Ben Hogan on the grip and hitting

I just got “Ben Hogan, The Man I Knew” by LPGA Tour player Kris Tschetter. She was a member at Shady Oaks in college and Hogan used to practice with her daily. Here is an excerpt regarding the grip and hitting the ball hard from pages 33 and 34:

“The more I listened to his comments about the role of the hands, the more I realized he was right. As the weaker grip became more comfortable, I found I could swing the club freely through the hitting area without worrying about hooking it.
“Once you get that grip mastered, you can go at it as hard as you want,” he said. “Fire that right hand.” He wanted my thumb and index finger of my right hand to steady the club while the two middle fingers produced the power.
I hit a shot as hard as I thought I could.
“That wasn’t hard,” he shot back, shaking his head like I’d just done something terrible. “Hit it hard!”
I took another hard, fast swing, the kind of thrash that would have normally produced a screaming hook. He didn’t say anything, so I assumed it was better. I also realized that he was right, no matter how hard I went after it, the ball would not go left.
“That’s the article I’m going to write,” he said.
“The left hand is the steering wheel and the right hand is the gas. Once you get your grip on there correctly, the left hand controls where the ball goes, and the right hand procides the power.”
“When are you going to write that article?” I asked.
He smiles slightly and said, “Someday.”
He also told me that he’d always believed that if the club traveled faster after impact than before impact, the ball would fly farther and straighter.” I know I saw that once in a physics book." He said, “It said that if an object that hit another object was traveling faster after impact, the object being hit would travel farther and straighter. See if you can find me that book. Would you please?”
Physics isn’t really my thing, so it took me awhile but I did finally find it for him. The book hand an entire chapter devoted to acceleraton and the effects an accelerating object has when striking an object at rest. He read it and gave me back the book looking satisfied. “I knew I’d seen that somewhere,” he said. “Thank you for bringing it to me.”

Very interesting. I’m working on composing a post on Power Golf, where Hogan made it very clear that his intentions were the same as ours here in ABS.

Hogan wasn’t wrong about much if anything. Of course he wasn’t the only one to embrace these concepts. Time tested, proven by the great strikers, and we can all learn them given proper guidance. Hitting is a much more effective means of striking a golf ball. You have to learn how to do it… but you have to learn swinging also. The problem is that most if not all accessible instruction fails to make the distinction, and this is where problems arise.

Hit and be happy.

Could you elaborate a bit on this please?

My point is… both hitting and swinging requires a lot of learning… but hitting requires a lot less maintenance. For most people, swinging requires a lot of ball beating and constant timing of the release… it certainly did for me. Once you get hitting under your skin, it’s a lot more like riding a bike. Swinging is like riding a bike but having amnesia.

Ohh, dummy me. I completely misread it to mean that to hit, you must learn swinging first as well {to be able to hit properly}. That was my confusion.

This is exactly why I am in the program now. I really want to possess the ability of a hitter to show up at a course knowing I can count on acceptable ballstriking, with the only day to day question mark being putting. I have had my putter get very hot in tournaments before, but it has never coincided with good ballstriking. If I am waiting for both to simultaneously get hot, I may never shoot great tournament scores. I know if I get my ballstriking to where I don’t have really bad days, I can consistently score.

I have a teammate who can play some solid sub-par golf under pressure at times, but can show up a week later and shank tee shots. I know that once I master the art of hitting, I will have no problem hanging with these types when they’re on and seperating myself from the field when they aren’t.

In this one short sentence, you have described my golf before committing to the ABS program.

Very true…

I am figuring out how to take the amnesia out of putting also. I should have some good putting stuff available to all here soon. Wish I would have figured this out 20 years ago, but better late than never.