The timeless lessons we can learn from Ben Hogan’s legendary quotes


The PGA TOUR is back in action and I am fortunate enough to be a small part of the fray.

It was so special, and a little emotional, to walk the fairways of Colonial Country Club for for the Tuesday practice round of the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge. Greeting players, watching golf balls fly and walking the fairways that The Hawk, Ben Hogan, walked was a fun, and spiritual experience.

In fact, on the 5th hole (the final hole in the three hole stretch know as “The Horrible Horseshoe”) I was standing in the fairway watching Jordan Spieth. He was playing in an all-Texan group including Ryan Palmer, Franklin Corpening and Kramer Hickok. Out of the blue a Red Shouldered Hawk flew overhead at pretty low level. Corpening looked up at the raptor and then looked over to me and said: “There’s The Hawk; he’s watching over us.”

I was moved.

I felt Hogan’s presence and I imagined how he would navigate his way around a windy “Hogan’s Alley”.  

on the Championship Links at Carnoustie Golf Links the host course for the 2018 Open Championship, on November 29, 2017 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Ben Hogan was an icon. His name synonymous with perfection, his life-story is a source of inspiration to many a golfer, including myself.  Indeed “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” is the first golf book I ever owned. Dog-eared and littered with notes and highlighter marks of mine, it still speaks to me whenever I open it.

Golf swing expertise aside, Ben Hogan had a “Golf IQ” and wisdom about him that was off the charts.  He never said very much, but when he did speak every statement was measured, well-though out, loaded with insight, and highly quotable:

Consider a few of Hogan’s quotes to help you to play better golf.:

“There are no shortcuts in the quest for perfection.”

“You only hit a straight ball by accident. The ball is going to move right or left every time you hit it, so you had better make it go one way or the other.”

If I may be presumptuous I would like to help you read between the lines: 

“There are no shortcuts in the quest for perfection.” It is imperative to understand there is not a “Holy Grail” or magical swing-tip when it comes to improving your game. Hogan spent a lot of time in his writings addressing fundamentals like the grip, alignment, ball position and posture.  He spoke about the “waggle” and its influence on the golf swing. In short, he never hit a shot without ensuring that all of the pre-shot elements were addressed and on-point.  My goodness, he even said he “dug his game out of the dirt”. 

That speaks to constructive and hard work.

Ben Hogan

“You only hit a straight ball by accident. The ball is going to move right or left every time you hit it, so you had better make it go one way or the other.” I see so many golfers on the lesson tee who want to hit the ball dead straight. The reality is this just does not happen. Launch monitors have effectively proved that.  In my opinion, a number of golfers mistakenly equate a shot that ends close to the target with a “straight” shot.  So… instead of trying to handcuff yourself by making the ball go straight, commit to bending the ball consistently in one direction – it will make aiming infinitely easier.

Do yourself a favor and look up a few of Hogan’s statements.  Consider them carefully. Mine every bit of information out of them. 

Imagine you are walking the fairways with The Hawk and let him teach you, not just about the golf swing, but about how to approach and play the game.  You will be rewarded.

And here’s one more: 

“This (golf) is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win.” Contributor

On-course announcer and analyst Mark Immelman is passionate about the game of golf. As a decorated instructor, award-winning NCAA college golf coach, and an accomplished golfer, Mark brings a robust knowledge and vast experience to his role as a television broadcaster and golf instructor. He is currently a Golf Analyst for CBS Sports HQ, and an Analyst and On-course Announcer for CBS Sports and Golf on CBS. He currently also serves as a Studio Analyst and an On-course Announcer for PGA TOUR Live  for PGA TOUR Live.

The older brother to 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, Mark grew up in Somerset West, South Africa. After a successful amateur career in South Africa he was offered a golf scholarship to Columbus State University (Columbus , GA). He enjoyed a prolific collegiate tenure highlighted by his four-time All-America selections, two-time Academic All-America awards, and two NCAA Div. II National Championship victories. After graduation, Mark had a short season as a playing professional, but quickly turned his attention to his true passion – golf teaching.

As a golf instructor, Mark believes in cultivating ability and talent by providing comprehensive, holistic golf instruction that is easily understandable and of the highest quality to golfers of all abilities and skill levels. His passionate approach and keen knowledge of the game have led to him being a sought-after mind by leading Professional and Amateur golfers alike. Through his career he has taught and/or consulted to PGA TOUR and European Tour professionals and tournament winners such as: Larry Mize, Loren Roberts, Trevor Immelman, Scott Brown, Patton Kizzire, Louis Oosthuizen and Will Wilcox. He has been recognized as one of “Golf Digest’s Top 20 Instructors Under 40”, Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in the State of Georgia” and Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40 – Georgia’s Best and Brightest”.

As a NCAA College Coach at Columbus State University (since 2001) Mark continues to coach the Columbus State Men’s Golf Team and his program is a perennial contender for Conference and National Titles. He is a two-time NCAA Div. II Atlantic/Southeast Region Coach of the Year, two-time Peachbelt Conference Coach of the Year, and the 2009 NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year.

In 2019 Mark was selected as Captain and Coach of the (Arnold) Palmer Cup International Team. His team triumphed over the United States Team in the Palmer Cup Matches held at The Alotian Club outside of Little Rock, AR.

Mark’s additional broadcast duties include being a guest analyst on the CBS Sports “First Cut Podcast”. CBS Sports also uses Mark’s unique voice for audio and promotional PGA TOUR advertisements and promotional reads.

He has also served a 6-year tenure as a Play-by-Play Announcer for Sirius/XM PGA TOUR Radio.

Additionally, Mark hosts “On the Mark”, a PGA TOUR Podcast, which to date has been downloaded more than 3 million times in more than 125 countries.

He has also written golf instructional columns and articles for Golf Digest SA, Golf Digest USA and is currently penning instructional pieces for Golf Magazine. As an author, Mark has published two e-Books on golf instruction: “Scandalously SImple – The Easy Way to Accurate Golf Shots” and “Golf is a Game of Recovery”.

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