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Golf's Heretic: Mo Norman

The Mad Heretic of Golf Moe Norman Preaches A Revolutionary Swing Technique Known As "Natural Golf"
Edward Kiersh
From the Print Edition:
Demi Moore, Autumn 96

Only a few miles from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, a revolutionary form of rocket propulsion is being demonstrated by the self-anointed "Jesus Christ of golf."


A ball soars into space, 275 yards downrange towards a red-flag target. While that missile is still airborne, three more Titleists are launched into the stratosphere with an effortless swing, each shot penetrating a stiff wind and headed for the next zip code.

Seventy-five balls later, after each drive has been blasted into orbit and eaten up airspace on the exact same path, the Wernher von Braun staging this remarkable show sips a Coca-Cola. (He drinks 20 Cokes every day.) He then continues banging out balls, another 300 (down from the 800 of his heyday), all the while laughing and muttering to himself.

"See those shots, of course they're all on the pin, why certainly!" he exclaims. "Other golf teachers? They're just garbage, a bunch of thieves. They're 80-shooters, making millions and screwing up the world."

Coupling these repetitive, rapid-fire reveries with an overly wide stance, a palm grip and a hammer-type swing that defies convention, he's been labeled everything from an "awkward-looking eccentric" (by renowned PGA golfer Ken Venturi) to a mad heretic and a freak.

But before leaving the range for his claustrophobic $400-a-month motel room in Daytona Beach, this ball-busting machine continues to awe onlookers with his sonic booms. At age 66, after sleeping in bunkers and the back seats of cars and selling Canadian Tour trophies to survive, Moe "Pipeline" Norman is finally inspiring devotion.

He has long been a magnificent ball striker, arguably the greatest in history. Recently hailed by Lee Trevino as "a genius, a living legend," the newly appreciated Norman is also the spiritual father of "Natural Golf," a teaching philosophy promising salvation to the game's struggling masses.

"I'm the Michael Jordan, even the Jesus Christ of golf," proclaims Norman, insisting that his swing is so consistently perfect, so geared to never hitting a ball off-line, that he's also the Madonna of the game that all the big boys beg to play with.

"John Daly, Ernie Els, Nick Price, they all ask me to hit balls, since out of the 40 million people playing golf, I'm the only one with the 'secret.' Only Moe has the perfect grip and controlled 365-day-a-year swing. No one else knows the move, the feeling of greatness. While all the teaching from guys like [David] Leadbetter, [Bob] Toski and [Jimmy] Ballard is a pile of crap, artificial strokes for artificial folks, I'm the machine, poetry in motion, the only man on earth who can hit the ball straight every time."

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