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Master the Connected Swing: Ben Hogan Meets the Smart Ball

hogan golf swing

A connected golf swing is not as simple as tucking a towel under your arm and hoping for the best. Bradley Hughes, inventor of one of my favorite training aids, the Down Under Board, believes that many have misunderstood the concept of connectedness.

Contrary to popular belief, Ben Hogan’s infamous arm connectedness was not about clinging arms to the body. It was about meaningful engagement where it counts—into and beyond the moment of impact. Alongside Hogan’s wisdom, we’ll examine how the Tour Striker Smart Ball can be a more effective training aid to achieve that elusive, truly connected swing.

Hogan was a relentless worker and practicer who found his swing “in the dirt.” We explore this in more detail in our post “Secrets in the Dirt.” For an in-depth analysis of one of today’s most notorious practitioners, see our post “From Windmill Drills to Tour Rotation: A Deep Dive into Tommy Fleetwood’s Swing Training.”

Debunking Myths: Traditional Drills Can Mislead

Many golfers have been led astray by the notion that keeping a towel or glove under the arm is the ticket to a connected swing. There are videos all over YouTube emphasizing this or telling viewers to keep their right elbow tight to the side and glue it there. It’s magic! While these drills are well-intentioned, they’re often superficial and overlook the complexity of what truly makes a swing connected.

  • Narrow Focus: These drills overly emphasize the arm-to-body and forearm-to-body connection, neglecting the broader, intricate mechanics of an effective swing.
  • False Security: Using a towel or glove may provide a false sense of connection without leading to a better swing.
  • Flexibility Fallacy: The idea that arms and forearms should remain attached to the body assumes a level of flexibility that most people lack and isn’t necessary for hitting solid golf shots.
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Tour Striker Smart Ball

Ben Hogan’s mastery of the connected swing wasn’t about chaining his arms to his body. It was about the natural flow of arm structure and connectedness during the swing. This allows for a more rapid change of direction and, ultimately, more power. The Tour Striker Smart Ball, invented by Martin Chuck, PGA, mimics this principle by being designed to be held between the forearms, encouraging the arms to work in unison.

Unlike traditional drills that provide a narrow focus and false sense of security, the Tour Striker Smart Ball targets the mechanics that matter. Players like Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy have been spotted with the Smart Ball. Based on their performances in the Ryder Cup alone, it might be worth looking at!

Here are some reasons why working with the Smart Ball trumps the traditional drills:

  • Muscle Memory: Holding the Smart Ball between the forearms builds the muscle memory needed for a truly connected swing.
  • Actionable Feedback: The Smart Ball provides immediate feedback if your arms start to separate, enabling quick corrections.
  • Applicable to All: The Smart Ball doesn’t require the yogi-level flexibility that traditional drills assume. This makes it a versatile tool for golfers of all body types.
  • Improved Structure: The Smart Ball inspires better structure and connectedness in your arms during your swing.
  • Arm Positioning: The Smart Ball encourages a cooperative arm posture during the swing, dissuading the arms from separating.
  • Ease of Use: The Smart Ball is simple to use and can be employed by golfers of all skill levels.
Tour Striker Smart Ball

Further Reading

hogan 5 lessons

Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf 

Summary: Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” is a classic that outlines his building blocks of winning golf. The book focuses on the five fundamentals Hogan believed were essential to a powerful and accurate golf swing. Each chapter of the book explains and demonstrates a different fundamental with clear illustrations, making it easier for readers to visualize the proper techniques and positions. The book has endured the test of time and is still relevant today.

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The Hogan Way
by John Andrisani

Summary: The Hogan Way “is a book that analyzes every aspect of Ben Hogan’s golfing techniques to help readers improve their game. Andrisani reveals secrets about Hogan’s techniques that have never been shared, including how he shaved strokes off his score and hit his trademark power-fade shot. The book also provides insights into Hogan’s golfing mind, practice approach, and course-management skills. Of course, it emphasizes the importance of connection in the golf swing, specifically in the arms.

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Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental
by Larry Miller

Summary: Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental by Larry Miller focuses on Hogan’s mysterious “secret” that he never publicly revealed about the golf swing. The author, Larry Miller, was mentored by Tommy Bolt who was Hogan’s protégé, and shares Hogan’s secret as he learned it which involves the geometry of the swing relative to the target line. Miller breaks down Hogan’s secret into two aspects and explains it using full-color photos and illustrations to help average golfers implement Hogan’s teachings to improve their games. The book provides insight into Hogan’s intriguing and legendary golf techniques and competitive record.

The Final Verdict

As we’ve explored, the connected swing is about far more than keeping your arms and body artificially close. It’s about a natural, flowing motion that engages the whole body in a coordinated effort to strike the ball with power and precision. Ben demonstrated that true connectedness comes from understanding the intricacies of your body mechanics and applying them skillfully. The Tour Striker Smart Ball is not just another training gimmick. It is rooted in the principles of what makes a golf swing truly connected, principles often misunderstood by conventional wisdom.

In a sport teeming with evolving techniques and ever-advancing gear, the age-old wisdom of Ben Hogan’s connected swing continues to hold its ground. It serves as a cornerstone in the quest for the perfect swing—a swing that’s not just mechanically sound but also truly connected.

For more on the Tour Striker Smart Ball, The Down Under Board, and the rest of our favorite training aids, see our post “Maximize Your Potential: Golf Training Aids 2003.”

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