Thoughts on Ben Hogan


What did Ben Hogan do to change his 1930s swing into his 1940s swing to achieve such a drastic difference at P4?

(Credit: @NRG)


That’s the age-old question, isn’t it?

Probably 1200 balls a day.

1 Like

“The body should feel in balance both laterally and back-to-front. You should feel a sense of heaviness in your buttocks. There should be more tension in your legs from the knees down—the lower part of your legs should feel very springy and strong, loaded with elastic energy.”-Ben Hogan.

1 Like

I would love the see the two pictures side by side w/o motion. To me, he has moved his hands substantially left and his left shoulder is much higher. Hard to tell with the motion and with the different colored tops.

My only question is that if the proximity to the ball for the driver swing vs the iron swing and the stance change he utilized for the different clubs made it harder for him to turn the corner without the club releasing.

I feel pretty confident holding shaft flex with wedges but it gets very difficult with me in my longer clubs and I without a doubt release prematurely.

If he closed his stance with driver, it would make it harder to turn the corner, but doesn’t mean he didn’t hold shaft flex past the ball. He had an open stance with wedges which would predispose him to turning the corner.

Or… 2 different swings entirely and his later years he learned to hold flex and accelerate around the corner.

No clue

I would say that it’s not so much that his hands are more left but rather after his change the hands are still leading the club head well past impact. This is a vapor trail of good acceleration into and through impact.

“I found to my enormous relief that, if I swung back along this plane, my club would, in effect, be traveling up a set slot throughout my backswing, on swing after swing. If it did that, at the top of the backswing plane it was bound to hit the end of this set slot, on swing after swing, thus eliminating my inconsistency.”
Ben Hogan


I see that pic of Hogan doing a powerful backswing load. And all I do now is cringe at this new trend of extreme vertical hands in club head out takeaways and backswings. His photo looks like he is ready to send that ball a country mile. The other “new age “ motions are kinda band aids for other major swing malfunctions. Would love to see a distance comparison of amateurs with the “new age” backswing versus a more transitional hogan load. Would say it would be staggering imho

1 Like

The backswing length is really best viewed as shoulder rotation. Short swings with huge shoulder rotation are not short swings.

It’s easy enough to test yourself. Pin your left arm at 9:00… one with hardly any shoulder rotation… and the other with a huge shoulder rotation. Hit a few balls… you’ll quickly learn the power of a full shoulder rotation.

It should also be noted that a full shoulder rotation opens up the path to the 4:30 line, so if done correctly, you also end up with a more accurate golf swing.

1 Like

There is an auction at:


The auction closes on Sunday April 9th, 2023. At the time I post this (Friday April 7th, 2023), the bid price is: $7,321.

Before the auction ends, go there to see pictures of the set. I saved copies of the pictures on my laptop.

The auction has these club spec’s:

This is the text of the auction following. Thought this would be of interest to all of us ABS folks!


When a call comes in from Fort Worth, Texas you make sure to answer it. That call led to this. Remarkably residing in this lot is Ben Hogan’s very own endlessly significant full set of 9 irons, starting with Hogan’s 1-iron! This represents one of the only sets in existence that were once swung by the man known for having best swing of them all - and that was no secret. ‘The Hawk’ visibly tinkered with this set that he used prior to breaking away from MacGregor in 1953 and as early as perhaps 1948 when the set was first produced. Based off of the specific design, these are likely on the earlier end of that timeline, pre-1950. It comes with a welcomed Texas-based line of provenance that began after Ben Hogan’s handoff to his good friend Dennis Lavender, an individual that carries much weight in the industry. Ben Hogan’s sweat equity was invested in these irons. Lead tape, strike marks (photo #6) on the hosel and shaving either side of the ‘Ben Hogan’ (p. #2) on the backside of the head is present upon examination. Signs of usage include wear on the face in addition to aforementioned unique customizations of the 1-9 irons set in this lot. As the old adage goes - these are tools, not jewels. There is no serial number on the hosel of these, common of Ben Hogan’s personal Reg. 1622 models.

“I have no reason to doubt they belonged to Hogan, but I do think someone else played them after he did. My current thinking is Denny Lavender was given two sets that Hogan used to create prototypes, this one and the Jimmy Powell set. They may or may not have been copied by the craftsmen at MacGregor to make tournament clubs for him. That’s unknowable. The USGA’s found 1 iron 1622 is nearly identical to this example, but it appears to have polished chrome on the weight bar, not satin chrome like yours (this example). The shafts appear original. Ben Hogan definitely wanted to lower the center of gravity as evidenced by the lead weight being added to that location on the clubheads. This set is a wonderful discovery! I haven’t been this excited in years!” - Ben Hogan authoritative expert Jeff Martin proclaimed.

The origin story that began with Ben Hogan’s own bag, to friend and confidant Dennis Lavender’s possession before he put them on display at Cedar Crest’s newly built clubhouse where he was head professional. After being encased at Cedar Crest golf club for a handful of years, the set was acquired by C.R. Shipley. Select irons display additional wear from over 70 years of storage, please reference accompanying lot photos for this detailing. Shipley’s grandson Stephen Farnham consigned these in hopes of appreciation and preservation of the Hogan legacy for many years to come. The Golf Auction would be happy to supply additional photos of Ben Hogan’s personal 9 irons ranging from 35 3/4" - 39" upon request. A signed letter of provenance from C.R. Shipley’s grandson Stephen Farnham comes with this lot.

John Sing
Venice, FL, USA

1 Like

Certainly a lot of different specs show up over the years. Some might have been altered by the person owning them… some might not. Some might have been sets he owned but didn’t play. Lots of comments by caddies, members, friends, other players, casual observers.

I think Tom Wishon probably would be the most credible… Tom being a very advanced clubmaker… he would have an eye I would trust.

The auction closed on April 9th, 2023, with the winning bid being over $27K. Wow.

@lagpressure , thx for your comments and all you do. :slight_smile:

Great comment. I tried ‘lifting’ the club on the backswing for many year prior to finding the ABS forum. I hit my longest driver ever at age 61 last year using the ABS swing thoughts I have found here. This even before starting the modules, which I plan on doing soon. The ABS swing is much kinder to my body as well.


One thing I think that is worth noting in regards to limited arm travel/shoulder turn is hip rotation. Coiling the hips will naturally coil the shoulders so the arms can be kept in front of the torso so to speak to maintain lag pressure into the through-swing. This clip, for me, explains why Hogan braced his right knee and had an extra spike in his right shoe.

I’ve started to work in more baseball mechanics from this instructor and it’s been both literally and figuratively impactful because if you can find how to load from the top, you can apply that force through the ball.

Published May 8, 2023, by the Fort Worth (TX) Magazine:

An excellent synopsis of the life of Ben Hogan, summarizing his life off the golf course.


I feel your pain concerning the travel, because I was a “road warrior” for 25+ years. The only cultures I got to experience was flying over the cities in the states and countries where I made my sales calls, restaurants within walking distance of my hotels, and shops along the way. I will admit I got to play some great golf courses, mostly with customers…Oakmont, Oakland Hills, Inverness, Harding Park, Maderas, Doral, St. Andrews, Portmarnock, Lahinch, Ballybunion, Tralee (with Ben Wright & Frank Chirkinian), Westport, Killarney, Old Head, and The Belfry. I suppose you could say the golf made my travels bearable.

1 Like

I’d like to meet them!

That’s fantastic… playing all those great tracks…

Perhaps there’s been discussion around this idea throughout the thread, but if not, I wanted to throw out the possibility of Hogan’s cupped wrist position (his anti-hook move), which appears to stay cupped until the “hit” or P3 (I believe) as being far more relevant to achieve a proper path or plane than it is for club face control purposes, per sè. Said differently, he still gets to “bowed” at impact, and face is square, but if we was bowed, let’s say from top of backswing or transition, it seems that path would get too inside to out and he couldn’t have the same intense release. Hopefully this is making sense - I am now seeing this as a path or plane optimizer vs. a “I don’t want to get too bowed by the time I hit the ball move, so I’ll start the downswing cupped.”