This week I watched the two part Hogan special on The Golf Channel. Anyone from the Baby Boomer Era has had a certain amount of fascination with Hogan. He was the standard in which golf swings were measured. His book The Five Fundamentals was the bible of the golf swing. Everyone attempted to swing like Hogan. Unfortunately, were not all five seven and one hundred thirty five pounds and whose body was subjected to a horrific car accident. Hogan was and still is the best ball striker ever. I have seen George Knudsen and Moe Norman and it is hard to believe that someone was better, but apparently so. Golf purists have set out on a Magical Mystery Tour to find Hogan’s secret. My belief is that there is a magic move, but it is unique to Hogan. It is his and no one else’s because it is based on so many physical factors. I do believe he was so far ahead of his time that it baffles the mind.
Hogan mastered the fundamentals. His grip, stance, posture, alignment, balance, and ball position were beyond reproach. Everything after that was Hogan just being athletic. Figuring things out on the range, what worked and what didn’t. Nothing he did was at the expense of balance. Pictures and video prove it. In the game of golf we are always practicing to fix things. I am guilty of that many times over. I am like a fanatic. Sometimes I cannot stop myself. In recent years I have spent more time focusing on my fundamentals. Things I can control before the swing is put into motion. It is not the sexy part of practice as it is time consuming and tedious. As you get into it, it can be a lot of fun.
A part of Hogan’s game that I think is so undervalued was his strategic game. The way he dissected and took apart golf courses was masterful. Hogan once said every golf course has a soft under belly and a player has to find it. Case in point would be the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion where he played the tournament without a seven iron. Who would ever have the courage to do that other than Hogan? Hogan played the British Open only once, and won at Carnoustie or as it is known by golfers as Carnastie. This is truly remarkable. You have to have a brilliant mind, as Carnoustie is known as the toughest test on the British Open rotation. He won by four shots.
Hogan was cunning, always keeping things close to the vest. Maybe he created this idea of a magic move to fend off his competitors. Golf then, is not like now. Purses were marginal at best, endorsement deals were not that plentiful. Just throwing it out there.
Hogan’s secret as I see it, is mastery. He mastered the fundamentals better than any of his peers and he mastered the mental and strategic side of the game well before its time. For the last 75 years he has taken us on a Magical Mystery Tour that people are still on, which I think is absolutely remarkable.
Until next time!