Connect with us

Equipment

A visit to Ben Hogan Golf

Published

on

The Ben Hogan Golf headquarters are in a relaxed old warehouse about 10 minutes south of downtown Fort Worth. The parking lot sits adjacent to an open field of unkempt grass, and the Ben Hogan logo hangs proudly above the door, unseen by most.

All of that is by design.

The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company originally started in 1953, but in September of 2017, it was reborn. This time with a completely different business model and an eye for saving customers money. That means lower overhead and cutting out the retail middle man.

“Our product is better than most and it’s less expensive than most. That’s because of our direct to consumer business model,” says Scott White, Ben Hogan Golf’s President and CEO.

Customers who want to play Ben Hogan irons, hybrids, or wedges can simply create a custom set online at benhogangolf.com. No need to pay markup costs buying at your local pro shop or golf mega store. The direct-to-consumer model keeps costs down and allows the player to have a custom set of forged irons for much less of the cost of a comparable set. And the clubs are built just for you. Just send in your specs and the clubs are out the door and headed your way in five to 10 business days.

Steve Dreyer, Director of Manufacturing, started with the company in 1985. He knew Mr. Hogan personally and has been a part of the company’s many evolutions. “I’ve seen many transitions. No doubt we are back to what Mr. Hogan wanted,” Dreyer says. “What Mr. Hogan stood for — he stood for a fine quality, built right, forged iron, built one set at a time.”

And if you want to give these clubs a try before pulling the trigger, that’s no problem. The company offers a 14-day, two-club demo program to help you feel comfortable with your purchase. That is also all organized online through the website. Customers can select the clubs they are interested in, pay twenty dollars for shipping, and they’ll soon get two irons in the mail.

Currently, Ben Hogan Golf offers three different custom built iron sets ranging from $575 to $770 per set, as well as utility irons, wedges and hybrids. The website also offers a wide array of bags, hats, and accessories, all sporting the legendary Hogan signature logo.

The new business model is working. Clubs are flying out of the factory and being shipped all over the world. As a response to overseas demand, the demo club program is setting up a new location in the United Kingdom so European players will be able to try these clubs out before purchasing as well. It seems consumers are falling in love with Ben Hogan irons again.

That wasn’t always the case. Before this resurgence, the company was floundering in and out of bankruptcy. “We were using the same playbook as every other original equipment manufacturer,” White said. “We were in retail. We had a sales force. It was an expensive proposition and we just found that we can’t keep doing it this way.”

In 2017, the company decided they needed a different strategic plan, so they began working towards a transition of sorts. All options were on the table, including permanent closure of the company. But while that was happening, revenue was still needed to keep the doors open and the lights on.

“So we went to our database and contacted everyone who had purchased Ben Hogan products in the previous two years,” White said. “We told them we were going through a reorganization and are pulling out of retail. But you are loyal to us so if you want to buy our equipment directly, we will sell it to you at basically wholesale pricing.”

The response was overwhelming. The company couldn’t keep up. There was no website or organizational process in place yet. Just customers who wanted Ben Hogan clubs at lower prices, calling on the phone. So White, Dreyer, and Tyler Brewton, Director of Brand and Product Marketing, decided there must be something to this factory direct thing. “We have a premium product and no one else in the golf industry is doing what we are doing from the equipment side,” Brewton said. “We are making premium golf equipment and we sell it with no retail markups.”

“It’s the great Ben Hogan product you know and love. Now there is no middleman,” explained White. “There’s no markup. You buy it at roughly half the cost of comparable product at retail. We have only been at it for 18 months but it has really resonated.”

Perhaps the most important piece to the equation, however, is the ever-present aura of Mr. Hogan. Walking around the no frills factory warehouse, it is impossible to not feel his presence. His signature is on every piece of equipment and photos of his famous swing hang on the walls. Even one of his old wooden office chairs sits in the corner of the break room.

“We are very conscious of the fact that it is his name on the bag. His name on the clubs. We walk around here and see his signature and his photos every day and think we need to keep making this guy proud,” White said.

And the dedication to excellence that Mr. Hogan was famous for is still going strong in Texas. “Mr. Hogan was a businessman,” said Dreyer. “And the product leaving this building is nothing but the best. Because that is what Mr. Hogan expected. It had to be the best.”

Where the company will go from here remains to be seen. “Right now we are forged irons and wedges,” said White. “We are always going to be a niche brand that appeals first and foremost to the more accomplished players. That is kind of what the Ben Hogan brand is known for. But we are going to get into other product categories which will fuel growth.”

The future looks bright in Fort Worth.

Mr. Hogan would be proud.

Your Reaction?
  • 289
  • LEGIT41
  • WOW23
  • LOL3
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP5
  • OB3
  • SHANK15

Johnny Newbern writes for GolfWRX from Fort Worth, Texas. His loving wife lets him play more golf than is reasonable and his son is almost old enough to ride in the cart with dad. He is a Scotty Cameron loyalist and a lover of links style courses. He believes Coore/Crenshaw can do no wrong, TMB irons are almost too hot and hole-in-ones are earned, not given. Johnny holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Ray F

    May 10, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Just received my PTx Pro irons and I’m testing the wedges through the trial program. Selected my shaft through extensive trials with similar irons and so far numbers look solid on launch monitor.
    Ordering was a breeze and all of my questions were answered.
    Hopefully I’ll be able to do a trial on the new woods coming out.
    Very happy

  2. 234234

    Mar 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

    One thing I liked about Hogans irons is they stamp the #of the iron, instead they stamp the loft on the sole. Makes so much sense. Nowadays every manufactures are pulling lofts from long and short irons and make #7 stronger. The result is 3′ gaps in long irons, and 5′ or more gaps in short irons. I don’t care about #7 being 30′ or 28′, I just don’t like the gaps getting double between long and short irons.

    • 234234

      Mar 2, 2019 at 12:26 am

      is they don’t(*) stamp the #of the iron

  3. Billy

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Give it a year at most, the company will file for bankruptcy.

    • Vickie

      Mar 2, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      That’s ugly !!!! Steve I wish y’all the best of luck. Mr. Hogan would be proud.

    • Bob

      Mar 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Wrong already, it’s been 2 years and no bankruptcy in sight.

  4. Brad

    Mar 1, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    The product looks good, but customer service at Hogan Golf is the big problem. The ones I have spoken to are not exactly friendly or helpful. Either they are just not very nice people, or there must be a lot of stress inside that company keeping everyone on edge.

  5. Ben Hogan

    Mar 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Had a very very negative experience with the customer relations department. Turned me off of the new Hogans immediately. That’s the last time I will entertain of using Hogan equipment. The Apex Edge Pro’s were one of my favorite irons years ago

  6. Steve Buchanan

    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Wrong. Great clubs and beautiful as well. Performance and feel are exceptional. I love my new set and Ric Shiels, who tests everything on the market loves them as well. I hate the negative comments from people who have no clue.

  7. DL

    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    I like what they have done with the company. I have the Ptx and Edge iron sets. The quality and performance has been excellent and they are reasonably priced. Only concern is fitting. Less informed consumers could use some help in ordering a set that is built for their particular golf swing.

  8. Thomas Hertwig

    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    all in all just an assembly warehouse for heads made in China…..most steel shafts are not available so it’s really no big deal….clubs flying out the warehouse, I don’t think so just look at the building…

  9. Matt

    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Would be nice if they offered just the heads so consumers can put the shafts they want in them.

  10. Fitz

    Mar 1, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Without Terry Koehler Hogan has the same cache as the Spalding, Black Knight, Walter Hagen for me.

  11. A Vendor

    Mar 1, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Give me a break. These are the guys who jumped head first into debt, had to declare bankruptcy, and continue to use assets they didn’t pay for. I’m sure Mr Hogan would be proud.

  12. bonifacj

    Mar 1, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Continued success to Ben Hogan Golf. Product offerings look great.

  13. gh

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Sadly, Mr. Hogan would not be proud of what has happened to his golf club business. Ben Hogan Golf will never be more than a failed vision of what used to be.

    • Douglas J Hansen, PGA

      Mar 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      I believe Mr. Hogan would be very upset at eliminating the PGA Professional from promoting and fitting clubs that bear his name. When I met Mr. Hogan in 1989 at the gathering of Hogan Staff professionals, Mr. Hogan described himself as a “golf professional” – not a “professional golfer” – which I took as quite the compliment. A PGA Member right up to his passing, Mr. Hogan knew the importance of what it is we do.

      Even though I’m with PING, I bleed Hogan red, white & blue – always have – always will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

Published

on

As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

Your Reaction?
  • 6
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Tour Edge EXS Pro Forged irons launched

Published

on

Tour Edge is expanding its better player targeted EXS Pro line with the addition of the all-new EXS Pro Forged irons—a tour-inspired design developed with multi-material technology, and looks to match.

Just like the limited edition EXP Pro driver, the EXS Pro Forged irons utilize the highest quality materials and processes to deliver a golf club built for the most discerning players. The goal of designer David Glod was to produce the most forgiving distance iron possible in a player-preferred package and the EXS Pro Forged live up to the lofty challenge.

 “As a club designer, I love player iron designs that are as beautiful as they are playable. These three designs were made to be irons that are drooled over by the core golfer, not only in looks and feel, but in how they perform.” David Glod – Tour Edge Lead Designer

“I believe that the milled forged iron connoisseurs out there are going to be very impressed with the playability we were able to combine with a traditional forged feel.”

Inside the Exotics EXS Pro forged irons

The EXS Pro Forged cavity iron is constructed of Japanese S25C mild carbon steel to offer an extremely soft feel to the golfer. After the forging process, the faces are CNC milled to precise tolerances and the grooves are designed to maximize performance throughout the set. The CNC milling of the EXS Pro doesn’t stop at the face either—the cavity is designed to boost MOI as much as possible in the compact clubhead, so the back of the club is also CNC milled to offer the thinnest face possible without sacrificing feel.

Speaking of feel, the term forged can be overused in the world of golf club construction with some lesser companies only stamping precast pieces once and calling them forged, but the EXS are not those clubs. The S25C club heads are triple-forged (struck 3 times at very high-pressure) to offer a thinner, stronger clubhead that allows the designer to push more mass to the toe and heel weight pads for more forgiveness and more consistent ball speeds across the face. To further improve feedback, the iron has an acoustic engineered cavity insert consisting of a polymer and a dampening gel to provide the best possible sound and feel.

Now about ball speeds and technology: The 3- 6-irons in the EXS Pro Forged cavity have a concealed 10g tungsten toe weight to push more mass away from the hosel and make the clubs more forgiving on heel and toe misses in the longer irons. This is similar technology to irons that are priced much higher in the market.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons will be available for purchase on June 1, 2020 through select Tour Edge retailers and custom club fitting locations.

The stock shafts are: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro—available in regular and stiff flex—as well as True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 in R300, S300.

The stock grip will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

$149.99 per iron.

Your Reaction?
  • 33
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW4
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Equipment

New limited-edition Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges unveiled

Published

on

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Tour Edge has unveiled its new limited-edition “Straight From the Tour Van” Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges featuring forged designs with CNC milling.

Per Tour Edge, the Exotics EXS Blade irons combine “tour-level inspired looks and feel with advanced materials and innovation to produce the most forgiveness and distance possible in a player’s iron.”

Each iron and wedge are individually milled from carbon steel and “engineered for players who look for the ultimate in control and shot shaping.”

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The new Tour Edge EXS Blade irons feature a narrow sole, a thin top line, and a beveled leading edge and square toe design. The irons also contain a shorter blade length and a cambered top line in a bid to provide golfers with a more compact scoring iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Designed with advanced CAD technology and pure milled forging, the new additions from Tour Edge feature micro-cavity face and scoring lines that are all individually CNC milled and designed to offer maximum responsiveness and control.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Fully USGA conforming, the blades are CNC milled on both sides, which aims to offer golfers a club that has extremely tight tolerance and consistency from iron to iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The clubs feature Japanese S25C carbon steel, which is chrome plated with a dual finish. The irons contain a high polish and a satin finish in all the milled areas of the clubhead.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The sole of the EXS Pro Blade iron head features a rounded radius on the leading edge of the clubhead – a design which seeks to significantly reduce drag and turf interaction through impact to provide ultimate consistency on every shot.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Specs, Availability and Pricing

  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro: R-flex, S-flex, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105: R300, S300
  • Grip: GolfPride Tour 360
  • Price: $149.99 per iron
  • Availability: June 1, 2020

Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade wedges

Designed from Japanese S25C Carbon Steel, the new blade wedges from Tour Edge are individually CNC milled on the face and grooves in design to create maximum spin from advanced groove engineering.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Milled Forged wedges utilize dual-groove construction, with the lower loft (50° – 52°) wedges designed with deeper, narrower grooves while the higher lofts (54° – 60°) have wider grooves.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The Exotics EXS Blade wedges feature a Center of Gravity (CG) that has been moved up in the clubhead with a milled-out center design. The milled-out center on the wedges leads to more weight being positioned both up and down in design for greater distance control on shots higher and lower on the face.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Pro’s sole grind on the new blade wedges seeks to reduce bounce from the heel and toe for greater versatility when hitting a variety of shots, especially from difficult lies. 

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The blade wedges contain a Flare Toe design which places the center of gravity higher in order to provide for lower launch and more spin. A chamfer was also added to the trailing top line of the wedge for a slightly thicker top line that moves weight up without affecting the aesthetics of the top line at address.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

As with the blade irons, the wedges are 100 percent conforming to the USGA rules.

Specs, Availability and Pricing

Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Flex

Grip: GolfPride Tour 360

Price: $149.99 per wedge

Availability: June 1, 2020

Your Reaction?
  • 28
  • LEGIT8
  • WOW5
  • LOL1
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending