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Review: Ben Hogan Ft. Worth 15 irons vs. Hogan irons of old

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Hogan irons

The Ben Hogan Company returned to the golf equipment business with the introduction of its Ft. Worth irons in January. We detailed the release at the time, and a bevy of reviews have populated the internet in the time since.

Let’s recap the Ft. Worth marketing literature and features.

The Ft. Worths (and TK Wedge) come in 44 loft options from 20 to 63 degrees. While it may take some getting used to, the company’s slogan, “precision is back,” is driven home by the arrangement.

The irons are forged from 1025 carbon steel and feature the V Sole design developed by company CEO Terry Koehler, which maximizes playability from any lie, according to the company, thanks to a high-bounce leading edge and lower-bounce sole.

Also visually apparent and a centerpiece feature of the irons: perimeter weighting.

Again, we wondered how the new Hogans would stack up against some of the great Hogan irons from the past 50 years. Further, we wondered how those irons compared to one another. How would, say, the Power Thrust iron of the early 60s compare to the 1999 Apex?

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(L-R) Irons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 listed below

The irons we tested

  1. Power Thrust (1962)
  2. Apex II (1979)
  3. Apex Redline (1988)
  4. Apex (1999)
  5. Ft Worth
3

From the Power Thrust (1962) to the Ft Worth (2015)

The lengths, lie, lofts were all within a degree of each other (30-31), standard length (37.50 inches – with the Power Thrust, despite being a 5 iron, 0.5-inches shorter) and standard lie of 60 degrees on all.

In our testing, conducted on an outdoor driving range with 5-10 mph of wind and using a TrackMan to record the data, the Ft. Worth irons were longer, generally higher flying, generally more precise, and at least as efficient as any other Hogan iron in terms of smash factor.

Conducting the testing, your intrepid writer and a pair of Class A PGA pros.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.07.49 PMDispersion graphics

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 5.45.07 PM

David’s dispersion

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 5.44.47 PM

Jeff’s dispersion

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 5.44.36 PM

Ben’s dispersion

The Hogan Company also did its own testing using 15 golfers with club speeds from the mid-70s to the mid-90s. In all of the company’s tests, the Ft. Worth was either the longest or second-longest club.

For the single-digit handicapper, the club represents a modest improvement over the previous iron models. For the mid-handicapper, however, it’s a playable forged iron, as the data indicates.

4

The Ft. Worth possessed a more solid feeling strike and a significant amount of feedback, all while performing better than expected on off-center hits. Enthusiasts will definitely see and feel the similarities between the Ft. Worths and the most recent Hogan Apex. However, they’ll also likely see better performance on the launch monitor and plenty of workability on course.

The player will certainly feel any misses, but won’t get the hand-numbing sting of older blades. Good, solid sound, and soft feel on center strikes. Great turf interaction, especially on steeper swings (thanks V Sole).

5

There’s no doubt these clubs mark a step forward for the Hogan Company and open cast a wider net for potential players.

A forged blade iron may be a difficult sell in an environment where the best golfers in the world are playing multi-material clubs. However, if you’re a purist and/or a Hogan disciple, don’t hesitate to go through the HoganFit process.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”22″]

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Panther73

    Sep 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I would really like to find my first Hogan set, Apex II, Apex 5 shaft, 2-Pw Black filled Cameo. The one thing to change would be CC grooves, the original sets were V grooves, Hogan Balata balls had super thin covers. Same thing now with ball covers softer to match up with current groove regulations. Any ideas? Fly to Japan to Miura and recreate them?

  2. Billy Bondaruk

    Jan 15, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I first played Hogan Irons in the 70’s in High School and jr. Golf. My dad was a state am champ and he played them… Every few years we would get a new set and I’d take his, until the apex set cam put….. We both played them and I had a great year playing so did he….. Last year I went the PGA Show, with out my Dad… He’s gone now….. But the feeling of hitting a Ben Hogan iron…. That Hogan Apex iron the one we bothe bought that year back in the 1980’s…. I found it at last years show, but it was better…. Much better and it was a shock that that was even possible. Couple that with the history and the hero that you loved thru life, his stories and jokes…. What the man stood up for in this game….. I bought two sets. The 21 degree iron my friends call it the sniper rifle. I have never had an easier 3 iron to hit….. You fell the speed off the face. Carve it anyway you want. And the tradition to keep lofts at least close to what they should be….. Com om Man…… Hogan was the a man that changed golf

  3. Dave

    Oct 20, 2015 at 2:44 am

    My first full set of irons was a used set of apex irons, with some powerbilt persimmons, some 30+ yrs ago. Looked great but not very forgiving. Still to this day at address, I like the look of a straight sole line and not too thick a top line.

  4. Peter Whitford

    Oct 8, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I played Hogan Apex’s with a # 4 Hogan shaft–loved those blades. I had them refinished and restored 3 times–they finally wore out unfortunately. I am interested in these but they don’t have any shaft options to speak of. I now play Titleist 710 MB’s with a Project X 5.5 Shaft–I would switch to these in a heartbeat if they could put a decent shaft in them–KBS isn’t that great a shaft.

    • JP Sourdellia

      Oct 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Peter – You can order your Ft. Worth 15 irons with the Project X 5.5 shaft, if that’s your preference. We offer a wide selection of custom shafts and I’m sure we can accommodate your needs. Please call our customer service line to speak with one of our experts. 844-53-HOGAN(46426)

  5. Walt Pendleton

    Oct 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I have just three words to say about the new Hogan irons I just bought…smallest dispersion ratio! It’s all about the misses, gentlemen! We all create them.

  6. Mark

    Oct 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Regardless of outcome, that is a timeless lineup. Pure class.

  7. Brian K

    Oct 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Did each iron have the original stock shaft or reloaded with the same shaft? Wouldn’t the original shafts in power thrust, Apex II and Apex 88 be too worn and degraded to make and accurate comparsion?

  8. Carlos Danger

    Oct 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I have a set of the 89 Apex sitting in my office looking clean and pretty. I grew up with them and have always wished Hogan would make a comeback…so needless to say I was pretty excited to see the Ft Worth come out. I love the website process of building them out and of course they look beautiful.

    However, I think I will wait to order them until a cavity back or slightly larger iron head is released. At this point in my life, trying to hit a 4 iron blade is just not all that enticing. Im currently playing Adams CMBs (which are not terribly far off from a blade) so if Hogan releases something slightly bigger I dont think I could stop myself from ordering a mixed set.

    • John C

      Oct 5, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      You like Hogan.. Just get the Lofts that are 6 Iron and down.. Worth it.. Why wait if Hogan is your favorite..

      • Carlos Danger

        Oct 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

        to be clear…the thought of beautiful Hogan blades in my bag is my favorite. the reality of trying to hit a blade 4 iron consistently is another thing.

        Im sure they will expand and make a slightly bigger iron, by then I will be due for some new ones:)

  9. rex235

    Oct 5, 2015 at 3:09 am

    RH ONLY.

  10. barf

    Oct 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Were the shafts standardized for this test? The shafts alone in the older clubs make the comparison lopsided.

  11. Jamie

    Oct 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

    You can really see the influence of SCOR clubs. I guess same owners!

  12. mhendon

    Oct 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I got to say that’s an extreme release cycle there. 17 years followed by 11 and 11

  13. birly-shirly

    Oct 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Kudos for carrying out the test, but does it really mean anything? Ignore the scatter graphics, and what is the data saying?
    Smash factor – 2 out of 3 testers saw no advantage to the new club.
    Spin – 2 out of 3 testers got more spin from older clubs.
    Height – 2 out of 3 testers hit older clubs higher.
    Landing angle – all 3 testers had older clubs landing steeper.
    I’m not saying that proves the older clubs are better. I am asking what conclusions can you really draw from this? Is this a test of how the clubs perform, or the swings the testers made?

    • billm311

      Oct 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      I currently play with Hogan anniversary blades, dynamic gold shafts. I used the hogan demo pack to test the new irons head to head with mine. Though the lofts were not exact matches, the biggest difference for me was shaft used. I’d like to try them again with matching shaft and length of shaft. In the end, I did really enjoy the new club. Very clean look, slightly thicker and rounder than my current blades, but produced very nice results.

      In the end, I did not make the switch. My clubs are custom fit, so they feel perfect to me. A little extra forgiveness would be nice – for that reason, I am considering getting just 4, maybe 5 iron replacements with slightly different loft spacing.

      Well designed club if you are looking at forged blades, just make sure to get the right shaft for you!

      • HR

        Oct 5, 2015 at 12:45 am

        Well at $149 per club, it ain’t cheap. With no custom shaft options, it’s highway robbery

        • JP Sourdellia

          Oct 14, 2015 at 12:45 pm

          HR – We do offer a large selection of custom shafts. You can call one of our experts at 844-53-HOGAN(46426) to discuss what shaft options we offer. I’m sure we can accommodate your needs.

  14. cbails00

    Oct 2, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I think this is a fantastic exercise and cool to see how Hogan compares to Hogan. I would be curious how the new Hogan Ft. Worth 15 irons would stand up in a similar test against the new multi-material irons – 716 AP2, new Apex Pro’s, TM PSi, Ping i Series etc. If the results were good for the Ft. Worth 15’s it might make them more appealing to purchase.

  15. Bogeypro

    Oct 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I just feel that it is completely confusing to not put an iron number. I don’t want to have to remember the loft. Just say, 6 iron, not 31 or whatever it is…

  16. michael

    Oct 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I play the apex ii plus and I love them had the lofts tweaked a bit due to my slower swing speed but they feel great. Love the feel of forged irons.

  17. Joe

    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I play the Hogan Apex 1999 model, love them. Also, am selling a refinished Hogan Apex 1999 model in the classified.

    I much refer these to the current Apex by Callaway.

  18. RB

    Oct 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    The spreadsheet descriptions for the irons should match the descriptions at the start of the review. And in the same order. It’s quite confusing which Apex is which. Consistency would help.

    • Cliff

      Oct 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      it’s not THAT difficult to follow!

    • Rich

      Oct 2, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      I agree it should be more consistent at a glance. If you take a few minutes, you can figure out which one is which. Not very well done though in regards to ease of understanding.

  19. BS

    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I see no similarities at all. That is BS

  20. Craigar

    Oct 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Just out of curiosity what were the differences in shafts as far as frequency?

  21. TR1PTIK

    Oct 2, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I learned how to play golf with an old set of blades, and prefer a more classic looking club despite my higher handicap. I’d love to give these irons a try sometime.

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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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Equipment

True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Equipment

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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