Macgregor Ben Hogan 1 Iron spec - USGA Museum

The reason I asked about swing weight on heavier clubs is that I had a Titleist 980f fitted with steel the other day. Its now quite a heavy club but with a slightly heavier grip it feels well balanced. As an after thought the club fitter gave me the swing weight reading of D1. I just wondered if the overall ‘feel’ of balance with a heavier club could be explained in terms swing weight.


Can you explain more how this is so.

If you are square in all three axis and using a lens length long enough to avoid distortion then how can the club appear 4.5 degrees flatter than it is?

Also if it is possible to obtain such an obtuse error then all these people doing video analysis are deriving theories based on grossly inaccurate data?

I can take a pic with the camera I use for my module filming of a 60 degree set square……….measure the angle with my analysis tool on my drawing software …….and its 60 degrees!


I think you and mrlek are more or less saying the same thing. He just observed that when you take the picture from slightly above the club that the lie angle appears flatter. You are saying that if everything is set up right the angles would be preserved.
I think we all understand how angles can be measured poorly from pictures, but if the picture is set up perfect then it should be an accurate reading.
As far as drawing a bunch of lines in swing analysis, I was never a big fan of it for this reason and some others. But if you set up the camera just right in relation to your or somebody else’s setup every time there could be some utility to it.

Imo the shadow, lighting and angle in the photo suggest that the camera is looking slightly down on the club and not level with the point of measurement.

The only way to check this 100% is measure the club. 55.5 is the number so the picture looks to be distorted as I described, this is only possible to say now with the wonder of hindsight and the actual number.

Im not having a pop at swing theories but Im interested in factual data. If we want to conclude that the 1 Iron is unreliable as it may have been altered then so be it.

It also doesn’t mean that the old greats were not swinging flatter, clearly they were and the video analysis is correct on that. It’s interesting to try to establish their actual specs if at all possible though.

If Mr Hogan actually swung flat with this club as is, we can learn something more about his setup. If its not considered reliable data, the speculation continues…

Im wondering if this arched wrist setup discussed by Jackie Burke and Steve Elkington may have a bearing on the lie angle for some of the great players of that era. There are others on this forum better qualified that can hopefully provide the proper analysis.

This excerpt from a 50’s article by Jay Hebert on “The Power Position” also discusses the subject:

"A low handicap player….holds his hands high and to the front. How high? Well high enough so that there aren’t any wrinkles on the tops of his wrists. And far enough upfront so that a reasonably straight line is formed between his left elbow, his left wrist and the shaft of the driver.

This latter position is known on the circuit as the power position. In this position, you have your hands up there where they can do some business - you have them positioned in such a way that they automatically fall into the proper slot at the top of the backswing, from which slot you will unleash your natural power. By keeping the hands low and toward the rear at the address, however, you are forcing yourself to make your hands swim during the course of the backswing. As a result, they can only find the proper slot by chance - if at all".

The arched wrist position at address is something that has always mystified me with Hogan. We know his arms were long and we know his gear was flat, both of which belie high hands at address. He could always have the heel a bit in the air at address, but it doesn’t look that way.

I agree that his wrist position is very hard to understand. Any insight on that would be helpful

Most players come into impact with their hands higher than at address. Most players have the toe of the club slightly up in relation to the ground.

Hogan was one of the few players who’s hands would come in lower into impact than they were at address. So it only makes sense that he had the heel slightly up at address. It would be hard to see, especially because grass was not mowed as close in his era. If I had to guess it would be 2 to 4 degrees difference.

The higher hands at address moving into lower at impact is consistent with what I call a heel heavy divot sensation through the strike, and it also promotes a looping action to the inside through transition.

One advantage to setting up this way would be that the player would be forced to slot it back lower through transition and the downswing, and if you read Hogan’s 5 Lessons, it would be consistent with the tilted plane of glass mentioned in the book.

I don’t think it’s a big mystery. Just set up with your hands high, then come in with them low. You’ll feel what I am talking about here.

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Here is a pic of my personal 1 iron that I have set up at 52 degree lie angle. I just re checked in on my machine.
Taking my camera from what would comfortably fit into the camera lens, about 2 and a half feet back it seems the discrepancy might be
about 1 degree. In my photo, it appears my club is actually the opposite, meaning the photo suggests it’s a degree more upright than it actually is.

Hogan’s 1 iron appears to be flatter than mine, as I would have speculated. I think the camera angle of that club is good. Nothing looks odd or suspicious to me. Could be some distortion. Hogan’s 1 iron might be a degree or so different and possibly even flatter than this pic suggests…but not 6 degrees different I would not think.

While it’s speculation, my club is not speculation and appears to be consistent with Hogan’s clubs being similarly flat to what I play.
I have calibrated my machine and it is accurate to less than 1 degree.

There is an indication in the photo that the club is sitting back on the sole as the pin is visibly left of centre.

If you hold a pinned club square on the leading edge from a square on position and then let it sit back on the negative bounce, the shaft angle appears to flatten from a square on view.

There would appear to be some room for photographic distortion in this way .

If the clubface sat slightly open, it would make the pin appear to be more to the left, but that would not necessarily change the lie angle from a camera view. If you rolled the shaft clockwise or open… that could be all it is. I don’t think the club looks back on the sole. Just my opinion. I say this because many of the earlier Hogan releases had shaved toes. Just take a look at the Power Thrusts. I just looked at a set I have out back, and that is how they look. The other thing is that the drill holes on many vintage irons are not always that dead accurate as far as being bored at a perfect 90 degree angle to the clubface.

Good observations though. Again, a lot of speculation, but I think that photo looks to be pretty accurate. I would tend to trust that more than what someone said in a letter, email or over the phone.

Its open to interpretation. Ive looked at an early 50’s Tourney 2 Iron a moment ago and held it flat on the table against a protractor.

When the club rocks back to a pin position that looks like the photo, its only a very small move back, but the change in appearance of shaft angle is considerable - I’d say easily 4 degrees by eye. The pins are also perfectly centred in my set, possibly because they are the top-line model. I’d expect a similar result on Power Thrusts as they have very sharp leading edges.

Personally I don’t doubt the USGA Measurement taking the above into consideration but I respect your opinion. Perhaps someone should ask for the club to be re-checked - but its not gonna me !

Didn’t this 1 iron disappear or was stolen? Then later it turned up and returned to Hogan?.. that’s what I had heard. Mike our club guy here also mentioned that to me today. If the club was in the possession of someone else, it would not be a stretch that they would bend it up to their specs so they could hit it. Wouldn’t you want to hit it? The magic club?

One could argue that the club in the photo is not the exact club. I don’t remember the source. Maybe from the museum site at one time? Maybe it is just the model he was using at the time?

Certainly more interesting than some of the murder mystery theater dinners I have attended.

ha ha, yeah possibly as case for Jim Rockford to investigate.

Just noticed that the story of the club is related on the USGA Museum website

Whats interesting is that it was supposedly found in a set of irons and not matching them. It sounds quite likely then, that it was played and could have been adjusted. While I believe the lie measurement is correct at 55.5, the club isn’t sufficiently reliable for analysis of Mr Hogan’s club setup based on the story of its journey.

It would definitely be interesting to learn the spec on a personal model persimmon.

If you could freeze a video frame of rocco mediate holding Hogans driver up to the camera in a square position it may be possible to derive some data ……………at least an interesting experiment :ugeek:

I didn’t know we were talking about basketball. :laughing:

Lag, I’m trying to understand how this action worked. It looks to me like Mr Hogan was very precise in slotting the shaft into the exact same position at the moment of impact as at address (I’ve not had time to study this extensively on multiple swing footage).

Looking at this analysis by Wayne Defrancesco. It’s obviously one dimensional but at the moment of impact the shaft angle matches the setup.

The difference in the two positions is that the hands are slightly further down the line at impact due to shaft lean and de-lofting.

From a dynamic perspective I’m not sure what to make of it ? assuming the face is square at impact, perhaps the de-lofting is what creates the effect of a flatter entry?



I like this angle for viewing swing plane because the plane of the shaft through impact being inclined would dissect the body about at belt level then move behind us… so to properly set up a camera for correct analysis if sitting up and off the ground as it typically is, then the camera should really NOT be placed above the ground straight back on the flight line, but instead it should be placed more toward the heels if it is about 3 feet above the ground. This may not be perfect, but it’s close…

So clearly here, Hogan’s hands come in lower than they were at address. I was careful making this gif to line up the crop right on his right shoe. You can see a streak in the film that moves laterally, but his feet don’t.

Depending upon camera angles… you will see some footage where his hands come in about the same, and some that come in lower. Hard to find any other players who’s hands come in lower… ever.

When I have time, I’ll see if I can dig up some of the older footage I used to study that really showed his hands coming in lower, even from a more typical DTL view.

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A short story — In the mid 1980s I was stationed at Ft. Eustis VA. and knew a fellow named Bob Farino who owned American Golf. Bob was a repairman, collector and was well connected in the golf world and sold internationally, especially to Japan. While visiting one day he asked me if I wanted to see Hogan’s famed 1 iron and naturally I did. If memory serves it was supposedly stolen or misplaced and Bob somehow obtained it and was suspicious that it might be THE club. Bob told me that he had verified ownership by Mr. Hogan. He graciously returned it to either Mr. Hogan or to the golf course that had his clubs (not sure). I took the story at face value and it may or may not be true but the club sure looked like Hogan’s. I can’t recall if it was a green shafted model or chrome. Mr. Farino wrote a definitive book on classic golf clubs that is informative but hard to locate.