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Authorized Hogan Biographer James Dodson Writes About The Letter

September 8, 2017

James Dodson Writes About Letter In His - Ben Hogan - The American Life Book

Because of my success in locating Judge Patrick J. Mahoney, who is the son of Pat Mahoney, the student that Mr. Hogan the letter to, I was given information about a reference to the letter in James Dodson's Ben Hogan biography entitled, “Ben Hogan An American Life”.


 Ben Hogan - The American Life Book


Mr. Dodson was authorized by the Hogan heirs to write his book and was given full access to Mr. Hogan's materials to write Ben Hogan's biography. In it was a 2 page reference to the remarkable handwritten letter.


 I called Mr. Dodson and spoke to him about his reference to the letter on pages 121-122 in his book and that it was OK for me to use his material.


The Heirs had the letter and had various Hogan friends and associates review the book.

Here is the excerpt from Dodson's book talking about the “remarkable handwritten letter” from Mr. Hogan to one of his students.


Early in his career, Hogan studied almost every movement Walter Hagen made on a golf course, quickly coming to the conclusion that the Haig possessed the finest natural rhythm and playing tempo any champion ever displayed—which he attempted to copy.


In a remarkable handwritten, fourteen-page letter to a friend in the late 1960s, using a “stick figure” he drew to illustrate his point, Hogan explained the grip and fundamentals of “a sound driver swing” he claimed to have developed directly from conversations with the aging Hagen, detailing principles of a proper grip, finger pressure, alignment of shoulders and feet, flex of knees, position of the body and head through the swing, position of the left hand during the backswing, transfer of weight, and a high finish that encouraged the hips and shoulders to fully turn into the shot.


Hogan advised: “Keep on file and refer to when in doubt. If used correctly you can belt the ball a country mile (Drive for show and putt for dough),” then concluded his remarkable tutorial by offering a detailed if somewhat unorthodox way of verifying the correctness of one’s backswing:


“At the top of the backswing the groin muscle on the inside of your rt leg near your right nut will tighten. This subtle feeling of tightness there tells you that you have made the correct move back from the ball. Ben Hogan.”

Dodson, James (2004-05-11). Ben Hogan: An American Life (pp. 122-123). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.


Through my research and locating Pat Mahoney's family I found out that the letter was written in 1948 and not 1960 as what Mr. Dodson has in his book. Judge Mahoney sent me a email copy of the letter with a email copy of the envelope that his father wrote, “From Ben Hogan”.


Enjoy a glimpse into my DVD,  "Ben Hogan's Letter Lessons".



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