Hogan’s Perfect Pivot

I called Ben Hogan’s pivot action the Perfect Pivot back in 2014 for a reason – that it absolutely was.

In fact, the only thing preventing me from making Hogan the model for the MCS Golf Swing rather than just the pivot action comes down to one thing he did.

First a look at that amazing pivot action:

So, let’s unpack some things here, like the fact that Hogan built a million anti-hook things into his swing, such as:

  • The angled stance,
  • The weak grip,
  • The strong lateral move on the transition and of course
  • The “swing left” swipe to produce the unerring fade for which he was renowned, and which has been breaking the backs of the pros today trying to copy that (hello, Tiger Woods et al).

The thing is, it’s my theory that all of the above could have been eliminated with one simple change.

Unpacking a little more, if you look at the ball position Hogan had with the driver:

Hogan grew up in Texas and played golf in the windy conditions which, as Texans will tell you, made a low draw the optimal shot action – keep that ball down out of the wind and have it drop and run.

I’ll put on my detective’s cap and surmise without any affirmation from Hogan himself (but you can draw a logical conclusion) that he (and others) teed the ball back of where you would usually put it so that one could trap the ball and create that low hook.

Knowing that Hogan flopped out of the Tour and went back home to the drawing board multiple times in the 30’s and 40’s before he learned how to control his ball with that fade, I would conclude that he turned himself inside out due to:

  • having the ball so far back of where it would naturally be for the specific club used,
  • coming from sharply inside-out in order to make contact and
  • having a strongish grip to turn the ball over instead of hitting a dead push,
  • one or more of the above got out of control, giving him the duck-hook that sent him packing after missing cuts and running out of funds.

So, instead of simply moving the ball up in the stance, something that no Windy Texas player would even contemplate, he began to tinker with his swing until he had all of those anti-hook measures in it, and then began to strike the ball solidly and send it exactly where he wanted to.

Notice as well that short-stop slide with the trailing foot, which would indicate nothing more than an early rotation into impact, something I have had in my own swing due to being left-dominant and not setting up optimally to the ball:

Bear in mind that with a stance that wide, he’d have had to release the trailing foot at any rate, with a delayed slide or step-around in the finish, in order to prevent a Reverse-C finish, but that slide right at impact is what gives it away, and remember that you have to rotate and open up in order to swing left to begin with.

All of this of course is my wild speculation, don’t take it for fact, but knowing what I know about Hogan’s life and playing history, looking at this swing when he was the best player in the world, it makes more sense to me than any other theory.

So, a swing action I would never recommend to try to emulate, but that gorgeous pivot action was the foundation to whatever success he garnered with his unique swing action.

Had he made his adjustment by moving the ball more to standard and only moving it a tad back when he wanted to trap the ball or get a lower trajectory, he likely would have been a much longer hitter, wouldn’t have needed all of those anti-hook moves, and wouldn’t have needed to hit balls all day, every single day of his life, in order to dominate.

He simply had a perfect pivot, and if he’d started there and with moving his ball up… who knows how many more events and majors he’d have won, even with his limited mobility following his near-fatal and crippling collision with the bus that foggy night.

But he likely had never set up a ball in any way other than how they do it in Windy Texas, and he likely had gone too far in doing that, which created his issues with the snap-hooks.

That’s my theory, at least.

All I know is that he had the perfect pivot action with the hips and legs.

2 thoughts on “Hogan’s Perfect Pivot

  1. BM

    Wow DJ, that’s some sound thinking there. Golf is so setup determined isn’t it? A good lesson for all of us to think of the details in light of the more basic.

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi BM – yes indeed, setup is the key to the golf swing. Like the foundation for a building. If the setup is flawed, compensations will follow.

      Imagine putting balls in front of an Iron Byron and complaining the balls aren’t going where one wants, except that one isn’t aiming the Iron Byron at the desired target or they’re placing the ball anywhere on the mat in front of the I.B.! Everyone would scoff, but many of those same people will wave off the setup as causing issues in a swing.

      If the setup is flawed, the swing will be odd 😉

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