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The Hawk Talks

Posted by on in Sevam1
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Ben Hogan Grip Five LessonsMy hopes for some continuous good weather were dashed yesterday when we actually got more snow.  I finally had had enough and there was something I wanted to work on so I just went out there into the side yard and started hitting balls.

What I was working on was something that I have been milling over and thinking about for about 6 months and it had to do with the hands and finger pressures.  This all started with a discussion I had with Terry about blade angle and the fact that there was always going to be some variance at the bottom because no matter how strong we are the skin on the hands is pliable and so the club cannot be held in human hands in the same static vice like manner for instance that it can be attached to the Iron Byron machine.  It is a basic fact that there is play in the skin on the hands of any human.  Basically the meat on the hands still moves a bit no matter how firm you are.  This play I always accepted was accountable for at least a couple of degrees of unavoidable blade angle deviation at the bottom and influenced my ideas of what an acceptable margin for error on any golf shot would be in terms of right left dispersion.  My ideas on this have now changed.

Ben Hogan handsI have long marveled at the picture of Hogan’s hands above and in the picture to the right it always astounded me that his middle fingers were so bulbous and out of proportion to the other fingers.  Clearly he must have been using them a lot to have them wind up being built up to such an extent. In other words he must have those fingers on there pretty good and they must be “in the game”. I wondered what he was doing with them so I started working on swinging with a focus those fingers alone on the club last year for a little fun and as part of an ongoing experiment that I was doing for my own amusement whenever I got a chance to hit a few wedges in the side yard.

Hogan Magazine CoversI remember Hogan talking about the hands in the September 1987 GOLF Magazine article when he was asked about his epiphany about pronation and supination and how he could eliminate his hook.  About pronation and supination Hogan said….  “Well, yes it was, but it all gets back to the grip.  You can’t make those moves unless you have the proper hold on the club.  It’s like steering an automobile.  You don’t steer to the right all the time, you also steer to the left.  That ability has to come from the grip, which is the transformer through which the juice flows.”

Anyway this got me to thinking “What if the hands steered right and left against one another?"  "Could they sort of cancel each other out?”  "What would it do?"....."What would it look like?"

I set out to find out and I put my hands on and toyed with those ideas a bit.  First thing that I found was that it took up the slack in the skin that I believed was an uncounterable source of blade angle deviation. Even if it reduced the rotational “play” from say 3 degrees to 2 it would be significant. What I found was that it reduced it substantially more than that.  This was a big moment for me because I get very excited about these types of details.

I often wondered how Hogan’s club release could be so late and also why his finish looked so firm and yet looked a little like a flail.  There is simply no slack at any point including the finish.  As I worked with this hand action I found my own finish feeling more that way.  It was sort of remarkable.  The weather is clearing up enough now that I should be able to do a video on this in the side yard.  I will conclude this blog on Thursday and include a video outlining what I have found.  In the mean time check out Hogan here and watch the flail at the finish.  It looks almost like a twirl.  It looks to me like he is holding something off right to the bitter end.  No matter what, you can see in 90 percent of these swings that the hands remain firm to the finish.  Except on the bigger driver swings the clubhead just about never sags back down below the hands. See what you think.

Hit ‘em straight,



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  • Brent
    Brent Wednesday, 19 February 2014

    He certainly wore the left side of the left thumb out, and those were some thick middle fingers.

  • Craig Foster
    Craig Foster Wednesday, 19 February 2014

    Mike, Looking forward to the video. I'm a no slack kind of guy. Lots of benefits to tightening things up just a bit.

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