I am a golf nut. It all started at the age of 18, but I didn’t take a lesson until I was 25. Then I took a lesson or more every Spring for the next 24 years. During that time my handicap remained at or near 20.
Now I know why. I am not capable of maintaining the timing necessary to perform the “Vardon Grip” swing for 4.5 hours, but for an hour I could put 3 or 4 pars together before the snowman attacks. My best score for those 30 years was 86, second best 89. Now it’s 75.
At the age of 49, while searching for a new set of woods, I discovered a new golf swing. Well, it was new to me, but for the previous 40 years a reclusive professional golfer from Canada had been extremely successful using this new-to-me golf swing. In fact, Murray “Moe” Norman is considered to be he best ball striker, ever.
“Pipeline Moe”, a nickname given him by Ken Venturi because every shot looked like it was straight as a pipeline, won over 50 tournaments. He shot 59 three times, the last at age 62, recorded 17 hole in ones, and held over 40 course records.
Since Moe is not well known in most American golf circles, here’s what some of America’s best professionals had to say about “Pipeline Moe”.
Lee Trevino, “…a genius when it comes to playing the game of golf; I don’t know of any player, ever, who can strike a golf ball like Moe Norman, as far as hitting it solid, knowing where it’s going, knowing the mechanics of the game, and knowing what he wanted to do with the golf ball.”
Tiger Wood’s commented , “Only two players have ever truly owned their swings – Ben Hogan and Moe Norman.”
About Moe, Tiger said, “He woke up everyday an’ knew he was going to hit it well. He just knew he was going to hit it well. Everyday. It’s frightening, how straight he hits it. It’s like Iron Byron, the ball doesn’t move.”
When asked,“Who’s the best golfer you’ve ever seen?”. Vijay Singh answered, “ Moe Norman . I’ve hit balls with him lots of times. He was incredible. If you talk to Lee Trevino and other greats of the game they’ll tell you how good he was…God gives people little gifts, and Moe had a gift for golf.”
In 1969, Moe was playing an exhibition match with Sam Snead in Toronto. On a par 4, a creek crossed the fairway 240 yards from the tee. Snead told Moe that he couldn’t clear the creek with a driver. “Not trying to,” Moe said. “I’m playing for the bridge.” Snead’s shot stayed on the near side of the creek. Norman’s drive landed short, and rolled over the bridge to the other side.
At one exhibition, Moe hit 1,540 drives in just under seven hours. All went longer than 225 yards, all landed inside a marked 30-yard-wide landing zone.
One day in the 1950s, Moe and Ben Hogan were on the practice tee at a pro tournament when a spectator asked Hogan to take a look at Moe. Hogan believed any ball hit dead straight was an accident. After each of the first six balls he watched, Hogan said, “Accident.” After watching Moe hit more of the same, Hogan said, “Just keep hitting those accidents, kid.”
“What’s the longest walk in golf? It’s from the practice tee to the first tee. I don’t care if it’s 10 yards. It’s the longest walk in golf. Winners take their swing with them. Losers don’t.” – Moe Norman