Ben Hogan, the man and his image has been wrapped up in mysterious shroud of mystery for well over half a century.

Some would call him blunt and aloof. Others insist once you knew him he was friendly and mischievous. No two people are alike so copying Hogan the person has been left alone.

Copying Hogan's dress sense is a little more fashionable and attainable. Copying Hogan's golf swing has been a quest for thousands with a success rate of next to nothing.


Hogan's secret has been well documented. He himself even did a instruction spread about his "secret" for Sports Illustrated way back in the mid 1950's where he insisted the "secret" was a cupping of the left wrist at the top of the backswing to allow the clubface to feel more open. This helped him release the club as hard as he desired without the clubhead trying to shut down and thus eliminate the dreaded hook from his game that had plauged him early on in his career.

But it's suffice to say there wasn't truly just one secret. It was a culmination of many trial and error components that ultimately led to him having the confidence in his swing to see and to produce the shots he wanted to play under tournament pressure.

Here is a quick list of "several secrets" that enabled him to be held in awe for his ballstriking- a myth that has only grown with time.

-Weakened left hand grip

- Cupped Left wrist

-Three right hands

-Extra spike in the right shoe

-Maximising forearm rotation

-Big shoulder turn with minimal hand travel

-Arms pinned to the trunk

-No right arm thrust

- Course management 

-Level shoulder rotation through and beyond impact

-Straight right leg on backswing to create hip slant and lateral bump

-Free ride down

You get the picture. His swing was a blanket of attributes that blended togather created a functionality unlike many have done or many have witnessed before or since

From my experience of playing and also teaching the main wishlist items missing from golfer's trying to emulate Hogan's swing are :

-Forearm and wrist strength that not only allow the club to slot and stay behind on the downswing but also create the late acceleration of the club into impact.

-The acceleration rate of the pivot beyond impact- where the left shoulder and left side move away from impact faster than the release of the club can muster.

These two ideals are generally the main hurdle in golfer's trying to mimic a Hoganesque swing. 

You can slot the club as much as you want but if you can't rotate that club into impact from that deep slotted intention with forearm rotation and then accelerate the torso out of impact to pin the shaft on plane on the exit side of the ball then you aren't really pressuring the shaft and head onto impact and maintaining shaft plane at and through impact. These are the forces the golf ball needs to produce Hogan like flights and trajectories and control.

The famous (infamous) Hogan lesson in the 1965 Shells Wonderful World of Golf match against Sam Snead has caused much pain for the emulator. For without forearm rotation and a heavily torqued up arm structure and torso rotation the spinning of the hips will cause the club to come drastically over the top on the downswing and cut across the ball.

Hogan was so coiled up in his body and arms he knew a late whiplash release was at his beckoning, (he even says this in the video) so he could feel his description in that instructional piece. He could feel that his body would have to play catch up to his hands, which is the exact opposite sensation the rest of the world of normal golfers experience.

Most golfers make little body turn and take the club back with their hands and their arms- so to properly time their downswing they need to slow the body down to let the hands catch up. This is a common theme in over the top swings and pre released clubheads.

When viewing this Hogan lesson with that knowledge pay particular attention to how rotated and torqued up (open) his forearms are as he imitates the hip motion he suggests. 

The forearm rotation enables greater wrist angles to be maintained longer into the downswing (free ride down) culminating in a full release- where the right arm can rotate and unwind as much as it likes (three right hands) without crossing the hands over or without the right arm straightening or thrusting as much to produce impact and flattening out the right wrist. 

An accelerating left side pivot takes over from the release and we get the true swing plane of entry and exit to correspond and spit the ball straight and far from the middle of two forces. 

This is the key difference to Hogan and people trying to copy him. 

A flat looking swing and a bunch of angles won't mean much if the pivot stalls and the right arm chases the arm and club away from the body and off to the right- flipping the clubhead around through the impact zone.

Whilst no two golfers will look and swing identical the dynamics they create can produce similar ball striking quality.

The advice above is the cornerstone of my drill series. The first three drills all build and enhance and awaken the student to produce and feel exactly what Hogan and most of the great ballstrikers felt.

To make your game better- come check out Bradley Hughes Golf Online Drill Series or see me in person for the lessons that can shape your golf game to new heights.