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"Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf" by Ben Hogan


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Oh. When I mention "strong" and "weak" grip, it has nothing to do with how many fingers are on the club. You're using the "baseball grip", which really should be avoided. What Hogan uses is the "overlapping" grip, which is the standard grip. But if you're comfortable...

hmm yes, sorry about that confusion there. I've been playing golf off and on for maybe 8 years and have never really thought about the grip before. I just gripped the club and swung and the way I first gripped it has been good enough for me so far. I've been able to play decent golf so I never really worried about it. The "overlapping" grip feels really weird to me and I find it difficult to control the club and turn my hands when using it. Maybe it's because I have rather small hands? I don't know.

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I used the baseball grip when I started back up and anything else felt wierd but after practicing with the overlap for a week or so I could never go back to the baseball grip. Hogan states in the book that your hands need to be as close to each other as possible to make them work as one unit. That was the biggest reason i changed and 110% glad i did.

and enduro is right, I tried the exact position of Hogans right hand on the grip and I still had a weak slice but i turned it over the the left just a little and now right down the center. Everyone is different and you need to tweak it a little to fit you own swing.

I love this book!
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I am new here, but I will chip in my 2cents.

When I started in THE game (1970) this was the first and only instruction I had. I couldnt afford lessons, just a shag bag full of balls and a cheap set of clubs. Hogan became my swing guru through the printed word and illustrations.

After reading all these posts on this thread, the only thing I would add at this point is as follows:

Don't get lost in the details as a beginner. Translating physical movements and feel into words/phraseology that are then interpreted by another can be a minefield for author and reader.

Be sure to master the static aspects. It's easy to get into the rush of going to swing dynamics, but have flaws in the grip, address and posture aspects which you work around in the dynamic swing.

Hogan had very powerful hands and wrists and I believe his equipment specs would be difficult at best for most golfers to handle. In his learning curve for his swing he fought a terrible hook with the driver that cost him dearly in many events. His methodical approach was to eliminate that flaw with setup mechanics and equipment. After that, his career flourished.

Lastly, if you went to the practice and warmup tee of a tournament, it was easy to tell where Hogan was by the sound. The crack of impact generated by his swing and boring nature of his iron shots was distinctly different from anyone else on the tee. That observation came from people I know who saw him play and followed the tour during the 50's & 60's.

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I have basically followed Hogan's book and yesterday should have broken 80 like he says is possible (missed a stupid 18 in putt because I was too lazy to line it up and hit correctly). I first started the book about a year and a half ago and had I kept an honest score at that time would have averaged around 110.

The grip thing is something that has slowly changed for me over time - starting out I had to go stronger to avoid a slice but as I have improved my grip is pretty much what he teaches in the book (very weak). I have also struggled with hooks and even the dreaded pull-hook and the weak grip has at least taken most of the hook out although I do still occasionally come over the top and hit a pull. I am currently working on my misses being pushes rather than pulls so I know I am hitting from the inside.

I think his advice is sound although I do have pretty strong hands and arms so maybe it fits me better than some others.
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hmm yes, sorry about that confusion there. I've been playing golf off and on for maybe 8 years and have never really thought about the grip before. I just gripped the club and swung and the way I first gripped it has been good enough for me so far. I've been able to play decent golf so I never really worried about it. The "overlapping" grip feels really weird to me and I find it difficult to control the club and turn my hands when using it. Maybe it's because I have rather small hands? I don't know.

The grip is so vitally important and often underrated.

I'd really try and get the overlapping grip into your game. I used to use an interlocking grip but switched to overlapping and really it didn't take much time to adjust. Coming from a baseball grip may be more difficult. But really, I can tell you there are no golfers on any of the tours that use a baseball grip. Making the switch might be a great thing to practice for awhile. You can always go back.
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Anyone read Hogan's Magical Secret Revealed. Looks like it mainly is an explanation on Five Fundamentals mixed in with Hogan stories. Photos and use of illustrations from Five Fundamentals look good. Just not sure what would really add to the original which I already own.
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I know at least one tour tourney winner, a top 40 career money player, who used a ten finger grip on the PGA tour. He switches around and currently is using the Vardon grip I believe.

One of the top 25 golf academies advocates practicing with a ten finger grip to get good right arm extension on the backswing, as well as restricting too long a backswing. The top teacher at that academy does not suggest using the ten finger grip except for some practice sessions. It does give you a different feel for how the backswing should work if you need right arm extension.

I just got beaten pretty badly by a ten finger guy. He shot an easy 72. He hit a 3 wood off the deck into a par five that carried (I GPS verified it) 295 yards in the air, and bounced forward uphill 7 more yards -- he was just off the front of the green. It was an incredible shot because it cleared two steep faced canyons, the last one just in front of the green. He hit a 21 degree hybrid off the tee 270 yards (the first canyon is at 300 yards which requires about 330 to carry, so he laided up, then went for it -- the craziest risk I have ever seen... and he pulled it off. Normally you would lay up about 280 off the tee, hit a 195 yard second shot over the first canyon and have about 95 yards in over the second canyon. It has been years since anyone cleared both with one shot, and then it was from 20 yards closer. He had no wind help. He just did it -- straight as an arrow. It helps to be 6'2", 205 pounds, recruited to be a wide receiver at a Div I university, and in your twenties.

Earlier, and perhaps more amazing was on a 564 yard par five, straight away, also with a canyon in front of the green... he hit driver, and a wedge second shot right to the back of the green. Perfect and incredible shots.

I don't think a ten finger grip is optimal for most golfers and would not recommend it, but obviously some can play quite well using it. I know I would not have believed the shots but when you see it happen, it is a different matter.
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I've used a ten finger grip forever. It's the one I picked out to be the most comfortable when I was a kid. I feel like I lose a little stabilty using the Vardon or Interlocking grip, but it is easier for the hands to come apart with a ten finger.
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I just bought this book after reading this thread and all I can say is "wow". I just got back into golf this year after quite a few years away from the game and I am struggling to get my game back. I was in the low 90's when I stopped and I am now struggling to break 100. Only one round sub 100 this year.

Anyway, my drives were horrible, 180-200 yards with a horrible slice. I bought a new set of woods that got me about 25 yards extra .....still with a tendency to slice. Then I read this book and the results were impressive. I went our for my first round yesterday and my partners were blown away. I was long and down the middle.

My best drive went 270 (with a wind at my back), but I was averaging 240 and more importantly I was straight (if anything I pulled a few, but my slice was gone). I went from the shortest of my group to the longest just by reading this book. I still shot horribly in terms of score because I struggled to translate the swing to my irons and I was erratic on the greens, but I think that will come with practice. This book should put all greens within the distance of an average golfer in regulation. Long par 4's were beyond my reach. No more!
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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I know at least one tour tourney winner, a top 40 career money player, who used a ten finger grip on the PGA tour. He switches around and currently is using the Vardon grip I believe.

LPGA HOF and current Solheim Cup team captain Beth Daniel uses a 10 finger grip. If a person has small hands, it could work for them better than the interlocking or overlapping grips.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's really starting to click. I had a hard time braking 50 since i read Ben's book but went out and play 18 today and shot a 92 which is the best i have done since I started playing again last September. The scary part is if I didn't miss 3 4 foot putts for par an 3 holes i actually could have broke 90 which I am really excited about.

I noticed my slice going away and most of my drives had a slight draw to them which now my biggest problem is getting my the mental block to aim more left to play the slice i use to have but that's a problem I am happy to work on!

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  • 2 months later...
I remember when Sports Illustrated came out with these articles. I was just starting to play golf and I was hypnotized by the authority of what he was saying, even at that young age.

This is the only book on the golf swing that I trust. I don't do everything he says, but I take what he says as the starting point don't depart without a very good reason.

I study this book every year. When my swing loses it bearings I come back here to get straight again.
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  • 1 month later...
Read through the book over Christmas. Awesome because you sometimes fail to forget the basic setup from foot positions to grip to posture. They say 5 Fundamentals does not go over the "Magical Device" or missing piece Hogan was going to unveil before he died. I'm reading right now "Ben Hogan's Magical Device" which is talking about the one thing to think about when you are hitting. So far, it seems like it is the triangle your arms and hands make, hovering the club at address, and ensuring to supinate with the palm of your top hand (left hand for righties).

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hello

Have just started studying this book, and golf properly.
Find the book intriguing and helpful.

Regarding the "secret" that everyone wants to uncover, that's a tall order. But I think that the movement in the downswing towards supinating the left wrist has a lot to do with it. This is not something I'll attempt to explain the way I see it (as i dont think I can say what I mean in golf terms), but as someone with no preconceptions of the golf swing, I feel I am looking at it quite fresh and am seeing how to make that move through the downswing. Incidentally, I'm finding that, for me, the move is not a major swing thought, but rather a subtle refinement of what is stated in the book. Like something that he discovered after already nailing his fundamentals.

Just thought I'd mention that.
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  • 5 weeks later...
IMO the key to golf is at the bottom of page 71 continued on the top of page 74 where he talks about elastic bands. It works. If you stretch at the top your left hand to left foot should feel like a banjo string.
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At the end of the day my problem with the book still is it is written by Hogan to explain how Hogan swings a golf club.

While most of the fundamentals he lists is true across the board, the one thing that right off the top I take objection to is his start down procedure.

I personally think its a fact that the vast majority of golfers cannot do the start down procedure like he recommends. You have to remember Hogan had the size, build, weight, and flexibility of a contortionist. He recommends in his book that to start the club downward you have to immediately begin to open the hips and the faster you open them the better.

If you have the ability to open your hips like Hogan did then that's great, use his method. But that would put you in about 2 percentile of all golfers I would guess. If you are older, less fit, larger stomach, larger waist, and/or have less flexible hips and try that move you will be a slicer for life.

If you do not believe me then stand in front of a mirror with a down the line view and try to open your hips past your flexibility point and notice what happens to your shoulders and arms as soon as you pass that point. The right shoulder will immediately go forward instead of down and get off plane which means you are going to swing over the top and slice the ball all day long.

Hogan could turn his hips like a flywheel and still keep his club on plane or even DROPPING which VERY, VERY, VERY few people can do.

All I have to say is this book is great if you have THE ABILITY to swing a club like Ben Hogan. If Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan were going to learn how to play golf I would recommend this book.

If Russel Crowe was going to learn how to play golf he'd be better off doing something else.
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