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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.

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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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30 Comments

  1. iSeeClearly

    May 22, 2018 at 12:28 am

    “…an environment where the best golfers in the world are playing multi-material clubs.”
    …or an environment where the best golfers in the world are selling multi-material clubs. Ya think??!!!

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. Mark

    Oct 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm

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

  8. 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?

  9. 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:)

  10. rex235

    Oct 5, 2015 at 3:09 am

    RH ONLY.

  11. 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.

  12. Jamie

    Oct 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. BS

    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I see no similarities at all. That is BS

  21. Craigar

    Oct 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

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

  22. 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

TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review

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New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.

We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.

Technical Details

The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.

The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.

Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.

Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.

(Top Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM Max & 2019 TM M6, (Bottom Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM & 2019 TM M5

Reviews

Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.

Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691

I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.

My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.

But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob

I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me.  Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Will “fillwelix

For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.

I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.

The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will

We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.

Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Nick “n_rones

I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.

I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).

I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick

His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.

By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: “jimbonecrusher”

I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance. 

Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.

Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.

The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. – 

The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

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Building the perfect half set

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Beyond physically putting clubs together, one of my favorite games to play is trying to build the ideal half set, and taking it out for some testing on the course. The goal is to see how few clubs I can play with before it becomes a detriment to my game and my scoring—while still having fun trying to hit all kinds of creative shots along the way

Many golfers have, at some point, played the “three-club challenge” (three including a putter), but that often becomes an exercise in caution and course management instead of what many would consider a usual round of golf. Although from the conversations I’ve had with golfers about trying out an extremely reduced set, the consensus generally ends up at, “I shot one of my best scores in a long time.”

I’m not sure how that sentiment potentially relates to handicap or not, but one way or the other, it’s a great way to lighten the load and have some fun thinking differently about your shots.

My ideal half set consists of 7-8 clubs including a putter, but in some cases, I will take it all the way down to 5-6. I love having the option to play with a full set and most times do, but I have gone weeks playing only with my half set and don’t see a noticeable variation in my scoring.

It actually makes me question why I carry a full set and in the grand scheme of golf. I think it would be one of the most entertaining experiments to have a PGA Tour event where players are limited to seven clubs. It would have the potential to make gearheads and the general fan engage in an interesting conversation.

Whatever way you choose to build your set, this is a quick start guide to play your best half set golf.

Thinking Your way Through Building a Half Set

  • The Putter: This is the one club that probably isn’t going anywhere (unless you are a virtuoso putting with a bellied wedge). You are going to be using this club on every hole, and depending on your comfort level hitting certain shots, you might end up using it further off the green than normal—cheers to the imagination! Build out from here, because shots inside 100 yards are still going to take up the majority of strokes on your card, and your putter is going to save you shots.
  • The “Wedge”: Remember that it wasn’t until the last generation of golfers that players started using a lob wedge. Tom Watson famously never put one in the bag and only carried up to a 56-degree. The ideal loft to start your set with is 52-54 degrees, because you can still hit shots out of the sand if needed, and it’s a great club to still hit full shots with—something that many golfers struggle to do with a lob wedge.
  • Your “Go-To” Shot: I think most golfers agree that trying to get more out of a club distance-wise often ends with less than great results. This is why as you go through your set and start to pick clubs, it’s important to think about your favorite go-to shots. You want to do everything you can to avoid standing over a ball trying to manipulate a club because you don’t have “that distance” in the bag. This is hugely important when you realize that close to 90 percent of hazards are placed in front of the green or target areas and being able to get over comfortably should be priority number one.
  • Know Your Iron Lofts:  Most modern sets have 4-5 degrees between each club, but as you get to the longer irons, even towards the middle of the set (7-iron to 5-iron) loft gaps can get smaller quickly, and for some this can equal a diminishing point of return on distance gapping. Don’t just grab every other iron, take a few minutes to think about the carry distance of each club, because that’s going to be important.
  • A Driver is Still Important: We all cant be Henrik Stenson with a 12-degree 3-wood we hit 300 yards. Unless you have plans to go truly minimalist, keeping a driver in the bag is a good idea. It is the largest and most forgiving club off the tee and will help put you into places that will make second shots a lot easier.
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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying are the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005

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@jfp2112

GolfWRXers have been discussing the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005 after forum member ‘8620’ created a thread with a desire to “build a set that starts with a ‘retro’ blade head, that incorporates a modern shaft (Nippon Modus Pro 130)”. Our members have weighed in on the subject, with some inspired by ‘8620’ to follow suit in his project.

Here are what our members are saying on the subject, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below,

  • Gopher68: “Bridgestone J33 blades.”
  • BCULAW: “Mizuno MP67. Awesome blade that never really caught on due to the popularity of its predecessor (MP33) and its sister offering (MP32). Also, the small ‘cut muscle’ gives it a bit of an old school vibe like the old Wilson bullet backs.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “OG Nike Forged Blades.”
  • cardoustie: “Bridgestone MB’s, love my J15’s.”
  • OldTomMorris: “I’ve got a set of mp-37 irons that I am putting TT DG AMT white S300 shafts in right now. Curious to see if I can keep the short irons lower than my current set of irons.”
  • Rapidcat: “This interests me as I played Mizuno SPL blades for a decade and still have the heads in very good condition, thinking about a reshaft for them to have some fun.”

Entire Thread: “Top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005”

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