Hogan Way: How to Apply Ben Hogan's Exceptional Swing and Shotmaking Genius to Your Own Game

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In the same way that magicians are intrigued by Houdini, golfers look to Ben Hogan as the Ultimate golfing genius; the most skillful swinger and shotmaker of all time and the master of the power-fade shot."
— John Andrisani

Hogan was a player whose ball-striking ability was so precise that he literally wore down the grooves in the sweet spot of the clubface. He would concentrate so intensely during play that he could look straight through ...

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In the same way that magicians are intrigued by Houdini, golfers look to Ben Hogan as the Ultimate golfing genius; the most skillful swinger and shotmaker of all time and the master of the power-fade shot."
— John Andrisani

Hogan was a player whose ball-striking ability was so precise that he literally wore down the grooves in the sweet spot of the clubface. He would concentrate so intensely during play that he could look straight through other competitors, spectators, and even his wife. He was a highly disciplined professional who practiced so diligently before and after competitive rounds that he made his palms bleed and turned the skin to leather. He was Mr. Ben Hogan, the man who, of all golf professionals past and present, had the most influence on the game's techniques since Bobby Jones.

In The Hogan Way, acclaimed author and former golf teacher and senior instruction editor of GOLF Magazine John Andrisani analyzes every aspect of Hogan's techniques to help you improve your game faster than ever before. Tapping into the talent of a shotmaking genius-the purest striker of a golf ball that ever lived—Andrisani shows how to apply the secrets of Hogan's setup and swing to your own game using today's technologically advanced clubs.

As he traces the history of Hogan's commanding swing, Andrisani makes clear which aspects of Hogan's style are worth imitating and which ones are not. Most importantly, this invaluable guide reveals secrets about the Hogan techniques that have never been shared before, including how he shaved strokes off his score and hit his trademark power-fade shot. Here, too, areinsights into the master's golfing mind, his practice approach, and his unique course-management skills.

Filled with rare photographs and illustrations that demonstrate the extra-special qualities of Hogan's shotmaking methods, The Hogan Way is your essential handbook for playing good golf.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062702364
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Rocky Roads

Learn from Hogan's early mistakes

In 1924, when William Benjamin Hogan was 12 years old, he caddied at the Glen Garden Country Club, near his home in Fort Worth, Texas.

Driving contests were a common thing around the caddy-yard, with each "looper" wanting to prove his machismo. Hogan did not fare too well in these competitions for a couple of reasons. First, he was short and skinny. Second, he used a cross-handed grip, employed by reversing the hands on the club so that the right hand is closer to the top of the handle. This grip is not recommended by golf teachers because it promotes an exaggerated hand action. When you become "handsy," as Hogan was to discover, the tendency is to pick up the club too quickly in the takeaway (the initial stage of theswing). In turn, this abrupt lifting action prevents youfrom shifting your weight properly on the backswingand disrupts the turning action of the body. So power isdrained from the swing. Additionally, this highly un-orthodox grip gives you such little security in the lefthand that you are unable toguide the club into the ballat impact. Hogan found out the hard way that clubhead speed alone is not what produces power. For maximum distance, the clubface must also make clean contact with the ball at impact, and to do that the left hand must be able to lead. When you use a cross-handed grip, it is extremely difficult for you to attain control over the club. Consequently, the toe or heel end of the clubhead, rather than the sweet spot (located in the virtual center of the clubface), contacts the ball. Weak, off-line shots result.

Hogan wanted to win these driving contests so badlythat he happily heeded the advice given to him by Ted Longworth, the pro at "The Garden." According to Curt Sampson, in Hogan, his absolutely must-read biography, this is what Longworth said: "Bennie, if you don't change that hog-killer's grip, you may as well take up cattle rustling."

Since Hogan wanted a grip that would ensure more distance off the tee, Longworth had him hold the club conventionally, with the left hand closer to the butt-end of the club. However, Longworth also told Hogan to do something that was unconventional: turn both hands to the right, in a clockwise direction, so that the back of the left hand and the palm of the right practically faced the sky. This grip was used by the early Scottish players at St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland, since it made the ball fly low and cheat the winds blowing in from the North Sea, which borders this most famous of links courses. What Hogan was given was a truly unorthodox grip, designed to produce added distance, through lower flight and overspin.

Describing this grip in Power Golf Hogan said: "Looking down on my left hand I can easily see the first three hand-knuckle joints." Any good teacher will tell you that Hogan is seeing a "strong grip." Hogan was thrilled because, among his peers, this grip made him feel like King Kong. As a result, his enthusiasm for the game grew. So much so that he lost interest in school and eventually dropped out to play the amateur circuit. However, he struggled. The reason that Hogan was drummed in tournaments week after week by the likes of Byron Nelson was that he missed the fairways and greens and made too many double-bogeys. The same strong grip that turned him into a long-drive hero was now stopping him from winning. Only Hogan failed to realize this. So he began spending hours and hours on the practice tee, making other changes to his swing, in an attempt to cure his violent hook. Ironically, had Hogan gone back to Longworth for a lesson on improving accuracy, or gotten tutoring from another pro, he would have almost certainly been advised to change his grip. But Hogan was too proud and stubborn to ask for help. Not only that, he enjoyed the challenge of trying to solve the mystery of his swing faults. Hogan was sure he would discover the swing secret that would bring him into the inner's circle, so he turned pro at age 18. This stubborn attitude of Hogan's almost cost him his career.

The more experimenting he did on the practice range, the worse he got. Instead of finding a swing that would allow him to hit the ball more accurately and get the ball into the hole in fewer shots, he dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole. He was so unsuccessful at he had to take up various jobs at country clubs in order to make ends meet.

In chapter two, I will explain, in detail, how Hogan corrected his faulty swing and finally broke through. But first want to review the mistakes he made. These same errors in setup and swing are common among club-level layers, for the simple reason that we all want to hit the all far. In the search for distance, though, the elements of the setup and swing that help promote accurate shots re ignored. When reading about Hogan's faults in the text that follows, and looking at the accompanying artwork, determine if they match your own positions. If so, suggest you make changes to your technique based on how Hogan dramatically changed the way he addressed the ball and swung the club.

Hogan's Early Setup and Swing Faults

The natural instinct, for any golfer, is to swing the clubwith the hands. After all, the hands are the only contactyour body has with the golf club. Hogan was no different...

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2000

    A Great Read

    This book really provides an much easier insight into the golf game of Ben Hogan than Five Lessons. It proves that Hogan did indeed build his game by digging it out of the ground. It also shows Hogan's mastery of the mental aspect of the game.

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