Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Moe & Me by Lorne Rubenstein

Moe Norman (1929-2004). Probably the greatest ball striker and most misunderstood golfer in the history of golf. Having wintered in Daytona Beach for several years I had seen Moe at the LPGA golf complex many times, so this book was really enlightening for me.

After reading 'Moe and Me' I had a better understanding of what made Moe special. The biggest revelation in the book was that Moe sustained a head injury while a young lad in Ontario but never went to the doctor for treatment. In later years it was suspected that the injury affected the frontal lobe of his brain. Moe was one of the fastest players ever. People with damage to this region of the brain only have 1-2 seconds of working memory. So he had to pull the trigger fast or the image in his brain would disappear. Blind shots totally messed him up because he could not focus on any target. Most people thought he was very strange but few ever realized that his behavior was caused by the brain damage. Would he have been as great a golfer without the accident?

I will not give away all the details of 'Moe and Me' but will post some his most interesting quotes below:
"Hope and fear, hope and fear, that's how most people play golf. Not me. No, not me. I see happiness, I see happiness."

"Winners play golf automatically. Winners see what they want. Losers see what they don't want."

"One look and I swing, one look and I swing" Moe turned golf into a reaction sport. He routinely would hit 800 balls a day and estimated he had hit 4 million balls by age 65.

He never practiced hitting out of bunkers. "Why would I? I hit the ball in the fairway." During his playing days he said he only hit one ball OB in seven years.

" A bad shot was not in my mind. Every time I got over the ball I wondered how good it was going to be."

Winner of 55 events in Canada, 17 holes in one, with numerous rounds in the 50's. I think he should be in the World Golf Hall of Fame but due to his unorthodox swing, different mannerisms and behavior he was run out of the PGA at an early age and returned to Canada to compete for the rest of his career. In 1995 Titleist provided him $5,000 a month for the rest of his life.

Top 100 instructor, Craig Shankland did a wonderful 45 minute video presentation at the PGA meeting in 1994 interviewing Moe and showing the different elements of his swing. This two part series can be found on You Tube.