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Power Golf ()

Ben Hogan may or may not be the greatest golfer ever, but he certainly wrote the most influential golf books of all time.  He more than anyone else established and propounded the fundamentals of the modern swing.  Though some of the material is inevitably dated--younger folks may not even know what the heck a spoon is--most of what he says is just as helpful today as it was over fifty years ago.

This book is especially appropriate for beginners and there are three essential bits of advice that are all someone really needs to know when they pick up a club for the first time :

    (1) The basis of the golf swing is a good grip.  A good grip "enables the two hands to act as a single unit."

    (2) "The first movement in the downswing is the turning of the left hip to the left.  Forget about
            your arms, hands, shoulders and club at that moment and start the hips turning, led by the left

    (3) "My advice to the beginning golfer is to go ahead and hit the ball as hard as he can right from
            the start.  He will be wild for a time.  That's only natural.  Later on he can straighten out his
            hooks and slices with minor alterations to his swing.  But if he doesn't learn to hit the ball
            hard right at the start, he will never be able to get distance without a major overhauling,
            because his speed and timing setup will be something less than his full power."

That's it; that's really all you need to get started.  It's a terrific little book, complete with quaint illustrations of a little golfer in pleated slacks and a sweater demonstrating the lessons.  Of course, there is one more more thing that Hogan emphasized and no book will help you with; if you want to improve you have to practice, a lot.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Sports (Golf)
Ben Hogan Links:
-ESSAY:Golf’s Greatest Mystery: What was Ben Hogan’s Secret? (The Left Rough, Sep. 23rd, 2020)

Book-related and General Links:
    -VIDEO : of Hogan demonstrating the swing (Yahoo!
    -INTERVIEW : Hogan on Golf  : In a 1987 interview, Ben Hogan talked about golf and golfers - past, present and future . . .  (Masters CC)
    -Ben Hogan Web Site
    -Ben Hogan, Inc.
    -TRIBUTE PAGE : William Benjamin Hogan
    -TRIBUTE PAGE : Ben Hogan (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
    -BIO : Ben Hogan : Texas Tough (Larry Schwartz, Sports Century Biography,
    -ESSAY : Hogan's Alley (Larry Schwartz,
    -TRIBUTE : Hogan majored in courage (Larry Schwartz,
    -TRIBUTE : Online NewsHour: Remembering Ben Hogan-- July 25, 1997 (Online Newshour,PBS)
    -TRIBUTE : CNN/SI Ben Hogan: A Tribute (A Sports Illustrated Photo Gallery)
    -TRIBUTE : Ben Hogan's wife remembers husband as exhibit open in USGA Museum. (Golf Today)
    -TRIBUTE : A TRIBUTE TO BEN HOGAN (Paul Daley, AusGolf)
    -TRIBUTE : Gary Player remembers Hogan's words, both kind and sharp (Patricia Davies,
    -TRIBUTE : Ben Hogan: Lifelong pursuit of perfection (JEFF RUDE, Senior Editor, GOLFWEEK)
    -ESSAY : Ben Hogan's Secret (Bob Thomas,
    -ESSAY : on Ben Hogan's Five Lesson : Casey Eberting-What He Teaches and Background Information
    -REVIEW : of  THE HOGAN MYSTIQUE: Classic Photographs of the Great Ben Hogan (GORDON T. THOMPSON, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of I Remember Ben Hogan by Mike Towle (JIM APFELBAUM, GOLFonline)


Distance really has to do with lag, but what we call lag, Hogan called the slot. The slot position is gained from the upswing, just prior to the left leg shift. What Hogan means with the left lower body starting the downswing is exactly what he tells: the upswng is not finished completely as the left hip starts shifting back already. The flexability from this movement gathers lag. When this has happened, the only thing one can do, to keep the upper body up with the lower body is, throwing or casting the right arm away from the target. This causes the upper body to get in time back, which can be viewed as the right elbow getting itself tucked inwards in the side of the body. Most people doing what Hogan tells, as they shift to the left hip from the top of the backswing, use the left arm, which has no strengths at all, because it it is merely an extension of the square body position as a guidance for the right under arm and uper arm and elbow, to release during impact, so lowering the slot position, nearer to the release zone, and therefore coming sort of too late to let the right side get the club face square enough through impact. To late and not yet squared, there is only one way the ball can fly, either pushed with a fade or sliced, depending on the hands position at the top. Hogan uses a drawing of a throwing action, like when one hits with a baseball bat. There is only one piece of the whole human body that can really deliver the club head square and with any real power to the ball: the right under arm. Now i will explain the true reason for it: Never can the right under arm, extend prior to the impact zone, to pass the right elbow. Only after the ball, this will happen, caused by the passing of the initial setup position of the left hand, close to the middle of the stance. This is pure physiology nd physics, based on the address position, which is all about setting up the left arm and hand as the guidance, for a square initial position, to start from, and also preventing the right under arm to extend past the right elbow prior to impact. So one can and should hit with the right under arm, in a search to maximize the elastic lag of the slot position gained from shifting the left hip sooner than the upswing has reached its top position. The better this is connected as a natural and comfortable tempo move, the more lag is brought into play, for the right under arm to get momentum from in the snapping cast action away from target, as it converts the slot position lag into the impact striking. If one does this, either with force or in a relaxed manner, which is better and even more powerful, the ball will give a totally different feel on the club head. It is as if it explodes. Because of the immense speed during impact of the clubhead and after even accelerating further, one will notice some kind of gluedness between ball and club head. The result is kind of a doubled impact or extended impact. The ball becomes more compressed for a longer period than otherwise. Here lies the real secret of Hogan, with regard to the simple swing. The other secret concerns something else: it is the answer to a search to swap the draw-flight tendency into a fade-flight tendency. This only becomes of added value to the first secret, once that has been mastered first. One can know if one has mastered it simply. One will hit a driver without a tee, and draw the ball. One does not need a tee even to use the driver, if it is 10 degrees. Normally with a low tee, one will have a tendency to fade the ball. But if one has mastered properly the Hogan technique of the slot and right under arm, after the prior to top position shifting of the left hip, it will produce a draw. No sooner, than when out of 30 drives, 29 are hit with a slight draw, it might become time to experiment with different hand roll action during the backswing. Now, if you have understood this all, there is no need for you to buy any stuff from the socalled golf doctors. They simply are not golf doctors, but people who should have become priest in the catholic church, were the name of the game is not being hindered by any real knowledge of historical facts, and lying is rewarded. The books of Hogan are the real bible, but one has to be able to read them properly, and that means very precise, with the circumstances fully in mind. Hips start shifting prior to reaching the top of the upswing. in fact as the hips shift, they move the same direction as the arms are in their completion of the backswing. That momentum helps the hips, and the hips then cause the ams to complete the backswing. Here the name of the game is tempo. The arms fall into the slot, but all lag is lost if the right arm is not applied to go into a reverse direction away from target, to help the gained lag from the slot into the strike zone, as it can never get past the right elbow angle, prior to impat, but should attempt to help the elbow speed up into that impact position, to allow the upper body to keep up with the hip shift. Only in order to prevent such complicated detailed explanation, Hogan just reduced this whole information aray, into one simple concept: the slot. One of the reasons was also, that as a Bantham fighter against big men, he knew his own advantage telling his principles in a reduced manner, so letting all having to figure out what he exactly meant, on purpose. But what he told, is correct, although in a restricted form, as you now can know.

- John Hagen NL

- Aug-31-2006, 22:35


I agree with the review concerning hitting the ball hard from the start of learning golf. Vijay told me personaly to hit the ball hard as you can because it is hard to learn distance later in life in the golf swing. Jack Nicklaus said in his book to learn to hit hard from the beginning stages of learning golf and accuracy can be learned later.

The golf swing is just like the baseball swing. You simply coil or turn your left shoulder under chin against the right foot with no sway. No sway means your right knee position remains flexed in the backswing similiar to address position. Harvey Penick said in the backswing you can never swing slowly. So please take a nice slow tempo that matches your personality.

In transition, the downswing simply starts with the left side like Ben Hogan said the left hip. I disagree with this because I tried this move personally and it can confuse a lot of golfers by leading with the left hip.

What I found out and discovered that that thefirst move in the downswing is like baseball, the left FOOT. WHY? this helps the body weight to move lateraly first then the hip will naturally clear on its own.

If I tell a student to clear the left hip in the downswing he or she will spin out and cause to come to steep in the downswing.

The truth is Ben Hogan never really tells the truth in his book where his real power source is!!!!!!!!

- Big O

- Jul-02-2006, 03:15