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


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I spent 6 weeks going through the lessons without going to the range. I spent 15-20 minutes a day on lesson one (the grip), then spent 10 minutes on that lesson while focusing my 15-20 minutes going through the next lesson (7 days a week). Lastly after starting lesson 2 I spent another 10-15 putting all the lessons together. For the 4th lesson I recommend practice setting up, then when starting the downswing ONLY TURN THE HIPS for the week, then The 6th week I spent doing nothing but standing there for 30 minutes going through everything, finally learning to implement the wrist pronation. I have a poor handicap due to my poor short game. I recommend avoiding the driving range until after going through all the lessons to get rid of every bad habit you developed golfing.

This book is excellent as it gives you a number of checks to go through prior to each shot. When I am striking the ball poorly on the course I just take my time and go through each step. I've read this book no less than 8 times since May.
I still practice the arm swing lesson daily and practice my waggle.
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For the 4th lesson I recommend practice setting up, then

Oh brother. Another one of these. I guarantee you don't hit the ball nearly as well as you think you do. Your short game is probably average and your ball striking probably is too.

Anyway, the real reason for my reply, the bolded part. Do not do this. You need a large lateral slide of the hips forward, not just "only turn." There's a thread somewhere on here about sliding the hips. Hogan did it. Tiger does it. All good players do.
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. . . I recommend practice setting up, then when starting the downswing ONLY TURN THE HIPS for the week,

While Hogan went for a bit about turning the hips, he

did say, in caps, "To begin your downswing, TURN YOUR HIPS BACK TO THE LEFT. THERE MUST BE ENOUGH LATERAL MOTION FORWARD TO TRANSFER THE WEIGHT TO THE LEFT FOOT." and later in the same paragraph, "On the downswing, their [the hips] "arc" should be a trifle wider -- both as regards the amount of lateral motion and the amount of eventual rotation around to the rear."
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While Hogan went for a bit about turning the hips, he

Additionally, Hogan had one of the largest lateral slides of his hips, ever... the guy moved his tailbone eight or nine inches forward. It's almost unreal how far forward he got.

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Additionally,

Got to disagree with the statement... specifically what is outlined in bold. I've seen this same statement made time and time again... I've also got plenty of video from his swings 1945 - 1067. You can get it even today

http://www.amazon.com/Ben-Hogan-Coll.../dp/B000Q1JY2I , I got this DVD set from Amazon.com. What I see is clear and inline with what he says in both Power Golf and Five Lessons. Lateral shift is necessary but only to the extent of getting your weight onto the left side and no more than is needed. If you watch his video with is irons, there is very little lateral motion, and with his driver and wider stance. (Note that Hogan had a very interesting driver stance .... more so in his later years after the 49 accident with is right foot back, making his stance quite closed in appearance but his hips and shoulders were on line.) <-- Many people refer to videos where he is hitting drivers and long woods 3W / 4W as evidence of a large lateral shift and even some say a reverse pivot. They are correct in noticing the lateral shift, but fail to mention it goes along with the shot and club / shot choice.
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Finally picked up my copy, or rather had it dropped off at my door (half.com, woot). Working on the grip so far, and am trying to commit to the overlap vs. the interlock that I'd been using... I'm likely heading out on a nearby course tomorrow that I haven't played before, and I'm hoping I can manage to hit the ball with it... otherwise I'll switch back just for that round.
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Oh brother. Another one of these. I guarantee you don't hit the ball nearly as well as you think you do. Your short game is probably average and your ball striking probably is too.

I agree that all good players have a lateral movement. Note however IMHO it's only to truely set the pivot point over the left leg. Best drill I've seen which is what Hogan and others actually do is:

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Got to disagree with the statement... specifically what is outlined in bold. I've seen this same statement made time and time again...

You've seen the statement made time and time again because it's true.

Hogan slid his hips a ton. One of the biggest slides in the game, ever. I stand by what I said.
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I spent 6 weeks going through the lessons without going to the range. I spent 15-20 minutes a day on lesson one (the grip), then spent 10 minutes on that lesson while focusing my 15-20 minutes going through the next lesson (7 days a week). Lastly after starting lesson 2 I spent another 10-15 putting all the lessons together. For the 4th lesson I recommend practice setting up, then when starting the downswing

Oh brother. Another one of these. I guarantee you don't hit the ball nearly as well as you think you do. Your short game is probably average and your ball striking probably is too.

Phil's right. I've tried to do this because I thought it would improve my ball striking. At best, you'll hit a high, weak fade. Mostly, you'll just hit it fat.

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Why do you say fat?

Because most people, if they really try to just spin their hips open without moving laterally, will also have to let their upper center fall back in order to drop the club down to the ball.

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Because most people, if they really try to just spin their hips open without moving laterally, will also have to let their upper center fall back in order to drop the club down to the ball.

Hmm...I may be doing that intermittantly. I have gotten a case of the fatsies, not always but more frequently in the last two rounds. I do not feel like I am trying to do that (let their upper center fall back in order to drop the club down to the ball) and I was hitting it well but suddenly mid round it started on the back nine. I am probably just not getting proper weight transfer in general.

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I'm not sure if I'm going to use Hogan's overlap grip, since I've been used to the interlock, and after a hole where I felt I was altering my swing based on the grip (something I wasn't used to), I went back to the interlock, which just feels more comfortable to my fingers. Granted the hand and shaft positioning specifics helped my grip in that sense, it'll take more work on the range or just hitting balls with the new grip.
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I'm not sure if I'm going to use Hogan's overlap grip, since I've been used to the interlock, and after a hole where I felt I was altering my swing based on the grip (something I wasn't used to), I went back to the interlock, which just feels more comfortable to my fingers. Granted the hand and shaft positioning specifics helped my grip in that sense, it'll take more work on the range or just hitting balls with the new grip.

I don't have problems with a hook, I kept the interlock instead of the overlap at least for now. I may change it over the winter but not now,

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Additionally, Hogan had one of the largest lateral slides of his hips, ever... the guy moved his tailbone eight or nine inches forward. It's almost unreal how far forward he got.

Over on the Tiger and the "Record" thread, there's a link to a Ben Hogan video. Watch the swing that starts at the 7:50 mark, and is repeated in slow-motion at 8:38. Notice where his left hip is in relation to a small tree in the background, and how his hip covers that tree as he comes through the ball. That's a slide!

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this book was a complete eye opener. the whole book transformed me from a 16 handicapper to a 9 within a few months. At the time i was turning my hips loads rather than creating torque between the upper and lower body and the bit about moving the lead foot out to 45 degrees made so much sense.

he is without doubt my golfing hero.
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  • 2 weeks later...
I have only read the first 2 lessons of this book, but just the grip lesson alone made a huge difference in my control. On the back swing, I stopped going as far back and keeping that tension between my upper body and hips with little hip turn. I am excited to see real improvements. It's a great read so far.
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