Do We Try To Hit It Too Far?
As I mentioned last week, one of my favorite refreshers on my golf swing is to pick up my well-worn copy of Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons. I also just added a vintage copy of his first book, Power Golf, which I practically grew up on. One of the more interesting sections of that book is his chapter on using the clubs in your bag. In that section, Hogan charted his regular, minimum and maximum yardage for each club in his bag.
What immediately blows you away is how short his “regular” distances were, and it causes you to pause a minute to digest what he’s written. He lists “regular” five-iron distance at 155 yards!
To understand this, first you have to realize that in length and loft, Hogan’s five-iron at that time was almost identical to the 7-iron in most bags today, and even the 8-iron in some of the ‘super game improvement’ irons. Taking that into consideration, his listed regular yardage of 155 isn’t so hard to imagine.
But what really set Hogan apart from the way most of us play the game today, is that he listed the “maximum” yardage for each club at 25 yards further than the “regular” yardage. 25 yards!!! So, while he considered 155 a regular five-iron shot, he could hit it 180 if he had to or wanted to. How much do you have in reserve behind each regular iron shot you hit? How many golfers do you know that have even an extra ten yards in reserve over what they consider “regular”?
All I can say is “hmmmmmmm”. Something to think about, huh?
The other interesting thing in this section of the book is his talk about his driver at 13-1/2 ounces. Modern drivers are all about 11 these days, with some pushing as low as 10-1/4 ounces. Imagine adding three full ounces to your driver, cutting 2-3 inches off of it, combining that with the golf balls they had in the 1940s . . . and still being able to hit drives of 300 yards or more!!! Hogan did it.
Back to that idea of having something in reserve in your irons. When you can get to the range, maybe the idea of throttling back considerably from what you consider “regular” distance with each club should be fully explored. What would happen to your scores if your iron play got measurably sharper this year?
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You know, I think that's a good idea, and I can do it with my Driver and 3 & 5 woods, but I haven't been able to do it with my irons. If I knew how to do it, I most definitely would.
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