When Gary Player says it’s the greatest swing of all time and when Lee Trevino says that’s the swing he would teach to his children, then that’s a swing to pay attention. We’re talking about Slammin’ Sammy, holder of the record for most wins on the PGA tour at 82 (or 83 as some proponents would contend).
Some have said he was the greatest athlete ever to pick up a golf club. Some say he was the greatest player of all time. Some refer to his 81 victories on the PGA Tour, the most ever. Some say his shooting under his age in a PGA Tour event was the most amazing fact (a 66 at age 67). Some might argue it was that he shot 60 at age 71 on the challenging, par-72 Upper Cascades course. It’s hard to hang one tag on Sam Snead, but if I had to, I believe it would be “He had the sweetest swing in the history of the game”.
Any swing series wouldn’t be “great” without a tribute to Ben Hogan.
Hogan is credited with the modern swing, and is most recognized as having been the greatest ball striker ever to have played golf . His swing introducing both technical precision and athletic prowess, and is summarized in his book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, one of the most widely read golf tutorial ever written.
What does being the best ball striker ever actually mean? It means that in one of his more famous tournaments he hit 139 out of 141 with good to perfect execution. He had such mastery over his swing that many people began looking for his “secret”. One major theory had to do with his right knee – and how it was used to keep his swing “automatic”. This was something Hogan stressed in his book and lessons – including the video above.
We’ve received a lot of feedback from our members about adding in more content to help improve their games. We’ll be doing just that, starting with a series of posts that highlight the swings of great professional golfers.
We’ll be starting out with a golfer who the London Times said “brought passion and risk to golf” and whom a fellow pga tour pro described as “playing golf shots I don’t even see in my dreams” – the late Seve Ballesteros.
Seve joined the tour in 1974 at age 16, and won 91 tournaments (including 50 on the European Tour) over the next 33 years. He was known for his shot-making flair, with an expert sense of feel and extreme hand control that let him shape and finesse shots that amazed the crowd and his competitors.
A great summary of his swing style is found in his obituary that ran in the Economist magazine
Luck, said some. Miraculous said others, as they sighed at his soft blasts out of bunkers on to the green, or the fluid grace of his swing. Commentators talked of natural genius, as though he was still a seven-year old whacking a pebble with a homemade club on a beach in Cambria. His impoverished family put it down to destino. Such talk annoyed him. It was all hard graft and iron discipline: hitting a ball, alone, for hours. It started in boyhood, putting into tomato cans on a bumpy two-hole piece of field on his parents’ farm, or driving into a fishing net hung in the barn. He reckoned he had hit 1,000 balls a day. Because he had only one club, a 3-iron, he learned how to do everything with it: low, powerful shots, high soft-landing shots and impossible recovery shots out of long, tangled grass. He could improvise his way out of anything.