It’s taken me all of twenty-two years and a couple of hundred days to realise the impact Mr Ben Hogan had on the game of golf. Bizarrely (I now think) a month ago I wouldn’t have been able to picture Hogan’s signature moves in his swing nor tell you he won 9 Majors. (10 Really!) Now however, few minutes go by without me visualising his wonderful tempo, and his ‘Anton-Du-Beke-like-hips’! Forget Mark Ramprakash, Hogan would’ve nailed it. But what gives me hope as a golfer who is always trying to improve his technique is that when you study Hogan’s swing in the early days, although it was still aesthetically pleasing, it was not as complete as it would become. Ben Hogan deserves to be idolised due to the nature of his success.
Thinking about it if I had have been more aware of my sport’s history then I would’ve come across Ben Hogan years ago. Probably 11 years ago in fact as that’s when my Dad came home with a young chocolate Labrador called Hogan! It is fair to say ‘Hogie Bear’ doesn’t glide around with the same mystique.
All would probably agree Mr Hogan’s mystical and reclusive way of doing things helped create the aura of a tenacious and workman-like champion. In today’s world I think it can be profitable to be this way inclined. Adam Scott appears to be similar to Hogan in this sense as he plays very occasionally and remains quiet in the media. An equally good way to sell tickets rather than talking a lot on social media and alike.
As a player I have never truly decided upon technical preferences I like to see in my own golf swing, mainly because I have never understood the golf swing! With the help of Mike and now Ben Hogan’s Five Fundamentals however, I feel I have become far more aware this year of what ‘proper technique’ entails and what I am after in my golf swing. I think this is important. My prediction would be that every great player in history became increasingly aware over time of how they wanted to swing and only experiences under pressure would persuade them to make necessary changes. I could not agree more with Hogan when he said a great swing is only a great swing if it performs better under pressure than it did under regular conditions. Great players don’t just earn a lot of money, they win a lot of tournaments. The difference lies in the understanding and robustness of their techniques, and the view that only winning matters, because if it didn’t, they wouldn’t strive to improve faulty mechanics.
To finish I would like to congratulate Tommy Fleetwood on his maiden European Tour victory. I, like many others am quite sure he will become one of the best players in the world. Thankfully however, he doesn’t take my kind words as gospel truth. Rock on Tommy and I’m sure Ben Hogan’s swing, mystique and legacy will continue to mesmerise many future golfers as it has done mine.