Golfers are a strange bunch that’s for sure

This is a photo of me during the time when I made discovery about Moe Norman’s golf grip

An interesting time in my golf development was during the scientific study which happened back in 2004. I got to work really closely with some of the smartest people on the planet and I got to see first hand how their brains worked.

It was fascinating, and once they got a sniff of something interesting, like they did with the golf swing, they embraced it fully and went for it. Some of the guys worked solidly for 9 months, staring at computer screens and dealing with thousands of pages of mathematics and numbers.

I worked hard too, but nothing like these guys. But there is a strange side-story to all of this which I think needs sharing.

Moe Norman’s technique had been making some waves at the time and I was keen for the scientists to analyse his swing. If there was anything unique in his technique then maybe there was something we could share with the world.

The thing with scientists (good ones at least) is they are completely unbiased. They let the data tell the story and they don’t go into any research with preconceived ideas or hoping certain things will prove themselves. They are 100% professional.

The big thing with Moe Norman was his grip. It had been called all sorts of things, hammer, single plane or palm grip and the theory was that the club rests in the lifeline of the trailing hand, causing a single plane between forearm and shaft.

It was a reasonable theory and in 2004 there were a handful of golf teaching companies teaching this grip and swing and nobody had ever questioned it. It was accepted as part of the Moe Norman phenomena and the reason he was one of the best ball strikers of all time.

One morning things changed. I was chatting to the lead biomechanic about the grip, saying it just didn’t sit right with me. I had been fumbling around for months with this grip and I just couldn’t make it work. Something was wrong.

When I gripped the club, I could never keep the club in the lifeline, when my right thumb was added to the grip the club moved more into the fingers. But it got worse.

If I tried to keep the club in the palm, the swing was useless. I couldn’t swing with any power and it felt terrible. Keeping the club in the lifeline was not working for me and I was certain it couldn’t work for others.

When my clever friend saw what I showed him he looked at me strangely. He had been calling me the “Simple Mind” for a few months because I had this knack of seeing past the complication and making thing more simple. The curse of knowledge is a real problem, but because I wasn’t as smart, I often looked at things differently to everyone else and helped find a solution.

And it looked like I had done it again. Testing stopped immediately and the team of biomechanics had a briefing in the middle of the room. They were chatting about all sorts of things to do with this grip. They even discussed this grip theory with a leading hand anatomist (yes, these people do exist) and a conclusion was made.

A palm grip was not a viable option for golfers and more controversially, Moe Norman didn’t use this hammer type grip. His grip could only be described as conventional. The hand anatomist offered more, saying words to the effect of,

“this is one of the worst sporting theories I have seen”.

That was that. Mr. Strachan had destroyed a golf swing theory in a few minutes. Once the grip theory was proven wrong, all of the other parts of the technique went out the window.

What Moe thought he did with his grip

What Moe thought he did with his grip

more-norman-2

What Moe actually did when he gripped the club. His left thumb is where he thinks the club is.

And I’m telling you this because what happened next completely bamboozled me…

I had been lurking on a few forums that promoted Moe and his swing theory, trying to learn more. When the grip discovery was made I was keen to share what we had learned. I assumed that they would have wanted to hear the thoughts about the grip and then modify their approach.

But they didn’t. They yelled and screamed and discredited the scientists. They did everything in their power to quieten the disbeliever. I was in shock, I really was. I didn’t post the findings to upset but to inform. I thought I was helping.

A year or two back I checked in on the forums. For the most part the same people where saying the same stuff. Most of it was wrong, or didn’t agree with expert evidence, but I didn’t comment or try and help. I left and haven’t returned.

And this is the way most people are. We’re reluctant to make change and step outside what we consider “normal”. People hate going against the status quo.

And I’ve seen the same thing with Automatic Golf.

A few years ago I was coaching a mate. It was an informal lesson at my studio and I think it was over a few beers on the way to the pub. We had a good chat about all sorts of golf things (the beer helped) and why he had been struggling with his game.

I gave some solutions and even offered to give him some FREE follow-ups. The only other thing I remember was he won the monthly medal the next day. As far as I know he hadn’t won for a long time prior and hasn’t won much since.

But my mate didn’t come back for any more lessons and he has certainly fallen off the wagon. It happens, and it’s not a criticism, but just the way people are.

A recent convert has jumped in with full gusto and gotten some really good results. Here’s just some of his remarks to me:

[testimonial1 author=””]“ Automatic Golf is absolutely incredible. It’s not a quick fix. It takes time. I really feel my game is seriously coming together.
If I can just get rid of those 3 bad holes per round coupled with my love for putting I think I could get down to at least a 2/3 handicap.
It’s sounds like a big ask but now its possible.

Maybe my dream of getting into the seniors tour is possible…

… I’ve now used it for the last 4 rounds. Jeez… My putting stats are out if this world. I’m now averaging 30 putts a round (used to be 35). I no longer panic when I get to the green and I honestly think this will get better.
I’m notorious when I got to a new course as my putting can almost be in the 38+ figures (2 of the above rounds where on new courses).

”[/testimonial1]

But he too was frustrated because his golfing buddies won’t listen to him. They don’t seem interested in the AG story or bucking any trends. And I think it’s the same thing. The message is too different from their current image of what it takes to play better golf.

So they won’t change.

We’re a strange lot that’s for sure. Only the brave will take a leap of faith. The rest want things to be different but they’re not prepared to make a change.

When I look at those that have had the best results with Automatic Golf they have,

– All purchased my book and devoured the content
– Have not been scared to asked questions and participate on the blog
– Have kept me informed of their progress and asked more questions
– Stuck with it for weeks/months/year – not hours or a few days. There are no magic fixes or cures when it comes to the improvement process

Of the roughly 8,000-10,000 people a month that drop by, there are only a handful of golfers that are prepared to go the full distance. Almost all others don’t get it, dip the little toe in the water, don’t get what they’re looking for and move on.

We’re a strange lot that’s for sure. The funny thing is that Automatic Golf can seem like the long way round. But if it takes a while to get to where you want, it is probably going to be faster than the alternative. A huge population of the golf market NEVER get results worth talking about and probably only unlock a fraction of their golfing potential.

It’s sad, but an honest truth about the learning process.

References: if you’re keen to get more than your little toe wet, then check out my Simple Golf Improvement System

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6 Comments

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    It’s funny Cam I bought your book after my brother was adamant that if I wanted to improve I needed a coach. Looking back at my emails I think it will be two years in October since I have been following your instruction. I’m sure at times I have fallen back to old habits but I realise that’s another kettle of fish. I know my game has improved thanks to your shared knowledge and the great thing about it, is, it’s self paced learning. When it gets a bit warmer and dryer I will be up to see you so you can put me through the ‘wringer’. Keep up the good work and the walking.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Sorry cameron cant afford this. But i will try to learn on my own. Try to understand I’m not rich but middle class. I will try to learn on my own what you learned over all these years.

  • Mike Divot

    Reply Reply July 30, 2013

    There are certain “aficionados”, admirers and “students” of Moe, and Hogan in particular, who claim to “study” them, but in fact don’t really want answers because that would take away the myth. Which is the thing that they really love.

    Every time someone jumps on a web site to say they have discovered Hogan’s “secret”, all the Hogan lovers pile on in a frenzy, deriding the poster, picking holes in their theory, etc. Because they don’t really want any “secret” to be found. Even while they themselves claim to be dedicated to discovering the “secret”, it’s essential to their raison d’etre that the game doesn’t end.

    All while ignoring the obvious (to me anyway) fact that even if someone did discover this secret, it wouldn’t do anyone any good. Because the secret was meaningful only to Hogan and is just as likely to kill anyone else’s game.

    (Plus! What if Hogan was wrong about it in the way that Moe was with his grip?)

    “Modifying their approach” doesn’t enter in to it. You might as well ask people who like re-enacting famous historic battles with miniature figures to try doing it with machine guns. “Let’s re-enact the Battle of Waterloo, but this time we’ll see what happens if Napoleon has machine guns.” THAT’S NOT WHAT THE GAME IS.

    You’re the guy who came in suggesting nukes and ruined the game for the purists. But that’s okay. They can play their hero-worship games, and the rest of us can play golf.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 30, 2013

      Mike: Some good stuff here. I learned a lesson that’s for sure. It’s very hard to win a battle on the away territory. Thanks for posting your thoughts…

  • Bill Cover

    Reply Reply August 1, 2013

    Hi Cam
    You are a theorist your self but yours seem to work. One of the best tips you have given me is putting with your eyes closed. If I am even part way through a round and my putting is going off the rails I will setup and putt with my eyes shut, this puts the feel back into the putts and off I go. I have mentioned this to others and they smirk and say ” how can putting with your eyes closed help” they dont get it.
    Keep up the tips just love the Koda dailies.
    Bill

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply August 1, 2013

      Bill: When you close your eyes it becomes easier to “feel” your swing. With feel comes awareness and with awareness anything is possible. It also takes some trust and when one can step up to a putt and swing the putter freely, truly good things happen. There’s no helping some people, but that is life my friend.

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