Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Hogan 'Sound'

Brian Manzella has random live Webcam chats on his site and just had one a little while ago.

One of the questions I asked was why he thought guys like Hogan (and other golfers thru time) were able to get that different sound at impact than other golfers, including Tour pros.

This is a question I had to ask because thinking about Hogan for a second, he certainly wasn't the longest golfer, yet his shots made a much different sound. So I was thinking he:

1. Probably was hitting a different part of the sweetspot to some degree.
2. More or less compressing the ball better and more often than the other golfers.

Brian's thoughts were more along the lines of this:

Forward shaft lean with minimum downward strike. Sounds simple, but probably difficult to do.

Usually when a reader asks me about Manzella's teaching philosophy they ask me why he doesn't like forward shaft lean. My answer is that he doesn't hate forward shaft lean. But usually forward shaft lean means the golfer is hitting further down on the ball and that forces the golfer to 'swing left' in order to hit the ball dead straight.

So, if you have a lot of forward shaft lean, you'll have to increase the amount you need to rotate the plane line to the left in order to hit it dead straight and that becomes more of a guessing game.

OTOH, if you have minimal forward lean at impact, that means your attack angle is probably less steep and that means you can rotate the plane to the left less.

Let's say you get 2 golfers both hitting 7-irons. If golfer A is hitting his 7-iron with an attack angle of say -6*, then that golfer will have to rotate the plane somewhere in the range of 3* left, in order to hit is DEAD straight (face angle is important as well).

But if golfer B hits their 7-iron with a -1.5* attack angle, then their plane line needs to be rotated in the area of -0.75* left. Which really isn't much.

The issue?

Very difficult to have a shallow attack angle and still maintain a FLW at impact.

That's why most PGA Tour pros hit down on the ball quite a bit. The Tour Average attack angle with a 7-iron is -4*. And that's why I tell golfers that they need to hit down more on the golf ball because it helps them execute a FLW at impact easier. And you can still hit really good golf shots with a bit of downward attack.

But Manzella's thoughts are that Hogan obviously had the shaft lean, but didn't have a real steep attack angle. And I'm guessing probably a shallower attack angle than the Tour average. This allowed him to hit the ball every so slightly higher up on the clubface and he was taking a shallow enough divot so the ground wouldn't effect the sound.

Remember, we are talking about *sound* which has a great correlation with good shot results. But if you want to get rid of the flip, I suggest you learn to hit down far enough as one of the very first steps to eliminate it from your swing. But, Hogan's *sound* of impact is a thing that non-flippers can probably better obtain if they grasp how to have the forward lean while minimizing attack angle.

Of course, that's just our thoughts for the meantime. But Brian started floating an idea around his head of making a video on the subject using Trackman (which he now owns himself) and some type of microphone system that would measure the sound frequencies and then how to achieve it.

Sevam1 makes that type of sound on a consistent basis as well.

And it doesn't appear that he has a very steep attack angle either, nor does he preach it. The same thing John Erickson preaches as well. He doesn't want big divots as Moe Norman once told him 'bacon strips not pork chops.'



Anonymous said...

You said

"he certainly wasn't the longest golfer"

Hogan was Pound for Pound, probably the Longest Hitter in History.
Do your Homework

Rich H. said...

Understand what I was talking about first.

This has nothing to do with 'pound for pound', I'm talking about total length which usually correlates with clubhead speed. My general thought on 'making a different sounding impact' is a bit on clubhead speed generated. Like baseball, somebody like Albert Pujols who generates more bat speed than Derek Jeter makes a noticeably different sound when he hits the ball.

That is understood and logical. But when you think of Hogan, there were guys generating more clubhead speed and hitting it longer than he did in his time and especially now, yet they don't make that sound.

Why don't they make the same sound despite having more clubhead speed? That's the question I'm curious about. Hopefully in the future there can be more of a concrete answer.

Curro Dorronsoro said...

Very interesting post. Shaft lean forward, and smooth angle of attack.
This sound like a downstroke compound by two parts, first one very downward, for drive de clubhead path close to the ground and far to the ball, and second very out and forward, to catch the ball with smoth angle and forward hands.
Very complex and dangerous.
How to do this?

Rich H. said...

I don't know his exact thoughts, but I'm certain Manzella would say that you do not have the club going outwards. He doesn't believe there's such a thing as 'down, out and forward' IIRC. He said he was thinking about making a video about this. I think he should as I think if he could do it right, it would be helpful and drum up a lot of interest since golfers are usually infatuated with Hogan.

Phil said...

Great post, finding the right balance between FSL and FLW is definitely one of the most interesting debates of the moment.
I do question, however, what you said about Hogan making contact high up on the face, the steeper the AOA the higher up on the face you hit, conversely the more shallow AOA brings the strike lower on the clubface.

Rich H. said...

Could be. I think the main thing is to try to re-create the sound using some type of instrument that can measure sound, have impact tape and Trackman nearby to read the numbers and where the ball was struck. Would be interesting to find out the stone, cold facts.

Anonymous said...


An odd question that relates to previous posts, and only indirectly this one:

You discussed Trolio's "final missing piece" before and I bought and enjoyed it. There's one thing that confuses me about this in contrast with other descriptions of Hogan's swing flaws and the rules of ball flight. In particular,

1) Trolio describes the failure of Hogan's pre-crash swing as being essentially failing to laterally move the hips forward, leading to a pull-hook. I.e. swing across the ball, rotate club face over, good-bye ball. I'm a near expert on this particular move, and I attribute it to something you have point out (that helped me a lot, thanks!)-- standing up/posting up on a straight left leg. This explanation seems consistent with Hogan's own description of not being able to get the ball off the ground with a four-wood: i.e. the club must be turned over hard and not coming too far inside.

2) Nearly all other commentators I have ever heard (e.g. McLean) ascribe Hogan's failure to "getting stuck", which is clearly a hard inside-to-out move. I would expect blocks and hooks here, but never the low snipe.

Is this consistent?

When other players (notably Tiger) say they are "getting stuck"-- is this physically accurate? Are the really coming too hard inside-out, or are they suffering the over the top move that Trolio describes? It seems like it *really* has to be one or the other and they would be *very* hard to confuse. It also seems like the evidence would tell us the same for Hogan, but I don't know.

Rich H. said...

Hogan's problem was that he had a snap hook that would show up in pressure situations. Snap hook means the clubface is wayyy closed. Hogan changed his grip and started cupping the left wrist at the top to basically ensure he wouldn't have a big time closed face.

Hogan also swung the club 'low and left' as SliceFixer would say or he had a 'CP release' as Mac O'Grady would say.

I'm curious to figure out when he started doing this. If he did it after the crash then this release basically takes a bit of the shaft lean out at impact and shallows out the attack angle. Steep Attack Angles = promotes a hook.

I'm hardly a Hogan historian, so I don't really know.

Stanley said...

It sounded different because of the clubs used. I am a small guy and don't really hit it that long. But my impact is different from my friends cause I have D6 on my irons and D9 on the wedges. Previously, I tested E3 and F0. The sound is different with such swing weight. No lost on distance. Hogan and Norman had heavy swing weight with heavy clubs. IMHO

2f9db932-3502-11e1-bdba-000f20980440 said...

Ive actually been thinking about Hogan for a while. Since i've been working on the cp release, i watch a lot of video of Hogan's swing.

I think that Hogan's pull-hook was caused by having one of the fastest power package releases in professional golf. unloading PA's 1, 2, and 3 too fast would close the face down severely combined with a very positive true path would create the ugly snap hook.

Hogan developed the swing we all know and love because if he used more hip slide and rotation he can fire PA's 2 and 3 the fastest without flipping (but to a more advanced degree)

That was why his swing was so automatic. if he felt like he was swinging hard left with a lot of lateral hip movement, it would balance everything out.

His arms were so fast that PA 2 shallowed out the AoA while swinging to the left which equals some (but not excessive) forward shaft lean and a shallow AoA