Hogan/ Nick Sietz interview

Ok, we had this in “The Vault” (banging my head) but this version is the reissue version with the 78 and 87 versions together, hence the confusion.

Here are the first two pages.

In the opening introduction, it’s interesting that Hogan talked to the press during his playing days, then secluded himself for the most part afterward. A bit the opposite of one particular rockstar I remembered.

No trophies or memorabilia around in his house, but apparently a substantial art collection. To me this speaks volumes.

Great to read this material. Thank you for posting it.

Thanks for this, Lag, hadn’t seen it. Ben Hogan was such an admirable man. He certainly was his father’s son, despite the tragedy surrounding his death and the impact on young Ben.

Ben, the son of a blacksmith, learned early that you earned everything. There most likely wasn’t a lot of chatting around the dinner table with son and Dad. Long days, hard work, were imprinted on that young boy.

Many people criticize Mr. Hogan for his reluctance to share his so-called secrets, even after he published Five Fundamentals. I wonder how many times he told his wife, Valerie, “You know, they (the golfing public, fellow pros) just don’t want to put in the work.” Ben Hogan’s blacksmith shop was the range and golf course. He knew. His father taught him well. And his mother continued the education. I can imagine the conversation, “You work hard son, take pride in your name and your work. That’s all there is.” I found it telling when Seitz asked him if he was goal-oriented–a modern, almost new-age phrase. Mr. Hogan brushes that aside, and responds about just working hard in competition. You can almost hear the bang, bang, bang, of his father’s sledgehammer in the shop. Deliberate, dogged…it’s in the work.

The George Coleman video is a treasure. At that age going through his routine, still ! in the hot Florida sun. Attention to detail on every swing, the beautiful ballflight. It’s all there, just in a different body! To me, the most important footage of Hogan. A life of determination, focus, hard work, gets you to that beach–be it golf or any endeavor.

The end of the video, Hogan, spent, tired, when Mrs. Coleman exclaims, “Oh, Ben!” Such gratitude, and also in that voice, “Come in, rest, have some ice tea!” The final frames, Ben showing us his grip, showing the palms of his hands. An homage to his father, the blacksmith. A blacksmith’s son…

Hogan’s nod to 1948 should be considered compared to 1953 which he is most applauded for.
In 1948, he won11 times which of course was an awesome feat. From what I understand, the PGA Championship was not
considered a major in the way it is today. I think this is obvious in Hogan’s case because from 49 to 59 he didn’t even play the event. Through the 1940’s he played it three times winning it twice, however, I don’t recall Hogan talking about the event. If he did, certainly not in the high regard that he did for the US Open or the Masters. According to Barkow, “The World Championship of Golf” at Tam O’Shanter was really a major of the time, as was the North South, and The Western. I would think 1946 was also quite a year winning 13 times including The Western, North and South and the PGA. I would certainly be interested in anyone has any Hogan remarks about his thoughts on the PGA Championship. I remember reading somewhere that he did not like the Match Play format, but I don’t remember his specific reasons other than the obvious “anything can happen in one round” kind of stuff. I think this confirms his detest of the format, because when they switched it to stroke play, he did play the event three times in 60, 64, and 65. This really throws a wrench into the idea of major championships being the sole measuring stick of the greatest players. Hogan basically did play either the PGA or the British, still clocking in with 9 majors. In a playing career the basically spanned 30 years, it appears he passed on playing about 35 of them (modern majors). If you take that away from some of the others, it changes things regardless of how you look at it.

I think this will be an interesting topic, as it seems Hogan’s legacy makes deep impressions on most serious students of the game, of which there are a few floating around these parts.

By the way, this was put together in “The Vault” in our private student section by “Twomasters” along with 2000 other entries by mostly “Two and Hogansquest”.

Every time I go in there, I am still in awe of their efforts to get so much information in one place on the web. So thanks again guys!

We’ll pull things out from time to time to discuss out here, and hopefully we can all learn something from some of these great players.

Hogan clearly valued the game purely on ball striking. Saying that 1953 was not a good putting year, and how his caddy would look the other way when he putted, turn his head and cover his eyes. It’s really difficult to imagine being competitive
and not putting well.

I found it interesting when Hogan talked about how he liked to practice, starting up close to a green, then working his way back hitting a bag of balls with each club. The course I grew up on had a “practice hole” that you could do this on up to about a 5 iron away. It certainly is different than how things evolved into the driving range concept of today. I used to use that a lot as a kid, and in way it offered not only the obvious "more real"situation, but it would give you time to think about what you just did when you would go in and pick up your balls. By shagging your own balls, you have this added responsibility of having the pick them up, and also viewing your dispersion pattern close up. You might notice that most of your shots are skewed one way or another, and also I see this beneficial for working on distance control, and aiding in developing the intuitive feel for how far you are, particularly when you are walking these off between clubs. Also, if you have a practice hole, you have the option of moving around from one side of the fairway to the other to work on angling in your approach shots to various potential pin positions.

Although this is not a method of practicing available to most today, it’s interesting to think how we could all apply some of these concepts visually or mentally when we do practice, rather than just pounding balls mindlessly into a wide open driving range.

This is one reason I don’t hit range balls. We don’t get mats on the course, they are too forgiving. The balls are not what I play on the course. I never hit the same club twice in a row (hopefully!) and many other reasons.

I do think range work is important when learning a proper golf swing. I think we have all spent a lot of time doing this as some point… I know I have.

But studying Hogan, it’s of course important to keep a bit of perspective on where he was with his game. I always get the impression his practice was more about shaping shots, and feel, “the feel muscle” more than swing mechanics.

I think most of us can find time late in the day on the course, with less people around, and give us a chance to play a few balls from the fairway or tee to get the best practice in… hit different shots and so on.