Ben Hogan explains the ‘most important’ part of the golf swing

ben hogan swings a golf club in black-and-white photo

Ben Hogan won nine major championships during his career.

Getty Images

Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

This column came to life with one singular goal in mind: helping our readers become smarter golfers. Sometimes that means sharing a tip that might help their games, while at other times it means breaking down how and why things work in the golf swing.

Today, we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of me explaining some golfy thing to help you get better, I’m going to cede the stage to one of the all-time greats: Ben Hogan.

Hogan, with nine majors and 64 PGA Tour victories to his credit, is unquestionably one of the greatest golfers of all-time. There aren’t many people more qualified to talk about the golf swing than him.

If that sounds like something up your alley, you’re in luck. Thanks to a video posted by the PGA Tour, we’ve got 60 seconds of Hogan breaking down the swing that you can watch below.

Ben Hogan breaks down the swing

The golf swing is made up of several key components that must work in harmony if you want to hit the ball solidly and efficiently. But, according to Hogan, there is one part that is more important than all the others.

“The most important thing in the golf swing, to me, is the movement of the lower body from the top of the swing,” Hogan says.

The movement of your lower body starts with getting a proper setup with your knees and your hips. You want to have your feet shoulder-width apart while keeping your knees bent to get yourself into an athletic posture.

Once you get to the top of the swing, you want to start the downswing with your lower body — not your torso. If you start with the torso, it’ll throw the clubhead to the outside and cause you to swing outside-in.

“Most people do it entirely opposite,” Hogan says. “They rotate their shoulders first instead of their lower body. As a result, they come across and hit the outside of the ball instead of the back of it.”

The key to fighting this — and making a proper swing — is to let the lower body begin the downswing. Once you get to the top, bump your hips forward and then start your turn, allowing your torso to follow. This will properly sequence your swing, helping you make a powerful, repeatable move through the ball.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at