‘The Secret of Hogan's Swing’ by Tom Bertrand & Printer Bowler

By: Dr. John Wagner


With this book it’s difficult to understand what the author had in mind. From the title I expected to learn about Ben Hogan and the secret of his legendary swing. At least I thought I’d learn of Hogan's life and how this “secret” played a major role in his life. Certainly I’d expect to be told how the secret was revealed.

Instead, the book is a biography of John Schlee and his relationship with Ben Hogan. This “relationship” is covered in about three paragraphs. The first 95 pages of the 170-page book actually deal with author Tom Bertrand and his relationship with Schlee.

If you want to read a poorly written biography of a has-been golfer and his attempt at operating teaching schools and, later, his attempt to play the senior tour, then buy this book. I never did find it interesting reading.

Bertrand even included several pages on the time when Schlee played with Mickey Mantle and how the Yankee great destroyed a golf cart. What does this have to do with Hogan's secret, or anything else in the book for that matter?

It seems like the first 95 pages are really fill material to justify the catchy title. The rest contains pictures on how to develop a decent swing. If you are a real student of the swing and love spending hours analyzing each part of it, this may have some interest. Maybe a golf instructor who likes to teach in very small increments would love this section.

Me, I just like to hit the ball and get moving like they do in Scotland and Ireland. If I had to think of everything that this author has a golfer doing, I’d still be on the first tee trying to hit the ball.

Obviously, this is not a book for me. So what was Hogan's secret? After wading through 192 pages, I’m still not sure (was it the position of his left elbow?). Whatever. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

“The Secret of Hogan's Swing” by Tom Bertrand and Printer Bowler, John Wiley and Sons, 2006, 192 pages, $22.95. ISBN 0-471-99831-1.

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He’s been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He’s a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. John is currently a Member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.

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