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


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Just curious. Was there a particular point in the book that turned things around for you, or the whole thing in general?

For me it was two key points.

1st ) The positioning of the arms as close together firmly against the chest on both the back and forward swing. 2nd) Combo of making sure your arms are touching the top of the imaginary plane at the top of the back swing, but combined with making sure the hips start the forward swing. It really almost becomes automatic to hit through the ball. I remember the first day I was at the driving range after fully reading the book. I hit 3 large buckets of balls, and it wasn't until the last bucket when I was dead tired that I realized I was putting way to much effort into my swing with the rest of my body. About that point all I could muster was unwinding my hips and I was all of a sudden hitting my 3W 230 - 250. I was like Holy S**t.... Somewhere in that book he states that if the setup is correct on the backswing, unwinding everything else on the follow through makes hitting the ball almost automatic. He's correct!!!
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There is no strict commonality for left knee action between good golf swings. Some have the knee go in and even down a little, some don't. These minor differences often confuse us because we see playe

The only golf book you'll ever need. I've played golf for one year and, with this book, I've achieved more than the average golfer will in a lifetime. Everything in it is spot on and perfect. Most

Great question. I have given up on most golf instruction and experiment to find dynamics that automate the swing. Dynamics determine positions not the other way around. Most golf instructors do not

Big Mikey; I followed your advice. I could not tell if I was at the correct top of the backswing position. But, I never hit the ball so well. Without any warm up, or practice balls, Played 6 holes before it got too dark. Hit 4 greens in regulation, two putted each green. Every shot was straight. Missed the 6th green, a 157 par 3 by 1 foot. No three putts. My most amazing 6 holes in 25 years of golf. It was almost too easy. The following morning video taped my swing. As far as I can tell, I'm making Hogan motions. Thanks Big Mikey for the tip.
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Going to go pick this up tomorrow morning and will read and RE read it until I am getting where I need to be. I have shot 87, 95, 89. I haven't played in at least 4 years and I think I'm doing pretty well since then; certainly playing better now that I was. I really want to read this book because every review I have seen has made me a believer and people have shown improvement. I need some help with my downswing a little and I think this will be perfect with everything else I need help with on things I "think" I am doing right. Me, Dad, and Brother will all benefit from this book and begin to play golf as it is sought out to be.
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Hi Arsenal:
There is soo much written into those pages. Everytime, I pick up something more. I've been reading it for over 20 years. Yesterday I picked up another thing Hogan was doing. The problem with my type of analysis is that it is hard to tell if it is an effect or something he is purposly trying to accomplish. But I noticed on the youtube video
that during the backswing, Hogan's right elbow goes away from his body then as his arms are parallel to the ground, the right elbow sucks back into his side. So I'm starting the backswing, arms together, (except for doing the rotate the outer elbow so it points to parallel to the target like Hogan does on his backswing), then start to suck the right elbow in. The downswing thought I'm trying to work on is too start the downswing, by compressing the 12th right rib to the top of the right illiac crest, while pushing off with the right instep of the right foot, like Hogan describes in Power Golf. I figure if enough of us try to mimic his swing, someone will fall upon something that actually works. If every Hogan fan posts the results of their experiments, we might get this golf swing thing licked.

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For me it was two key points.

These items are the exact things that I work on from this book too. Keep arms against chest and rigid: as though they were bound together. Backswing up to the correct 'slot', and let loose.

Keeping the arms against the chest makes slicing almost impossible.
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1. About six or seven years ago I was hitting my 9-iron like I owned the shot, my 6-iron was sort of OK, and my driver was this beast in my hands. I asked my pro to teach me how to swing all my clubs like my 9-iron and he taught me to keep my arms close to my chest throughout the swing. Problem solved.

2. In George Knudson's book, The Natural Golf Swing , he makes two points about Hogan after watching him and having played with him. One was that he had "the same firmness in the left wrist at the completion of the swing as he had at the starting position...the wrist didn't break down." The second point was Hogan's stability over the ball. "He looked so solid, and yet gave it all he had. Hogan had a controlled and powerful golf swing and balance was the key. It looked to me that if you hit him anywhere, you'd be hitting something dead solid. He never looked wobbly. As for me, I wasn't falling over, but I was constantly rolling over onto the outside of my left foot and left heel. So was everybody else. Everybody except Hogan, that is. He was dead solid flat on his left foot at the finish of the swing."

It goes on from there. Balance was Knudson's key swing point, and in his opinion Hogan was the best of them all.
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I just picked the book up a couple days ago, so I can't say that it has helped improve my game. I can say, that is an easy read so far, and I can't wait to put it to use.
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Chillmoon, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that looking at the drawings in Five Lessons, so the reader sees the swing from Hogan's perspectve, is not "ridiculous". Why wouldn't I want to see the swing as Hogan saw it? Much like playing Where's Waldo. A little mental trick is too turn the Waldo scene upside down. Often you can find Waldo faster than someone who is reading it from the "Normal" perspective. As for their being no magic, hidden secret, your statement is in direct conflict with Ben Hogan's own words: "The secret is in the dirt" and "The secret is easy if I tell you where to look". I agree that golf scores have not come down, except in my own case. Following the standard approach to Hogan's lessons, (the strategy that you champion) I struggled for years. Since making a careful study of Hogan's teachings; upside down, inside out, in a mirror standing on my head, anyway I could gleen different perspectives, has my swing improved and my score lowered. Doing so has revealed a lot too me. All these revelations have come from a careful interpretation of Hogan's writings. In fact, I have enough insights to write my own Hogan's swing revealed book. I'll give away one charm, to prove my point. Do you want to learn how to get into the perfect backswing position that Hogan worked tirelessly in his motel rooms between rounds to achieve? Hogan shows us how to do it. You have to be able to go from point A to point B to get there. Turn to page 75 in Five Lessons. Look at the bottom drawing. Do exactly as Hogan is doing in the far right drawing, with his left hand on top of the club, showing the angle of the club. Now, to get to point TOP (top of backswing), remove the left hand from the club and put it where the right hand is in the drawing, place a club there, take the Hogan grip, and there you have the perfect top of the backswing position. In my humble opinion, if your pal Iacas wants his golf handicap to stay right where it is, then he should continue to keep you as his golfing advisor.
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Im not saying your having trouble or anything but lets face Hogan as a person was a miserable cranky bastard(according to all reports), he told nobody nothing in case his own career would be undone while he was playing competively, he built things up by pretending he knew something very special and unique to create hype, kept it close and said this is my true secret time and time again in different magazines different examples, and when he wrote his book he cleaned up! And I no he knew everything and his book is fantastic, but he drove people mad with his imaginary secret and cleaned up, look at sevam on youtube if you dont believe me, now many people search for this giving little thought to the true content of the book and fundamentals which are fantastic in search of this, promoting his book. Now Im not implying its you but surely you can see why I assumed I apologise
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Big Mikey; I followed your advice. I could not tell if I was at the correct top of the backswing position. But, I never hit the ball so well. Without any warm up, or practice balls, Played 6 holes before it got too dark. Hit 4 greens in regulation, two putted each green. Every shot was straight. Missed the 6th green, a 157 par 3 by 1 foot. No three putts. My most amazing 6 holes in 25 years of golf. It was almost too easy. The following morning video taped my swing. As far as I can tell, I'm making Hogan motions. Thanks Big Mikey for the tip.

Damn,

I'm glad I can help! Something I have to focus on is that imaginary plane with each club because it gets shallower as the clubs get longer. I've been doing so much work with my irons lately, that yesterday I was playing army golf with my neglegted driver. left on 1, right on 3, et.... because I wasn't finding that key slot or was taking my club above the plane But my irons and short games are still saving my handicap.
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Chillmoon:
You may be right. Hogan may have just been inflating his ego. He may have said he had a secret to throw some fear into his competitors. I mean, who wants to go up against Harry Potter? His statements and writings are probably a mixed bag of truth and deception. At least that was my father's impression when he caddied for pro's of that era at Lake Merced in San Fran. My dad thought they were always trying to mislead the other player as too what they were doing with their swings. Today's PGA seems a little more friendly, and that they don't mind helping each other out.
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Having been in the other branch of service, I tend to play Navy golf, pitch and roll. I pitch the ball over there, but it rolls over there. I can visualize the backswing plane. The other thing I am working on comes from the Forward of Five Lessons, (hardbacked edition), where Hogan talked about rolling his arms like a baseball bat. I'm really keying on that move back and thru. As a result, I'm hitting hooks. Next time, I need to try Hogan's suggestion of cupping the left wrist at the top, and see if that takes care of the hooks.
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Cary Middlecoff, in his book, The Golf Swing , wrote that Hogan did say, in 1947, that he had discovered the "secret" of hitting the golf ball correctly. Middlecoff gives no reference to this, which implies to me that this is what Hogan said when asked, rather than having put the statement into print.

Middlecoff also wrote: "He [Hogan] surely knew that all serious golfers are prone to come up with what they think "the secret" but which usually turns out to be a snare and a delusion. ... I know I have had many of them ... but none ever impressed me sufficiently or worked for a long enough trial period to tempt me to announce that 'now I've really got it.' Hogan's did."

For those of you how want to dig deeper into what Hogan was doing, the chapter on Hogan in Middlecoff's book is of great assistance. He neaty summarizes the main points of Five Lessons and his 1955 Life article, and sets them in the context of Hogan's career and the state of swing theory at the time Hogan incorporated these changes.
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I am on my second go around with this book and am trying to implement things more clearly. I have some questions that I'm trying to sort with and would appreciate some input.

1. He seems to be fairly upright in his stance. It feels to me that it makes it harder for me to turn and get on the plane he refers to. Does anyone else follow his upright method and have the same issue?

2. For the grip to sit properly as he suggests, does the left thumb (for a righty) sit along the lifeline of the right palm?

3. During the right hand part of the grip, he states "The shaft shold lie cross top joint of finger, DEFINITELY BELOW PALM". What does the "definitely below palm" portion mean?

4. Do you use the overlap grip rather than the interlock as he suggests? Did you transition from an interlock to overlap? If so, how did the transition go?

5. I think I generally start my downswing with my hips, but my arms and hands take over and I lose a bit of lag and causes inconsistency. For those of you that had this same issue, what have you done to rememdy this?

Thanks All!
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timastyle:
1. He was only 5'7" so he will appear more upright. See p. 77, middle, for his explanation of what "flat" and "upright" mean.
2. See drawing on p. 28, bottom and text above.
3. See drawings on p. 25.
4. See paragraph on p. 20 beginning, "The standard grip . . ." The only mention of an interlocking grip refers to an abandoned experiment he made when he was growing up (p. 32).
5. See paragraph on p. 93 beginning, "What do the hands do? . . .", and drawing on p. 95. Read and imitate.
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