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?
The irons we tested
- Power Thrust (1962)
- Apex II (1979)
- Apex Redline (1988)
- Apex (1999)
- Ft Worth
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.
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.
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).
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.