Hogan's Alley: What It Is, Where It Is, Why It's Called That

There Are Multiple Places In the Golf World Called 'Hogan's Alley'

A statue of Ben Hogan near the clubhouse at Colonial Country Club, a club sometimes called Hogan's Alley
This statue of Ben Hogan is at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, one of the three places nicknamed Hogan's Alley. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Do you know what, and where, Hogan's Alley is?

Actually, Hogan's Alley isn't an "it," Hogan's Alley is a "they" or "them." Because there are multiple places in golf that are nicknamed "Hogan's Alley." Two golf courses are nicknamed Hogan's Alley, and one golf hole is known by that name.

All of them are named after golf legend Ben Hogan.

The Golf Courses Nicknamed 'Hogan's Alley'

There are two famous golf courses that are nicknamed Hogan's Alley. Those two courses are:

The reason they are called "Hogan's Alley" is because Ben Hogan was so successful at each. The alley, in this context, refers to a place very familiar to a person, where that person is very comfortable and successful. The expression "it's right up your alley" derives from the same context.

At Riviera Country Club, Hogan won what was then called the Los Angeles Open three times, the first time in 1942. But it was following the 1947-48 seasons that Riviera started to be referred to as Hogan's Alley. That's because Hogan won three times there in that two-year period. He won the Los Angeles Open both years, plus Hogan was the champion at 1948 U.S. Open.

Colonial Country Club has always been the site of what debuted in 1946 as the Colonial National Invitation Tournament, a tournament that remains on the PGA Tour schedule today but has had numerous names since. And Hogan still holds the tournament record with five victories. He won the first two years of the event, 1946-47, plus in 1952-53, and again in 1959.

Hogan is the only golfer to win the Colonial in back-to-back years, and he did it twice. It's also noteworthy that his 1959 win at Colonial was the last of his PGA Tour victories. For years after his competitive career ended, Hogan was a visible presence at Colonial Country Club during the week of the PGA Tour tournament.

The Hole That Is Named Hogan's Alley

Grant Forrest watches his tee shot at the 6th hole (Hogan's Alley) during the 2015 Amateur Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.
Teeing off on Carnoustie's sixth hole, Hogan's Alley, with out-of-bounds hard against the left side of the fairway. Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

There is also one hole on another famous golf course that was originally nicknamed Hogan's Alley but now is officially named that: Hole No. 6 on the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland.

The No. 6 hole at Carnoustie is a par 5 with a split fairway. The safer play is go up the much wider right side of the fairway, but the better line (leaving the better set-up for the approach shot into the green) is to play the drive up the narrower and more dangerous left side of the fairway.

In 1953, during his only appearance in the British Open, Hogan played up the more dangerous left fairway—bunkers on one side of the tight landing area, out-of-bounds on the other—all four rounds of the tournament. All four days he hit his target.

And he won the tournament. After that, the hole became nicknamed "Hogan's Alley." In 1953, and for many years after, the hole's official name was the much plainer "Long." But during a ceremony in 2003, Carnoustie officially renamed the hole Hogan's Alley.

Today there is a plaque on the hole, also commemorating the golfer's British Open win in 1953. The plaque reads:

Ben Hogan—Open Champion—1953
In each of the four rounds of the 1953 Open Championship, Hogan chose the tight driving line between fairway bunkers and the out-of-bounds fence.
The best ball striker golf had ever seen, Hogan described the sensation of hitting the perfect golf shot as a feeling that goes 'up the shaft, right into your hands—and into your heart.'
His character is typified by his own quote, 'I don't like the glamour. I just like the game.'