Ben Hogan's Takeaway

Does anyone know when Hogan starts cocking his wrist on his takeaway? And starts rolling his forearms? I am trying to feel the line he takes on his takeaway compared to mine. I have watch his takeaway very closely and it is almost flawless if you look down the line. I put together his swing sequence below, on photos 2,3, and 4…you can see as he takes it away that the club disappears in photo 3 and then he gets it back on the same line in photo 4 as shown in red. Its almost like you see his club shaft draw a perfect straight line… You never see the club drag behind his legs or behind his knees…Its just a perfect diagonal line…

I can’t figure out how he does it…I have filmed myself on a one piece takeaway with early wrist cock, delay wrist cock, extreme vertical wrist cock…and it looks nothing like his path…no straight diagonal line…

I have watched Lag’s takeaway and his is pretty smooth as well…

The only thing i can do right now to get the nice diagonal line is on my waggles. Its basically like doing Mod 1 motions with the wrist and forearms…But from the address position, do we do that motion right off the bat going into our takeaway? Hogan looked like he had no wrist cock going back from the front view…

Here is a vid of my waggles…u can see it makes a nice diagonal straight line…(i am pretty anal when it comes to form…i like to make it perfect or try too… :angry: )


Your backswing will be more like a snowflake or finger print… let it evolve naturally and freely from your impact work.
You’ll be learning all kinds of good intentions from the module work, and we will be getting into transition stuff later once we acquire the engines to drive the club through impact. Forearm rotation will be a huge determining factor in how your backswing evolves.

Once you get accustomed to ripping at it from the 4:30 line, you’ll find your way to it (4:30 line) not because you are trying to find it… but because you will have to find it.

What you do post impact (module 3) will also affect where you are at P3 prior to impact.

Hogan’s takeaway makes sense if you understand how he slotted the club. Then how he slots it makes sense if you understand how he fired and released it and how awesome his post impact pivot work was… which was properly leveraged by his lower body and foot action, ground pressures and so forth… take any of that away and it changes his backswing.

The golf swing does not develop chronologically… much to the shock of most popular golf instruction.

I think what Lag just described is spot on. Different ways to handle going back once you know where you want to arrive, or be, on the proper attack path. Your video “waggle paths”, and Hogan’s still pictures, are different in ways mostly that Hogan is in motion with the upper body in a cohesive way, and those “positions” are being hit during motion- versus the waggle being done with the hands primary and arms secondary.

I see frames 3 and 4 a little differently perhaps. I think picture 3 is part of a journey to picture 4 and so on through the rest of the stills.

Look at frames 2-6. The shadows cast by the sun is telling to some degree. In frame 2 you see just the smallest amout of shaft journey exiting at about 5:00. Frame 3 about 5:28. Frame 4 at 6:00. Frame 5 at 6:03 and Frame 6 at about 10:30, which oddly enough is the opposite of 4:30 on a clock face.

What was that movie called…Follow the Sun? :slight_smile:


Thanks, I knew i was probably getting a head of myself. I went back and looked at your module schedule and saw you had a backswing transition part. I will let this go for now until time comes when i arrive at that stage. :slight_smile: Who knows…by then things might already start falling in place!


I didnt even see the sun shadows…good eye! hehe Yeah thats the problem i was having is getting to his path in motion. I wont worry about it for now and just continue on with the training! As lag says, things will slowly fall in place as we progress. Thanks for your observations, as always! :wink:

It’s not so much getting ahead of yourself, you are in fact creating a backswing now by working on module 1 and 2. You are already learning how to find 4:30. As the backswing gets longer, so do your options for re routing. There is good logic to both the Trevino route and the Ray Floyd route. Even Furyk. The only thing I don’t like about the super complicated move like Furyk is that it is going to create a situation somewhere around medium length pitch shots where the big loop and the more simple routing are going to collide, and you are going to have to make a decision as to which one you are going to use.
If you play everyday it’s not such a big deal, but I always prefer simpler if possible and practical. My backswing feels the same from chip to driver as far as the intention of the path.


A kind member here pm me some good insight from an individual named Jim Waldron. I think you might know him. What do you think about his intuition as far as arm travel in the takeaway and into the backswing?


Quoted by Jim Waldron

"This is a complex issue, the core of which I call The Arm Swing Illusion - if there was one true mechanical “secret” to better ballstriking, this would be it. It is the cornerstone of the Balance Point Swing Model. But - it is a complex concept, not easily understood by most golfers, or even most teaching professionals. The OP does not quite have it right as his arm position is too centered to the body mid-line or just a tiny bit to the right of mid-line, and his arms go up too much independently . Greg is incorrect in stating that that there is “no up” - of course there is an “up” motion with the arms, and in two distinct ways - the arms move a little bit independently in the vertical dimension along with dependent vertical motion due to the shoulder girdle rotation on the spine angle. Always a blend of both causes. But I understand why he would say that there is no “up” for a student who had too much “up” and especially too much “in” in terms of independent arm motion.

The big missing puzzle piece of both videos is the “outward” motion of the arms. About ten to sixteen inches of hand travel in the “width” dimension during Takeaway is ideal.

So - the most accurate depiction of proper arm motion on the backswing - independently - is “away” from the chest, like shaking hands, but on a 45 degree angle to the right (angle relative to shoulder girdle), for ten to sixteen inches, during Takeaway, blending into second half of backswing with a vertical raising of the upper arms off the chest, of about eight inches to fourteen inches (depending on your body type, height and flexibility), measured at the level of the hands. If you measure from the middle of the upper arm, it is just a few inches of upward motion.

That is much, much less arm travel than the average golfer realizes. The Arm Swing Illusion creates the impulse to move the arms independently in the horizontal dimension, and with way too much range of motion.

The OP will struggle with his problem until his subconscious mind truly "gets it ", ie deeply understands the proper arm motion. And that means deeply seeing through the Illusion.

Poor understanding of how power is both created and applied is also part of this issue. Golfers who believe the arms supply most of the power will always suffer from this incorrect and disconnected arm motion Fatal Flaw and along with that, will usually show a very weak Pivot motion, especially on the forward swing.

There are only two kinds of golfers in the world - those who hit the ball with a disconnected, sideways or horizontal arm motion or “arm slap” while their Pivot is stalling and those who hit the ball with connected to the torso upper arms and a fast unwinding Pivot Thrust that continues to accelerate post-impact."

Another quote from Jim Waldron

"My swing model is based on a very powerful optical illusion I have termed the Arm Swing Illusion. We are hard-wired to “think” in visual pictures in two-dimensions mainly. Even to “see” the external world in mostly two-dimensions. A kind of lazy way of looking at the world. Looking at photos or computer screen or tv screen videos we are missing the third spatial dimension. (Unless using the new 3d technology!) The Arm Swing Illusion is the false perception that a big part - the main part really - of a golf swing is the sideways across the chest and around the body swinging motion of the arms, hands and club - originating in the upper arm joints. This Illusion has several primary causes, and several sub-set Illusions having to do with the elbows and wrists. The steady head and thus the Fixed Line of Sight is one of the main causes of the Illusion.

Whether viewed from the golfer’s first person perspective looking down at the arms, hands, golf club and ball at address and during the swing, or looking at the golfer from the second person perspective, we “see” that sideways arm-swinging motion. It is so “obviously true” that almost no one thinks to question it’s validity. It is thus an unquestioned premise that fuels much of the conflicting swing theories and is responsible for so much of the difficulty that golfers have in understanding and executing an effective golf swing motion.

First - to understand the proper Mechanics of the upper arm motion in the effective golf swing, you need to isolate that motion from the Pivot motion. Even though in an actual golf swing, there needs to be a perfect blend or synchronization of the two. When blended, the Illusion makes it impossible to see and understand what the proper arm motion truly is. So we will zero out the Pivot in the following example. What I am describing is in no way an exaggeration of the proper arm motion. It is exactly what must occur in a good golf swing to have an on plane club shaft and a body and arms that are working in harmony.

IF - a really big if - you start at Address, and DO NOT turn your body as you normally would, how would you demonstrate your arm swing motion? 99% of my students when asked to do this, move their arms sideways to their right across their chest and toward the side of their body, with a lot of right elbow bend, kind of a very big version of the arm motion in their pendulum putting stroke. I say this is incorrect and would create a way too much inside the plane takeaway when coupled with a normal 45 degrees or so of torso turn on the takeaway like in a real golf swing. Add the turn and you will see what I mean.

The proper arm motion - again when not turning the body at all - would be toward the target line, in front of your torso, but on a 45 degree angle relative to your shoulder girdle. If your left arm was held out in front of you directly in line with your armpit as if you were shaking hands in front of your with someone standing on the target line with the golf ball between his feet, lets call that zero degrees of angle. Now move your left upper arm to your right till you attain a 45 degree angle with your shoulder girdle. The arm should be about waist high off of the ground. That is the correct direction and angle of left arm motion. Your left hand is now more or less in line with your right shoulder extremity. Right arm motion is similar since they move as a unit in a good golf swing.

Second half of backswing the right elbow folds to about 90 degrees of bend in the vertical dimension, which raises the left arm a bit toward the sky. That is the Top of your backswing in terms of independent arm motion. If you just turn your torso from there - without letting your arms move independently even a tiny bit - while maintaining your original forward spine angle, turning the shoulder girdle 90 degrees to your spine- you will arrive in the actual Top of backswing position. (I have obviously excluded wrist cock and hinge in this example to keep this as simple as possible).

The 45 degree left arm to shoulder angle will stay the same roughly on the wedge swings as you reach the Top, but the angle will expand as the clubs get longer during second half of backswing due to some momentum from the torso Pivot leaking into the upper arm joints, i.e a driver will be 45 degree angle at end of takeaway but about 75 degrees at the Top.

The right arm has to bend because the 45 degree angle motion of the left arm makes the left side of the triangle, i.e. the left am, in effect “longer”. The right arm has to “give” to create space for that “longer” left arm. If it bends in the horizontal dimension, you have “warped your triangle” and moved the arms and clubs too much inside or behind you, “stuck”. If the elbow bends in the vertical dimension, you have effectively shortened the right arm to make room for the longer left arm BUT the horizontal distance between the two elbows has remained the same or nearly the same. Your triangle is still intact - one of Hogans big Rules, by the way. Endomorph body types will have to let the right elbow bend some in the horizontal dimension in order to achieve a decent amount of shoulder turn however.

Starting with two of our Three Arm Pressures - sideways equal opposing triangle pressure along with stretch and extension pressure - is the Secret to controlling the arm motion and achieving in intact triangle. Then your arm motion will stop just as your shoulder girdle reaches maximum coil/range of motion at the Top, or just a micro-second earlier than that point. Your arms and body will be synchronized. Which makes it more likely that they will remain so during the entire forward swing.

To be blunt and as concrete as possible - this is the polar opposite direction of natural arm motion that 100% of mid to high handicap golfers make in their golf swings. Tour pros push their arms away from their torso and never pull their arms in toward their torso. The arms do re-connect during Transition but not because of the upper arms pulling in and down or the biceps pulling in either. Forces generated by the Pivot and weight transfer during Transition cause the arms to re-connect to the torso."

What Hogan did in that picture is he didn’t go by the mantra of ‘low and slow.’ He ‘picked the clubhead upward’ instead of a ‘low and slow’ takeaway. When you do that, the tendency is that most golfers with cock their wrists a little earlier in order to aid with the clubhead going more up than going ‘low.’

Obviously, more than 1 way to swing a club, but that’s probably where you are getting confused because popular golf instruction insists on ‘low and slow’, but many great players didn’t do that. So the wristcock looks different from say Adam Scott’s ‘low and slow’ takeaway.