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Ben Hogan

This rarely-seen video of Ben Hogan showcases one of his golf swing 'secrets'

August 03, 2023
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Ben Hogan may have the most famous golf swing in the world. His long, flowing motion was a sensation in its time, and remains a sensation to this day.

Most golfers have seen Hogan's golf swing hundreds of different times before. I know I have. I thought I had seen every swing of Hogan's there was to see. Well, until yesterday, when I was wandering around the internet looking for golf swing inspiration and stumbled upon this swing of Hogan's, from 1942...

The swing was from an old, remastered newsreel which you can watch in full at the bottom of the article. It was taken from the 1942 Hale America Open, which was a one-time only wartime event intended to substitute for that year's major championships, which were cancelled due to World War II.

Hogan won this event by three strokes, and the tournament itself remains a source of some controversy. The great golf writer Dan Jenkins insisted it should count towards Hogan’s major total. He wrote about it many times, including in his famous "The Hogan I Knew" article in the 1997 edition of Golf Digest (which you can check out in the Golf Digest archive here).

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But anyway, outside of the footage being in color, it's interesting, unusual, and awesome for a few other reasons. Mainly, that it's a great look at a younger Ben Hogan's golf swing, before he got in a life-threatening car crash and mastered his reliable fade that he became so known for. He was still struggling with the occasional duck hook at this point, according to legend.

You'll notice how much longer the 29 year-old Ben Hogan's golf swing was in his younger days. This was Hogan at his most supple and powerful. But the thing that I love the most about this video is the camera angle. It really shows how severe Hogan's lower body shift towards the target was.

Shift towards the target starts before his backswing finishes

You'll notice it begins before Hogan even completes his backswing. As his arms approach the top of his swing, his body begins its downswing. It helps him transfer his weight, and stretches the muscles in his upper body to help them contract powerfully into the ball.

It's a move modern coaches call "re-centering". Hogan called it one of his secrets. Golf Digest has written about this many, many times over the years. Here's a few articles I found interesting from the archive about this swing move…

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