People Look At the Wrong Ben Hogan…

hogan top 40sJust as I pointed out that the Moe Norman swing that made Moe Norman famous as a quirky, straight-shooting Canadian in the 50’s and 60’s had a floating pivot swing with a lifting heel.

The Moe Norman you see when someone mentions his name – that swing was a later-years swing when Moe began to exaggerate things in his swing to get more and more attention.

But the swing that won the Canadian Amateur twice and played in the Masters twice in the ’50’s…

Moe Norman didn’t swing like this back then:



This was the Moe Norman swing from back then:

Moe Norman’s Floating Pivot & Heel


And just as people look at the wrong Moe Norman when trying to figure out what made him so good back then, people are looking at the wrong Ben Hogan all the time.

Part of that is the mystique Hogan acquired in winning the 3 majors in 1953 after his near-fatal car wreck, but let me show you something that people don’t look at.

Hogan didn’t “rebuild” his golf swing from a hooker to a fader after his wreck.  He’d done that years before.

People should know their history when they make claims.  One ridiculous fable has Hogan in his hospital bed thinking about some British golfer who played a fade and won everything…

Most people don’t know that Ben Hogan won 30 Tour events in the three full seasons before his wreck, and he’d already won 2 events by the time of his wreck in February in ’49.

But he’d won 10 events in ’48, 7 in ’47 and 13 Tour events in 1946, the first year of Byron Nelson’s retirement.

30 wins in 3 seasons.

And he’d already won 3 of his eventual 9 majors when he had the wreck.

So, the myth of Hogan building a swing from his hospital bed is just that, a sad myth.

Hogan was no hacker before his wreck, he was the best player on the planet already and his surviving the wreck was that big a deal because of who it was.  He was no journeyman trying to make cuts, he was

And his swing looked like this:

Ben Hogan’s High Heel Lift


Ben Hogan didn’t stop lifting his leading heel high like Nicklaus/Jones because he wanted to – he could barely walk after the wreck shattered his pelvis and vascular issues made his legs swell when he did play.

So he lost the high heel because he couldn’t pivot that way anymore with his reduced mobility.

So if you’re going to look at a Ben Hogan swinging with healthy legs and hips and when he was the best player in the world – this is what you’ll see.

hogan top 40s


And that position, my friends, is no different from these three when you’re talking lower body action:

high heel


You can believe the no-nothing experts on the forums who don’t even know what they’re talking about (like saying Hogan didn’t float his heel… OK… whatever…) or you can simply look at the pictures yourself and see what I see.

Mechanically-correct swings from the old masters, and garbage technique from today’s guru instructors.

So Hogan not only floated his heel with his swing following his wreck, he did so in a big way while winning tournaments and majors in the years before that wreck.

And that, Jack, is the fact

7 thoughts on “People Look At the Wrong Ben Hogan…

  1. wrskiwp

    As i look at these pictures it seems that they are about to fall forward at the top of the backswing. And the only reason they don’t fall over is because they catch themselves by pushing there left heel to the ground. Is this the Trebuchet Drop?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Aha – first off, very good question about two things, wrskiwp:

      1. A true “floating pivot” doesn’t shift weight laterally. So in the course of a dynamic and continuous motion, you’ll reach that position at the top where, if your left leg were removed from beneath you, you’d fall to the left or target.

      Because it’s a picture of a continuous motion, it is misleading because the swinger does not pose there at the top. At the top, the left heel returns to the ground to begin the down swing sequence.

      2. This is not the “trebuchet drop.” That is the dropping of the head back and slightly to the right on the down swing in a power golf swing. The head is a counterweight to the dropping arms and club, so as they descend to the left, the head “trebuchet drops” from the top to impact.

      Good comment! 🙂

    2. chiefcowpie

      They would fall over if their weight was on the left foot or have a complete power loss in the execution as in the s&t (which finally seems to be dead and buried as in no pro’s playing this swing currently on tour).

  2. chiefcowpie

    Ben is taking his club as far as you do Dj. Don’t know what iron this is, any one know? For someone considered a flat swinger, from the perspective that he pulled into his right shoulder, he appears more upright here. There seems to be a certain fashion in going flat nowadays but for me, the power with ease is in the more upright swing as I think DJ would agree.

    1. D Watts Post author

      His pre-wreck swing was as long and relaxed as mine is, and tragically didn’t remain so – he would have swung that way and likely won a good deal more than the 6 majors he won post-wreck. The man was a winning machine and you can see why with his swing.

      Funny, he’d likely have won more majors than his post-wreck self, but wouldn’t have had the mystical hold on the public’s mind that winning post-wreck did for him…

  3. Mark

    DJ, you absolutely spot on with your analysis here about Hogan. I have made the changes to my swing based upon the MCS model, basically going back to the swing I was taught back in 1968 based on Hogan’s book “Power Golf” which has illustrations based on Hogan’s pre-wreck swing with MCS modifications. It’s paying off now but I always struggled with tempo being too fast.

    I too will head out to the range and channel Bobby Jones and swing like a wet noodle.

    I tried that a bit the last time I played and it added 10-15 yards to all my clubs. The guys in my group of similar age (55 and over) were puzzled by my distance off the tee, which was 15-20 yards longer with a three wood than their drives with 1 woods.

    They all swing with planted left heels.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Going back to a pre-wreck Hogan swing would be exactly what the doctor orders, Mark – and those planted-heel guys will get shorter and shorter as they age, while you’ll be hitting it longer next year than you perhaps ever have… gotta like that!! 😀

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