On copying swings

You all know I am against trying to copy swings as I think it is a losing battle…Adam Scott copying Tiger 2000 not withstanding.

Everyone wants to copy Hogan and Moe Norman because they were supposedly the best ball strikers of all time…and everyone wants to point to their swings as the reason.

I have a counterpoint. Hogan and Norman were known to be monomaniacal about their practice. It was said they both hit balls up to 8 hours a day and sometimes till their hands bled.

Wouldn’t it make sense that their great ball striking was just as much or more a result of being the two hardest workers of all time and not necessarily the efficiency of their swings or how easy they were to reproduce.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to copy the swing of a player who had success and was known for not practicing at all?

Someone like say, Bruce Lietzke? A guy who his caddy left a banana in his bag in the last tournament of the year only to find that it was still there after the first of the year as Bruce spent the whole off season fishing.

A guy with an over the top swing because doing that and hitting a fade was a lot easier to reproduce than the draw swing coming from the inside that took Norman and Hogan a decade of 8 hour a day practice to perfect.

Are you seeing a pattern?

I am obviously not suggesting that Bruce Lietzke has a better swing than Ben Hogan, but my hypothetical makes perfect sense.

All today’s post is about is yet another redundancy on my part trying to educate the golfing public, one golfer at a time, to not buy into the mob mentality of what is correct or ideal and open your minds up to a more common sense approach.

I may have already posted this, but I found out recently that oil being a fossil fuel is not some proven scientific certainty. It was suggested by some Russian scientist in the 18th century at a conference and it has just been generally accepted, but no one has ever taken the time to prove it.

Whether or not I have all my facts straight is not relevant, I am using this to prove a point.

I think a lot of golf axioms fall into that category of “generally accepted’ and many of them are not only false, but sometimes 180* false.

The ball flight laws being the most glaring example of something that was generally accepted for the last 100 years, and what was true was actually the opposite.




  1. s.

    The problem with trying to copy a swing is that you’re trying to copy a “look.”

    It would be far better to copy a “feel.” However, very few people can communicate a “feel” with words. Moe Norman was probably the best ball-striker of all time. There is a lot of Youtube video where he tries to describe his “feel.”

    He might not have been able to describle how to reproduce his “feel,” but here is what it felt like:

    No strain; no struggle; never any violence; effortless power; centrifugal force– never brute force; same amount of work with each club; never flippy – always swing, no hit; never off-balance.

    Moe’s secret wasn’t his swing plane. It was hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and reliance on the “Big Muscles.” That’s why it felt effortless.

  2. Wally

    Well put Monte

  3. Der Exilgolfer

    can you explain your last sentence or give me a link, that explains old and new ball flight laws. thanks.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      If you go to youtube and do a search for “new ball flight laws” you will find many.

      Basically, for 100 years people thought the ball started on the swing path and would curve to where the club was pointed.

      They have now proven the ball starts where the club is pointed and curves an amount relative to how how much the club is open or closed to the path.

      • rojoass

        It’s not (IMO) the “laws” have really changed. The benchmark for the explanation has moved. Physics don’t change with so called world modernization.
        An outfit in Europe that studies this like this has addended the path vs face argument somewhat. Some face “experts” wanted to say the ball always left the face on a 90* angle. The path “experts” said it left the face straight on the path line.
        The latest information now indicates it’s “somewhere” IN BETWEEN. Most agree (but not a total consensus by the experts) that the face is the dominate factor. But even that is subject to change DEPENDING ON THE SWINGSPEED OF THE CLUB.
        In other words the path of the putter has much less affect than the path of a driver going 130mph.


  4. Calvin

    hell, if I could copy Lietzke I sure would. I’m all for not having to practice and just enjoying three hours of golf a couple of times a week. I hate the range. I have been watching Lee comeaux doing his right side dominate stuff and he is very impressive but he goes to the range every day and dumps out two or three huge buckets and works through them rapid fire. Easy to see why he keeps his edge but not for me. I tried the right side dominant thing today and I figure to make it work I would need six large buckets a day for about a year. Give me Lietzke’s action please.

    • Calvin

      One thing I learned from Comeaux that rings really true and explains why many of my advances have ended badly: He says that when you find something that works, more is not better.

  5. gwlee7

    Lietzke had the right idea about driving the ball too. He always hit a fade with his driver without exception. Some one asked him once, “Well, what do you do when you have to hit a draw off the tee?” He replied, “I hit my three wood. My driver is not allowed to know that it can hit a hook.”

  6. pcb_duffer

    Another way of putting it: Lietzke had the sort of swing that average, everyday golfers can emulate without having to practice 8 hours a day, 6 days a week for 5+ years until they get it right.

  7. woody

    Well, if people want to hear Jim McLean bloviate for 17 minutes about Lietzke’s swing, it’s on Youtube, with videos of different views. “Jim McLean Golf Swing Analysis- Bruce Lietzke.”

    But, copying that swing would go against the original post.

  8. Wees

    Bruce fishing in the offseason only means that he was training to see exactly what a cast is so he could avoid it in the golf swing.

    He must be reading this blog.


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