Young Ben Hogan – Glorious Athletic Motion

hogan topTargetTom had never seen the Ben Hogan swing shown below in the gif., so I told him I’m write a post about it.

People don’t realize that Ben Hogan was actually a very athletic man before his near-fatal car wreck.

The Ben Hogan swing most people know came from the post-wreck era, when he was severely limited in his lower body mobility – though he had enough of it to continue playing golf with his “perfect pivot” move.

So, how many people have seen what Hogan’s swing looked like in his younger days?

Well, it looked a lot more like my personal MCS swing motion than any so-called “Ben Hogan” swinger of today:

hogan young

Of course, I wasn’t nearly killed in a car wreck, so I still have as long a swing at 46 that Hogan had in his pre-wreck days.

And if you think Hogan got better simply because he couldn’t swing as long as before the wreck, then you need to do a little more research, because the pre-wreck Ben Hogan had already won 30 Tour events, including 2 majors, in the three seasons before the wreck:

hogan record

In other words, Hogan was Hogan before the wreck, and the mystique that built up around him was because was just as good when he came back, though nearly crippled and unable to play more than 5-6 events per year.

So, the video evidence is as clear as day that the only reason Hogan played with the shortened swing post-wreck was because he had to.

The real Ben Hogan was the Hogan who was tearing up the PGA Tour in the late 40’s, winning an average of 10 events per season for 3 seasons before the wreck!

There is no Tour player who swings anywhere near the way Hogan swung, either pre or post-wreck.

Ben Hogan Pre-Wreck


9 thoughts on “Young Ben Hogan – Glorious Athletic Motion

  1. Chief Cowpie

    Wonder if this is after the “duck hook years”? While it is quite a wallop he takes, it is also very contained and manageable exertion so as to it seems to me, to avoid the plague of the wrap around hook. Good stuff!

    1. D Watts Post author

      I would make an educated guess that it was after the duck hook years, Chief.

      My logic: Hogan was really a nobody until he started winning, and Byron Nelson ruled the late 30’s and early 40’s until he retired.

      Plus, camera film was very rare and expensive in the pre-war days, even post-war – who would have wasted film on the swing of a guy who couldn’t stay on the Tour?

      My guess – this swing is from his early winning years, when he’d finally figured out his swing and pivot, and of course, being in his early to mid-30’s, it was a nice and flowing swing.

      That would be my guess.

  2. targettom

    Thanks for posting. I saw this clip (plus DTL) on the golf channel yesterday. I was amazed that he was getting Sadlowski-like length to his swing and all the lag angle on the downswing. Seems he really has his right elbow tucked in. His 1946-48 record is phenomenal.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hogan’s swing was a true, athletic golf swing, until the car wreck. People believe what they want to believe, but the visual evidence is clear – Hogan would still have been the star he was, in the 50’s without the wreck, and with a much more fluid swing than the one he had post-wreck.

      People who talk about Hogan re-tooling his swing while lying in hospital bed are either telling or have been told tall tales – 30 wins in 3 seasons…

      Hogan already had his swing before the wreck, and his recovery created the legend. It didn’t create him, as he was already the best player on Tour following Nelson’s retirement.

  3. Laser

    “There is no Tour player who swings anywhere near the way Hogan swung, either pre or post-wreck.”

    –Wow. That’s an amazing statement. And, indirectly, Hogan had something to do with it. Modern instruction has a lot of emphasis on hips/shoulders, and that can be traced back to Five Lessons–which Hogan didn’t write, but collaborated on the project (as part of the settlement of a lawsuit against Sports Illustrated).

    However, I don’t see where Hogan ever embraced or endorsed that book.

  4. buddhabob

    a beautiful swing, truly. I never saw his real swing. Totally natural, swinging and athletic. I am very sad that high tech has now demanded far less from golfers. Speith may win today with a killer putter and garbage game, no way he even competes with that swing years ago. The game no longer demands the athleticism it certainly did back then, we are left with billiards basically. Billiards Golfing. Just get to the green, then bring out the pool cue and get to work. Frickin billiards. Sad.

  5. Jason

    Bubba Watson has a lot of those characteristics – but I think what DJ means is that it’s a tragic rarity.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Absolutely right, Jason. Bubba is a throwback to the classic players, as were Vijay and Phil… when Phil is gone, the only classic swing you’ll be seeing will be Bubba’s – until the new generation shows up!

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