David Leadbetter's "The
Fundamentals of Hogan"
As an instructor of the Ben Hogan golf swing, reading David Leadbetter's book "The Fundamentals of Hogan" was a frustrating experience for me. On the one hand, there are some excellent pictures, but on the other, Leadbetter doesn't teach Ben Hogan's fundamentals, and it shows.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Leadbetter mentioned one or two things about Ben Hogan's swing that very few instructors know, including those who claim to teach Hogan Fundamentals, but then Leadbetter would blow it by always adding that Hogan was unique and that golfers should ignore what Hogan did and instead do it his (David Leadbetter's) way.
This is where Leadbetter's weakness shows with regard to Ben Hogan's fundamentals—he clearly doesn't understand the importance of the movements and how they fit together so cohesively. The Hogan swing was essentially one motion from beginning to end, an accomplishment which no other golfer has been able to match! This is the true beauty of Ben Hogan's fundamentals—pure synergy with absolutely no wasted movement! David Leadbetter is throwing a monkey wrench into Ben Hogan's Fundamentals by adding pieces of his own swing theory that don't fit.
An example of Leadbetter not understanding an aspect of Hogan's swing is where Leadbetter discusses how Hogan had a double jointed thumb and could almost touch his forearm with it. The conclusion was that this was how Hogan could have 135+ degrees of wrist cock when most professionals only get about 90 degrees. First, common sense would tell you that the other four fingers have to maintain a grip on the club and will restrict how far the thumb will go. Second, my thumb is not double jointed, plus, I am not a flexible person, yet I can get close to the amount of wrist cock Hogan had. It has to do with how the arms move, not the thumb!
Let's face it, Hogan was the best ball striker and had the best swing of all time. He may have been a little more flexible than most and he certainly worked harder than anyone else, but as I see it, he had two legs, a torso, two arms, and a head. The fundamentals he applied to his swing were proven in major championships and they can be applied to any golfer who possesses anything related to a typical human physique.
For a publisher wanting to sell the most books, David Leadbetter was an obvious choice for a new book on Hogan. Combine one of the biggest names in golf instruction (at the time) and the newly found photos used to create the illustrations in Ben Hogan's book Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals Of Golf and you're guaranteed to have a big seller. Unfortunately, focusing on dollars instead of being true to the subject doesn't do justice to Ben Hogan's fundamentals.
So, should you buy the book? If you have an interest in Hogan's fundamentals, definitely yes. The physical quality of the book is excellent and the pictures alone are worth the cost. Unfortunately, if you rely on David Leadbetter's words it won't do much to further your understanding of Ben Hogan's fundamentals.
Casey Eberting Golf Instruction
Tulsa / Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
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