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Ask Golf Digest: What Would Ben Hogan Have To Say About Range Finders?

August 20, 2018

Hogan: Loomis Dean/Getty Images • Range Finder: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

What would Ben Hogan have to say about range finders? – Bill Kiefer, Green Bay, Wis.

Hogan was a man who always sought an edge, from drinking ginger ale for the way its diuretic properties made his fingers feel thin and supple to using the first iteration of hand warmers in cold weather. He was a purist but not a technophobe. Something tells us the first time he flew an iron 159 yards into a front bunker and learned that there was a device that could have revealed the correct distance was 162 yards, he would have employed one to whatever extent the Rules of Golf allowed. (And with each scoping, he'd grudgingly opine the world was going to hell.)

Anytime I have a lie in which the ball is above my feet, I hit the shot perfectly. Please tell me why, and how can I get this for every shot? – Allie Hassan, Orland Park, Ill.

Big baseball player? Just kidding—sort of. When the ball is above your feet, you naturally swing more around your body, as in baseball. This gets the shoulders turning and helps you square the clubface because the forearms roll over coming through. From a regular lie, many golfers feel like they have to lift the club to make a backswing. Not so. A good swing has the same around-the-body shape, just with the spine tilted toward the ground. To get the good vibes you feel on sidehill lies, make a few practice swings at waist height. Feel your body turn and your arms roll over. Try to repeat those feelings on the shot. Play ball!

When is the best time for a clubfitting? At the start of the season, I'm a little rusty. Should I wait until the end? – Jamie Grant, St. Paul

Unless you're enrolled in a fitness boot camp, your body isn't likely to change much in a year, says Bill Price, director of custom-fitting programs for Mizuno. You might be a tad more inconsistent as the season begins, but your swing isn't likely to change much over the course of the year. Plus, using clubs that you've been properly fit for allows you to stand correctly at address. This promotes a better swing plane and eliminates excess face rotation at impact. Finally, knowing your clubhead and ball speed helps you choose the right set makeup for better loft-gapping and distance control. It's all good, so why wait?

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