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Traits of the Greats - Roll Your Ankles

Posted by on in Sevam1
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moe-normanWhat do Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Moe Norman and even modern greats like Kenny Perry have in common?  

Simple, repeatable, consistant footwork.  I guess it comes as no surprise to any of you who know what a stickler I am for what the feet are doing in the golf swing.  At any rate it is good to be reminded of this as Jack Nicklaus was reminded annually by Jack Grout during their tune up sessions for each season and in particular The Masters.  Grout taught Nicklaus to "roll the ankles" from an early age and the importance of this action and feel remained with The Golden Bear always.

The intersting thing about the idea of rolling the ankles is that the feel is very much a lateral one running parallel to the target line rather than something  that feels cirular like many other elements of the swing feel.   The feeling and look of eversion in the right foot also comes from this action, and this feel is also something that retards the spinout lower body action that you see in many beginners and poorer players.

Rather than go on at length about this idea I thought it best to let the greats tell it themselves so below check out some great videos on this topic..

Listen particularly to Moe Norman talking here  beginning around the 19 minute mark....

Here we see Billy Harmon discuss Kenny Perry and the relationship between plane and footwork....

In this video about overswinging Sam Snead tells us about his idea of what good footwork is. watch particularly from about the 3 minute mark....


Finally, check out this Golf Digest article "Jack's Rules" where we learn, among other things, that Jack Grout had the young Nicklaus prictice for hours thinking of nothing but rolling his ankles.... A lesson for a lifetime that clearly stuck and laid the foundation for perhaps the greatest career in golf....

Hit em straight,


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  • Victor
    Victor Thursday, 20 February 2014

    It's little known by Modern Theorist that the author of this concept and maybe the most influential teacher of the golf swing is Alex Morrison, I have his books and know for certain that Jack Nicklaus' s fundamentals are directly attributed to him! Many present teachers would find business difficult if old Alex's works were familiar!

  • Mike Maves
    Mike Maves Friday, 21 February 2014

    Very True Victor!! Morrison influenced many including Jack Grout.

  • Stan Hoveland
    Stan Hoveland Thursday, 20 February 2014

    Just this month I discovered this ankle movement. Unrelated to this blog post, I and another "range rat" were discussing the swing at the driving range. My friend stated that he noticed that however he started his swing back, is how he would start the swing down. If he started with his hands, then the hands would start down, arms, shoulders, hips, it did not matter, whatever he started back with, he came down with. We had talked about Nicklaus' first move down was planting his left heel. I've read about the left knee being the trigger, I think Johnny Miller (1974) said his right knee kicked forward. From that we started the back-swing with our ankles, "wind up/wind down". As a 15, I hit 5 shots in a row, just a beautiful as can be. I've had many others at the range try this, with no other information, start from the ankles and swing whatever way you want. Every single person that has tried this saw a great difference in their ball striking. Everyone finished in balance, hands above the shoulders, club in perfect position at the finish, weight forward, right toe pointing down. Now whatever swing faults they had, well they still have them, but they are in balance. So if the path is off, or the grip is weak, then it is now findable. When we hit and fall back, lose our balance it ain't the grip. From the range to the course has proven difficult, the need to look up, the extra power needed to catch the hotshot in the foursome, the fear of failure, looks to be the problem. But a swing in balance has got to be better then not.

  • Neil Sheets
    Neil Sheets Sunday, 23 February 2014

    I emulate Moe's right foot action. I set up with wide knees, and weight amore to the heel. With c/w torque, it is simply a matter of doing a squat move and pushing off without rocking to the inside of my shoe, but pushing off with the entire front portion of the foot, concentrating the weight around the area where Hogan had the extra spike ( what else would it be there for?). With soft spikes in particular, I think it's important to have as many on the ground as possible when launching towards the other side, and also when landing on the lead foot and reversing the torque in order to face the target. When showing the sole of the shoe, there is no connection to the ground, so I don't do it during any part of the swing when I need pressure in that foot for traction.

  • Ron Cummings
    Ron Cummings Monday, 29 June 2015


    New to you all here. Just today after reading about your affirmation of right foot eversion, I tried it in my garage in front of a mirror and discovered that it limited any turning of my hips (i.e. spinning-out). Then I just received access to your blog and found that you said exactly the same thing. I haven't tried it at the range yet, but I'll let you know how it worked for me. Thanks.

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