Ben Hogan is a legend of the game and widely considered one of the best ball strikers of all time. Originally published in 1957, Ben Hogan’s 5 Lessons is a classic golf instruction book. Some even refer to it as the “bible” of golf instruction… So let’s take a look at what you can expect!
In the beginning of 5 Lessons Hogan makes the claim that the average golfer is entirely capable of building a repeating swing and breaking 80.
He then breaks the golf swing down into what he calls the “true fundamentals” of golf:
- The Grip
- Stance & Posture
- The Backswing
- The Downswing
Each element has it’s own chapter, complete with detailed discussion, illustrations, and drills to reinforce the key moves.
We think Hogan’s book does a great job focusing on a few critical pieces of the swing instead of forcing everyone into the identical swing. In our experience this helps golfers of different ages and physical conditions adopt their own abilities while still getting the core fundamentals correct.
Focusing on the core fundamentals is also the secret to long lasting results. Indeed many advanced golfers will benefit from going through Hogan’s book again as a “check up” on the basics.
One thing to be aware of is that some experts claim the fundamentals in 5 Lessons are slightly unorthodox… Specifically that Hogan advocates a closed stance and a slightly weak grip. There is definitely some truth to that… although it’s hard to argue with one of golf’s greatest ball strikers. Still it’s worth noting most professional coaches today would teach a square stance and more neutral grip.
Easy to Learn
This is the one area that we would consider a weakness of Hogan’s 5 Lessons. The simple fact is that learning a motion as complex as the golf swing from a book is a challenge. For this reason, modern video programs have an inherent advantage that no book can match. Many golfers find it easier to learn the game with the help of visual demonstrations.
We can’t blame Mr. Hogan… home video wasn’t a viable option when he wrote the book. And that said, 5 Lessons does about as good a job as possible in the book format. Hogan does a nice job breaking the golf swing into manageable and logical chunks. Each element of the swing gets it’s own chapter complete with illustrations, extensive discussion, and drills. Just go into it knowing that learning from a book involves a lot of trial and error at the driving range!
One unique thing about 5 Lessons is that it doesn’t use photographs… it is actually illustrated. That might sound like a drawback but we found the illustrations to be quite clear and don’t think they take away from the instruction.
Ben Hogan’s 5 Lessons is widely acclaimed as one of the classic books on golfing techinque. It is almost universally held in high regard, with some even calling it the “bible” of golf instruction. At the time of this writing, it has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with over 300 reviews.
The price will vary, but at the time of this writing the book was available on amazon.com for $17. We think this is a great value for a book from one of golf’s true legends!
The Bottom Line
Ben Hogan’s 5 Lessons is a classic of instruction from one of golf’s greatest ball strikers. For less than $20, it belongs in any serious golfer’s library. On top of that, this 1957 classic is a piece of golfing history that any enthusiast should appreciate!
The only downside is the unavoidable fact that learning golf from a book has its limitations. Modern video programs have an inherent advantage that allows them to teach in a more visual and comprehensive manner. This is something to keep in mind if you are looking for a single program that is the easiest and fastest way to learn the game.
To learn more or make a purchase, check out Ben Hogan’s 5 Lessons on Amazon.com here.
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