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Swing Analysis: Ben Hogan Rehearsing Proper Sequence

I ran across this little snippet of Ben Hogan taking a practice swing during the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf Ben Hogan vs. Sam Snead match in 1965 and didn’t pay much attention to it until recently, when I noticed an oddity in his leg and foot movements as he casually makes a full back and forth movement in preparation for a drive. The player I coach on the PGA Tour, Kevin Streelman, has often indicated his affinity for the “step-in” drill, where he takes a step back on his backswing and then steps forward with his left leg as he initiates the forward swing. It’s not quite “Happy Gilmore”, but the exaggerated lateral movement is athletic (pitchers and batters almost always take a fairly large step to drive forward and around in their respective movements) and gives a heightened feeling of the “catch” of the backswing by the forward and rotational motion of the lower body starting before the backswing has ended. Here Hogan twists his left heel toward the target as his right hip pushes forward, then twists the toe back in front of the heel before the foot hits the ground. It’s kind of hard to describe, so watch the video to see exactly how he does it. As I tried to imitate what he is doing I found it to be a subtle but effective way to reinforce the proper sequencing of the swing whereby the downswing movement is initiated from the ground (Hogan would say by turning the hips back to the left), engaging the lower back, mid-back, then shoulders and arms in that order.

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6 Responses to Swing Analysis: Ben Hogan Rehearsing Proper Sequence

  1. Jake October 24, 2015 at 1:36 am #

    Interesting observation Wayne. Followed Kevin today here at Shriners Tournament. He seems to be swinging/playing well if he could only get a few more putts to drop

  2. David W October 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Love this video and analysis. Feels like to me that with the little step, picking up the left foot from the narrow stance this helps promote a slight forward slide and turn when putting it back down. I wonder if he was trying to feel more of something while he was doing this. Needless to say if it was good for Mr. Hogan I will be on the range trying it to. This sequence has been lacking in my swing for years and now I am on to it and working on convincing by body also. Another great job Wayne! This is priceless and please keep looking for this stuff. David W

  3. Charlie CHUCK October 25, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

    Yes, absolutely love this. I’ve watched this Shells match at least a hundred times! It seems there is always something new to take away from Mr. Hogan’s swings and I’m glad Wayne keeps looking for these things to share. I’d love to hear Wayne’s thoughts on the end of the video where Mr. Hogan and Mr. Snead describe “the most important thing in the swing”. Snead talks about “playing the flute” and “ducking hooks” haha. Mr. Hogan talks about the movement of the lower body starting the downswing. He talks about the KNEES AND THE HIPS specifically. Very cool stuff here. Love this one.

  4. Jack October 29, 2015 at 8:00 am #

    Physically, I am unable to do this. How in the world was he able to do this at that age, so many years post-auto accident? The only way I can even get close to this body action is with an extremely wide stance. From any stance that would be normal or narrow in width I am prevented from doing this due to pain in my right hip/right lower back – no matter how many physical therapy exercises I do to prepare for my day. From a normal or narrow stance – which one would expect to use with the short irons – my right hip physically cannot move laterally forward for that distance or length of time. The jammed sensation along with pain forces the right hip and leg to move out toward the ball. Guess I’m going to have to resign myself to using an overly wide stance if I really want get the action right, and without re-injury. I had the Tiger surgery on my disc at L3/L4 in late 2012. Now I’m 52 years old. If any of you out there have been successful in rehabilitating the right lower back with any particular type of training, I’d like to hear about it.

  5. Tom November 3, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Charlie MacMillen is a very special person and helped me in so many ways. MAT experts are the very best in understanding how muscles work properly. The sequence of the left heel twisting and then grounded as an initial move is essential to guarantee being on the left side PRIOR TO ANYTHING HAPPENING STARTING DOWN (in my opinion)——————Your attention to that detail is brilliant.————tom hurst

  6. Charlie CHUCK December 4, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    As I watch this shells match over again I see that Hogan did variations of this step drill several times during the match. I guess he really liked this drill. I wish there were more matches like this filmed of Hogan. I’d like to see him out on the golf course more the same way we watch tour players in events today. If anybody has any recommendations I’d love to hear.

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