coming into a good impact position and holding the lag until you come into the ball.
Exaggerated Impact Position: His impact position is exactly what most pros try to get their students to exaggerate to get in to. The hands are very far in front of the clubhead, allowing him to properly hit down on the ball with irons/wedges.
Breaking his left arm at a young age prevented Calvin’s golf swing from being conventional. Having to maintain a bend in the left arm and struggling with rotating his left forearm, he worked around this tragedy perfectly.
At one time, he was the best driver of the ball on the PGA tour, and this helped him rack up 12 PGA tour wins.
Here are some of the weird components of Mr. Peete’s golf swing.
Bent Left Arm: due to the injury, Mr. Peete had to keep his left arm slightly bent throughout the entire swing. This is something that made him extremely unique, as nearly every player has a straight lead arm at least at some point in the swing.
Very steep at Halfway Back: while most players, especially during this time, had backswings that pointed near the ball at half way back, Mr. Peete’s club pointed almost perfectly up and down. This is a very steep backswing.
Across the Line At Top: because he had trouble rotating his left arm, he couldn’t get the club down the line at the top of his swing. Instead, the club pointed far right.
Extreme Rerouting of Club to Shallow Downswing: to adjust for this across the line position, Calvin quickly rerouted the club by pronating the wrist (very rare) and dropping the club and his hands straight down. This dropped the club “into the slot” and he aggressively swung through from the inside.This is a great move to learn if you struggle with coming over the top or hitting slices.
Reportedly, Allen Doyle’s golf swing is so unique because he learned to swing in a room with a low ceiling. Due to that fact, he keeps his arms very low throughout the swing and has a very compact motion.
He had a crazy short, loose backswing and a very quick transition as well. After watching his swing, you can definitely tell that he could swing in a 7 foot tall room with no problem.
The short swing worked though, as he was top 5 in driving accuracy every year from 1999-2004 on the Champions Tour. And those guys are accurate!
Setup: He stands relatively far away from the ball, with a big gap in between his body and his hands.
Shoulder Turn: he had a VERY small shoulder turn compared to most pros. His swing was more of an “arm swing,” as you can tell his shoulders practically don’t start turning until his takeaway is complete. At that point, his swing is almost over!
Very Shallow Downswing: for how short his backswing is, it is pretty well on plane. His downswing is much more shallow, allowing him to come from the inside and hit a consistent draw when he wants to.
Jim Thorpe’s swing is so unique, that you need to see it to really understand. Although his finish is a more exaggerated version of Arnold Palmer’s helicopter finish, their swings are very different.
Closed Shoulders at Address: Jim stands at address with his shoulders pointing well left of his foot line.
Flat Shoulder Turn: Mr. Thorpe has an extremely flat shoulder turn. His bicep almost goes into his face at the top of the swing, and he lays the club off a good bit at the top. You can tell that the logo on his glove points straight to the sky half way back, as opposed to more in front of him.
Falls Back Through Impact: Mr. Thorpe allows his lower body to bump toward the target, but his upper body curls up and stays behind the ball for a longer period of time than most golfers.
Helicopter Finish: He then stands tall very abruptly and holds the club off by finishing in a helicopter finish. The club typically ends up in front of him, which no other golfer does as far as I know.
Bubba Watson has the most unique swing of anyone currently playing on the tour, in my opinion. Every golf swing of his is a little different, as he loves to shape different shots depending on the situation.
We all remember how much he was able to hook that wedge at the Masters to win in 2014. Although he prefers to hit large cuts, he can also play a huge draw when he wants to, and that is not something you see very often today.
Vertical/Steep Backswing: Bubba’s backswing is very vertical. He gets his hands very high at the top and lets his trail elbow flair a little.
Late Wrist Hinge: most guys have the club fully (or nearly fully) hinged by halfway back in the backswing. A good think to look for a an “L” with the lead arm and the club shaft. Bubba, though, has a very wide swing and a late wrist hinge. His wrists aren’t fully set until he reaches parallel in the backswing.
Lifts Up Lead Heel: Just like Arnold Palmer above, Bubba is one of the few current pros that lifts the lead heel in the backswing. He also has a lot of left knee movement like Palmer.
Past Paralell at the Top: at the current moment, most pros and their coaches are working on shortening swings and making them more compact and repeatable. I can’t think of any coach that would recommend a swing as long as Bubba’s at the moment.
Shifts Lead Foot After Shot: after making contact with the ball and using as much power from the ground as possible, he has no option but to move his lead foot (right) out of the way after the shot, to make room for his hips to clear through the shot. His hips typically end up pointing almost directly at the target when he is done.
Lee Trevino is one of the best ball strikers of all time. I’m a huge fan and proponent of his steep backswing and shallow downswing. I have also played some of my best rounds with his “aim left, swing right, walk straight” phrase in my head.
If you are wanting to hit a power fade as your main shot, you can learn a lot from Lee Trevino’s unique swing characteristics.
Three steps before starting the swing: Lee says that he didn’t feel comfortable over the ball until he danced his feet around three times to make sure the ball position was exactly where he wanted it.
Aiming to the Left: Trevino always felt that it makes more sense to aim to the left and let the fall fade to the right. This allowed him to still swing from the inside to produce a “power fade” that travels far and falls a tad to the right. Aiming to the left with his feet and body essentially made his “in to out” swing more of a perfect path swing.
Steep Backswing, Shallow Downswing: this is a common theme among many of the great ballstrikers. Lee picked the club up quickly and dropped it severely to come from the inside on the downswing. A steep backswing creates room to drop the club into the slot and come from the inside.
Spine Tilt at Impact: At impact, Mr. Trevino put his entire body into the shot. This increased the spine tilt when compared to his address position. Another way to look at it would be that his head dipped significantly near impact.
Slight Hold off To Avoid Hooking: Lee Trevino wanted to completely kill any chance of hooking, so he would slightly hold the club off from rotating over in the follow through.
Eamon Darcy’s swing is… unique doesn’t really describe it the best. With all due respect, I think “ugly” might be the best word to be honest.
Here’s all the strange movements that went on in Eamonn’s swing.
Takeaway Very Close to the Body: Like Jim Furyk, Eamonn kept his club very close to him at address and in the takeaway.
Very Vertical Arm Swing: his arm swing starts lifting up vertically as opposed to working around his body.
Bent Lead Arm at the Top: Once he reaches the top of his backswing, his lead left arm is VERY bent and nearly touching the side of his face.
Early Extension (Standing up while coming into the ball): From a horrible top of the backswing position, he pulls his right elbow down extremely well to shallow the plane. However, he pushes his pelvis toward the ball near impact, not keeping his butt out and back like teaching pros suggest. This is a very awkward looking move to see from a pro.