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TOPIC: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip

Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30869

  • Mike Maves
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Ben Hogan devoted the first 18 pages of Five Lessons to The Grip. It is no mystery why. Hogan opens the book with this line in all caps "GOOD GOLF BEGINS WITH A GOOD GRIP". His contemporary Sam Snead when asked how important the grip was replied "That's everything brother!"

So, the grip is not a little bit important....it is a lot important. Probably the most important because the grip is the transmitter and transformer of the energy of the body. You can make all of the right moves with the body but with the wrong hold on the club it is all for naught.

So, let's talk about Chapter 1 - THE GRIP

HoganRavielliFinish.JPG


If you do not already own a copy of Five Lessons you should buy one, but thanks to the people at Sports Illustrated where the book was first serialized that is not necessary because you can read the old issues.

Courtesy of Drew Art here are links to the issue that first printed the chapter on The Grip.

Part I: The Grip

Flash
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/read...11&mode=reader_vault

Text
vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ar...MAG1146457/index.htm
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Mike Maves.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30875

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Mike Maves wrote:
Ben Hogan devoted the first 18 pages of Five Lessons to The Grip. It is no mystery why. Hogan opens the book with this line in all caps "GOOD GOLF BEGINS WITH A GOOD GRIP". His contemporary Sam Snead when asked how important the grip was replied "That's everything brother!"

So, the grip is not a little bit important....it is a lot important. Probably the most important because the grip is the transmitter and transformer of the energy of the body. You can make all of the right moves with the body but with the wrong hold on the club it is all for naught.

So, let's talk about Chapter 1 - THE GRIP

HoganRavielliFinish.JPG


If you do not already own a copy of Five Lessons you should buy one, but thanks to the people at Sports Illustrated where the book was first serialized that is not necessary because you can read the old issues.

Courtesy of Drew Art here are links to the issue that first printed the chapter on The Grip.

Part I: The Grip

Flash
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/read...11&mode=reader_vault

Text
vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ar...MAG1146457/index.htm

Mike,

Been playing with a Hoganish grip for about 30 years. A couple of years ago through a vid and/or blog, you talked about shaping shots through grip/finger pressures ... really got me thinking and experimenting. Focusing on the pressure points in the two right middle fingers led me to a much better understanding of how, IMO, Mr. H might have used his right hand in the swing.

Festus several months back gave me some more inspiration by explaining that the middle finger behaves differently ... citing his drumming experience. This led me to discover a real nugget with respect to the left hand and the FLW.

Too busy at the moment to get into detail about these, but can expound at a later date. Just wanted to jump start the conversation and see what anyone else has discovered and is willing to share.

mh
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30877

  • Mike Maves
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Thanks for kicking it off, mh....
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30888

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I have revisited the text many times, and I think it will be really cool to spend a week on each lesson, diving back into it. It has never failed that i have come away with some new understandings.

Thanks, MM.

This will be a great series.

More to follow.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30889

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Mike, I will try this from a different perspective. What is a bad grip? what does a bad grip look like? and how does a bad grip affect the whole deal?
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30890

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Brad wrote:
Mike, I will try this from a different perspective. What is a bad grip? what does a bad grip look like? and how does a bad grip affect the whole deal?

Good question and one that I think a whole chapter could be created upon but I think that we can defer first to Hogan and his idea of having "one corporate hand". In other words the hands go onto the handle to function as a single unit. That is a reasonable and logical goal with respect to the grip.

So, getting each hand onto the shaft in a way that allows them to balance one another to react optimally and present the club head squarely to the ball is the goal and this is how I think about that goal. In a way thinking of how each single hand might work optimally on the shaft on its own may help us to think about how we should organize them to work with one another.

A balanced grip can be achieved in a number of ways but it is best to start with the simplest and most obvious means.. Having said that describing the perfect grip to begin with is predicated on grip size and taper relative to hand size being compatible with the prescribed grip and this is one of the many things that makes instruction tough. Grips that are too thin for instance I have to hold in one manner and grips that are too thick I must hold in another but if we are to start with an ideal the palms face one another with the base of the palms parallel to the leading edge of the club. Start with your hands in a prayer position and slide one down and you have the basic staring point. The hands can then be snugged together. The base of the palms (consider this the callus pad of palm near the base of the middle two fingers of each hand) remaining parallel to the blade and the balance of each hand wrapping as it must to form a snug union around the shaft and each other.

The above information along with the specifics of chapter 1 should get you off to a good start. What you don't want is a grip that is set specifically to oppose or retard the release and similarly the grip cannot be such that it fails to maintain firm control of the club.

A bad grip sees the hands functioning independently, poorly wed and sloppily placed on the shaft.

Just some basic thoughts to ponder.

MM
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Mike Maves.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30891

  • Drew Art
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Perhaps when starting with the grip, one should begin with the grandfather of the modern grip, Harry Vardon:

HARRY-VARDON-S-GRIP.jpg


QUITE a contrast from Hogan!


Okay - so for starter's 5 Lessons begins with Hogan praising the grips of Hagen and Jack Burke!!

"Walter Hagen, for instance, had a beautiful grip, delicate and at the same time powerful. It always looked to me as if Hagen's hands had been especially designed to fit on a golf club. Of the younger players today, Jack Burke gets his hands on the club very handsomely."

Walter Hagen - As shown in American Golfer - Nov. 1929
HagenGrip.jpg


Hagengrip2.jpg


Hagengripstance.jpg



Jack Burke (1952@Masters):


e1dba6b3102d60b5_large_2012-04-27.jpg


63c0fb80e3c05606_large_2012-04-27.jpg
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Drew Art.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30893

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hate to jump off topic here, but looks like he's got a hole in his club's grip. is that a "placeholder" for his middle finger on his right hand?
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30895

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Let's take a look at Ben Hogan's own grip evolution over time.

Here, Hogan takes a grip lesson from Henry Picard at Pomonok Club after a practice round, before the PGA Championship.

Friday, July 7, 1939

HoganPicardGriplesson.jpg


Here, in 1942, Hogan demonstrates his grip for Life Magazine:

3915743d5124beb2_large_2012-04-27.jpg


264bff3923495672_large.jpg


6e03c92b7e31fa8f_large_2012-04-27.jpg


Here is hogan's grip in January, 1947, again for Life Magazine:


96d88e0f378c2fef_large.jpg


200dd85b064e1a50_large_2012-04-27.jpg


a9bdaa7e01808e30_large.jpg


d730a48b7582093a_large_2012-04-27.jpg


f4a85345a124371e_large.jpg
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Drew Art.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30896

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The left hand grip was always difficult for me. I never felt solid. A few years back I replicated Hogan holding the club with his left hand index finger only. The next picture said simply (paraphrasing) to close your left hand, starting with the fingers. All of the sudden that palmy grip felt more secure and much more comfortable. The structure through the hit increased dramatically for me.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30898

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Not sure how Hogan came to his own grip but I always thought the ideal grip for a person was achieved by assuming a Vardon style grip with an iron, then turning into an impact position, placing clubhead square to target into turf and while exerting real pressure into shaft with hands (leading clubhead) - keep adjusting your grip until you feel the best control for exerting that pressure from that position. After grip is found - hold it, return to address position and check out the arrived at grip. It should come up pretty close to Hogan.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30905

phily wrote:
Not sure how Hogan came to his own grip but I always thought the ideal grip for a person was achieved by assuming a Vardon style grip with an iron, then turning into an impact position, placing clubhead square to target into turf and while exerting real pressure into shaft with hands (leading clubhead) - keep adjusting your grip until you feel the best control for exerting that pressure from that position. After grip is found - hold it, return to address position and check out the arrived at grip. It should come up pretty close to Hogan.

That is a very interesting approach.. You might have something there...
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30906

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Ben Hogan wrote:
That is a very interesting approach.. You might have something there...

MR. HOGAN SIR !

Tha...tha... Thank YOU for responding! I, of course, was only assuming. I would NEVER dream of actually saying that is what you did = ever!

( hey, wait a minute... )
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30911

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His contemporary Sam Snead when asked how important the grip was replied "That's everything brother!"



Mike, this quote from Snead got me thinking. These guys were masters at maneouvering the ball to fit the hole and to get the best chance at making birdie's, if the grip was off by a hair the ball wouldn't go were it was meant to.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30914

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Instead of pressing the thank you button on every post in this thread so far, I will just express my appreciation to all the contributors in one fell swoop. Thank you.
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Eyeball.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30917

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In addition to the proper positioning of the hands on the club, it's important to know which fingers apply the pressure, and in what DIRECTION that pressure is applied. Grip "look" is important, but even more important is the dynamic forces going on within the grip.

As Hogan described in Five Lessons, the left hand pressure is applied by the last three fingers (middle, ring, pinky) pulling the handle up into the butt-pad of the left hand, which was simultaneously pushing down on the top of the shaft. In the right hand, the pressure is applied only by the middle and ring fingers.

The right hand index and thumb he called the "swing wreckers"...too much pressure from them causes the outer muscles of the right hand to tighten, which could lead to rollover releases and hooks.

However, there is an important point about the right hand index finger in the Coleman video, that I don't think was mentioned in Five Lessons if I recall correctly. The base of the index finger actually applies FORWARD pressure (targetward) on the side of the shaft.

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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30929

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Based on what I see I would guess that :

if Hogan had worn a glove it would be size Cadet L;

Standard grip diameter today is .900" and a midsize grip is .960" (measured 2" down from the butt end cap of the grip).

I would guess that on his playing set during his peak career, Hogan's grips were perhaps two wraps over standard: somewhere like .920" and it appears he may have taken out some of the grip taper, so perhaps one extra wrap under the right hand.

If you compare the Coleman video, where Hogan is using Coleman's driver, the grip is likely standard size, and it appears to be a bit smaller in Hogan's hands than Hogan's own grips appear in his hands.
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Drew Art.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30934

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Drew I love this picture you put up.

hogangriplife1.jpg


It reminded me that Elk and I did a bit on the grip in 5 Lessons for The Vault. Here it is.



Might give some fodder for this conversation.

MM
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30956

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Here are Hogan pictures taken by Yale Joel for the August 8, 1955 issue of Life Magazine, in which he demonstrates the changes in his grip.

Demonstrating his left hand grip BEFORE the changes.

131b39ceb1a36922_large_2012-04-28.jpg



Below: demonstrating his left hand grip AFTER the changes he made. I date the changes to mid-September 1947.

Hogan says: "I moved my left hand one-eighth to one-fourth inch to the left so that the thumb was almost directly on top of the shaft."

ab6fe2b2f1ae5ee9_large_2012-04-28.jpg


Browse Hogan Secret issue of Life Magazine
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Drew Art.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30957

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"I never could feel anything wearing a glove." Ben Hogan - September 1970 Golf Digest Interview with Nick Seitz.

Another good Hogan quote from the same article:

"The fella who starts today has a better chance to be a real good player than I did. The facts are all laid out for him. All you have to do is read and apply what you read through hard work. I had to dig it out for myself. It took me from age 12 to age 35, trying things, proving and disproving... But maybe that made me a better player, a better competitor. Most of the enjoyment in life is in improving."

Note: Hogan turned 35 on August 13, 1947.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30958

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Drew Art wrote:
"I never could feel anything wearing a glove." Ben Hogan - September 1970 Golf Digest Interview with Nick Seitz.

Another good Hogan quote from the same article:

"The fella who starts today has a better chance to be a real good player than I did. The facts are all laid out for him. All you have to do is read and apply what you read through hard work. I had to dig it out for myself. It took me from age 12 to age 35, trying things, proving and disproving... But maybe that made me a better player, a better competitor. Most of the enjoyment in life is in improving."

Note: Hogan turned 35 on August 13, 1947.

Mr. Hogan is absolutely right. Now, I believe can be done in 2 to 5 years, not 25 years, thanks to information age, internet, and new technologies.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30959

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Since we are talking about the left hand now, I will share what I found about the middle finger on the left hand (for a right handed player). Mr. H tells us in 5L that the grip pressure points of the left hand are created in the last three fingers, pulling the handle up into the heel pad of the left hand. What I discovered is that pressuring the middle finger produces a slightly different effect than the pinkie and ring fingers.

In one of his early YouTube vids, Mike mentioned "cupping under and Johnny Miller it". When you curl the left pinkie and/or the left ring finger into your palm, you get some palmar flexion and some supination or CCW rotation of the left hand. However, when you focus the pressure in the middle finger only, you get stronger PF with much LESS left hand supination or CCW rotation. My presumption is that the middle finger attaches differently to various tendons and muscles of the left arm ... is there an orthopod in the room? Or I guess it could be just as simple as force applied to the outside of an object will cause more rotation.

Focusing more pressure in the middle finger seems to give one a more solid left hand through impact and a better chance in achieving a flat left wrist. Also less clubface closure should result versus more pressure primarily in the last two fingers.

Mr. H was certainly correct about the importance of these left hand pressure points ... I'm just not sure they are created equal!

mh
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #30961

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moehogan wrote:
Since we are talking about the left hand now, I will share what I found about the middle finger on the left hand (for a right handed player). Mr. H tells us in 5L that the grip pressure points of the left hand are created in the last three fingers, pulling the handle up into the heel pad of the left hand. What I discovered is that pressuring the middle finger produces a slightly different effect than the pinkie and ring fingers.

In one of his early YouTube vids, Mike mentioned "cupping under and Johnny Miller it". When you curl the left pinkie and/or the left ring finger into your palm, you get some palmar flexion and some supination or CCW rotation of the left hand. However, when you focus the pressure in the middle finger only, you get stronger PF with much LESS left hand supination or CCW rotation. My presumption is that the middle finger attaches differently to various tendons and muscles of the left arm ... is there an orthopod in the room? Or I guess it could be just as simple as force applied to the outside of an object will cause more rotation.

Focusing more pressure in the middle finger seems to give one a more solid left hand through impact and a better chance in achieving a flat left wrist. Also less clubface closure should result versus more pressure primarily in the last two fingers.

Mr. H was certainly correct about the importance of these left hand pressure points ... I'm just not sure they are created equal!

mh


I have adopted you're left hand grip and like it...also just noticed from drews pics his middle fingers were the same length, even his pinky is long... not fair lol
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Diz.
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #31000

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mh,

I think that you have made a great observation. This has been brought up in The Dirt before but the conversation never really took off the way it probably should. Finger pressures are relevant and the actual balance of pressure within Hogans grip will forever be a mystery because he gave no specifics on this while he was alive that I am aware of.

This photo of his hands has always struck me though because the middle finger of the left hand seems bulbous and looks so over developed. The right middle finger looks pretty developed also.


benhoganhands.jpg



Glad that you brought this up. Some of the fulcrum point things that have been touched on in The Vault may be relevant too.

mm
moehogan wrote:
Since we are talking about the left hand now, I will share what I found about the middle finger on the left hand (for a right handed player). Mr. H tells us in 5L that the grip pressure points of the left hand are created in the last three fingers, pulling the handle up into the heel pad of the left hand. What I discovered is that pressuring the middle finger produces a slightly different effect than the pinkie and ring fingers.

In one of his early YouTube vids, Mike mentioned "cupping under and Johnny Miller it". When you curl the left pinkie and/or the left ring finger into your palm, you get some palmar flexion and some supination or CCW rotation of the left hand. However, when you focus the pressure in the middle finger only, you get stronger PF with much LESS left hand supination or CCW rotation. My presumption is that the middle finger attaches differently to various tendons and muscles of the left arm ... is there an orthopod in the room? Or I guess it could be just as simple as force applied to the outside of an object will cause more rotation.

Focusing more pressure in the middle finger seems to give one a more solid left hand through impact and a better chance in achieving a flat left wrist. Also less clubface closure should result versus more pressure primarily in the last two fingers.

Mr. H was certainly correct about the importance of these left hand pressure points ... I'm just not sure they are created equal!

mh
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Re: Ben Hogan Five Lessons Chapter 1 - The Grip 2 years 6 months ago #31002

  • Martin Ayers
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MoeHogan
I've played around a lot with the left hand trying different things....I think what you said there might be something I haven't tried that I can't wait to try. It has always bugged me that when I got the club in my hand as much as it appears Hogan does I never had the control I wanted....just grabbing a club now and I like the way it feels. It takes away some of the hand pressure associated with having it deep in the hand.....makes it easier for me to take a shorter thumb also.

It also allows me to grip the right hand a little more in the fingers and have the right palm pulled off to increase the pressure in the middle two fingers of the right hand and the butt pad of the index finger....

Makes even more sense when you consider some of the pictures I have seen where it appears Hogans pinky is riding above the end of the grip.

Good stuff Mike.
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