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Ben’s back: The Hogan Company is returning to golf equipment

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After a seven-year absence, the Ben Hogan brand announced today that it’s returning to the golf equipment business.

Perry Ellis International, owner of the Hogan brand since 2012, will partner with Eidolon Brands, LLC to produce the first irons bearing the Hawk’s iconic signature in nearly 10 years. The company expects to bring a product to market some time in 2015.

According to Ellis’ president Oscar Feldenkreis, the company has been considering options to return to the equipment marketplace, having already reasserted itself in the apparel and accessories sphere over the past two years.

After a process of deliberation, Perry Ellis International has chosen Terry Koehler’s Eidolon Brands to produce irons that would have made Mr. Hogan proud. Mr. Koehler, of course, is the man behind the SCOR4161 series of scoring clubs, which have risen in prominence since their introduction in 2011.

Koehler, a lifelong Hogan devotee and former Ben Hogan Company employee, along with his team, have begun the effort to create new Hogan clubs in earnest, all with the appropriate reverence for the man, his company, and his legacy.

“We are studying all the things Mr. Hogan believed about golf clubs, and dissecting early Ben Hogan designs to understand his performance principles and knowledge of what a golf club should do,” Koehler said. “There was a wealth of genius in those early clubs. Our commitment to the Ben Hogan legacy is to ensure that every product delivers unmatched precision and dedication to the art of shotmaking, providing equipment that allows golfers of all abilities the opportunity to optimize their skills.”

Koehler’s commitment is to developing clubs that place a premium on feel and performance for players looking to create golf shots, not merely maximize distance. He is also committed to return the Ben Hogan brand to Fort Worth, Texas, where it was headquartered from inception through the early 90s. He has already relocated Eidolon’s headquarters to the areas. As Koehler said, “Ben Hogan and his golf company were, and always should be, Fort Worth treasures.”

Another note: It appears that Callaway is still in possession of majority rights to the Hogan brand’s trademark (such as the iconic “Apex”). Therefore, the new irons will bear new names.

As Hogan enthusiasts are likely aware, the reintroduction coincides with the 60th anniversary of the first Ben Hogan irons, which were released in the fall of 1954. Students of the Wee Ice Mon know, too, that the golfer returned to Fort Worth following his historic 1953 season determined to make irons that lived up to his eternally high standards.

Some 60 years later, Terry Koehler, a first-rate R&D team, and a roster of former Ben Hogan Company staffers are in Fort Worth trying to do the same thing.

For equipment nuts in general, and Hogan loyalists in particular, the 2015 introduction of fruits of their labor — the company’s first set of irons in seven years — can’t come soon enough.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Don M. Wilkerson

    Nov 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

    The Visual Swing Aid For Golfers. Would help the new Hogan clubs. Great way to advertise GREAT TO HAVE THEM BACK. Would love to see and try a set. Was raised in Ft Worth. Inventor

  2. cullen davis

    Jul 19, 2014 at 11:40 am

    All I can say is good luck selling Hogan irons. I own a golf shop in Arlington, Texas Texas and asked all my customers would they buy the new Hogan irons, They laughed and no

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  4. tlmck

    May 10, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Make me a set of forged Radials with the #3 shaft and I am there. Extremely forgiving and soft as butter. My Rocketbladez Tour are also forgiving and high launch, but just don’t have the feel.

  5. Dom Esposito

    May 9, 2014 at 1:12 am

    As Mr. Hogan would say: “Get it Right” … (and they will come)

    “All The Best”

  6. Merde

    May 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    It’s like FORGAN – it ain’t the same company, no matter what you say or how they resurrect it

  7. MHendon

    May 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    My first set of irons ever where some old Hogan Apex blades. Brutally small sweet spot so you where forced to swing under control to make solid contact. Honestly probably not the best option for the average weekend golfer. However I agree with what another commenter said, focus on the purist who wants very high quality and tight tolerances and doesn’t mind paying a premium for it.

  8. Fred

    May 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Back in my day, we played with butter knives that stung our hands so bad our un-born grandchildren felt it, and that’s the way we liked it. Kids these days with their sweet spots and perimeter weighting and mass production. Hogan needs to come out with a set that is nothing but 1-irons, just to prove a point. Harrumph.

  9. Brandon

    May 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    For those that think Koehler is not the right choice to head this project, then I suggest you have a look at Terry’s blog http://www.oobgolf.com/content/the+wedge+guy . That man talks about how Hogan’s vision of equipment. He not only understands Hogan’s feelings and vision but he has also seen how some technology advances, in his opinion, have gone too far and are actually hurting players scores. My favorite is the cavity back versus blades debate http://www.oobgolf.com/search.php?q=blades+vs+cavity+backs&t=0&x=0&y=0&n=&k=&x=1&cx=014344308485032154820%3A3twflabsrtu&cof=FORID%3A9 .

    The things that I hope they do is bring back a traditional high muscle baby blade(at least in the short irons) and bring the traditional lofts back(20* 2 iron….49-50* EQUALIZER wedge). I know Terry will definitely team up with either KBS(most likely choice since he has before) or True Temper to create a new “APEX” steel and graphite shaft line for the masses while offering all the custom options that are available today.

    So much for me getting a set of Taylormade Tour Preferred CB, MC, MB irons until I hit these. I am more than looking forward to this release.

    • Praxisdude

      Oct 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Can’t wait to see what is produced. If anyone can put out a Hogan product, it’s Koehler. I was ready to put my money down on either the Nike 2.0 covert forged or Srixon Z745 irons until I read Hogan’s coming back. I’m waiting and saving up. I currently flip back and forth between my Apex Plus and Radials. I have a set of FTX’s. Apex blades, Channel-backs, Apex plus, and Radials. I love forged Hogan clubs. I hate Callaway for their reckless buy out of the Hogan Apex name. The company is the closest thing to a cannibal. First they ate Spalding, than Topflight, than Hogan who’s next.

  10. Rick Altham

    May 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I hope they are true forged blades, not some cavity back no feel iron. I also hope they make a nice persimmon wood.

  11. Golfraven

    May 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    played the Apex irons for years and those were great. they need to come up with something exciting to compete against Titleist, Callaway, TM and Mizuno

  12. 1badbadger

    May 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Moving the company back to Ft. Worth is a big deal. This tells me the history and legacy of the brand is being respected. When others have mentioned that they hope they “do it right”, this is part of that. I don’t think they need to try to compete with the big companies like Taylor or Callaway…it’s not realistic. They can carve out their niche as more of a boutique company that produces high quality, traditional forgings and wedges. It might be necessary to offer a driver and hybrids to complete the line, but they will always be known for their irons. Technology-wise, there isn’t much you can do with a blade, so do you think there are enough of us who will buy a set for sentimental reasons, or will they have enough juice to pull players away from the brand they have been playing that offer a similar model? I wish them much success!

  13. Brando

    May 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I agree with snowman. They should stick to producing high quality with tight tolerances forged iron that’s what they were know for. I don’t really think they should make Drivers and Woods but specialize in Irons and Wedges. Just stick to a simple nice looking forged iron with no frills or new technology gimmicks. They could forged them in Ft Worth Texas again the good old USA and sell quality at a premium price like what Mirua in Japan is doing. People will buy them if people truly put a passion into making them and not just a another gimmick golf company. I take a 2 iron as well.

  14. snowman

    May 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Scor 4161 was good a concept IMO, but personally I found the dual bounce to be ‘low bounce’; maybe just my swing/AOA. Re: reintroducing Hogan brand, I think it is great, but as others have said: if they blow it, then it will be disastrous for them. I suggest they make a premium True forged Blade and a Forged Cavity Back, (Not “form forged”(cast) as was the 4161) with multiple shaft/grip/length/lie/paint fill options at no/little up charge. Keep the design simple and classic and focus on high quality manufacturing process/tight quality control. If they do it Right, they can charge a premium price… A quality Hogan branded product will sell for more than the average set. I wish them well, I will be watching.

  15. Erich

    May 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I Know An Old Hogan Rep. At A New Product Meeting Mr. Hogan Was Given A New Cavity Back Iron. He Tossed It Over His Shoulder AnD Said He Had Nothing To Say About It. HE Apparently HateD Cavity Back Clubs.

  16. Rob

    May 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Hope they come in lefty.

  17. HennyBogan007

    May 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Dear Mr. Koehler, PLEASE produce an iron that Mr. Hogan would be happy with. Regardless of what they create, I’ll still be the first in line to sign a equipment contract with Hogan.

  18. John

    May 6, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Apex Plus irons still were my all-time favorites. Hopefully we will see some great designs. Will be watching.

  19. DB

    May 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I’m guessing this means the effective end of SCOR4161. And that’s fine. They were really nice wedges, even if they did need a touch more bounce. I’m sure the new Hogan wedges will be even better.

    This is a huge opportunity and promotion for Koehler, who seems the obvious choice to reprise the Hogan brand. Really curious to see what him and his team come up with.

  20. PD

    May 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    So sad. They’re just usurping the man’s name. Disgusting.

    • DE

      May 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      How so? Actually, it seems pretty clear to me that they are very sensitive to Mr. Hogan’s legacy. They are committed “to the Ben Hogan legacy is to ensure that every product delivers unmatched precision and dedication to the art of shotmaking, providing equipment that allows golfers of all abilities the opportunity to optimize their skills.”

      That sounds like they are going to honor him and his ideals.

    • Doug Hansen, PGA

      May 7, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Actually, PD, the gentlemen behind the re-introduction of Hogan were with Mr. Hogan and his company for quite a while. They are “Hogan men”.
      What was “disgusting” was what Callaway did with Hogan: Essentially letting it go to pasture because the reason they (Callaway)owned Hogan was because it came along with all of the goodies from the purchase of Top-Flite (purchased only for the ball patents).
      What Mr. Koehler will be doing is the exact opposite of what your statement reads: They will bring back the passion and the quality of what the Ben Hogan brand once stood for, adding reverence, once again, for the name and for Mr. Hogan himself.

      • Ric

        May 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        Doug, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  21. cody

    May 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I think this is awesome news. But could go terribly wrong if the clubs are not top notch. Anyone remember Mac going to to golf smith?

  22. Ian

    May 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I was thinking of buying new irons later this year. I will now wait and demo the new Hogans. I have been a long time lover of Hogan irons. I have played Directors, producers, Apex, Apex II, and 3 sets of FTX. Can’t wait to see what the guys do. I have long admired the Score wedge system and think these guys are on the same wave length has the Hogan ethos.

  23. Eric

    May 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    It would be great to see Producer and Director irons again.

  24. Curtis

    May 6, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Pretty exciting news! Just felt like the Hogan name has been missing for way to long. Seems like they have everything in place and the right mindset to get this company to succeed again. And screw Callaway for taking the Apex name…joke.

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  26. Tom McCarthy

    May 6, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Truly exciting news from Perry Ellis and the Ben Hogan group there. Mr. Koehler has taken on a great responsibility and I trust he will produce an outstanding Hogan iron.

  27. Dave

    May 6, 2014 at 10:17 am

    This is good news. Sounds like Koehler “gets it” regarding the beauty and functionality of the clubs that Ben had in mind.

    • Nunya

      May 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      (with) all with the appropriate reverence for the man, his company, and his legacy.
      God, I hope so. Might have to look at scor wedges…

  28. blink3665

    May 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

    This is outstanding news! A piece of history is being restored in the game of golf. I hope that they come out with something that is traditional looking with a touch of technology. There are enough irons out there that look like Decepticons and Terminators. I’m curious about what they will do with their lofts. Will they increase the lofts like everyone else, or have something more traditional? Also, how does the SCOR brand fit into this? The SCOR fitting online normally recomends replacing your scoring clubs with SCOR clubs. Will they make the same recommendation with Hogan irons?

    • 29er Dave

      May 7, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Decepticons and terminators. Well played! Hope they can be the Muira of America. Any sort of manufacturing here is a good thing. And that’s from a guy that loves his Mizunos. Definitely has my interest…

  29. froneputt

    May 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Some say Callaway missed the boat here … but remember, the BRAND is CALLAWAY, not Hogan.

    Wish them luck. Happy they are returning to Ft Worth. I did not get along with Hogan Irons of the 90’s … always thought the shaft was the problem. As to Koehler, I played his original Eidolons and they were fine wedges. The SCOR, I think, may need more effective bounce. But good luck to them.

  30. Jeff

    May 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

    They make a nice forged iron. Welcome back.

    • ABgolfer2

      May 8, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Bingo. My 1984 Apex PCs had a gazillion miles on them before I bought them in ’94. I put on a ton more. No issues. My 1994 Apex channelbacks feel off somehow. Two iron shaft snapped off at the hosel while hitting a ball off a tee. Only long iron or any club actually to ever see that.

  31. Carlos Danger

    May 6, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Awesome! I long wondered why someone (Callaway) wasnt producing some club in the Hogan name. I really thought a line of high quality wedges would have sold well.

    Even the last line of woods that came out in the early/mid 2000’s were really good. Hopefully they come out with some very traditional looking equipment that has some of the technology available today. I think there is a hunger in the marketplace for something like that.

    • Stephen L. Clopton

      Oct 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Glad to hear they are bringing back the Hogan irons. I hope it will be a forged blade traditional looking with feel and 100% made in the USA.
      The 70s & 80s had a great feel when hit in the sweet spot, great irons.

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2020

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @ 10 degrees, D4 swing weight)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.75 inches)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 90 X

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (22 @ 19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09, 60-10 @ 62 degrees)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Mini
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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