Ben Hogan: An American Life by James Dodson

Hi guys,

It took me a little while to get into Dodsons Hogan biography but I have started to really enjoy it. I read the Curt Sampson biography of Hogan a few years ago and incorrectly assumed with the Dodson biog that I would feel like I was treading over old ground. Anyway I thought I would pick out a few quotes or sections that struck me as interesting as I went along. Some might relate to other topics on the forum here or Lags philosophy, but others hopefully might proove discussion points.

Cheers, Arnie

On p 107 Dodson gives us this on Sam Snead:

So thats Hogan, Snead and Moe all in favour of heavy clubs! $5.50? Sam should have been ashamed :blush: :laughing:

On page 141 Dodson talks about Hogans breakthrough in 1940

I am as much as a Hogan fan as anyone but even I find the GIR stats hard to swallow. 2 missed green out of 216 holes (12 rounds)? I have heard of Trevino missing 1 GIR in a 72 hole tourney but this seems to me almost beyond belief. Strike me down!

Soon after on p148

This is interesting, as I have a mid 1970’s Hogan wedge that has what appears to be negative bounce( “Special PW”), and i have often felt if looked sharp as a knife. We used to have a pro at our club who had similar wedges and was proficient with them. As I recall, he liked them to use them off of hard pan. I remember seeing him once open it up, take a full swing, and loft in onto a green about 25 yards away. I never see such wedges anymore, I am curious if the better golfers on this forum have more insight regarding the use of such wedges.

That’s just incomprehensible Arnie - and to think he wasn’t approaching with wedges either. Let’s put this in perspective: If the best putter today hit 214/216 greens in regulation, they would be 60 under for those 216 holes, not a measly 34 under. Even the 100th best putter would be 49 under par. Shows you how rough putting greens were back then, doesn’t it. What a different game. No wonder it’s a freak show out there on the greens with space age putters and totally unnatural grips.

Its a great book Arnie, you will love it although Dodson’s writing style is not always to my taste.

I loaned it to my Dad who had always been a fan of Hogan but probably rated Nicklaus as much the better player. After finishing the book he declared that Hogan was on a different level to anyone who has ever played the game!

My driving range buddy (who strangely enough has persimmon in his bag) loaned me this book a couple weeks ago…
Dodson can be a bit tedious, but a great read none the less…
I enjoyed it very much…

Its truly amazing to me how driven he was to be better all the time, especially early in his touring days.
He clearly wasnt that great early on, went broke more than once, yet was somehow driven to succeed—incredible!!

Seems to me that this type of grind might suit someone who enters/exits the hitting zone super flat. If your steep or dumping the load on the shaft down and out into the ground towards right field this grind is not going to do anything much for you apart than possibly jelp you penetrate the earths core :laughing: . I remember Tom Wishon saying how surprised he was at the grinds of Hogans personal clubs when he examined them. He thought 99% of golfers would have a problem with hitting the ball fat using that type of grind.

Cheers, Arnie

I wish I had been there to see all that. There is little else like seeing an artist in his or her work area, away from the main stage, doing things the way they alone get them done, creating from the roots of their being. Where was the loft/lie machine accurate to the 1/2 degree? In his head and in his hands! Still, how the heck could he bend lies that way without screwing up? Also, I wonder if Mr. Hogan ever bothered with a swingweight balance? If we should learn he just messed with the brass until he trusted it, would that surprise anyone?