Ben Hogan's Secret is Bad for Slicers

Ben Hogan’s Secret is Bad for Slicers

In a 1955 article in Life magazine, Ben Hogan — at that point essentially retired from the Tour — solved the mystery of how he had become one of the best ball-strikers in history. The article, titled “My Secret,” caused quite a sensation and became required reading for thousands of amateurs. However, many golfers over the years have missed the key word in the title — “My.” Hogan’s secret was for him and not necessarily for anyone else. Especially, not for a slicer.

The secret combined three swing keys that Hogan had carefully crafted to eradicate the hook that had plagued him early in his career. But to the majority of golfers then and now, those anti-hook keys have only one result: a big slice. If that’s a shot you fight, Hogan’s keys actually are throwing fuel onto the fire.

Hogan allowed the club’s toe to rotate past the heel.

This produced an open clubface position at the top.


When scottish professionals arrived in America around the turn of the century, they brought with them the idea of rolling the left arm and hand away from the ball during the backswing.

This meant the toe of the club fanned away faster than the heel until, at the top of the swing, the back of the left hand and the right palm faced the sky. The move had gone out of style in the intervening years, but Hogan decided that this action set the club on the ideal swing plane. However, it also turned his clubface so it faced to the sky at the top — a shut position that promoted a hook — so two additional changes were needed.

To open the clubface, Hogan moved his left thumb on top of the grip and allowed a slight cupping of his left wrist at the top. These changes rotated the clubface so the toe pointed more toward the ground, correcting the shut position. A good tip if you hook the ball.

A stronger grip will help eliminate your slice.

Hogan’s secret was a weak grip, the bane of slicers.


Slicers would be wise to work on a secret of their own — one that is nearly the opposite of Hogan’s.

First, when you let your arms rotate in the backswing, be careful not to overdo the move. Most slicers allow the clubhead to move well behind their body. From back there, an over-the-top swing path is the only choice on the downswing.

Second, a weak grip is all too common among slicers, so rotate your left thumb to the right to create a stronger grip. Finally, make sure your left forearm and the back of your left hand are flat at the top of the swing. These changes will help you develop your own secret, that of the slice-free swing.

A flat left wrist position will help a slicer square the clubface.

Hogan’s cupped left wrist position contributes to a slicer’s problems.

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