Hogan's Left Arm, EA...fact or fiction ?

Hogan’s left arm extension is a thing of beauty, even into his later years. It is striking when first seen, but I tend to take it for granted, thinking…oh that’s just how he looks.

TGM folks seem to emphasize the EA action(like pushing an empty left arm sleeve with the right hand), but it is possible to get great left arm extension without EA.

From anything he wrote, do we know if he used extensor action ( EA) of the right arm to achieve this marvel, or did he accomplish this by pulling the left arm out of the shoulder with whatever muscles do that on the left side of the body?
Are there clues to how Hogan was doing it?
Does it matter?
Does cupping the left wrist help achieve a straight left arm?

If anyone can post a good picture here, like the one from Golf Digest in the 1980’s it would be appreciated.

My feeling is that Hogan used a ton of EA. I seem to have an image in my mind of his right bicep contracted at the top which would happen if you either pushed or pulled hard… but I can’t imagine he was pulling it inward. However, when the roller coaster switches direction to low-left-around through and post impact, this push becomes a pull resisting CF in a classic hitters orbit pull move.

Getting back to the top… the super straight left arm is not something we really see all that much in top ball strikers, and it certainly is not mandatory…

but if one is going to go down that road with a ton of EA, then I feel it works best with maximum shoulder rotation-minimal arm travel, and flat and fully rotated with the forearms so that it still can work as an anti over acceleration inhibitor.
Cupping the left wrist has this effect also because in doing so, it discourages hitting with the hands right from the top. As the pivot starts moving, this flattens the left wrist with pressure from the acceleration.

I do believe Hogan’s hip spinning diagrams are consistent with what he felt. If you swing the club so flat that it feels like it is just above the back of your belt behind you, and very low, with the right elbow feeling glued to your body, AND you fully rotate the shaft open with the forearms basically laying the shaft off as much as possible… if and ONLY if you are working the club into this extreme transition path, then you really can crank the body quickly with the legs, hips, torso and shoulders as hard and fast as you want… because from such a packed and connected transition, as soon as you get moving, you are right back down to impact… and if you really took advantage of the full range of motion of shoulder rotation, you won’t be nearly as open as you think at impact in doing so… but it very much COULD feel you are doing exactly what Hogan is describing.

The problem is that Hogan does not make this clear that you “have to do this… to do this” so you get three generations of arm flapping hip spinners that are completely out of sequence and unconnected that over accelerate and then ultimately lose shaft flex.

I feel Hogan’s book is filled with gorgeous assumptions, but if you really get them (assumptions) then you have a deeply powerful book. But one wrong move or missing piece, and you end up with far from perfect results.

I think it definitely matters because it’s part of how he accelerated. He finished very well balanced so you’d have to assume he had relatively equal amounts of energy being expended on each side. If anything he had a little fall back move behind and around to the left, which may speak to how much interest he had in actively accelerating his left side. He talked about Dameret appearing to smack the back of the ball with the back of his left hand. He admired Dameret a lot, and by all accounts, learned a lot from his action. Technically you can pull and push with the left hand(or either hand really) If you want to push something it has to be in front of the hand and if you want to pull it, then it has to be behind it. If you’ve ever messed around throwing rocks on the beach, you’ll notice that you have basically two ways to throw a rock backhanded with the left hand. One is by having your thumb behind the rock with the palm down, which would correspond to a ‘strong’ grip and isn’t really all that strong in terms of constant pressure (plus, it’s kind of difficult to coordinate a single point like that when it comes time to release it- the rock) it’s just strong in terms of it’s effects on face direction. The other way to throw the rock backhanded is if you put it in your hand in a sort of palm up position, which would correspond to a ‘weak’ grip, and back up the throw with your fingers. This is the best way to do it, and is similar to Hogan’s grip, and goes at least some way to explaining his appreciation of the last three fingers of the left hand. In my view, the force created through is whole body(left side) was channeled into the club essentially through those last three fingers, and when you apply that rotational force through those fingers firmly, it extends itself through the muscles. If you look at it very simply, I can’t really see any other way for the force to get in there- the thumb plays a role, but I’m thinking of during maximum acceleration, and the thumb on top-ish cant really apply much force to the back of the shaft. His left hand(both hands) was pretty low coming into the strike, so it has somewhere to go on the axis he’s about to rotate on, and in many ways I think responds to that pre-impact path or location. His right arm and hand(and whole side) delivered a mighty blow, but I don’t think it had any real aim in terms of extending the left side. I think the sides served eachother very well, and like anything stabilized in motion, allowed eachother to function freely. So in that regard you could say that maybe the right arm did extend the left, but not directly as far as I can see. The right side power, and his knowledge of the power that it was going to deliver, did necessitate the way he used his left arm and side, but I don’t think it had any real interest in extending it. Disc golfers tend to ‘hit their drives’ with a back handed action, as do the longest ‘drivers’ of the disc- I find that interesting. It explains the power available in that backhand action, and may also explain Hogan’s 3 right hands. If he wanted 3 of them, then my feeling is he was trying to catch up with something or add to something(to maybe balance it out?) If he feels like he needs 3 somethings to catch up to 1 something, then the 1 something, being the left hand/arm/side, wasn’t being extended. Ultimately it was, past impact and into the follow through, but not during acceleration. That’s my sense of it anyway, but like any journey of discovery, things are subject to change(kind of like that pesky ‘open’ clubface that’s ‘miraculously’ helping me to strike the ball so crisply- bastards! I’ll get back to that one later…)

This so key to Hogan’s swing, and anyone who is interested in a true pivot driven action. I remember watching Gary Player fall over left all the way to his last green jacket.

If you are going to pull the club against CF post impact, then there are going to be incredible forces felt in the right arm and elbow, left arm pit, right armpit, and of course the hands. The flat level rotation is the driving force here… because if you go steep with the shoulders what’s going to pull the club around left?

Cutting left is simply just keeping the shaft on plane through impact. Another miss understood concept.

Here are some pics. IOZ …any thoughts? What do you feel? Do you accomplish this with the left arm or right, both, or neither?

What about Gerry Hogan’s version of EA, which actually seems to be the opposite, but leads to a very straight left arm? I believe at the top of the swing you are trying to pull the left arm bent with the fingers of the right hand exerting pressure against the grip and the left hand. The left arm automatically resists this and you end up with a very straight left arm. I imagine it also aids for those with less flexible wrists to obtain some wrist cock and hold that for longer in the downswing.

Eagle, interesting discussion. I’d swear that it’s easier to keep the arm straight when holding a hockey stick but I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because of the weight distribution (more weight towards the grip end than in golf clubs). Also, the fact that your body knows that you’ll need to propel a relatively heavy ball automatically activates the correct muscles.

IIRC it feels like the left and right arm push against each other. More specifically the right hand pushes in the direction of the left arm pit and the left hand resists. Hockey players use some sort of baseball grip so these ‘opposing forces’ aid the pivot and slap the ball. I will have to experiment with it tonight and report back.

For those of you on module #6, and understand “The Snead Diagram” this really helps to keep the left arm straight… or straighter.

It’s important to understand that keeping the left arm straight is not mandatory to striking a golf ball properly, and some would argue with good points that it may not be advantageous to do so.

It’s not something to be overly concerned about. Even Snead had a bit of bend in his left arm.

Whether you apply a TGM style EA or pull the opposite direction as Gerry suggests, the end result is muscular tension in the arm spoke, and this is what we want to achieve to some degree to aid in the overall cohesive body tension that should exist from the feet right through the hands during the entire golf swing.

A little different rat view. I agree that L arm extension is not mandatory at the top. However, I think how Hogan moved the club back, and from the first moment at the top, speaks to loading the left arm and actually making the L arm longer and stronger.

When to face is rolled open going back the toe of the club is now farther away from the L elbow than what is was at address, and when laid off at the top is even farther away from the elbow…and this puts alot of loading into the L arm to a point that it will brace itself to the weight change dynamic at the top.

At address, if we were to pound a steel rod through our L elbow and into the ground and do the same thing with another pole near the toe of the club…the distance between the two poles from a caddy view would be a given amount of several inches. If the face is rolled open during moveaway to any given point up to P1…and the same steel pole process is used…the distance is now greater and can be seen in feet instead of inches.

When the club is flattened from the top that distance is even more pronounced…it’s like lengthening the L arm without using extensor action. :slight_smile: RR

My feeling is that whatever tension is produced at the top… via straight left arm, armpits, rotational pressures… this all then needs to be maintained back down and beyond…

What happens to so many I see working on a stiff left arm is that they can’t maintain those tensions, and the golf swing simply unravels on the way down due to deceleration, loss of shaft flex and the imminent disasters that lie waiting at impact from such a grave situation :confused:

If however, the ducks are lined up at P3, guns loaded and the proper ammunition is ignited properly, then I still think a straight left arm (spoke) is the method with the highest ideals and intentions.

You go, you go, then you reaaaally go!

Funny sometimes where good thoughts come from. When I read this the other day it really didn’t have any special meaning for me at the time. But for some reason that thought popped into the noggin while I was screwing around with some things at the range.

And then I remembered that awhile ago Two posted something for Lag about a heavy ball used for putting practice. Well, rats aren’t too smart but I thought "hmmm…what if I imagined the golf ball weighing a pound or more and would this affect one’s overall hitting process. So…as rats always do, I gave it a go.

There were immediate results. Hard to describe but it really slowed things down overall to a point where it felt like there would not be enought muscular thrust available to use through the impact interval. However, just the opposite happened as evidenced by ball compression. My take is that by imagining the ball to be much heavier…it harnessed and then unleased a lot of overall body and club mass to send through the ball…like Lag said: the weight of the arms, the weight of the club, all that mass doing an effective job.

Then I got to thinking what if the ball weighed 5 pounds but staying the same standard size. Wish I could find one because I think it would be an elixer for many issues related to hitting.

Thanks for posting that IOZ. :slight_smile: RR :slight_smile:

Apparently I’m a TGM illiterate, but I like to think that’s a good thing for the most part.
It’s a very interesting question now that I understand it. I reckon this is part of the area where opposing forces begin in earnest. Just looking at the swing as a simple system, there are things that it will tend to do when put in motion. As a general rule, if something is hanging out of an upright axis, when the axis is put into rotational motion, the thing hanging from it will tend to do 2 things- it will extend, or move away from the centre, and it will raise up. This is a very simplified image of the golf swing, but it’s more or less what happens when you actively rotate. If you take this picture to the top of the swing you can see why active rotation or unwinding from the top is a disaster, because it sends the club out and up which is the anti in the slot location. Therefore, dropping the club or holding the rotation, or not getting the club up too high to begin with, as Lag says, are good things. All of these transitional thoughts that all the great players have had are all basically aimed at achieving one thing: aligning the club with the rotational energy of the swing to channel it in the direction of where the ball is, and that energy essentially comes out of the spine perpendicular to it. This is a very simple explanation of why the best strikers had the club aligned like that on the way down. This has been talked about before. In terms of improvement, there are degrees, so the closer it’s aligned to that, and the lower down it is, the better. But a lot of good golf has been played from just below the right shoulder, so it’s important to realize that there are always steps. I say that because I have a tendency myself to think in big terms with swing thoughts, but fractions of degrees and milliseconds, can make a huge difference during the transition. Achievable goals are nice.
So in terms of that start down, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to have ZERO rotation or acceleration at any point in the swing imo, so there has to be some countering going on. If the tendency is for the arms/club to go up and out due to rotaional acceleration, then the counter action would be down and in. My feeling is that this is done with the right side/leg/arm/hand through a sort of tricep pull down which also has the effect of straightening the right arm. Snead and Hogan talked about pulling down from the top with the last 2 and 3 fingers of the left hand, but I don’t think you can pull something away from nothing, there needs to be a reason to pull. The pull doesn’t originate in the fingers, it comes from much lower down in the body, and if it comes from down there, then there will be at least some remnants of rotation in that pull- this is why a squatting or downward action at that stage is so helpful. So if that pull of the fingers in the left hand has at least some rotation in it, then the pull of the right side/leg/arm/hand will have to have the opposite of that. I reckon as the left side/arm/hand pulls, the right side/arm/hand also pulls, but in the opposite direction. This pull of the right side and arm achieves a few cool things if you let it- it brings the club down and also removes pressure from the back of the shaft(that gets applied much later, obviously, and the earlier it gets applied the less you have to use, and the the further the club will get pushed outside) It’s also a loading of the right side and leg, etc., etc.
I’ll try to get back to some of this later on because I’ve run out of time- sometimes I’m reluctant to start thoughts because I know they’re not going to be short ones…


I find this sequence of Sadlowski amazing. He maintains that zero rotation for a looooong time. It almost seems his pivot does not change direction. Just continuing to go beyond the 2nd parallel seems to compress his knees. He maintains a close to 180 degree Lag for a long time.

I can’t get this video to load, Macs, but I can hear what you’re saying. He loads down onto the front of both both feet, and has that forward shift of his left heel that we talked about a while back. Loading down like that retains the condition of the body for a long time, and stops the spin out of the left hip, or straightening of the left knee. I like to see the left knee and leg receiving the downward/forward motion as opposed to leading the way. Staying in the front of the left foot is great for that, and I reckon forces the motion to be momentarily led by the rear, which is good imo.

400 yard drives are great, as long as you can hit them straight.


otherwise, you lose your advantage quickly

This is a good image of holding the body, and, to me, pulling inward and down with the right side. In a way, it’s almost hard to believe he’s in the middle of a golf swing he’s so poised.