Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Hogan had many secrets! Not just one… more like a series of secrets all working together in perfect harmony.

One of Hogan’s secrets is that he used persimmon and blade irons…
He got incredible feedback from every shot in practice and on the golf course… If you look at the archaic gear he used back then it can really give you an added appreciation for just how good he was, and how pure his swing had to be to consistently flush blade 1 or 2 irons off tight lies…

Players today will never pure it like that, they don’t have to… so the don’t.

I suspect we will never see swings develop like they did back then…
To really flush it pure like Hogan, Snead, even Moe Norman, those
swings developed from the equipment they were using, the sweet spot was still there on those clubs, but much smaller so swings had to be better.


If you look close, you will see that Hogan’s right arm is still bent after impact almost to the 4rth parallel, and Peter Senior as well. This keeping the right arm stiff and bent 120 degrees allows for the firm support to the angled hinge through the hitting area. If the right arm straightens it wants to close the clubface if you are angle hinging and using radial acceleration.

The feeling is that the hands are not rotating at all, just turning in unison with the torso all the way up the finish…

Want to learn to really pipe it straight even when the body feels stiff and tight? This is the kind of swing that travels well… and can win golf tournaments under pressure…

I believe Hogan liked to keep his ball position straight down from his armpit, just prior to true low point. I agree he seems to look a bit more closed with the longer irons and woods, and slightly open with the shorter irons… I believe he just moved his right foot back slightly as the clubs got longer, and then of course slightly more closed…

As the clubs get longer, they “swing” heavier, and as you rotate more the longer clubs create more outward force, so maintaining a true angle hinge, and the 120 degree bent right arm after impact becomes increasingly more cumbersome as the clubs get longer.

Very few players if any maintain the amount or right arm bend post impact as did Ben Hogan…
The right arm straightening closes the clubface, and moves away from a true angled no roll hinge.

My swing feels exactly the same from wedge to driver, but the force exerted upon my hands, arms and body feels much greater with the longer clubs, and you can see it in high speed photos…. but the intent to hold the same impact alignments is constant and decisive.

I see this in all good ball strikers… there is an inevitable expanding as clubhead speed increases and the clubs themselves get longer… George Knudson also talked about this…

This is why it’s easier to hit short irons straighter. I play a 43” driver for this reason, I prefer to hit the ball straight… depending upon pin position on the green, I am thinking birdie even if I have 4 iron in my hand. I’ll take a shot off the fairway from 200 than 130 in the trees any day…

This thread, post or rant, Hogan or otherwise, is really for the searchers of truth that do in fact care about such lofty ideals. Explaining the golf swing can take time, and any detail left on the table can leave a golfer pulling out their hair for weeks if not months or even years.

I believe “Hogan’s Secret” was really a series of small secrets that were all coordinated and carefully synchronized into a kinetic chain of events that eventually led to a golf swing that was not only dynamically excellent, but EASILY repeatable within the context of the human condition. Now to EASILY understand how such a “swing” can be built out of flexible flesh, blood, skin, pliable fibers and bones… instead of solid steel framing and hinges, or other space age materials, like you would find in such a machine as the “Iron Byron”… this can actually be more of a challenge than building
a mechanical golfing ROBOT.

You can’t switch from swinging to hitting on the way down. The force on the shaft from a foot before to a foot after impact can’t do both.
It has to do one or the other.

I believe you CAN stress the shaft hard against pp#3 with a sharp transition, and you CAN drive it further with more stress on the shaft via pp#1 (Hogan’s 3 right hands) but the backswing would most likely have to be very short, a super tight and fast body rotation, with a world class left hip, just ripping violently left during and after impact, and the upper arms tight on the body with an angled hinge. Sound familiar?

That’s what Hogan did… and why his legacy as the greatest ball striker ever… lives to this day nearly 50 years after his final competitive days.

I really don’t think “Hogan” is a great mystery…

Hogan had a great hip turn via the right leg straightening on the way back, his shoulder rotation was also extraordinary. His hands
traveling was minimal. It’s like his shoulders turn to 12 or 1 o clock, but his hands only get to 10 o clock. To do this his hands would feel as if they are only going to 9 o clock.

His body (torso) could really make a big move and it would take some time load the #4 pressure point on the way down, and compress it against his ribcage… this is what gives that “look”
of fluidity in the change of direction.

This stuff of Hogan is not easy to do… it’s a very athletic move…
getting your shoulders to turn that far, have the hands not go back so far, but at the same time apply a huge amount of extensor action on the left arm is really great stuff… his body could really rotate a lot just to catch up to his hands…

You have to be careful reading Hogan… what he felt and what he did are often very different… I think you are best to look at his swing and then you can think about what he said…

If you have all his pieces in place then it does make sense but if you don’t …you can really end up going down the wrong path.

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The two things that I have seen really throw people off are his “spinning out” with the hips demonstration, and his understanding of the swing plane. Both of these things are not what he does… but I am also quite sure that this is how if may have FELT to him. He was so coiled up at the top with such extreme extensor action, huge shoulder rotation, and minimal hand travel, that it probably felt to him that he couldn’t turn his hips too fast on the downswing. Most golfers could benefit from a much more delayed hip action, being what Hogan did, not what he demonstrated…

His pictures of “The Plane” are misunderstood … that is not what the plane does, nor is this what his plane did…
It’s the breaking of the glass that was his concern… the clubhead should never move outside that plane of glass.

. Only swings from 9 O clock to 3 O clock can stay on a single plane with any real practicality.

I knew a really good player years ago that got so obsessed with Hogan’s plane he built a huge swing plane in his garage out of plywood, and tried to swing on that thing, and it just ruined his game … why? because that is NOT what the swing plane does…

Hogan’s swing is very sound in TGM, he worked hard to perfect it, it repeated well, and he struck the ball as well as anyone ever has. It’s still a high profile model swing 50 years later…

I am one to agree that many golfer’s are mislead to believe that they should start the downswing with a violent spinning of the hips. I have to go back and blame a lot of that mythology on Hogan’s book “Five Lessons”
where he shows the readers this big hip thrusting… to start the downswing. When misunderstood, it’s a disastrous move that has caused much pain for golfers trying to emulate the greatest striker of all time.

On the contrary, I actually believe that Hogan FELT such a move with his hips… Why? because he was so coiled up with body, had such incredible extensor action, very little plane shift compared to most…and I have never seen such a huge torso rotation with so little hand” travel.

This is the key to Hogan’s swing in my opinion. He makes a 110 degree turn with his torso, aided by a straightened right leg maximizing hip slant…but his hands only travel half the distance. For most this would leave a big gap at the number 4 pressure point (left arm pit against the body) but Hogan goes flat and pins it close, fully packing the left arm against the body.

So from this position, Hogan could feel that his body would have to PLAY CATCH UP to his hands, which is the exact opposite sensation that the rest of the world of normal golfers experience.

The average golfer makes little body turn, and takes the club back with the hands and arms, so to properly time their downswing, they need to slow the body and let the hands catch up. That is why you see so many beginners casting the club from the top, coming OTT and any number of tragic events that lead to poorly struck shots.
Amazingly, people who cast from the top, with little body turn are actually doing the best thing they can do, because if they started with the a big hip turn and body rotation, the end result would be an even BIGGER TRAIN WRECK! With the club thrown from the top with no body rotation, the hacker can at least have a chance of making contact with the ball, but if they made no turn going back and just swung the arms and hands back, then spin their hips and shoulders toward the target like the illustrations in Hogan’s book, I doubt anyone could even hit the ball or make any kind of contact that would resemble a golf shot!

Try to put yourself in the position of Hogan at the top, and let me tell you… it’s going to hurt like hell! You’ll be using muscles you didn’t know you had, you’ll have to stretch your body like a seasoned yogi,
and extensor action (right arm pushing on the left to keep the left arm straight) that feels like it’s going to pull your left forearm out of the elbow socket. One you are here, then you can fire the hips like Hogan as fast and hard from the top as you can!! Just like his illustrations!!!

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One thing about emulating any swing whether it be Hogan or anyone else, I think you have to really understand that it’s a total package deal.
I you really want to hit the ball like Ben Hogan, your swing is going to have to look like Hogan’s. All his components are interrelated and fully integrated. You really can’t leave anything out and expect much.

I have seen golfer’s with the Hogan setup, the Hogan take away, the Hogan top of the backswing. I’ve seen the finish, the flat right foot,
the grip, the wrap around your neck lag angle… all of it… but I have never seen anyone put the whole thing together from start to finish.

The closest I ever saw was Peter Senior in the late 80’s from half way down to parallel 4 just after impact. The setup was different and the finish unrecognizable, but he had it where it counts, and the scores to show for it.


What’s your take on Hogan’s forward ball position in pic DSC02074.JPG as shown in Arnie thread? I’ve seen other pictures of him from behind with this similar ball position. This ball position to me doesn’t fit in logically if Hogan plans to strictly rotate from a steady center. Then again, there are obviously many other pictures/videos that the ball position is within normal TGM parameters.

Can we get those photos in question posted over here on this thread so anyone ready can easily refer to them?


this is the photo in question

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There was a very interesting quote in the latest GOLF magazine in a story about Bob Torrance (golf coach)
Torrance says:
“The swing begins from the ground up. Look at Hogan. He’s the only man I’ve ever known who made his legs and body swing his hands and arms”

There are plenty of others, but there is no doubt that proper lower body participation in the golf swing have been overlooked
for a long time… It won’t be overlooked here at ADVANCED BALL STRIKING!

The position of the camera being behind, but not directly behind him… you can’t tell exactly where he has his ball position,
or at least I can’t, but it’s not being played in front of his left foot… this is just a camera position thing…

You’ll see as we move into later modules, I’ll show you how to position the camera when we start to examine swing plane,
ball position and so forth…

It’s very important that we do these things correctly.

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Then at some point we can feel something like this… the moment of truth… because this is really
what we are striving for… but it is dependent upon not just pre impact, but even more post impact intentions.

Not posting this to make any kind of absurd comparisons… , just showing that this is attainable for mere mortals like us too! :wink:



You may not want to make any comparisons Lag but its pretty darn impressive nonetheless :slight_smile: ! Inspired so I’m going to go out beat up on my impact bag for a while… :mrgreen:


Nice photo. I can’t stop looking at it…I’m with Arnie…back to the bag…

Me three…
That is the model to strive for in my opinion…excellent photos of comparison. If you want to be great you may as well strive to look like the greatest.
Off to the bag for some mod 1 beating too!

TGM and Hogan…

I think the confusion TGM guys have with him is that it looks like he has this quick torso rotation that would naturally drag load, but then he uses a hitters no roll angle hinge, cuts it left after impact, and obviously is using radial acceleration through impact… (wishing he had three right arms?)

To me he is the guy that figured out what so few ever have. How to shorten the backswing with the arms and hands, but lengthen the backswing with the torso rotation. In other words, he appears to have a short backswing, yet he has one of the longest ever (torso rotation)… He then rotates pretty quick which looks like a swinging move, but he is even quicker through the ball via the world’s fastest left hip, and continues to pick up speed (just like a hitter). The huge
lag angle he has is really a float load coming down, that’s why his hands still look “soft”. It’s not the stiff wristed look you usually see with hitters…

It’s very deceptive, sneaky, and amazingly beautiful…
It looks like swinging, but it’s all hitting.

Any thoughts on this anyone? … re=related

I know a lot of people clutch at straws about Hogan and Tiger but it’s not a bad observation by Player
Probably only one part of the puzzle- but the video does show what he is talking about

This old video of Ben Hogan’s appearance on Ed Sullivan Show is simply amazing. Elbows glued to hips…where have we seen that before ? Oh yeah module 1.