Ben Hogan returns with a vigorous new game plan, and we’re excited to share their new beginning.
An iconic brand who has been through it all continues to strive with its new direct to consumer model. If you somehow did not know Ben Hogan made irons, to put things in perspective, there is a good chance your father’s father have played them. So how has a brand that has been around for over six decades continued to stay alive and relevant? We will take a quick look at Ben Hogan’s shift in becoming a more savvy business from an operations standpoint. As well as offering the consumer better equipment at a fraction of the cost.
Ben Hogan founded his Company in 1953, the same year he won The Masters, The U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. He promised to do things differently, and to manufacture clubs ‘as near perfect as modern-day tools can perform’. Mr. Hogan’s words, philosophy, and commitment to innovation continue to inspire us. Like Ben Hogan, we are challenging the status quo to bring you ‘the finest golf equipment money can buy’ at more affordable prices than ever before.
“Golf equipment has gotten too expensive, and the process of buying it is far too complicated. We’re changing that.”
A new direction for Ben Hogan Golf
Scott White, CEO of the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company and now the newly formed BH Golf Equipment LLC, thinks the change to move away from traditional retail and green-grass pro shops weren’t easy, but it was necessary. Offering a direct to consumer model has brought every product they offer down in price by a considerable margin, which ultimately is taken advantage of by the consumer. Cutting out many large expenditures along the process that is necessary when playing in the retail space, has given BH a stronger and more profitable business model. Rarely does an OE absorb a more significant profit margin while saving its consumer upwards of 30-40% on its product line. But that is precisely what happened after BH implemented this bold but brilliant strategy.
The Ben Hogan Factory-Direct Model
Selling directly to you online, so you don’t pay middlemen or any retail markups. That means you get tour-quality products for about half the price of what you would pay for similar clubs, bags, and accessories at a golf shop.
By selling to you directly, we reduce our costs and pass those savings onto you. We also save you from paying the costs golf retailers incur and include in their pricing. The traditional brick-and-mortar retail model is outdated. We are doing things differently, and offering you wholesale prices on some of the best golf equipment money can buy every day.
Unlike many larger golf equipment companies, we still design, assemble and ship our products in the United States. We think it’s important to use the same basic manufacturing techniques that Ben Hogan pioneered in his original factory; we are located just a few miles from our facility in Fort Worth, Texas. That means no mass production, no short cuts in the building process.
Though this process takes longer and is more expensive, it’s the only way we know of to ensure you get the most precise, highest-quality golf equipment in the world that is worthy of Ben Hogan’s signature.
Except for the hybrid, I have had the great opportunity to trial and test all of the products below. My first impression on the Ben Hogan equipment is usually two thoughts: god those are stunning and boy I wish I could hit them. And what I mean by that is, typically, irons that I find the most appealing from a design standpoint, I have no business playing. However, it couldn’t be any further from the truth with the irons I will detail below. Show quality aesthetics parallel with playability and forgiveness. With no mass production and every built in house in Fort Worth, TX you can dial in your exact needs with custom shaft and grip selections.
Ft Worth Hi-Utility Irons
Ft. Worth Hi utility irons utilize many of the same basic design principles as our popular Ft. Worth irons, but offer a slightly larger face profile, wider sole, and more forgiving weight distribution. All of this is possible due to a unique 2-piece forged, hollow head construction that allows us to remove weight from the center of the club and re-position it on the perimeter.
PTx irons utilize a revolutionary, patented, co-forging process that allowed us to ensure each individual club head performs exactly as designed.
The longer irons are hollow with 1025 Carbon Steel frame and hosel, and an ultra-thin MS300 steel face for distance and exceptional feel. We precisely position dense Tungsten weights low in the various heads to deliver higher trajectories and steeper landing angles.
The shorter, scoring irons are forged by joining the 1025 Carbon Steel frame, hosel, and separate face, but we’ve removed the heavier steel material and replaced it with a lightweight Titanium core. This allows us to remove just the right amount of mass from the center of each club head to optimize perimeter-weighting for more precise shot making.
Perimeter weighting technology has been nearly impossible to incorporate into a single-piece forged iron. So, the Ben Hogan Edge is constructed using two separate forged parts. The face is forged first using a hydraulic hammer, then its laser-welded to the back frame and hosel that is forged separately. Although expensive and difficult to manufacture, this process allows us to create exceptional perimeter weighting both inside and outside of the club head.
Ben Hogan Edge irons are, on average, 12% larger than our tour-proven Ben Hogan PTx irons, creating a larger effective hitting area. This means shots that are struck closer to the toe or heel, or high or low on the face, will perform much like they would if hit on the sweet spot. So, you’ll still get a lot of the same distance and accuracy of a perfectly struck shot.
The enhanced V-Sole Technology used on the Ben Hogan Edge iron maintains the same basic design principles but has been modified for a wider variety of golfers. In effect, we’ve ‘softened’ the leading edge from the sole to the face, and added slightly more bounce on the trailing edge. This allows players with more controlled swing speeds variety to benefit from V-Sole Technology.
Most modern-day wedges are designed to do one thing: get the ball up in the air as quickly as possible and, in turn, as high as possible. Their Centers of Mass have been pushed as low as possible in the club head with a ‘one size fits all’ design philosophy. As a result, shots hit with any wedge ‘balloon’ reducing accuracy and spin.
Each Equalizer wedge has been engineered to serve a specific need. While Equalizers basic shapes are classical, our engineers have developed an ingenious progressive Center of Mass system in the various wedges. We’ve moved more mass higher in the club head of the lower lofted gap wedges, and incrementally lowered it in the sand and more highly lofted lob wedges.
They designed Ben Hogan Equalizer wedges with the most aggressive grooves allowed by golf’s governing bodies so your shots will stick where you put them on the green. All Equalizer wedges have 0.20″ U-Shaped grooves precisely cut into the face at increments of 0.40″. Machining the grooves into the face after the forging process is an expensive and time-consuming extra step in the production process, but one that you’ll appreciate on your first shot.
On the Course with my Ben Hogan Clubs
As you may expect of a brand, which has lasted decades in the golf industry, these artistic pieces of metal don’t just serve as art. They are packed with as much tech as they have class. I have had the pleasure of hitting almost every club in their collection, outside of the hybrid. Instead of the Hybrid, I elected to try the driving iron or the Ft Worth Hi iron.
I will start here because out of everything; it is my absolute favorite to hit. Club technology has gone so far the past couple of years that it’s almost a buyer’s expectation that the lower irons are going to be easy and fun to hit. What impresses me the most with makers of this current age, is how easy and getable the long irons are. The Ft Worth Hi iron was a club you hit and then just stare at the ball flight and then smile. The sweet spot is large, and the feel matches its pure look. My only feedback up the chain was this technology should be offered in an entire iron set.
The PTX irons won me over.
The two irons are great in their own regard, but I prefer the PTX for my game. Things they both have in common are soft forged feel and mid to high ball flight (for me). The PTX offers sharper lines with a smaller sole. The dual grind made striking easy in most all conditions. And let’s be honest- the Ben Hogan brass medallion stands out like a piece of jewelry hanging from your golf bag.
The equalizer wedge release last year was the icing on the cake. Sticking with classic markings of Ben Hogan past but incorporating aggressive new designs and mill patterns. Mixed with a multi-use grind sole and you have an extremely well-built wedge, made of premium materials, offered at half the price of most OE wedges sitting in your local big box store.
Who’s playing Ben Hogan?
We live in an era that in most any hobby or sport, we encounter influencers. I could spend an entire article discussing my opinions on that word and what it means. We’ll save that for another time. What Ben Hogan has chosen to do in regards to brand recognition, is to partner with ambassadors of all shapes and sizes. They range from instructors, fitters, club pros, to average Joe’s. All of them have one significant thing in common-relatability.
Relatability is something that I think runs parallel with BH business model. Everything from the trial program, direct to consumer pricing, and organic ambassadors show that Ben Hogan isn’t going after a select consumer. More so going after all golfers in general. And I genuinely believe that’s how Ben Hogan would have wanted it.
What’s to come?
Ben Hogan golf released a press statement right around the time of PGA show. It stated they had new equipment coming in various categories in early 2019. As we would love to share what those details are, they are under embargo until early March. Multiple teasers of dates have come up on social media but nothing more.
While I don’t have any guesses of what clubs are coming, I do share a few thoughts on what to expect. Of course, this is just my opinion. A company which is derived from a team that led them out of bankruptcy and into a thriving non-retail golf OE, I have big expectations. Forward thinking, new age, trending technology, all while paying homage to the roots of the brand. With one of the best trial offers in the golf industry, I fully anticipate Ben Hogan to be a more familiar brand in your everyday golfer’s bag.
All Ben Hogan equipment and merchandise can be purchased directly from their WEBSITE.