Ben Hogan Golf
The Ben Hogan golf swing is a conceptually simple swing. For those interested in trying to learn it, the difficult part is teaching the body to move in ways that are new and different from anything done before.
Watching videos and reading Ben Hogan's book Five Lessons can be very interesting, but does little to help a person understand what Hogan did. Professional golfers Larry Nelson and Jason Dufner supposedly developed their swings based on the book and videos of Hogan swinging, and while they became exceptionally good golfers, neither developed a swing that was much like Hogan's.
If outstanding golfers like these can't learn Hogan's swing from videos and Five Lessons, what chance does an amateur have of figuring out Hogan's secrets! However, the fact that they became good players by trying to incorporate some Hogan fundamentals into their swings does show that it is possible for some Hogan fundamentals to be of help to golfers. Be careful, some Hogan fundamentals, by themselves, can do serious harm to a golf swing!
A Quick Look At Ben Hogan's Golf Swing Fundamentals
Ben Hogan had a nearly perfect golf swing, far closer to perfect than any other player, in my opinion. Following is a brief overview of some of Hogan's more obvious golf swing fundamentals. As lucid as his descriptions were, golfers misinterpret much of the information in the book because some of the more important aspects of his swing were left out and video of his swing is very difficult to interpret, even for instructors who use video all the time!
1) Grip—very well documented in Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. However, if you don't swing almost exactly like Hogan, adopting his grip will very likely cause problems and adversely affect your golf game! Note—the right hand is somewhat on top of the left hand, it is not parallel the left hand. The crease between thumb and forefinger of the right hand (right handers) is slightly on the left side of the shaft (as you look down at it). Get ready to hit the ball to the right if you insist on trying it!!!
2) Address is well documented, but note that almost all amateurs have a stance that is too narrow. Check the illustration with the dotted lines drawn from the shoulders to the feet (in the book). A wider stance tends to allow a golfer's body to work better during the swing, thus possibly increasing distance, and can possibly help all golfers, not just those trying to learn Hogan's swing. Beware of the illustration with the wrap around the arms. It was a swing feeling, not the position Hogan used at address, even though he wrote that it was (one of several mistakes and contradictions of the book).
3) First Part of The Swing (backswing)—there are four main aspects: A) shoulder turn, B) the motion of the arms, C) wrist cock, D) swing plane. The correct motion of the arms is the key to the backswing, and when combined with shoulder turn is what creates swing plane and allows for significantly more cocking of the wrists.
Hogan made a huge deal about swing plane in the book, but didn't tell how to get there, so most everyone gets this simple move wrong. What you need to know is that Hogan actually used swing plane to fine tune his backswing, not create it. So instead of swing plane, focus on shoulder turn and getting the arms to position the club correctly during the backswing. Use a mirror and film your swing. Don't let your club get inside! Once you get things close to being right, then you can begin to focus on swing plane to pull it all together.
Another very important aspect of Hogan's swing was his steady head, which was a result of both his great body rotation, both back and forward swings, and how he used his arms. Don't force the head to stay still, except maybe as a training drill to be used intermittently. The steady head is the result of correct rotation which puts no pressure on the head in either the back or forward direction. If done correctly, it would feel as if the head were floating, almost isolated from the body, as tremendous forces are being generated around it.
4) Second Part of The Swing (forward swing)—Hogan stressed the importance of beginning the forward swing with an unwinding motion of the hips. Except for very good golfers, and usually for them too, this is generally disastrous advice because people tend to overdo it, resulting in a spin-out, which is what happens when the body gets out ahead of the arms.
The arms and body have to work together in a very specific way and focusing only on the hips throws everything out of whack! If you watch video of Hogan swinging, you should be able to see that Hogan's hips become most active near impact, not at the beginning of the forward swing, as is the likely misinterpretation. Also, you'll commonly see the right arm move sooner and more than the hips at the beginning of the forward swing (don't try to do this, it's a result of flattening the plane during the transition from backswing to forward swing).
One very important aspect of the Hogan forward swing is making sure the hands (he says left wrist bone) are ahead of the clubhead at impact. With correct Hogan fundamental movements, everything is closely synchronized and hands ahead can't be overdone, but can be with just about any other swing, so be careful. Hands ahead can help golfers who draw and hook, but slicers should avoid it.
The key to Hogan's forward swing is something he didn't discuss and it is related to keeping the hands ahead. That is, he didn't manipulate the club in order to square it at impact. This means he didn't roll his arms or flip the club to get it square, as all other golfers have to do, even Tour Professionals! While he didn't specifically say not to roll or flip, he did write that trying to control the clubface (which is the purpose of manipulation), is "pure folly".
My Ben Hogan Golf Swing Instruction Pages
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