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Golf: Ben Hogan’s Lesson On Ball-Striking

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“One story goes that Hogan once played Colonial with a young assistant pro and he hit the green, hole high, from 150 yards out. The assistant innocently asked Hogan what club he used. Hogan glared at the young man and dumped out some practice balls from his shag bag. He hit the green with every iron in his bag from the 2-iron to the pitching wedge and directed the pro to never again ask him what club he hit.”

Mike Purkey reminds us, “Hogan would have been 100 this year” and celebrates his memory with, “Of Secrets, Dirt And Hogan Tattoos”

Of course the secret is there is no secret to his success and it’s very doubtful given his ball-striking ability he’d have resorted to using digital rangefinders to improve his scores.
I’ve often said that golfers must be the most gullible of all sports people. They’re either buying books which promise to tell them the secret or getting gizmos for their golf game enhancement.

Given that it’s the type of shot and not the length to the pin that determines club selection, why is that aspiring golfers show such faith in their use?
At a recent Charles Tour event held on the links-style, Muriwai Golf Club, several golfers were disqualified for using rangefinders. Their ignorance of the rules may be excusable since the massive acceptance of such devices suggest they are allowed on all occasions. But to believe they are of any use on wind-swept links golf courses shows a lack of course management skills. And it came as no surprise to observe that many of the players unfamiliar with links golf were playing inappropriate high shots when it was necessary to cheat the wind. Shots which may have worked on their parkland-style courses where target golf is often the order of the day.

Steve Elling also has a look at the life and times of Ben Hogan and writes:
“Life takes a wrong turn
The 1949 traffic accident that nearly took his life was a career milestone, mostly because doctors predicted he would never walk, much less play golf, again. Hogan beat the odds by again relying on repetition and routine. After the crash, his 3½-hour pre-round regimen became inviolate. First, he took an hour-long bath to soak his chronically sore legs, which he then wrapped in bandages. He usually had bacon and eggs, then drove slowly to the course. Hogan drove, walked and comported himself at a deliberately slow pace, setting a certain rhythm that he would carry onto the course.”

Another man with a “deliberately slow pace” comes to mind: Bobby Locke the man who was allegedly banned by the USPGA because he was winning too much money on their tour.
The good news is that it gave him time to visit far-off places like New Zealand. And I’m told that one day while playing Titirangi, Bobby gave a Hogan-like clinic by hitting a green with a variety of clubs.

Here’s the link to Mike and to Steve
Quote of the Day
“Truth is that no one knows what the secret is. If Hogan really had one, he took it to the grave and we’ll never know, all the more reason for some people to continue the search.” – Mike Purkey

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