Hall of Famer says this Hogan-inspired golf swing tip transformed his game

Driving the weight to the front foot on the downswing, Jacklin says, transformed his game.

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I suspect that Tony Jacklin might’ve been the coolest golfer of all time. At the very least, the coolest of his time. Jacklin was a Ryder Cup hero for Europe who won two majors — his 1970 U.S. Open marking the first time a European won that contest for 40 years — and did it all while looking like a member of the Beatles.

Tony Jacklin, looking cool.

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At the Ryder Cup last month, I had the chance to catch up with Jacklin on the ground at Whistling Straits as he was promoting his new book: Tony Jacklin: My Ryder Cup Journey (which you can purchase on Amazon right here). But while his Ryder Cup success marked the high point to his storied career, what he described as his breakthrough moment came far earlier: Soon after he turned professional in 1962.

Jacklin had high hopes at the time — “I had this vision I wanted to be World No. 1, and that I was going to do anything to get there,” he said — but his game didn’t match his ambitions.

He started as a teaching pro but soon made his way to America, where he befriended Tom Weiskopf and Tommy Bolt. It was playing alongside those greats that Jacklin began understanding the root of the problems in his golf swing.

“I recognized immediately that my problem lay in my lower body,” he said. “I didn’t let my legs operate the way they needed to.”

Drive the weight forward in transition

Playing in the wind in England, Jacklin said, didn’t give him much time to work on the nuances of his technique. That changed the more he started playing in the U.S. And that’s when he started working on a specific tip: Jacklin said it was the feeling of driving his lower body towards the target. He tried to sequencing his body so in transition, his weight got over to his front foot by the time the clubhead hit the ball.

“Hogan’s secret was that just before he finished his backswing, he started firing his lower body towards the target…his legs led the downswing,” Jacklin said, referring to Hogan’s weight shift. “I practiced for hundreds of hours the technique of driving and leading with my legs on the downswing. I practiced until I could do that with absolute certainty. Once I could do that lower body move, I was absolutely sure I could hit the ball where I wanted to.”

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.