The Big 4 On Golf: Analyzing the All-Time Greats

Our top teachers; Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and Jim McLean analyze the all-time greats.

Released on 5/20/2010

Transcript

00:00
(Music)
00:02
[Narrator] Butch Harmon.
00:03
[Butch] You're in the fairway bunker at
00:05
six-iron distance, hit the five.
00:07
[Narrator] David Leadbetter.
00:09
[David] Just make sure that is on top of your right leg.
00:11
Very simple.
00:12
[Narrator] Hank Haney.
00:14
[Hank] I think the biggest contributor in golf
00:15
to somebody's potential is speed.
00:18
[Narrator] Jim McClain.
00:19
[Jim] Part of being a good chipper,
00:21
is being able to read the situation.
00:24
[Narrator] Individually they are the
00:25
top four minds in golf instruction.
00:27
Together they represent an unprecedented
00:30
meeting of the minds.
00:31
Golf Digest presents, the Big 4.
00:38
[Interviewer] First on behalf of Golf Digest,
00:39
I want to welcome you and thank you
00:41
for being here today.
00:42
This is an exciting opportunity,
00:45
and we're really happy to get the four of you together.
00:49
By way of introduction, on my left
00:51
we have Butch Harmon and Jim McClain.
00:54
On my right we have David Leadbetter and Hank Haney.
00:58
To have the Big 4, as we like to call you,
01:01
back in the office together at one table like this,
01:04
is really a special opportunity,
01:07
and I'm sure our session here today will show just that.
01:12
When we asked the readers of Golf Digest
01:14
what they want more of in the magazine,
01:17
they tell us two things.
01:18
They say they want more instruction
01:20
over and above anything else, Give me more instruction,
01:23
is what they say.
01:24
The second thing they tell us is
01:26
they want that instruction from one of the four
01:28
of you sitting at this table.
01:30
Thank you for being here,
01:32
and let's get right to the discussion.
01:35
Golf Digest has been at it for 60 years.
01:37
We started publishing in 1950,
01:39
and in that time we've seen an evolution
01:42
in golf instruction and in the golf swing itself.
01:46
We'd like to look at that evolution
01:48
in terms of the start players of their eras.
01:53
My first question is for Butch.
01:55
In 1950, Ben Hogan was the king.
01:59
What is it about Hogan's technique, the way he played
02:02
the game, that has left a legacy for golfers that follow?
02:05
[Butch] I think he left a legacy that's both good and bad.
02:08
The good part would be he was probably the most
02:10
consistent and phenomenal ball striker
02:12
of any player any of us have ever seen.
02:14
The way he controlled his ball through the air
02:16
I think was the biggest key.
02:17
The negative part was, everyone who played golf
02:20
tried to copy Hogan, and unless you had his body type
02:22
or the speed of his body and his hands,
02:25
it was pretty hard to play from such a flat position
02:27
unless you had the rotational speed that he had.
02:31
For me, watching him strike the ball,
02:33
I don't think I've ever seen anybody who could control
02:35
a golf ball through the air like Ben Hogan could.
02:38
[Narrator] Anybody else on Hogan?
02:40
[Jim] I think he left a phenomenal
02:42
legacy with his book.
02:43
I would say all of us have probably read
02:45
Hogan's writings more than anyone probably.
02:48
He was way ahead of his time on a lot of things.
02:52
He had the Hogan mystique also.
02:55
He's going to be remembered forever
03:00
for his game, and just the overall Hogan mystique,
03:05
As Butch said, the control of the golf ball,
03:08
and his ideas on playing the game.
03:11
[David] I think also the fact that when you look at his
03:13
book it was the first anatomical approach to golf.
03:17
You can actually see it's almost if you look at today
03:21
the way mechanics have been used to study the golf swing,
03:24
it was the first approach, shall we say, on that line.
03:28
When you look at the muscularity, the skeletal drawings,
03:32
it was phenomenal and I think it broke the swing down
03:36
to such an extent, so not only from a player's standpoint,
03:39
but from an instructor standpoint.
03:42
I agree with Butch, I think he messed up a lot of people
03:46
certainly with the grip itself.
03:48
Remembering that Hogan in his early years
03:50
was a huge hooker of the ball.
03:52
He did everything in his power not to hook it,
03:54
but I think the legacy that he's left,
03:55
the fact that he thought about the golf swing
03:58
more than anybody else probably before or since.
04:02
[Narrator] Specifically about his grip.
04:04
A weak grip, weak in the left hand?
04:06
[David] Let's see, if you look at his grip
04:08
in his latter days, it was very much a palmy grip,
04:12
a very, very weak grip.
04:14
I remember experimenting for three or four months,
04:17
I just couldn't hit anything but right shots.
04:20
There are people who just look to that grip.
04:22
It looks great, the way his hand,
04:24
the position on the club, it was just amazing.
04:26
They just were molded to the club.
04:28
The ability that he had, the flexibility that he had
04:32
to be able to sit the club, most players who stuck it up
04:35
that high in the palm found it very difficult to
04:38
actually get the club sit.
04:40
Take a Nick Price who has these solid wrists,
04:43
the ability to cock the club having it that high
04:46
in the palm was impossible.
04:48
I think from that standpoint, that weak grip,
04:51
I think it developed a world of slicers.
04:54
Not necessarily a nation of slicers.
04:56
[Butch] The interesting thing about that, David,
04:58
was the reason he went to that and the way he swung
05:00
was because he hooked the ball so badly.
05:02
He was doing everything in his power
05:04
to keep from hooking the ball.
05:06
Unfortunately, 80% of the people
05:08
that played, sliced the ball.
05:10
When they tried to copy Mr. Hogan's motion,
05:12
number one without that body rotation
05:15
and the speed that he had, it was tough,
05:16
it was tough for them to do it.
05:18
There isn't one of us sitting here at the table,
05:20
because we all admire Ben Hogan,
05:21
that tried to copy what he did
05:23
because we did go out and try it.
05:24
I know we did as kids.
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