Category Archives: golf books

Six Fundamentals

The Six Fundamentals of the Recreational Golf Swing pages (SF Left and SF Right) are now public pages. The password protection has been removed.

Be watching for my next opus, Bob’s Little Golf Book, to be published on this site in June.

Ben Hogan’s Three Right Hands

There’s a guy I play golf with occasionally who is in his 50s and new to the game. He’s small, but strong. His swing is, wind up the upper body and swing through as hard as you can with your shoulders and arms. When he connects, it’s really impressive. The other ninety percent of the time, it’s not.

He told me once that he read Ben Hogan’s book (Five Lessons) and mentioned the part where Hogan said he wished he had three right hands. Having read that book so much I almost have it memorized, I agreed that Hogan did say that.

I think my friend interpreted that as a green light to hit the ball as hard as he could with his right hand. That sure looks like what he’s trying to do.

What I didn’t say, because I don’t give unsolicited advice on the golf course, is my friend needed to read the whole sentence rather than just that part.
 Hogan at that point (p. 101) was talking about the left wrist. I won’t give you the entire quote, but he said,

“…the left hand will not check or interrupt the speed with which your clubhead is traveling. There’s no danger either that the right hand will overpower the left and twist the club over. It can’t. As far as applying power goes, I wish I had three right hands!”

That’s it. You can hit as hard as you want to with your right hand IF THE LEFT WRIST IS IN THE PROPER POSITION (illustration below).

Hogan-left-wrist-action

Hogan was not saying to hit the ball as if you had three right hands, period. There is a catch, and the catch is the shape of the left wrist.

The right hand turning over the left was my problem exactly for many years. I solved it by changing my grip and by giving my hands less responsibility through impact.

What I have is a flat left wrist at impact. Having that wrist bend outward like Hogan showed is beyond my ability. If you can get your left wrist flat (Hogan) and facing the target (Trevino) at impact, you’re way ahead of the game.

But back to the book. Hitting hard only makes sense if you are sure you can keep the clubface aligned while you’re doing it. Hogan showed you in Five Lessons how he did it.

A shorter way of saying it is, square first, hard second.

Golf technique

There is no getting around the need to have good technique to play our difficult sport well. Given the great variety of shots we need to play, the more technique the better. Ben Hogan even said once that there isn’t enough daylight to practice all the shots you need to.

This space has, over the years, devoted a large part of its offerings to technical suggestions. In the background, though, lurks the notion that we keep hearing from the playing professionals that you can’t think of technique when you’re on the course playing. Technique is for the range. When it’s time to play, think about getting the ball in the hole.

Golf is art. Every golf shot you hit is a work of art that your technique allows you to express. What you are going to do is more important than how you are going to do it. Hopefully, the “how” was taken care of during practice.

Learning how to put aside thoughts of technique is a mental skill. You need to be able to keep your mind moving forward and concentrating on each succeeding present moment that is part of the process of planning and hitting the shot. If you can do that, there is no opportunity for the doubt-generating thoughts of technique to arise.

Two exercises, which are explained on pages 15-18 of my latest book, The Golfing Self, show you how to attain that state of mind. I don’t think I’m saying too much when I say that training your mind is just as important, and takes just as much devotion, as learning shot technique.

I know from my experience, and you probably do from yours, that during your best rounds, assessing the situation, picking your shot, and hitting it are so easy that it seems like you’re hardly thinking about it. Everything just flows.

If you train your mind properly, that can be the way you always play golf.

Visit www.therecreationalgolfer.com

The Golfing Self Contest – 2

The contest has come and gone, and as there were no entrants, no prize will be awarded. Darn.

The contest was to tell about your worst hole ever — the perfect storm of bad shot-making, bad decision-making and just plain bad luck.

Here’s mine, and it’s in The Golfing Self, along with advice on how to prevent disasters like this.

“I hit my drive on a 375-yard par 4 off the fairway to the left. The ball ended up on an uphill, sidehill lie, sitting on dry grass coming out of hard ground, about 175 yards away from the green with a wide-open look. A discerning reader such as you would think, ‘Take out your 8-iron and chip down the fairway for a short iron onto the green.’ That thought never crossed my mind.

“I pulled out my 5-iron to have a go at the green, and (I’ll make the rest of this quick) duck-hooked the next shot into waist-high weeds thirty yards left of the green (2). Found the ball, unplayable lie. Had to drop, still in the weeds (3). Hacked at it, but didn’t get out (4). Hacked out, this time for sure (5). Chipped on, long (6). Approach putt (7). Short putt (8). Simple. Anyone could do it.”

Don’t let his happen to you!

My new book, The Golfing Self, now available at www.therecreationalgolfer.com, will change everything about the way you play.

The Golfing Self

“Every human being has a mind and body that are meant to work together as a unit. It could be said that we play golf one hundred percent with the mind and one hundred percent with the body, at the same time.” — from TGS

Your mind must be actively engaged at all times when you play golf. It must, however, be engaged in the right way. The Golfing Self will show you what that way is, how to achieve it, and how to make use of it on the golf course.

Coming at the end of this month.

See more at www.therecreationalgolfer.com