You won’t be able to swallow this book in one sitting. I wanted to get that out there before I begin to review the book. I originally was disappointed at how dense the information was within the book, and you may feel overwhelmed at first. But keep reading; the information is great. If you take the time to engrain the messages in this book, your time will be really well spent. This review is my attempt at covering the positives and negatives of the book. This is a great book for any Hogan fan, but I don’t think it’s the type of book you were expecting.

Positives: Hogan Did Have Secrets That Set Him Apart.

This book starts at the shortest possible swing; the one you make with a putter. It seemed odd, at first, because I had heard that Hogan was not the greatest putter in his day. But the book is not really giving you a putting lesson per se, as much as allowing you to feeling the proper impact and setup for a putting swing. Once learned, this feeling translated wonderfully towards learning to implement the system outlined in the rest of the book. So in order to actually grasp the meat of the book, starting with this feeling will be a great tool.

I admittedly have not read, “The Magical Device” but I felt when reading this book that because of the number of times the author refers back to that book, if I had read that book first, there may not be that much new information in this version. In other words, assuming you’ve mastered the concepts in the other book, the short game for you would mostly be about making smaller swings with the information you already have from “The Magical Device.” The reason I’m putting this point into the “positives” category is because since I’ve never read that book, all of this information was new to me. When I put in to use his suggestions about the left arm and left shoulder, I started bombing it. No joke. (I hit short game shots, yes, but improving your impact in your short game will translate to better drives, too). The same night I got this book I went to the driving range and few people gathered around to watch. I don’t know how much further I was hitting it, but I was deadly accurate that night. I don’t mean to toot my own horn on this but if you’re wondering if the information in here is good, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you’ll get your money’s worth if you sift through the book.

The book is dense, but answered a lot of my questions about the technical terms describing the swing. I am a single digit handicap, but admittedly did not know a lot of the terminology associated with the hands and the rest of the body. It was great to have a resource that would clear those up for me once and for all.

To be honest, this is not as much a book on Hogan’s short game as it is a book about Hogan’s swing. The author does a great job of relaying the swing back to its applications in the short game, but from the title I thought that the author had discovered a complete short game system that Hogan had developed. What Hogan did was discover certain things that will help every golf swing, from the driver to the putter, and the author puts those secrets into the terms you can understand for short game shots. A small distinction, but one worth noting.

There will still have to be a tremendous amount of trial and error on your end, because there’s a lot to grasp. There are great ideas about hitting half shots, three quarter shots, chips, etc.. but again they stem from first understanding the author’s view behind Hogan’s “Magical Device” and the full swing.

There are a ton of great stories in this book. Stories from Hogan’s life, stories told second hand by famous golfers and celebrities, and everything in between. He pulls from some of the best golf instructors and books, including five lessons. He also mentions Moe Norman, who often goes unmentioned in stories of the greatest golfers of all time

Downside: Prepare Yourself for A LOT of information.

The author describes in amazing detail every inch of the swing, but then ends with, (I’m paraphrasing) “But when you’re actually out on the course don’t think about all this stuff I just told you. Just swing.” I understand completely what he’s saying, but it was a bit odd. You certainly don’t want to be thinking this technically on the course, but it will certainly take some time for the readers to engrain the Magical Device.

I had to remind myself how dense Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons was the first time I read it. And it has since proved to be an invaluable book that I can come back to again and again. So that point about the book is really a “neutral” rather than a downside. In the author’s defense, he does lay out a long term plan for you to improve using this system.

This book is dense. It uses a lot of technical language. From dorsiflexion to the iliac crest, it’s as much an anatomy lesson as it is a lesson in the short game. There’s a nice glossary to start you off in the beginning, but there’s still a lot to take in.

There are some great pages that go over “trouble shots” like buried lies, playing out of sand, etc.. but I don’t think they’re really “Hogan” secrets. They’re really the same secrets you can find in any short game book, but the author’s hope is that now armed with Hogan’s swing secret, that the short game shots will be even easier.

There is a little known part about Hogan’s swing that he actually stood with a closed stance for most of his swings, despite what he shows in his book. The author does reference this at some points, but then goes back and talks about how lining up “like railroad tracks” (square) is so important. It seemed to be a bit misleading if you’re new to this information.

I was also very surprised at one point where the author claims that Hogan wishes he had two right hands, when anyone who has read 5 lessons remembers very clearly that Hogan wishes that he had three right hands. This is a very small criticism, but one that I think is valid considering the author is a Hogan expert, and literally wrote a previous book called “Ben Hogan’s Magical Device” and references Five Lessons so often.

Conclusion: Buy the book.

If you’re reading through this review, and have gotten all the way to the bottom, I’m going to assume you’re a die-hard golf fan, Hogan fan, or both. This is a welcome addition to any complete study of the golf swing, and like I said, I’ve been hitting the ball fantastic since getting this book. My short game shots are crisper, contact is more solid, and above all the ball is going straighter. There are also some great stories from famous players to add a little humor and flavor to the book.

This book is a pretty dense book, and will not be easy to get through in one sitting. But some golf books should not be that way. When you’ve had an off day at the course, come back to this book and Five Lessons. Look for where your swing may have headed off track and between the two books, you’ll probably find the answer.

Remember, this is more about learning Hogan’s swing as a whole, and secondly about learning his short game. At the end of the day, there are things you will learn from this book that you will not uncover in Five Lessons. I think that alone is worth the price of the book.

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