If you ever want to cheer me up on a dreary day, show me a vintage picture of Moe – something I have never seen before. Classic photos of Moe bring back memories but most importantly, they are great tools for understanding exactly how Moe achieved the recognition as the best golf ball-striker in the world. Take this photo for example. It shows Moe hitting from a Coke bottle – I pulled this photo from a recent article by David Owen. It was originally featured in the Golf Digest article in 1995. Here’s what you can learn from this photo.
What I first notice is Moe’s hands – he is overlapping. Natural Golf, the company who sponsored Moe later in his life, promoted a 10-finger position which Moe adopted later in his life however, in his early career he won all of his tournaments with an overlapping hand position. You can see here that his arm position is in what Moe called “sunny side up” where the trial arm is rotated slightly upward while the lead arm is rotated where the elbow (and back of lead hand) are both toward the target. The “V’s” of the right (trail) hand is pointing toward the trail shoulder while the “v” of the lead hand is pointing toward the middle of the chest.
If you follow the shaft, you can see how it aligns with the lead arm and it points to the lead side of his body. Here is a bit of geometry to look for in a classic – great ball-striking – address position. The red area represents what I call the pivot point™, the area where the club references the body. We consider this an important part of great ball-striking because it is the beginning of a perfect impact relationship. The key is that the hands – lead the club into impact and in this picture, you can clearly see the angles that tilt the body so that the hands can lead the club into and through impact. What is extremely noticeable to me is the tilt in the body (green line) where it shows spine tilt. This lowers the trail (right) shoulder which pushes the trail hand and arm down.
Finally, you notice how straight his legs are. This is an important part of consistency and positioning of the lower back. We call this “posture” and what this represents is spacing between Moe and the ball. When I asked Moe why do you straighten you legs, he asked “what is straighter than straight?” What he meant was “if your legs are straight, how can you ever make a mistake at address?” This was not only biomechanically perfect, it was also a great insight to his consistency.
Just as these pictures show, you can always learn from Moe if you just pay attention to a bit of detail of these classic and educational photographs.