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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

(continued from page 4)

Fox and his fellow proselytizers insist that conventional, heel-toe weighted clubs are more susceptible to driving the club head back and under the ball on off-center hits, leading to the dreaded slice and a loss of distance. But according to Fox, Natural clubs, with their center of gravity in the club face's center and a shorter lever arm, "produce a solid hit through maximum transfer of energy from the club head to ball."

That is, if you have the "scientifically perfect" Natural Golf swing, your right arm in a single plane with the shaft of the club, hips barely turning, and an abbreviated backswing.

Good-bye to the age-old finger grip, which creates a 45-degree angle with the shaft, and necessitates the rotation of hips, hands, shoulders, club face and shaft, the body moving upwards and backwards to get the club square at impact.

Now it was time to "shake hands with the pin," as Norman constantly quips, by placing the club in the palm as if holding a hammer, forming Natural Golf's much-ballyhooed single-axis system.

"Our power system is the future," insists Fox, with "fewer mechanics, [less strain] on the back, and demanding far less maintenance from executives who have little time to practice." Fox says the conventional swing has "seven twisting motions, seven, all hard on the spine, and with a club face tolerance of two degrees [at impact] to hit a fairway 200 yards away. So many moving parts! The two-axis system is all timing, timing, but what executive can work at developing that timing? But I'm stealing Todd's thunder.... Let's get you started in single-axis."

Once Graves begins hitting wedge shots, all landing 100 yards away on a small floating platform, he urges me to "take a wide, wide stance, heels shoulder-width apart [for greater balance than in the traditional stance]. Bend the knees, sit with your butt, the club resting well behind the ball, and keep that right foot down, down. Keep it down until impact."

Following additional instructions, I body-centered my hands, brought them slightly past hip height on the backswing (the right elbow below the left), then brought my right arm straight to the target line on the downswing, as the right palm was hinged, "hammer-hitting" style, 45 degrees at the wrist. At impact my body was square to the target, facing the ball (none of that violent hip turn that throws the club off square). Pow! Hitting several solid shots, I actually approximate Graves' notion of "paradise."

"What's so beautiful about Moe is his piston motion; his arm and club are always in a single line," gushes Graves. "The usual swing has lots of shoulder turn. Ours feels like an underhanded tossing motion."

Graves continues to monitor my progress, repeatedly preaching, "Keep your right foot down...make short swings...flex the knees...don't try to muscle it...just release the right hand." I didn't understand all his lingo, with such terms as "genetic timing barrier," "pronation" and "sup 45-abduct." Yet I still benefited from the one-on-one teaching, which allows Fox and Graves to rotate between students (at larger golf schools, students receive minimal individualized instruction). I felt reborn. Saved! For instead of my customary low duck hooks and ugly slices, I was booming drives into the heavens.

I was ready to confront The Beast, to try my new Natural Golf skills on Kensington's course, crowded with sand traps and water hazards. This, too, was a departure from the norm, for many golf schools don't have the manpower to supervise students playing 18 holes (six students is the maximum at any executive camp). Yet here I was, grabbing a driver and set to play the perfect game for executives. Fox calls it: "Hit till you're happy."

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