Ben Hogan's Accident and How It Changed Golf Forever

As a golfer, you've heard the name Ben Hogan. 

He was an American professional golfer who is widely considered one of the most influential players in the history of the sport. Hogan was noted for his meticulous preparation, iron discipline and outstanding golf swing.

But did you know about the near-fatal car accident that changed his life? 

Did Ben Hogan have a car accident, you might ask? The greatest golfer of all time?

Some don't know this and it’s hard to believe when you look back at his career. 

You might know that he was the first PGA Player of the Year, and you now know that he won major championships after the auto crash. 

It’s an incredible story.

He was lucky enough to make a full recovery, but how did he do it?

Here's what happened...

A foggy dayIt was icy and visibility was bad because of fog the day of the terrible car accident. The conditions weren't good.

Ben Hogan Car Accident

While driving his auto back home after a tournament there was a crash that could have ended his life. With Mrs Hogan sitting in the passenger seat, a bus travelling on the wrong side of the road hit their car and it was a terrible accident.

It was icy and visibility was bad because of fog.

Mrs. Hogan said she was stunned when the car became wrecked and thankfully regained consciousness. With her husband in the wreckage, she helped him out of the car.

An ambulance took Ben to the hospital after the accident...

Doctors said he might be able to play again, but they would not give a specific timeline for when he could leave the hospital.

  • Ben Hogan car accident date

The date of Mr Hogan's terrible car accident was February 2, 1949.

He suffered a broken left ankle and pelvis, as well as contusions to his left leg and chest. He also had a few cracked ribs and a head abrasion.

After the car crash Ben Hogan spent two months in El Paso's hospital. Click here to read the original article in the El Paso Times from the day after the accident.

Times were tough, but a legend was born...

How old was Ben Hogan at the time of the car accident?


Mr Hogan was 36 years of age when the bus crashed into his car. At the accident age he was still to win the biggest titles of his career.

  • Ben Hogan wins after accident

He had 71 professional wins over the span of his career, many of which the biggest victories dates to the time after the bus accident.

Ben Hogan was a man who became more than a world-class golfer. He will forever be remembered for how he played golf and the mental strength he displayed in recovering from the terrible accident in 1949. 

In fact, Hogan is considered by many to be the best ball-striker that ever lived. He was also one of the greatest putters the golf world has ever seen.

What he did on the golf course after the crash counts as one of the greatest comebacks in professional sports. But let’s save the Ben Hogan comeback story for another article...

  • Ben Hogan majors after accident

Mr Hogan won 6 majors after the car crash.

And that was after recovering from severe injuries...

If you read this article from Golf Digest it will shed some light on the greatness of his comeback and put things in perspective…

  • Ben Hogan swing before accident

When you read his book Power Golf - Championship Secrets From A Golf Legend, you get great insight into his swing thoughts before the accident. I’ve read his book Power Golf and I’ve watched a number of videos of him. He had great advice on how to hit a golf ball, I can tell you that.

His second book, Five Lessons, was published in 1957 and the swing he teaches here is different from the swing he used before the accident. He said that he changed his swing to eliminate the hook.

If you want a greater understanding of how Mr Hogan’s golf swing evolved over time, then you should read both his books.

Final Thoughts

Mr Hogan is the greatest golfer and best ball striker of all time. 

He is distinguished for his relentless dedication to practice and study of the game, and for his determination to excel under any circumstances.

Mr Hogan is by a country mile the most naturally gifted player of all time as well. His swing was a thing of beauty, effortless and elegant.

Ben Hogan was one of the most influential golfers of all time, despite his career being cut short by the near-death car accident in 1949. In fact, the crash experience and injuries contributed to the mystique surrounding Hogan.

Mr Hogan is said to have been the single most important person in the development of professional golf. He is my golfing hero and there’s so much more to read about Ben Hogan...

More about Ben Hogan...