The man known as the ‘Wee Ice Mon’ by the Scots cemented his legendary reputation thanks to the help of Panmure Golf Club
Ben Hogan only ever played in one Open championship.
It was 1953 at Carnoustie. He won by four shots in a season where he claimed five of the six tournaments he entered and all three Major championships.
The Open that year overlapped with the PGA Championship and the story of Hogan’s success, and his wonderful year, is well told.
What is less known, though, is the crucial part a course just two miles away from the famous links played in his success.
For it is doubtful Hogan could have achieved his watershed win without the help of Panmure Golf Club.
The 40-year-old spent two weeks there building up to the championship and it was time well spent.
The two suited each other perfectly.
Hogan, one of golf’s most feared competitors at the time, didn’t say much. He was notoriously private and his cold stare was enough to make even the most courageous wobble at the knees.
“Those steel-gray eyes of his,” a friend is reported to have said. “He looks at you like a landlord asking for next month’s rent.”
Panmure was extremely private in those days and when Hogan arrived he found the Angus course – and the peace and quiet – immediately to his liking.
He was there for two reasons – to acclimatise to the terrain of links golf and to acquaint himself with the smaller 1.62 inch British ball.
Accompanied only by his caddie, Cecil Timms, Hogan taught himself to pick the ball up off the tight fairways. He would ditch the customary long divot for this title charge.
There was a minor concern.
Hogan was worried the greens were playing slower than what he would face at Carnoustie and club legend has it that he asked the secretary whether he could cut the 17th green to his specifications.
According to the story, not only did he stripe the green, he also returned a cleaned mower to the head greenkeeper once he had finished.
Hogan’s sojourn at Panmure Golf Club proved the perfect preparation.
His Carnoustie scores of 73, 71, 70, and a course record 68 in the final round, saw him finish on six under and beat the likes of Wales’ Dai Rees.
‘The Wee Ice Mon’, as the Scots would nickname him, never played in the Open again.
But his legacy at Panmure remains to this day.
The sixth hole, a 414-yard par 4 off the championship tees, is named after the great man. A semi-blind shot to an undulating fairway is followed by an uphill second shot to a tight raised green.
Hogan suggested to Panmure that a hidden pot bunker be placed just short of the green on the right and club chiefs duly replied.
It is said that when the press asked Hogan after his Carnoustie success what his favourite hole was he replied: the 6th at Panmure.
It remains one of the few British courses the legendary golfer ever played.
Have you played Panmure Golf Club? How did you get on at Hogan’s hole? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.