Ben Hogan said he had a golf swing secret. And he said it was easy to see if you knew where to look.
People will say that Ben Hogan gave his golf swing secret in the Life article in 1954. But in 1992 Ben Hogan wanted Golf Digest to pay him $150,000 to reveal his “real” golf swing secret. Golf Digest turned down the offer, so you could argue that Ben Hogan went to his grave without revealing his golf secret… if indeed he had one.
Now assuming Ben Hogan did have what he thought was a golf swing secret, I’m going to show you where in his golf swing I believe Ben Hogan’s swing secret was. But before I do that, you MUST understand this about Ben Hogan.
At the start of Ben Hogan’s professional career, he had a terrible hook that would get him into all sorts of problems. So a lot of what he did with his setup and swing was to prevent a hook (i.e. weak grip, cupped left wrist). And Ben Hogan was well known as having a power fade, but my point is that a lot of what Ben Hogan did is not advisable for the average golfer – UNLESS you suffer from a bad hook. If you suffer from a slice problem and always have done…. using Ben Hogan as a swing model is probably not the best thing to do.
Having said that, this Ben Hogan golf swing secret that I’m revealing in this article is applicable for anyone… IF you do it right. If you do it wrong, you’ll hit it worse… a lot worse.
So take what I’m saying and test it out to see if you can get it to work for you. And to start this off, I want you to watch the video below of Ben Hogan giving some swing advice, and then finishing with him hitting a driver. Before you watch this, however, I’m going to tell you where to look and then I’m going to break down what I think his secret is, after the video.
So here’s the video. And I want you to watch very carefully and listen to what he’s saying you should do, and then watch what he actually does with his LEFT HIP just as he is reaching the top of his backswing. And continue to watch his left hip until just after impact. You will probably want to pause the video on his swing and rewind it to have a real close look. Ok, so with that in mind, watch this video now…
Did you see Ben Hogan’s golf swing secret?
Well, he said to look at what starts first from the top of the swing.
Now it’s the top of the backswing position of Ben Hogan’s left hip that I think is his golf swing secret. But there’s more to it than that. So to help you see what I think the golf swing secret is, I’m going to show you an analysis of Ben Hogan’s swing, focusing on the hips and the head position. So here is a picture of Ben Hogan’s setup for the swing shown in the video above:
Here is a picture of Ben Hogan’s golf swing at a point where his club is parallel with the ground. Notice that the left hip is moving away from where it was to start with.
Now here is a picture of Ben Hogan at the half-way point in his backswing. Notice how the right hip is in pretty much the same place as it was at setup, and yet the left hip has moved back away from where it was at address. This has happened because Ben has allowed his hips to rotate.
That’s a pretty stock standard position for a pro. But from here on it starts to get interesting, because what Ben does is as he is completing his backswing he starts to move his weight to his left side, and he does this by laterally sliding his hips towards the target. Here is a picture of Ben almost at the top of his backswing. Notice how the right hip is moving away from where it was to start with, and the left hip is moving back towards where it was at address.
Ben Hogan has been accused of having a reverse pivot. But if he did his head would move to the left. And it’s clear from these photos that Ben kept his head in the same place. BUT he did move his weight to the left by laterally sliding his hips to the left in the backswing. He keeps doing this as he completes the backswing. Here is a picture that follows a few frames on from the one above. Note how much he has moved his left hip towards the target whilst still completing the backswing.
Ben Hogan in that video above, says at the top of the swing you move the lower part of your body first, i.e. hips and knees. But as you can clearly see, before the backswing has been completed Ben has already moved his left hip back to the same place it was to start the backswing – although it’s still rotated. So essentially he’s had a big head-start over what he said to do.
It’s also important to note that his head is basically in the same place it was at the start of the swing, although it’s a couple of inches lower. If you did this move while moving your head towards the target you’d hit some terrible shots!
So what’s Ben Hogan’s golf swing secret?
Well, it’s about timing I believe, because in any good golf swing you have to laterally slide the left hip towards the target and turn it. In Ben Hogan’s famous “five lessons” book, he says over and over again that to start the downswing you need to turn your left hip. But many, many golfers have tried to do this (myself included) and have ended up hitting big pull hooks. That’s the complete opposite of the shot pattern that Ben Hogan used to hit. So the only way Ben Hogan could feel like he could just turn his hips to start the downswing, was to have them moved over to the left to start with.
And that’s exactly what Ben Hogan does.
He moves his hips laterally to the left in the backswing while keeping his head in the same place as it was at setup. Although it does go lower, that just happens naturally.
So if Ben Hogan had a golf swing secret, that’s what I think it is. And if you know where to look it’s easy to spot.
But I think this demonstrates greatly how feel and real can be greatly different. And I’m going to demonstrate this some more, because Ben Hogan said in “Five Lessons” to start the downswing you simply turn your left hip. But in his downswing Ben was continuing to laterally slide his left hip. Look at this picture of Ben Hogan at impact and notice these two things:
1. Look at how much in front his left hip is compared to where it was at address.
2. Look at where his head is, i.e. in the same place as it was at address but lower.
Compare the left hip position from the position at the top of the backswing.
So Ben Hogan did definitely NOT just turn his left hip to start his downswing. He slid and turned his left hip… a long way.
This move was to help him avoid the left side of the golf course and attack the golf ball from the inside without fear. He might have felt like he just turned his left hip to start the downswing, but that’s certainly not all that was happening.
So could you use this Ben Hogan golf secret in your golf swing?
There’s no harm trying. And to do this you have to simply laterally slide your left hip towards your target as you’re completing your backswing. I say simply a bit tongue in check, because you would need to practice that a lot to get it down pat. AND BEFORE YOU TRY THIS HERE’S AN IMPORTANT POINT!: YOU WOULD NEED TO KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE SAME PLACE AS IT WAS AT ADDRESS ALL THROUGHOUT YOUR BACKSWING AND DOWNSWING UNTIL IMPACT!
That’s some Ben Hogan CAPS for you.
If you move your head forward with your left hip in the backswing you’re going to hit some terrible shots.
It’s important also to note, that from the position where Ben Hogan got his left hip at impact… he never went past that point. His left hip did just turn. Below is a picture of Ben Hogan at the finish of his swing demonstrating this.
So maybe that’s why he said that you should simply turn to start your downswing? He did just turn, but this happened from impact to the finish of his swing.
So there you go. That’s what I think Ben Hogan’s swing secret was. It’s not that he did something completely different to other golfers, but the time in his swing when he did this was quite different and unique to what every other golfer did and does. The advantage I think in moving the weight to the left in the backswing, is that you have a head start in the downswing and the timing can be easier because you do feel like you are just turning your hips in the downswing. You will get more lateral slide but it just happens.
So let me know your thoughts on this Ben Hogan swing secret, and let me know if it’s easier to spot now.