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William Benjamin Hogan - Greatest Golf Player Ever

By Martin Cody, CEO, Cellar Angels

In July of 1997 the golfing world lowered their heads at the passing of William Benjamin Hogan at the young age of 84. Argued by many from his era as the games’ greatest player ever, the secret of Hogan’s success died with him. Hogan’s concentration and mastery of the golf swing is perhaps unequaled as evidenced by a few comments from his fellow golf professionals.

Once asked by Ben Crenshaw how he was able to keep his 5-iron out of the wind, Hogan, who took so long to reply many present thought he hadn’t heard the question, finally stated, “I try to hit it on the second groove.” The second groove? Honestly, that thought has never, EVER crossed my mind while on the course. You?

Once asked by famed South African PGA legend Gary Player about the proper hand positioning at the top of the swing, Hogan asked, “What clubs are you playing now?” 

“Dunlop” replied Player.

“Then call Mr. Dunlop.” 

He once received several dozen golf balls prior to a U.S. Open and inspected each one under a magnifying glass ultimately rejecting many as, “Some of these balls have too much paint in the dimples.” His short answers, steel gaze, fierce competition and iconic flat white linen hat are what defined Hogan, yet it was his answer to the secret of the golf swing that resonates with me in all areas of my life, especially wine: “The secret is in the dirt.” This was Hogan’s metaphor for the answer of the perfect swing resides in the dirt of the practice range. When I travel for Cellar Angels and investigate the greatest wines for you to secure, the answer is always in the dirt.

Everything for sensational wine production begins in the vineyard. The soil composition, how the soil is tended to and cared for, serves as the foundation to truly exceptional wines. And exceptional wines are made in precious small quantities. Unfortunately, most individuals now face an unprecedented amount of bland, highly processed wines out of a lab and are not vaguely aware of the subtle brain washing towards faux quality. But not you. I am thankful you recognize the superior quality of small production and hand crafted wine. You recognize how a great wine sets the tone for the afternoon or evening, heightens the dining experience and can transform the ordinary conversation into the extraordinary.

You, my friend, are a difference maker