Ben Hogan—The Man
With The Ultimate Golf Swing
Here are a few quotes about Ben Hogan from Tom Weiskopf, Tommy Bolt, and Jack Nicklaus, all of whom happened to be pretty good players:
Weiskopf: Every time I'd play with him [Ben Hogan], I could play pretty well—I felt like I was a caddie. I felt like I shouldn't even be out there. He played that much better than anybody else, in my mind, in my estimation, of the players that I ever saw play the game.
Bolt, from a Golf Digest interview (5/04): We used to play $5 greens and fairways. Boy, don't you think he [Hogan] was tough. I'm telling you, you could lose your a— with him hitting almost every fairway and green. He hardly ever missed one.
Bolt, when in the same interview was asked "who was the best driver of the ball?": Hogan. He was long and straight. Very long. He and I used to have driving contests. Arrivederci, man. I put that son of a b—-h out there and I would say, "Catch that, you little c————r." Boy, and he would—whoosh! Whipped those f— —-g hands through there—he was the greatest player I ever played with. If he could putt 25 percent as well as Palmer could, he would have won 50 more tournaments. Don't forget that he made all the putts he had to make to win his nine majors.
Editor's note introducing a Golf Digest article: When Jack Nicklaus was asked recently whether Tiger Woods is the greatest ball-striker he's ever seen, he replied quickly, "No, no — Ben Hogan, easily." Nicklaus has seen much of Woods over the last few years and last played with Hogan in the late 1960s — almost 20 years after Hogan had left his prime. Still, Hogan's power, precision and control was such that it left an enduring impression on the greatest golfer of all time.
It's been over a half century since Ben Hogan played on the PGA Tour and yet there is still an intense interest in the man and his swing. Ben Hogan clearly was not the best golfer of all time, possibly not even of his own era, so why does he still hold such a fascination among today's golfers?
It's simple. Unlike most professional golfers who work on band-aid fixes, but keep the same basic swing throughout their career, Ben Hogan was tireless in his efforts to change and improve his swing. When Hogan started on tour at the age of 19 he was not a good tour player, but after nine years of struggling, the changes he was making and the intense practice sessions began to pay off as he finally won his first tournament. By 1953, pretty much at the end of his career and almost crippled from a 1949 car accident, he played in only 6 tournaments. He won five of them, including all three of the majors he played.
Ben Hogan had perfected his swing. No, he didn't always swing perfectly, but he did have the ability to make a perfect golf swing. It was late in his career that Ben Hogan had become the best ball striker of all time! I very strongly believe that had he joined the tour with the swing he eventually developed, he would have been the best golfer of all time by such a wide margin no one would have ever challenged him for the title.
It is Ben Hogan's golf swing and his pursuit of that swing that is responsible for our fascination with the man. If you're a golfer who is serious about wanting to improve, you owe it to yourself to look into the best golf swing of all time!
Let me end this page with a paragraph written by Al Barkow:
Hogan was unique in his golf. The sound of his impact — metal against balata and turf — was strangely different from anyone else's. I don't say that as some sort of unreasoning idol worshipper. Others heard the same thing. There is no adequate descriptive word for it. It wasn't a thwack, or thunk or zunk. It was . . different. So, too, was the flight of his ball, the famed Hogan Fade. But the ball didn't so much fly from left to right as it seemed to be hugging a taut sheet of canvas, struggling to get through but never quite making it. The height of Hogan's shot was his alone, also. He was a low-ball hitter by ordinary reckoning, but his ball didn't go especially low. Of course, it didn't go the usual height, either. The man had forged his own channel in the sky. That's ridiculous to say, of course, but Ben Hogan was so mesmerizing at golf as to evoke such an absurd idea.
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