The irony of Ben Hogan’s pivot action is that it is a virtually perfect pivot action if you’re looking to use the hips and legs to power the golf swing and provide the shoulder turn requisite to generate leverage.
Why is that ironic?
Because, for several reasons completely unrelated to his pivot action.
Hogan wasn’t known to be a long hitter and we know:
- He earned the bulk of his notoriety and television scrutiny after his near-fatal car wreck, so he was severely limited in his lower body mobility (couldn’t go after it as vigorously as he would have wished to),
- He had the “swing left” action through impact, which of course would mean he wasn’t swinging as hard as he could have just getting through the ball without manipulating his down swing,
- He played a fade with that “swing left” action, which is not the same fade as Nicklaus’ power fade, see the preceding point – even Nicklaus’ power fade wouldn’t travel as far as a draw, which Nicklaus could hit at will, he just preferred the fade action and
- By the time you saw much of him because of his legendary comeback, he’s nearly 40 years old and over 40 after winning his 3 majors in one season, meaning you’re watching a middle-aged man swinging and
- Hogan wasn’t a large man. He was shortish (5’8″) and slim (145 lbs in his prime, about my size when I was 13 years old).
2016 was the last year that I hit what I would consider a good amount of balls regularly.
By the summer of 2017, I had the MCS Classic Swing model nailed down to what it is today, and my swing was about as good from 2017-2021 as it was going to get without my fixing that left-dominant issue.
So here are a couple of swings on video from June 2016 and you’ll have to forgive the camera quality, as my Casio camera that provided my video slow-mo shots from 2011-16 broke that summer and my backup only shot 30 fps which is horrible for slo-mo analysis.
This is as much as I can get from address to down swing before the speed of the club and body make the following couple of frames useless:
Regardless, would you believe that a Hogan-inspired pivot action could produce a drive with nearly 8 seconds hang time, with a regular length driver?
I have a thing when I am hitting driver, when I get one of those “nailed it” impacts and that ball is just pummeled. I like to time the landing of the ball with a slap against my thigh, which gives me a very good measure of hang time.
You’ll even see with the face-on drive how much I like that drive, indicating to the camera, “Yes, this one was perfect…”
If you are familiar with hang time/distance, you know that 8 seconds hang time is getting into long drive territory, but then if you can drive the ball up to and over 350 yards, you’re already in the low end of what long drivers were doing around 20 years ago.
So… how about 2 drives with approximately 7.81 & 7.54 seconds of hang time, give or take a few 100ths of a second? Not too shabby, right?
Witness the Hogan “Perfect Pivot” as performed by someone standing 6’1″ (186 cm) and with a few extra kilos of ballast (I’d have Hogan by at least 80 lbs here), who has strong legs and hips and no mobility issues, who isn’t “swinging left” at impact:
Continuing the discussion on cross-dominance, you’ll see how it takes me some time on the setup to get comfortable with my stance regarding left arm position and grip – that’s my brain and body telling me something is off, but I hadn’t yet figured out what the issue was.
But when you hear the likes of Tiger Woods saying “Yeah, Hogan owned his swing but you couldn’t play with that swing on today’s Tour,” I would take that with a tablespoon of salt.
TW has tried for years to “swing left” as Hogan did, so that statement is immediately flawed, plus he has no idea how Hogan actually pivoted, which means he has no idea what he or anyone else could have done with it.
But we do over here at WAX Golf, don’t we?
And yes, I winked at the monitor while keying the preceding sentence.
In general, would you say someone shorter than 5’8″ can hit the ball upwards 345 yds? I’m 5’6″, here barely getting past 310. Of course, my spinrate is higher than it should be, but I’d love to average over 330 if I can. Is it even possible?
Well Ian Woosnam is 5’5″ and was a pretty long hitter with persimmon clubs, so size isn’t as important as technique overall, MM. Of course, all else being equal, the bigger swinger has long levers and so will have the advantage, but you’ve already identified an area of improvement. High launch, low spin is what you want with the driver and spin makes a big difference. Get the spin down and without doing anything else you’ll drive it longer on average.
I find it difficult if not impossible to try and copy tall stingers motion.I am 5,8 and can’t seem to find a comfortable balance with too upright or too flat.
The key is to fit your equipment to yourself, Joe. The 3 legends below were of different heights and builds and yet they had the same basic type of setup:
Another key, once you fit the equipment to your own height, is to make sure your stance width suits your build, and the ball placement for each club. After that, the pivot is the same for everyone if performed correctly – short or tall, slim or round, the pivot action is the same.
The reason most swingers look different from each other is more due to difference in swing model than differences in physique, although two different swingers working from the same model will still look different for the reason of physical differences.
If one watches track & field enough, one can recognize the various sprinters based on how they run, even in silhouette – yet they’re all using the same sprinting model. So, don’t be fazed if you think your swing “looks different” from someone else’s. As long as you swing with a mechanically-correct motion, you’ll get the results.
Thanks DJ.,you always take the time to help us hackers out.I developed a bad habit these past few years which has plagued my full swing.I somehow got it into my brain to have a hit and hold type of swing to be more accurate but it has resulted in loss of distance and the accuracy is not there.I am going back to the mcs model and I know it is going to be painful but I think it will work itself out.5 yrs. ago I could drive 300 easily but now I struggle to get 250. and I am in better physical shape now.Any advice other than going back to the basics of your instruction.
My pleasure, Joe. I don’t think you need to do anything more than get back to the setup and pivot action in any of the videos you got from WAX Golf between 2017 and 2021. I should have a new, hopefully simpler video on the Classic Golf Swing this season and if things work out, the Post-Modern model. However any of the MCS videos featuring the Hogan Pivot (2015 on) will get you back on track. There is nothing new in the model, only modifications to how I explain and personally demonstrate the swing. I’d advise sticking with the explanation until I have personal swings closer to the optimal model 😉
Thanks DJ,I watched the kinetic chain videos last night and boy did I come off the rails,it’s so easy to get distracted and loose focus.
It absolutely is, Joe.