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Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf [Anglais] [Broché]

Ben Hogan
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Extrait

Chapter 1

The Grip

GOOD GOLF BEGINS WITH A GOOD GRIP. This statement, I realize, packs as much explosive punch as announcing the startling fact that the battery in baseball is composed of a pitcher and a catcher. Moreover, for most golfers the grip is the drabbest part of the swing. There's no glamour to it. They see it accomplishing nothing active, nothing decisive. On the other hand, for myself and other serious golfers there is an undeniable beauty in the way a fine player sets his hands on the club. Walter Hagen, for instance, had a beautiful grip, delicate and at the same time powerful. It always looked to me as if Hagen's hands had been especially designed to fit on a golf club. Of the younger players today, Jack Burke gets his hands on the club very handsomely. No doubt a professional golfer's admiration for an impressive grip comes from his knowledge that, far from being a static "still life" sort of thing, the grip is the heartbeat of the action of the golf swing.

Logically, it has to be. The player's only contact with the ball is through the clubhead, and his only direct physical contact with the club is through his hands. In the golf swing, the power is originated and generated by the movements of the body. As this power builds up, it is transferred from the body to the arms, which in turn transfer it through the hands to the clubhead. It multiplies itself enormously with every transfer, like a chain action in physics. Or, to use a more familiar example, think of the children's game of snap-the-whip where the element at the end of the chain (in golf, the clubhead) is going thousands of times faster than the element which originated the velocity. This chain action depends on a proper grip. With a defective grip, a golfer cannot hold the club securely at the top of the backswing -- the club will fly out of control every time. And if the club is not controlled by a proper grip, the power a golfer generates with his body never reaches the club through his hands on the downswing, and the clubhead cannot be accelerated to its maximum.

The standard grip is the overlapping grip. It has been for over half a century now, ever since Harry Vardon popularized it both in Great Britain and here in America. Up to now we haven't found a grip that promotes as effective a union between the body and the club. One of these days a better one may come along, but until it does, we've got to stick with this one. In a good grip both hands act as ONE UNIT. They can't if you grip the club almost correctly -- which really means partially incorrectly. To cite the most common illustration, a right-handed player (whose left hand naturally is much less powerful than his right) kills any chance for a cooperative union of both hands if his right hand is dominant from the start or if it can assume dominance in the middle of the swing and take the whole swing over. One essential, then, to insure yourself a firm two-handed grip is to get your left hand on the club absolutely correctly. Here's how I would advise you to do it:

WITH THE BACK OF YOUR LEFT HAND FACING THE TARGET (AND THE CLUB IN THE GENERAL POSITION IT WOULD BE IN AT ADDRESS) PLACE THE CLUB IN THE LEFT HAND SO THAT 1) THE SHAFT IS PRESSED UP UNDER THE MUSCULAR PAD AT THE INSIDE HEEL OF THE PALM, AND 2) THE SHAFT ALSO LIES DIRECTLY ACROSS THE TOP JOINT OF THE FOREFINGER.

CROOK THE FOREFINGER AROUND THE SHAFT AND YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT YOU CAN LIFT THE CLUB AND MAINTAIN A FAIRLY FIRM GRIP ON IT BY SUPPORTING IT JUST WITH THE MUSCLES OF THAT FINGER AND THE MUSCLES OF THE PAD OF THE PALM.

NOW JUST CLOSE THE LEFT HAND -- CLOSE THE FINGERS BEFORE YOU CLOSE THE THUMB -- AND THE CLUB WILL BE JUST WHERE IT SHOULD BE.

TO GAIN A REAL ACQUAINTANCE WITH THIS PREPARATORY GUIDE TO CORRECT GRIPPING, I WOULD SUGGEST PRACTICING IT FIVE OR 10 MINUTES A DAY FOR A WEEK UNTIL IT BEGINS TO BECOME SECOND NATURE.

When a golfer has completed his left-hand grip, the V formed by the thumb and forefinger should point to his right eye. The total pressure of all the fingers should not be any stronger (and may even be a little less strong) than the pressure exerted by just the forefinger and the palm pad in the preparatory guiding action. In the completed grip, the main pressure points are the last three fingers, with the forefinger and the palm pad adding assisting pressure. The three fingers press up, the pad presses down, and the shaft is locked in between. Keeping pressure on the shaft with the palm pad does three things: it strengthens the left arm throughout the swing; at the top of the backswing, the pressure from this pad prevents the club from slipping from the player's grasp; and it acts as a firm reinforcement at impact.

This pressure we are speaking of should be "active," the kind of pressure that makes your hand feel alive and ready for action. Some golfers grab hold of a club so ferociously they look like they're going to twist the grip right off it. There's no need for overdoing the strength of your grip. In fact, there's a positive harm in it: you automatically tighten the Cords in the left arm and render it so stiff, so deaf that it will be unable to hear your requests and give you a muscular response when you start your swing. Too tight a grip will also immobilize your wrist. A secure, alive, and comfortable grip is what you want, for, as the weighted clubhead is swung back, your fingers instinctively tighten their grasp on the shaft.

The grip of the right hand, since it is the hand that does the overlapping, is more complicated. If setting up a strong, correct left hand is one half of the job of establishing a one-unit grip, the other half is getting your right hand in a position to perform its share of the work but no more than its equal share. This means, in effect, subduing the natural tendency of the right forefinger and thumb to take charge. If they do, they'll ruin you. The "pincer fingers," the forefinger and thumb, are wonderful for performing countless tasks in daily living such as opening doors and picking up coffee cups, but they are no good at all in helping you to build a good grip and a good swing. The explanation behind this is that the muscles of the right forefinger and thumb connect with the very powerful set of muscles that run along the outside of the right arm and elbow to the right shoulder. If you work the tips of the thumb and forefinger together and apply any considerable amount of pressure, you automatically activate those muscles of the right arm and shoulder-and those are not the muscles you want to use in the golf swing. Using them is what breeds so many golfers who never swing with both hands working together, who lurch back and then lurch into the ball, all right arm and right shoulder and all wrong.

TO OBTAIN THE PROPER GRIP WITH THE RIGHT HAND, HOLD IT SOMEWHAT EXTENDED, WITH THE PALM FACING YOUR TARGET. NOW -- YOUR LEFT HAND IS ALREADY CORRECTLY AFFIXED -- PLACE THE CLUB IN YOUR RIGHT HAND SO THAT THE SHAFT LIES ACROSS THE TOP JOINT OF THE FOUR FINGERS AND DEFINITELY BELOW THE PALM.

THE RIGHT-HAND GRIP IS A FINGER GRIP. THE TWO FINGERS WHICH SHOULD APPLY MOST OF THE PRESSURE ARE THE TWO MIDDLE FINGERS. As we have mentioned, the forefinger shouldn't be allowed to become too forceful. As for the little finger, it slides up and over the forefinger of the left hand and locks itself securely in the groove between the left forefinger and the big finger. NOW, WITH THE CLUB HELD FIRMLY IN THE FINGERS OF YOUR RIGHT HAND, SIMPLY FOLD YOUR RIGHT HAND OVER YOUR LEFT THUMB -- that is how I like to think of it. When you have folded the right hand over, the right thumb should ride down the left side of the shaft, slightly.

If there is one major consideration to keep uppermost in your mind about the right hand, it is that the club must be in the fingers and not in the palm. In order to get a check on the ball with backspin or to cut the ball up with a nice under-spin and to do many other things with the ball, the ball must be hit sharp and crisp, and you can achieve this only if the club is in the fingers of the right hand. Furthermore, a proper right.hand grip will enable the player to transmit the greatest amount of speed to the clubhead. Controlled speed is what we want, and you can get this control only from the fingers, not from the right hand itself.

A word more about the little finger of the right hand. While it has been approved practice for quite some time to let the little finger ride sort of piggyback on top of the left forefinger, I would really advise you to hook that little finger in the groove between the forefinger and the big finger. It helps to keep the hands from slipping apart. It also gives me the good feeling that my hands are knitted vigorously together.

A word further about the thumb area of the right hand. To promote a right-hand grip that is strong where it should be strong (and which will then more than offset the dangerous tendency to let the tips of thumb and forefinger work like a pincer), I recommend the golfer-reader to cultivate the following habit' School yourself when you are taking your grip so that the thumb and the adjoining part of the hand across the V -- the part that is the upper extension of the forefinger -- press up against each other tightly, as inseparable as Siamese twins. Keep them pressed together as you begin to affix your grip, and maintain this airtight pressure between them when you fold the right hand over the left thumb. In this connection, I like to feel that the knuckle on the back of my right hand above the forefinger is pressing to the left, toward my target. It rides almost on top of the shaft. I know then that the club has to be in my fingers. Furthermore, when you fold the right hand over the left thumb -- and there is a lot left to fold over -- the left thumb will fit perfectly in the "cup" formed in the palm of your folded right hand. They fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.

This union of left thumb and right thumb pad strengthens the welding together of the two hands and it serves to add real reinfo...

Revue de presse

Jim Fogerty Professional, Sunset Country Club, St. Louis Most articles on golf deal only in theory, but Ben is to be congratulated on probably the most practical series on golf instruction ever written.

Timothy E. Sick Calgary After reading the first two articles, I had a 73 for the first time in my life, and hadn't played for six months before that.

Frank Sadler Professional, Bellingham Country Club, Bellingham, Washington It's the first time words and illustrations have made golfing technique absolutely clear. I'm applying the lessons to my teaching program here and highly recommending them to my pupils. I'd say it's the greatest instruction series of all time. Women are particularly keen on it. It'll make a lot of new golfers -- good golfers.

Présentation de l'éditeur

A timeless classic with nearly one million copies in print, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons outlines the building blocks of winning golf from one of the all-time masters of the sport—fully illustrated with drawings and diagrams to improve your game instantly.

Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport, believed that any golfer with average coordination can learn to break eighty—if one applies oneself patiently and intelligently. With the techniques revealed in this classic book, you can learn how to make your game work from tee to green, step-by-step and stroke by stroke.

In each chapter, a different experience-tested fundamental is explained and demonstrated with clear illustrations—as though Hogan were giving you a personal lesson with the same skill and precision that made him a legend. Whether you’re a novice player or an experienced pro, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons is a must-have reference for anyone who knows that fundamentals are where champions begin.

Quatrième de couverture

'The best instructional book on golf you will find' Observer
'As fine, authoritative and absorbing an analysis of the golfer's swing as has ever been published...as an instructional book it is first class' Guardian
(reproduction of one of the lessons from the book)
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Biographie de l'auteur

Ben Hogan discovered golf as a fifteen-year-old caddie. He turned pro at seventeen, joined the tour full-time as a nineteen-year-old in 1931, and has won nine pro majors. A four-time PGA Player of the Year, he is one of only four golfers to win all four professional majors. At forty-one, he won five of six tournaments, including the Masters, U.S. Open and the British Open. Hogan died at eighty-four in 1997 in his home in Fort Worth.
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