Two of the game's most influential instructors, David Leadbetter and Jim McLean, recently issued their takes on Ben Hogan's techniques—Leadbetter in a book, The Fundamentals of Hogan, McLean in a video, Ben Hogan: The Golf Swing. But though both Leadbetter and McLean are longtime Hoganphiles, they have differing views on Hogan's methods. What's more, Leadbetter believes that Hogan was an exceptional athlete whose swing was too complicated for the average golfer to copy, while McLean thinks Hogan's technique was ideal and an excellent model for all players. Here are some other areas in which Leadbetter and McLean part company.
Says the grip Hogan endorsed in his 1957 book, Five Lessons—the V formed by the thumb and forefinger of the left hand points to the right eye-is meant to protect against a hook and is too weak for most golfers.
Favors the grip Hogan advocated in his first book, Power Golf, published in '48: The V points to an area between right ear and right shoulder.
MY TWO CENTS
McLean believes Hogan played his best golf, and was a better model, in the three years preceding his near-fatal auto accident in February 1949. Leadbetter thinks Hogan's swing was more controlled and effective after the crash. Hogan won 33 events from '46 until the accident, 16 after. Advantage: McLean.
Argues that while Hogan said he liked to feel that his weight was more on his heels, it was actually more on the balls of the great man's feet. Lord Lead also calls the Hawk's stance, which was shoulder-width for a five-iron, too wide for the average player.
Says most top players favor the weight more on their heels, and believes the width of Hogan's stance is a good standard.
MY TWO CENTS
Independently, Leadbetter and McLean conclude that Hogan had much softer arms at address than is shown in the famous "banded arm" illustration in Five Lessons. Kudos to both for debunking a misleading image.