Golf is full of tradition reaching back 500 years or so. That is one of the things of beauty about this sport that far surpasses most others in the media. As in most histories what is being done or said today most likely has been done or said countless times in the past 10,000 years.
Saying that, we tend to listen very closely to what certain individuals in history said or wrote as it somehow became part of our global memory for the ages.
Ben Hogan was one of those special people. When he spoke, people listened, not only because of the carefully crafted content, but because it was considered a rare occurrence throughout his career. When Hogan was playing or practicing people would just feel privileged to be able to watch him swing the golf club. That is one main reason we preserved so much for current and future generations of golfers in 'The Ben Hogan Collection' 3 DVD set and in the 'Swing Interactive Software.
During the research phase and production of the dvd set I managed to compile an extensive list of quotations attributed to Ben Hogan. I am hoping and assuming most are accurate but having to rely on 30 to 40 years of golf and sportswriters output can give one a bit of a cautious approach to verifying accuracy. That said, the quotes are classic and part of our wonderful golf lore. Here they are:
Hogan’s Famous Quotes
1. “There isn’t enough daylight in any one day to practice all the shots you need to.”
2. “Every day that I missed practicing takes me one day longer to be good.”
3. “I try to hit it on the third groove.”
4. “There are no seven iron shots at Merion.”
5. “Managing the Mystique.”
6. “You’ve got no friends out here”.
7. “… a well hit golf shot as a feeling that goes up the shaft, right into your hands-and into your heart.”
8. After hitting out of the water at the U.S. Open on #17 at Cherry Hills an official was worried about calling a penalty on Hogan if he had to pull out of the water and take a drop. “You wouldn’t have had to call a penalty on me, I would’ve called I on myself’.
9. “I’m the sole judge of my standards”.
10. “I always outworked everybody. Work never bothered me like it bothers some people. You can outwork the best player in the world.”
11. “Your away.”
12. “I didn’t know the yardage. I didn’t want to know the yardage. There are too many variables - the wind, the air density, how you’re playing that day. I would remember if I had been beside a certain tree or trap or something like that and what I hit and how I played that shot. I don’t think I could play by yardge.”
13. “They’re not good clubs. Throw them away.”
14. “Some of them (balls) have a little too much paint in the dimples.”
15. “He must be good (Jack Fleck), he uses Hogan clubs.”
16. “Merion meant the most because I proved I could still win.”
17. “I’m glad that I brought this course (Oakland Hills), this monster, to its knees.”
18. “If all the players had to qualify, I’d try to qualify with them, but as a four-time champion, if I’m not qualified to play in the Open by now, I never will be.” (About qualifying for the 1962 U.S. Open)
19. “Well, that’s why they make 18 holes” after double bogeying the first hole at the Colonial National Invitational
20. “Your name is the most important thing you own. Don’t ever do anything to disgrace or cheapen it.”
21. “I need it at Oakland Hills” (to Dan Jenkins about a punched choked down 3 iron of 155 yards).
22. “You always overclub downwind” (after hitting a downwind, bump-and-run 7 iron onto a green)
23. “You can probably swing a little faster if you try hard enough.”
24. “You never fight your eye when you look at a hole. If it looks one way, play it that way. Don’t make a big deal out of an easy shot.”
25. It’s a black and white thing. If it looks like it falls left to right, let it go left to right; if it looks like it falls right to left, let it go right to left.”
26. On a dogleg right, you don’t try to hook it, on a dogleg left don’t try to fade it.”
27. “When you practice try to find a situation to fit the shot you’re trying to practice
28. “I didn’t need a three” when asked why he didn’t go for the green in two on a reachable par five.
29. “If you have trajectory, you can get accuracy.”
30. “… the more I practice, the luckier I get.”
31. “If you don’t use it in your swing, don’t use it in your waggle. Why practice something you’re not going to use. Only use things that fit your golf swing.”
32. “I was a much better golfer before the accident than I ever was afterward.”
33. About Jack Nicklaus in 1960 at the U.S. Open, “Don’t feel sorry for me, I played with a kid today who could have won this Open by 10 shots.”
34. When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Hogan would answer, “As a gentleman.”
35. “There is no reason why a golfer can’t birdie every hole.”
36. After the accident, “Golf was my life. I didn’t want to give it up. So I went to work!”
37. “ I guess that takes care of this ‘Mr. Golf’ business” after posting 27 under par in the Portland Open and beating his friend Byron Nelson by 17 shots.
38. “Carefully replace the divot, son, because I plan to be here every round,” to his caddy during practice rounds at Merion in 1950.
39. “When I practiced, I practiced to get it right.”
40. “I don’t believe there is anything like a natural golf swing. A golf swing is an unnatural thing, and it has to be developed.”
41. “I am trying to play myself back in shape. I just haven’t had enough competition. I’m hitting the ball as well as I ever did, but I’ve lost the knack of scoring.”
42. ‘The basics of the swing remain the same, but I’m always experimenting, looking for better ways to hit finesse shots.’
43. ‘I never hit a shot on the course that I haven’t practiced.’
44. ‘I’m a curious person. Experimenting is my enjoyment. If something doesn’t work, some part of my swing or a club, I throw it out.’
45. ‘…I did dedicate myself to the game. And I loved every minute of it.’
46. ‘A lot of people don’t understand modesty. Not everybody wants publicity, you know.’
47. ‘It seems to me like we used ot have a more gracious life playing tournaments in those days. In many places we dressed for dinner, in dinner jackets. I cringe when I see fellas today walking into nice restaurants in golf clothes.’
48. ‘Competition improves people. Fifteen years from now the competition will be better still. You have to beat the competition. To do that you have to find a way. You have to have an edge.’
49. ‘The fundamentals of swinging are the same, but the technique of hitting the ball has improved, and the equipment is slightly better… not as much better as the individual and his technique.’
50. ‘All golf shots are missed to a degree. Today fewer are missed’
51. ‘The fella who starts today has a better chance to be a real good player than I did. The facts are all laid out for him. All you have to do is read and apply what you read through hard work.’
52. ‘I had to dig it out for myself. It took me from age 12 to 35, trying things, proving and disproving. But maybe that made me a better player, a better competitor. Most of the enjoyment in life is in improving.’
53. ‘I think all sports have to have leaders. One leader, with half the crowds coming to see him win and half to see him get beat. It’s hard to find that type of person. He’ll have to be an awful dedicated man.’
54. ‘I used to go in on my left leg as much as anybody, or more. …I used to play the ball up and go forward to catch it.’
55. ‘Golf and tournament golf are as different as baseball and hockey. I can’t describe the tournament feel you have to have… Call it toughness’‘I enjoy practicing and playing in tournaments. Besides, I haven’t really done what I wanted to do. I haven’t won enough tournaments.’
Enjoy the show!