The picture above is the most important page in “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons”; [click here to see clips from my exclusive My Golfing Store video series on “FEEL”]
> the sketch shows he is clearly pushing his hands together, albeit in a semi-isometric type of way in the address/set up…
> …the context of this page is about Hogan getting across how crucial it is in the pre shot routine to “role call” the key “inside” muscle groups that have dynamic roles during the swing.
He wants us to activate and thereby feel the “inside muscles” of each arm by pushing the inner elbows inward toward each other to the point where BOTH forearms are supinating (both forearms are rotating outward away from the body) such that the elbow sockets are definitely facing outward.
> The connected feeling of the hands and arms pushing together at all times is the most important feeling to have during every sequential phase of the golf swing.
> Maintaining this pushing-together connected feeling is especially key during transition so as to avoid the negative effects of SLACK [more on this later].
The feeling of the elbow sockets thrusting outward [by way of the inner elbows pushing inward due to the opposing supinations of each forearm] is critical at-and-through impact to REALLY compress the ball for explosive ball striking.
People who played with Hogan have said that the ball came off his club face like a rocket exploding off of a launch pad.
> It is important to note here that this explosive reaction of the ball to its interaction with Hogan’s club face wasn’t so much due to acceleration,
> but due to Hogan “trapping” the ball between the club face and the ground by exerting maximum lag tension on the club shaft [more on that later] and really leaning on the shaft at-and-through impact for maximum compression.
So in the mind’s eye, the ball striker has the feeling of TRAPPING the ball between the club face and the ground it sits on with as much pressure as possible and for as long as possible;
> versus the opposite feeling that goes with the intention to scrape the ball up off of the ground by flipping the club face open so as to point it upward toward the sky.
> This is simply the most ineffective way to send the ball where you want it to go…and it is BY FAR the most common way that golfers go about hitting the ball;
> this is the main reason why golfers plateau after a couple of years – because they aren’t doing the EXACT opposite of what they are inclined to do…
> …that is, they don’t FULLY intend to FULLY trap the ball, they at best only have some minor degree of intention to trap the ball.
Having full intention to fully trap the ball requires a full push-together approach as I’ll go on to explain here after laying down some more groundwork.
This “push-together” approach is the cornerstone of classic ball striking [and is the foundational concept within the Croker Golf System where I am a Certified Instructor].
> Pushing-together is the only way to get a SLACK-FREE swing and therefore the feel and awareness you need for the club head for reflexive, timing-free, sustained-lag-tension, compressive-explosive [and inherently dependable] ball striking.
> Whereas the opposite, pulling-apart, by definition and design creates SLACK in the golf swing which significantly decreases feel and awareness for the club head and therefore leads to inconsistent ball striking [except for the most inherently gifted athletes trained from an early age].
Chances are that you have never heard of these binary and exactly opposite approaches, that is,
> the FEEL-producing [i.e., SLACK-killing] “push-together” approach
> versus the SLACK-producing [i.e., FEEL-killing] “pull-apart” approach.
So let me explain by starting out with what I mean by [feel-killing] SLACK by way of a non-golf related example we can all picture;
> Think of the slack, or looseness, in the rope that a semi-submerged water skier is holding onto as he awaits the boat to speed ahead and pop him out of the water;
> the water skier is effectively disconnected from the boat because he can’t feel the boat through the non taut rope until…
> …he suddenly gets jerked out of the water by a sudden snapping-tightening of the ski rope when the slack is taken up by the speeding boat that got a head start pulling on the non taut rope.
Okay, keep that visual in mind…and let’s get back to ball striking.
Nearly all golfers pull the club back with their right hand and then pull the club to the left [toward the ball] away from the right side with a combination of pulling actions, for instance
> sudden weight transfer to the left side, twisting the left hip open and-or twisting the left shoulder open and-or pulling on the club from the upper left arm.
While switching from pulling back to pulling forward there is a sort of “changing of the guards” when there is a brief moment of slack where the golfer becomes effectively disconnected from the club head in that he can’t feel it,
> and he doesn’t feel the club again until the sudden jerk when the left side’s head start movement of pulling away from the right side works its way up to exerting a pulling force on the club itself.
> It is very difficult to time a sudden jerk and translate that snapping effect into a clean strike on the golf ball [again, except for the finest of athletes trained from an early age].
Now I know, because I’ve watched 1,000s of hours of Youtube golf training videos, that this left-side-first pulling on the club passes as “lag” in the mainstream golf world.
> But this type of “lag” doesn’t translate into a compressive “trapping” strike on the ball because pulling on the club cannot lead to SUSTAINED LAG TENSION on the club shaft.
> Pulling-apart can lead to fleeting lag tension on the shaft which is inherently TRICKY to translate into into a truly compressive strike on the ball; clearly this leads to undependable ball striking.
Only a “pushing-together” approach produces the SUSTAINED lag tension on the shaft needed for maximum ball compression and dependable “explosive” ball striking.
You’ll have to stay tuned for the next blog article and video series on what lag tension means and what it has to do with ball compression and how the pushing-together approach produces SUSTAINED lag tension on the shaft.
Feel free to write me with any comments or questions; TWilliams@MyGolfingStore.com
Yours in better ball striking through maximum ball compression,
Ted Williams, Certified Instructor – Croker Golf System