When I met Moe Norman, I saw a simple golf swing and immediately wondered how someone could intuitively discover such simplicity. After a few years practicing with him, I figured it out – he didn’t ever take a “conventional” lesson. His introverted personality and hard work helped him to bio-mechanically stumble across the best way to use the body to hit a golf ball. Over the past two years, I have spent some with back surgeons, 3D animators and specialists of bio-mechanics to quantify the Moe’s simplicity. Even I was amazed as what I discovered.
According to Dr. Robert Neal of Golf bio-dynamics, after studying thousands of tour players, he has identified the common elements and bio-mechanics of the “conventional” swing. He calls these elements the “corridor”. All good players fall into his “corridor”. For example, according to his “corridor” the sequence of the golf swing in the downswing starts lead leg/hips -1 , torso- 2, arms – 3 and then hands – 4. This is considered the kinematic sequence. This 1,2,3,4 sequence identifies the proper sequence of events in the swing. As you look deeper into the data, each element then has a subsequent “range” that must be met. With Dr. Neal’s “corridor” I could compare his model of the Conventional swing with Moe Norman’s Single plane swing to identify any differences.
Using Dr. Neal’s expertise, Id get his opinion about anything he found significant with the Single Plane Swing. I was surprised that he was unfamiliar with the Single Plane swing – but he knew of Moe Norman. Here are the findings:
Data point 1: Secondary Spine Tilt positioned at address to impact (mimial) (this is the face on view of the spine tilt)
Datapoint 2: Pelvis movement into impact horizontal/down vs. horizontal/vertical.
Datapoint 3: Trail arm rotation non-existent
Datapoint 4: Club hands moving minimally up .5 inches into impact vs. 2 to 3 inches (conventional)
Let me explain these datapoints:
Datapoint 1: FO secondary Spine tilt minimal movement.
“I have less moving parts, my swing is like a pendulum” – Moe Norman
In comparison to the conventional swing where the spine begins almost upright ad address (face on view called secondary spine tilt), during the swing, the lower spine moves laterally toward the target creating dramatically more tilt at impact. Data shows that the conventional golfer is tilted 7 degrees on average where the Single Plane Golfer is tilted 15 degrees. This happens during the stabilizing phase of the swing (backswing). One thing to note is that the head actually moves slightly upward during this phase, where a conventional golfers head usually moves backward and down to accommodate the tilting of the spine (to get behind the ball).
Datapoint 2 Pelvis movement downward vs. pelvis movement up.
“No stress. Buckle, sit, slide, bump” – Moe Norman
A significant difference measured between the conventional golf swing and the Single Plane golf swing was how the pelvis moved into the impact sequence of the swing. During the downswing, the pelvis of the conventional golfer moved 2 to 3 inches upward in the transitional to impact phase of the swing. The single plane swing showed a level to downward movement of the pelvis. This data verifies the upward push of the pelvis onto the spine where as the Single Plane swing the lead kneed staying flexed into impact, reduces compression on the spine.
Furthermore, during the Single plane swing, the pelvis rotation mirrored the shoulder rotation showing a minimal “shear” of the spine vs. pelvis movement from the downwing into impact.
Datapoint 3: Zero Rotation of Trail arm into impact
“No twisting, no turning. I can eat off of the clubface (througswing)” – Moe Norman
A significant finding during the Single plane swing was how the Trail arm moves during the swing. During the Swing Motion, The Trail arm Rotation was minimal – if not existent both during the backswing and through swing. I found it extremely interesting that the trail arm did not rotate even on release of the club.
Datapoint 4: Shaft lift at impact
“I can keep the club square 22 inches past the ball, low to the ground – longer than anyone” – Moe Norman
A conventional golfer must, as they approach impact, lift the shaft to shallow the clubpath. The data shows the average shaft lift for the conventional golfer to be approximately 2 to 3 inches (similar to the amount of lift of the pelvis). The Single Plane swing showed minimal shaft-lift into impact (approximately .5 inches). The shaft lift results show that the ideal spacing (distance from the ball) and setting up the club on the impact plane at address reduces the need for a lifting of the club into impact.