Links wisdom from one of the greats

I was reading a book called "Quotable Hogan" (by Rich Skyzinski) and it gave me some thoughts about practicing.

Ben Hogan, an innovator of golf swing theory and one of the best to swing a club, said, "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Also, I realize that in some ways that I can be a demanding person and that some things are harder for certain people to do than I may appreciate, but it really cuts me up to watch some golfer sweating over his shots on a practice tee, throwing away his energy to no constructive purpose, nine times out of 10 he's doing the same thing years back when he first took up the game and he's only going to get worse and worse because he's going to get his bad habits more deeply ingrained."

I couldn't agree more! I believe that unless one is working something in his swing that is a correct move, he is better off not practicing at all.

Another Hogan quote: "You simply cannot bypass the fundamentals in golf any more than you sit down at the piano and play Mozart or Beethoven."

Try reading his book, "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf." Have a friend take a moving recording of you hitting a golf ball and then compare it to the swings of the PGA pros on television and to the thoughts and pictures in his book.

Start by learning good posture. No good swing comes from a golfer who slumps over and has incorrect alignment and body angles. All of this is covered in his first two lessons in his book.

Finally, a last quote: "I can't ever recall ... having a golf lesson, but I've learned thousands of things by watching good players play and practice golf. You can learn how to teach yourself."

Rules teaser

The casual flicking of range balls on the course in order to keep neat is not permitted by the rules. True or false?

Answer to last column's teaser

In match play, a concession of a hole is made based on a false claim. May the concession then be withdrawn? No. Once a concession is made, it stands.

John Lucas is the professional at SkyRidge Golf Course and can be reached at

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