Was Ben Hogan a technical golfer?

Andrew sent me the following quote from Ben Hogan;

“If you were teaching a child to open a door, you would help the child learn about the door knob, so he could open the door for himself. You would not open the door and explain what you did.” Golfers should not be asked to memorize body positions, they should be improving their insights about cause and effect with playful learning approaches.

The part I really like is “they should be improving their insights about cause and effect with playful learning approaches.

While many will think Ben Hogan was a technical golfer, that sentence sums up why he was so successful. When it came to the crunch his attitude was not about body positions or technical thought – it was almost certainly about playing.

Nick Faldo had a similar mindset. Although most will think he spent two long years rebuilding his golf swing with David Leadbetter, each afternoon he headed to the golf course and played the game. One ball, tournament conditions and a playful mindset (he hit all sorts of shots required to get the job done. He wasn’t thinking technique). The swing tweaking may have contributed to his later success, but those nine-hole sessions certainly wouldn’t have hurt him.

The point here is you have to dig a little deeper into why some legends of the game have been successful. The truth lies beneath the surface. And I’m convinced the really great players have a significant part of their makeup focused on playing the game, not technique. This is despite how many books they write to the contrary or what the golfing media portrays.

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  • Andrew

    Reply Reply October 4, 2011

    I love reading about how great golfers practiced when they were young and how it seems to shape their latter careers. I have read how Tiger’s dad would not give technical instruction at the range but get tiger to hit a high shot, low shot draw fade etc to a target.
    This excerpt from an article on Phil Mickelson about how he would spend hours hitting different shots in the backyard.
    He would spend four or five hours a day in the backyard, practicing with his wedges from all different lengths and angles. Firing shots through the lemon and orange trees to the side of the bunker never seemed to get old to Mickelson.
    “It always seemed that when he was over a shot, there wasn’t a shot he couldn’t hit,” Zerman says. Odds were, Mickelson had pulled off the shot many times, out there in that backyard, where anything seemed possible.

    This video from Bubba Watson a guy who has reached the highest level of golf, I love when he says range balls cost money growing up so he had to figure a way around that. I had heard he doesn’t practice just prefers to play.


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