Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental by Larry Miller, a book I can easily recommend for golf fans.
Books. You may recall these “things” used to be pretty popular. Unfortunately, with today’s technology, and the ability to get content at your fingertips in seconds, the literary world has had to adapt. Books are trending to be an item of days gone by and the time spent with them are fading. Be it either online content or tablet readers, the way we all gather our information in 2017 is vastly different than years ago.
Be it either online content or tablet readers, the way we all gather our information in 2017 is vastly different than years ago. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’m a total tech nerd and low seeing all the new ways to entertain ourselves. Thankfully grabbing a good book and catching up on some readings hasn’t become alien to me. I just wish I had more time, or if I’m honest, I wish I wasn’t distracted with all my other tech and could enjoy a book more often.
I am a big fan of grabbing a book, reading what’s inside and actually turning pages. If you are at all familiar with this blog, you’ll know I have a library page where I list the golf publications I keep on my desk at home. Now and then I like to grab one when I’m struggling to put my thoughts together and just fade away into the words of some of the great golf writers.
Needless to say, I was honored to be given a chance to receive a copy of Larry Miller’s latest offering in the world of golf publications, Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental.
Certainly something new for us here at The Breakfast Ball.
A book review is something I’m not entirely up to speed on so bear with me on this one. I’m never going to be hypercritical of someone work, but as a golfer and a fan of the game, there were some outstanding sections of this book. In hindsight, there were others where I felt the complete opposite. My goal is to share with you what I loved about the book and what I didn’t.
A quick disclaimer:
We here at The Breakfast Ball do our best to excel in our content. Bringing as much information to our reviews as possible to help engage you the reader and also, to possibly give you some information you may not get in your everyday life. With this review though I can’t see myself diving into a ton if information without basically telling you everything about the book. So, this article will have a different feel to it, and hopefully, you enjoy reading it as much as you have enjoyed reading the other articles JT, and I bring to you.
Let’s Start with the Good
For me, any book about golf is a good read even if the content is crap. I like flipping the pages and seeing what others find fascinating about the game. Now, throw in an absolute legend in Ben Hogan, and you have my attention. The swing of one of the all-time greats of this game has mystified people for decades and will for years to come. Was it just a natural swing, was it learned, was it perfection? So many questions surround Hogan and his accolades. One being the best ball striker ever to live.
I’ll admit, I’ve read the pages of Five Lessons and done my best to duplicate the moves of Ben Hogan, but alas, my skill set on a golf course never was meant for greatness. More for entertainment and 19th holes shenanigans. It goes without saying though the legend of Ben Hogan is justified in calling him one of the greats of golf.
So is there a Secret?
I know, I know, that’s a shitty answer, but it’s not entirely up to me to decide. That’s up to you. I can tell you this, had I read this book seven years ago when I picked the game back up I would have been claiming I had obtained knowledge of the Gods.
Your perspective changes after years of success, torture, highs, lows and the torments that come with learning to play this game. Even now, when I go back and skim the pages of Harvey Penick‘s Little Red Book, I find something new and powerful in the pages.
I think the best thing I took out of all the messages in this book, and there are a lot, is that everyone’s swing is their own and nobody else’s. You can mimic, duplicate and practice until the cows come home, but nobody will ever be able to swing the club like Ben Hogan except for Ben Hogan. This book shows just how much Mr. Hogan knew that and why he was so hesitant to teach others. It was pretty powerful.
The Stories of Ben Hogan are Amazing
If you have any love for the game like me, the stories from insiders around Ben Hogan are some of the best pages in this book. Reading the stories from Tommy Bolt were as entertaining as it gets for me. My only gripe would be that there wasn’t enough!
The Author, Mr. Larry Miller, did a fantastic job recanting stories from his experiences with Ben Hogan and Tommy Bolt. It’s content you can’t get anywhere else unless you’re in Miller’s inner circle. Those stories and how they related to Ben Hogan’s swing ideology made the book clearly establish how Hogan was a unique individual with an incredible talent.
I loved when Miller talked about how much Mr. Hogan disliked putting. Even though he was a good putter, you don’t win nine majors without the ability to roll the ball. The notion that one of the greats to ever play the game though proximity to the hole, or GIR should determine a score vs. putting shows just how confident he was with his iron play.
Where the Book lost me and what made me almost stopped reading.
When you lead with phrases like “I mean no harm when I say…” or “I mean no disrespect, but…” it just makes you out to be exactly what you’re hoping not to achieve. So I’ll steer away from the cliche phrase and just state this. I didn’t like how Mr. Miller added his story about the US Senior Open he played into this book.
I found it completely out of place and a huge distraction compared to the wonderful stories and tales that came before his story.
I think I understand why he did it, it was a powerful moment, and you can tell from the writings it was a very emotional time for him. It just wasn’t the right place for it in my opinion. Not in this setting, in a book about a Legend.
Is this a book for your nightstand?
Probably not. It is one for the bookshelf though, and it will be on my desk where I keep the majority of my golf books. The stories about Ben Hogan make it a good read. There’s even some great information in the pages that can help virtually every type of golfer. I saw that as my opinion of course.
I did enjoy reading it, and it is in no way a challenging read. The golf info is reliable, and Mr. Miller did a fantastic job of bringing the legend of Ben Hogan back to life, at least for me it did.
I would recommend if you come across a copy to flip immediately to page 187, a chapter titled “UNPUBLISHED HOGAN STORIES” it’s worth the cover price.
For now, Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental has a home next to all my other golf books. I look forward to the day when one of my kids finds some interest in the history of the sport so I’ll be able to grab this one from its shelf and share with them some of the fantastic stories from the legend that is Ben Hogan.
Purchase the Book Here
Head on over to Amazon if you’re interested in purchasing the book. It retails for $15 and as of today, it’s on sale for $10.22 which is a good deal if you ask me!