Connect with us

Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2022: Easiest to launch

Published

on

A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2022 best irons, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2022 irons is best for your game.

OEMs have again continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster, more consistent club faces and launch windows. We are also seeing more segmentation of models to help you determine your best set and/or set combination.

Ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player—this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2022 in the forums!

We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2022: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2022: The categories

  • Overall performance
  • Easiest to launch
  • Pure enjoyment
  • Shotmakers
  • Most technology-packed
  • Best blade

Best irons of 2022: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius:
Fitter, Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Fitter, Carl’s Golfland
Eric Hensler:
Manager & Fitter, Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carl’s Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter,Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner,The Tour Van
Matt Decker: Head Fitter and Builder, The Fitting Lab – Baltimore
Jason Bodey: Head Fitter and Builder, The Fitting Lab Pittsburgh
Bradley Harrelson: Fitter, 2nd Swing Golf
Alex Dice: Fitter, Carl’s Golfland
Matt Mora: Director of Club Fitting, Urban Golf Performance
Jordan Patrick: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Gus Alzate: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Carmen Corvino: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Blake Smith: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Marc Roybal: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf

2022 Best irons: Easy to launch

This category of irons is aimed to help players who need height. With today’s modern golf ball, creating proper flight widows and spin can be difficult for some players—especially those at lower speeds, and this is where technology can really help. All of these irons do everything they can to create shot-stopping trajectories, regardless of clubhead speed.

Titleist T300

Their story: The T300 is the hottest and most forgiving Titleist iron ever made. Just like its smaller brother, the T200, it uses the same Max Impact Technology to both add rebound and improve overall feel. The unsupported face is stretched across a larger area thanks to the bigger face size, wider sole, and undercut perimeter to push the COG low and away from the face—if the T200 launches, then the T300 REALLY Launches! This deep COG and thin fast face is what makes this club launch so high, it’s also the reason stronger lofts are necessary. If it wasn’t for strong lofts, then with the speed and spin they would create at “standard” lofts, ball flight would end up uncontrollable. Basically the exact opposite of what you want in an iron.

From the fitters

  • “The Titleist t300 series is the ultimate game improvement iron. This iron isn’t as big and bulky as some of the other irons in the game improvement category. Players who tend to gravitate toward this iron have seen an increase in ball speed. This iron is a lighter weight iron to help reduce the swing weight, and allow players who tend to not swing it as fast create a little bit more club head speed.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

Callaway Rogue ST Max OS Lite

Their story: Callaway’s most forgiving iron with high launch, increased lofts, and wide soles in a lightweight package. The Lite version has lighter shafts and lighter swingweights to make them easier to swing. In an industry-first, Callaway combined high strength 450 steel with A.I. designed Flash Face Cup for more ball speed and better ball speed consistency, according to the company.

From the fitters

  • “This club allows players to get height on their shots. The lofts on this iron is weaker than the lofts of the standard Rogue st max iron. Players who need help with hitting the ball higher tend to swing the club slower and don’t tend to spin the ball. This iron helps to create a little bit more spin to help increase launch on iron shots.”
  • “The Rogue ST Max OS Lite has been a great iron. Fits the profile of being super forgiving, easy to hit, easy to launch, and you can hit it anywhere on the face and get good results. It is a little larger and a little stronger lofted to help those players who need height get the ball up in the air.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

Cleveland Launcher XL Halo

Their story:  The new additions feature an XL Head design which increases MOI (17% increase compared to predecessors) in design for improved forgiveness and higher launch Designed using Artificial Intelligence, the MainFrame variable face technology on the XL Halo irons aims to increase ball speed, while unique weight pad designs seek to provide maximum forgiveness across the face.

From the fitters

  • “It’s awesome. I’ve fit a ton of the Halo or hybrid iron because I think a ton of people like the idea of a transitional hybrid set…as they go down in iron, it looks more like an iron. Higher up it looks more like a hybrid. The thing is so good…because of that hybrid shape, you just can’t beat it. It gets up in the air, it’s easy to hit to where you don’t have to worry about stubbing it because of the wide sole. It’s awesome for that 70+ year old golfer who comes in with their blades from the 90s and says, ‘I don’t hit it anywhere.’ The aging golfer may not like it because it’s not traditional, but once they see the benefit of getting the ball in the air and the control you get, it’s so good.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece. 

Ping G425

Their story: The Ping G425 iron builds off the success of the G410 by packing more forgiveness into a smaller package designed to add distance and give golfers the ability to reduce dispersions and land the ball softer into greens.

The most important design feature of the G425 irons is the new metal wood style VFT (variable face thickness), used to increase ball speed, consistency, and launch. The new VFT is possible thanks to the Hyper 17-4 stainless steel material, which allows engineers to go thinner while still maintaining structural integrity and feel. This new VFT is not symmetrical and is instead a more sideways egg-shaped oval. This allows the G425 iron to have more face deflection than Ping has ever been able to create with a cast design. When you add in the new face with an improved hinge (notice the small notch on the toe to also increase deflection) you get a diving board-like effect to send the ball higher to stop sooner.

From the fitters:

  • “The G425 iron is easily the number 1 iron I fit players to in the fitting bays. A lot of players come in are high handicaps and need forgiveness. The Power spec allows us to decrease the loft by 2 degrees for those players who need to lower ball flight and reduce spin. The retro spec lofts allow us to add 2 degrees of loft for those players who need to add spin and height to their shots.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread.

XXIO 12

Their story: The XXIO 12 irons are a super lightweight family of clubs featuring a specialized suite of technologies that are designed to amplify performance for the moderate swing speed golfer. a thinner face allows the entire face to flex more extensively while grooves etched deep into the interior of the iron body further aim to enhance flexibility. Progressive variable face thickness and a tungsten-nickel weight in the toe optimize speed, stability and launch for every loft. A lower center of gravity for long irons creates more carry, according to the company.

From the fitters:

  • “With its weight, similar customer profile to Cleveland but a different price point. For the golfer who’s sub 85 mph club head speed, they’re going to generate lots more club head speed because of the weight. And low CG helps pop the ball up in the air, particularly with seniors and ladies. It’s not uncommon for us to see a 15 or 20 yard difference with that product between an iron from another category. As price points have gone up in the industry, XXIO isn’t as far reaching as it used to be.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Join the discussion about best irons 2022 in the forums!

 

Your Reaction?
  • 108
  • LEGIT13
  • WOW3
  • LOL6
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP15
  • OB4
  • SHANK52

We share your golf passion. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX, Facebook and Instagram.

Equipment

GolfWRX’s 2022 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Published

on

This year’s gift guide is proudly presented in partnership with PGA TOUR Superstore.

A reminder from your friends at GolfWRX: Father’s Day is June 19. And as we do every year, we’re rounding up the best gifts for dad.

We’ve identified some basic “dad” types, like “the Purist” who loves classic golf architecture, hickory clubs, and the traditions of this game. There’s also “the Gearhead,” who in addition permanent residence in the GolfWRX forums, can’t wait to get his hands on the latest and greatest in golf equipment.

But as we say every year: There’s no better golf-related Father’s Day gift than a round of golf with pops. Be it a country club or your favorite muni, take the time to get together to play 18 if you can.

Let’s get to the gifts.

The Purist

GolfPride CP2 grips

The latest from a classic name in grips is a revelation in soft feel…

“Combining high-performance technology with a soft, tacky feel, the innovative CP2 Wrap and CP2 Pro delivers comfort and control for superior performance. Featuring Golf Pride’s exclusive Control Core technology, an inner core stabilizer is specifically engineered to reduce torque. A reduced taper design allows for even grip pressure in each hand, and a soft, high-traction surface provides comfort in every swing. With the CP2, control fits in the palm of your hand.”

Buy here.

FootJoy Traditions – Shield Tip golf shoes

A truly classic-looking golf shoe…

“FJ Traditions offer complete traction and can be easily maintained round after round. Lightweight comfort and super-cushioned foam deliver an incredibly flexible and comfortable ride. FJ, The #1 Shoe in Golf.”

Buy here.

Best Grips Microperf Leather Golf Grip

Leather grips were the only option decades ago, but they are still a great option for golfers with a purist sensibility!

“Best Grips Microperf uses a perforated leather that is treated with ProTack for better grip when they get wet.”

Buy here.

Titleist 620 MB irons

If dad puts aesthetics and feel first…

“The new 620 MB irons stay true to everything players have come to trust from this classic model, with distinct refinements that make them better than ever. True 1-pieced forged muscle-back irons designed for the purest shot making possible.”

Buy here.

Vessel VLS Stand Bag

Clean, cool, simple: traits the purist values…

“Experience lightweight comfort with the next generation of our lightest, full-featured stand bag, the VLS. Crafted from heavy-backed nylon twill and specialized features, such as an exoskeletal base, the VLS was designed to reduce the weight of your load for an effortless carry. With a total of 6 intentionally placed pockets, this stand bag has storage to carry what you need, exactly where you need it. We have given the VLS a larger top that allows you to carry your clubs comfortably. The VLS was built to be carried without any compromise of quality, functionality or style.”

Buy here.

G/FORE MG4+ golf shoes

If dad likes a more modern look that retains clean, traditional elements…

“The MG4+ is the perfect combination of lightweight comfort and technical performance. Built upon the classic necessities of a golf shoe, but with a modern perspective; the MG4+ boasts the same properties of the MG4.1 with it’s washable, triple density foam cushion footbed and auxetic lattice midsole for rebound, paired with a fully waterproof exterior and 3D molded external heel cup for additional support.”

Buy here.

Scotty Cameron Special Select Newport 2 Putter

For the purist, Scotty Cameron stands tall…

“Arguably the most famous putter head shape in the world, with scores of professional titles won, the iconic Newport 2 blade leads the Special Select lineup with tour-inspired refinements to every design aspect and component including a flatter, narrower topline with an insert-free, solid milled putter head, redesigned plumbing neck that provides more visibility to align with the leading edge at address, interchangeable tungsten sole weights and a new soft tri-sole setup carrying through the familiar—yet refined—three red dot back cavity pattern in an alignment-friendly setup that ushers in the latest model of this legendary design.”

Buy here.

Scotty Cameron Pivot Tool

…to go with the putter, of course…

“Introduced in 2001, the Scotty Cameron pivot tool is the result of Scotty’s tinkering. This tool has been the subject of numerous magazine articles and used by many of the world’s top touring professionals. Its unique design provides more leverage when repairing ball marks and is environmentally sound for the greens. It truly is form following function. These pivot tools are milled from tumbled aluminum.”

Buy here.

St. Andrews Old Course Map

Say no more…

“Claire W golf course prints are unique, watercolor-style golf course art pieces that you can proudly display on the wall of your home or office. Perfect keepsake or memento for any golfer or golf fan!”

Buy here.

The Gearhead

TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver

A carbon fiber driver face? That’s gearhead catnip…

“Twenty years of development marks the end of the titanium era. The all new 60X Carbon Twist Face is 44% lighter than an equivalent titanium face, while also being 11% larger than SIM2 and SIM2 Max drivers and nearly 20% larger than the 2020 SIM driver. Sixty layers of carbon fiber have been strategically designed to optimize energy transfer to deliver fast ball speeds over a large area, resulting in optimal distance and forgiveness.”

Buy here.

Callaway Rogue ST Max Driver

Rogue rebooted. Color gearhead dad interested…

“The new Rogue ST Drivers represent a breakthrough in driver performance. Callaway’s industry-leading innovations, including the all-new Tungsten Speed Cartridge, Jailbreak Speed Frame, and an A.I. designed Flash Face are engineered for maximum speed with exceptional levels of forgiveness.”

Buy here.

Mack Made Workshop Custom Putter

If dad is ready to take the custom putter plunge…

“Mack Made makes custom putters and we don’t mean just length, lie, and loft. We are talking about working with a real craftsman to create the putter head design of your dreams! Sketch it out on a napkin and Josey will work one-on-one with you on every detail!”

Buy here.

All-Fit Universal Adapter Sleeve

A workshop necessity if dad likes to tinker…

“If your dad has a collection of driver heads and shafts, this universal system lets them all work together. AllFit has a shaft tip that you install on the driver shaft and sleeve that goes on the driver allowing you to use the same shaft in any brand head! Great for that club junkie dad.”

Buy here.

Mitchell Angle Machine

No gearhead workshop is complete without one…

This Mitchell Steelclub Machine will let dad measure the loft and lie of his irons and then bend them to his desired spec quickly. Mitchell is the name when it comes to golf tools and should last a lifetime.

Buy here.

TaylorMade Spider Tour Putter

For gearheads, there’s something about the Spider’s high MOI design…

“The Spider Tour Black with Sightline delivers Tour-proven performance to every golfer. With perimeter weighting for added stability and an added sightline to zero in the player’s focus, Spider Tour Black with Sightline provides a stroke of confidence to help golfers drain more putts when they matter most.”

Buy here.

Swing Science Callaway Fairway Wood Adapter

If you don’t own and adjust adapters, are you even a gearhead?

“Callaway OEM Wood Adapter for Driver and Fairway. Fits the following models: Rogue & Epic.”

Buy here.

Titleist Pro V1 Play Number Golf Balls

Standard numbers simply won’t do…

“The New Titleist Pro V1 golf ball is designed to deliver longer distance, even more greenside spin and control and softer feel. Featuring new aerodynamic, cover, casing layer and core technologies, these dramatic performance improvements are the result of rigorous development work by Titleist Golf Ball R&D. Total performance to help all golfers shoot lower scores.”

Buy here.

FootJoy Limited Edition HyperFlex BOA “Sea Change”

Gearhead dad will take his golf shoes with an extra helping of technology, thank you very much…

“Get ultimate athletic performance with HYPERFLEX golf shoes for men. Featuring innovative materials like the engineered mesh upper, HYPERFLEX men’s golf shoes deliver lightweight support and cushioning so you can play at your highest level. FJ, The #1 Shoe in Golf.”

Buy here.

LAB Golf Mezz.1 Putter

Irresistible technology story for the gearhead here…

“Looks are important, but so is science. That’s why MEZZ.1 looks pretty much like a normal putter. But unlike normal putters, MEZZ.1 actually helps you hole more putts.”

Buy here.

SIK Pro C-Series Satin Armlock Putter

A new putter face technology, you say?

“The Pro C-Series Armlock is the putter that Bryson used to win 5 times on the PGA Tour, 1 on the European Tour from 2017-2019. The head weighs 370 grams with the Armlock-Plumber’s Neck.”

Buy here.

The Techie

Bushnell Launch Pro 

If you have the budget, this will blow your tech-loving father away…

“Your pursuit of longer drives, more accurate carries and lower scores requires knowing the critical data points of your swing. A personal launch monitor will give you these data points, however, not all launch monitors are created equal.”

Buy here.

Blue Tees Series 2 Pro Rangefinder 

Value and technology in a laser rangefinder…

“The confidence you need to play from the Blue Tees, Series 2 Pro expertly dials in your distances and makes club selection easy. Simple to use, this golf rangefinder is the perfect combination of size, accuracy, and advanced technology. Designed to change the way you see the course.”

Buy here.

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

Your tech-loving father surely knows of the MLM, if he doesn’t have one, he wishes he did…

“Rapsodo has harnessed the power of your mobile device and combined it with our professional grade machine learning to create the Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) . You will be able to work on your game like never before with professional accuracy for shot distance, ball speed, club speed, launch angle, launch direction and shot shape.”

Buy here.

Shot Scope Pro LX Laser Rangefinder

Just look at this thing. If dad loves tech, he’ll be smitten…

“The Shot Scope PRO LX+ is perfect for golfers that want it all – a fast-firing laser optimised for stability and accuracy, along with a GPS loaded with 36,000 courses and built-in performance tracking.”

Buy here.

Bushnell Wingman GPS Speaker

Both technology dad and his foursome can enjoy…

“This “first of its kind” product combines high quality audio with the ability to receive audible GPS distances, conveniently mounts to your cart bar via BITE magnetic technology.”

Buy here.

Garmin Approach

Irresistible wrist ornamentation for techie dad…

“We’ve got your game with Approach® S62, a premium GPS golf watch that puts critical information from more than 41,000 full-color course maps worldwide on your wrist. It sports a large, easy-to-read 1.3” color touchscreen and a style that goes beyond the clubhouse. The PlaysLike Distance feature accounts for uphill and downhill shots, and Virtual Caddie takes into account wind conditions and past swings to select the best club for each shot.”

Buy here.

Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors

Any tech-loving father ought be tracking his shots. This is the best way…

“The 3rd-Generation system features 14 sensors – one for every club in your bag – and access to the award winning Arccos Caddie app.”

Buy here.

Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2

If your father loves technology and hates the aches and pains of aging…

“The Hypervolt Go 2 by Hyperice is the ultimate portable percussion massager. Lightweight, versatile, and sleekly designed, it offers relief on-the-go – massaging away stress and tension, loosening muscle knots, and targeting fatigue. It’s more than just an ordinary massage gun – it’s designed for go-getters like you to help you do what you love, more.”

Buy here.

The Clotheshorse

FootJoy FJ Hydrolite Rain Jacket

A superb rain jacket for a discerning dad…

“FJ HydroLite Golf Rain Jackets are constructed from advanced technology-packed materials that deliver 100% waterproof, breathable protection for golfers in cool, windy and rainy conditions. Make Every Day Playable with Tour-Proven FJ Golf Outerwear.”

Buy here.

Linksoul Waffle Hoodie

If dad’s a clotheshorse, he’s doubtless taken the golf hoodie plunge…

“Constructed with cotton-cashmere fabric found in our classic sweaters and knitted with our unique waffle texture, this eye-capturing layer will keep you comfy all day. The true people’s champ of hoodies.”

Buy here.

Polo Bear T-Shirt

The RL bear, a clever clotheshorse favorite…

“Part of our collection for the 2022 U.S. Open, this jersey T-shirt features our iconic mascot in Polo Golf apparel.”

Buy here.

FootJoy ProDry RollTab Patriotic Stripe Sock 

If dad’s a clotheshorse, he’s always keen to add a twist on a classic…

“ProDry golf socks with DrySof Technology wicks moisture off your skin, allowing for a drier, more comfortable sock.”

Buy here.

FootJoy 2022 U.S. Open Polo 

A bit of a callback to Brookline Ryder Cup gear here that dad will appreciate…

“Gear up for the 2022 U.S. Open with limited edition apparel celebrating the return to The Country Club and Francis Ouimet’s historic 1913 win.”

Buy here.

Barstool Golf Tiger Tee

If dad listens to what is, arguably, the most popular podcast in golf, he’ll love this shirt…even if he doesn’t, he still might!

“Barstool Golf Tiger Tee from Barstool Sports‚ Riggs, Frankie and Trent from the Fore Play podcast.”

Buy here.

Barstool Ain’t No Hobby Printed Polo

Dad will like the backstory and love the print… 

“Barstool Golf Ain’t No Hobby Printed Polo from Barstool Sports‚ Riggs, Frankie and Trent from the Fore Play podcast.”

Buy here.

Adidas Ultimate365 Core 8.5″ Shorts

A golf wardrobe staple for clotheshorse dad…

“Pull on these adidas golf shorts to keep your cool through warm weather rounds. Their lightweight, breathable fabric delivers dependable comfort on the links. A water-resistant coating sheds damp weather with ease.”

Buy here.

Under Armor UA T2G Polo

Simple. Classic. Pick up a couple for clothes-loving dad…

“Smooth, soft anti-pick, anti-pill fabric has a textured, printed finish. Material wicks sweat & dries really fast.”

Buy here.

Titleist StaDry Performance Bucket Hat

If dad is a genuine clotheshorse, he can pull off the bucket hat in rainy conditions…

“New look, classic style, waterproof lightweight design.”

Buy here.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 12
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW5
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Equipment

Ben Hogan, the scientist: Our Q&A with Ben Hogan Foundation CEO Robert Stennett

Published

on

In case you missed it, GolfWRX posted photos of Ben Hogan’s old experimental prototype clubs in our forums during the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge. We also took a deep dive into the innovative clubs over on PGATOUR.com’s Equipment Report.

Hogan’s experimental clubs were previously locked away in a safe, but thanks to Robert Stennett (CEO of the Ben Hogan Foundation), GolfWRX got a rare in-hand look. Stennett also took the time to explain what makes the clubs so special, how he got a hold of the clubs, and more about the Ben Hogan Foundation itself.

For those who wanted a more extensive dive into our conversation with Stennett, we wanted to release the full written portion of the Q&A (we’ve slightly edited the conversation for brevity and grammar).

Enjoy the interview below, and click here to learn more about the Ben Hogan Foundation.

GolfWRX: First things first, how did you get your hands on these clubs? Did someone donate them? Did they come directly from Mr. Hogan?

Robert Stennett: In the office we probably have maybe 300-400 of Mr. Hogan’s drivers, 3 woods and 4 woods, sets, and iron sets. When Mr. Hogan passed, the family left all the clubs in his home, which were substantial, to the Director of Golf at Shady Oaks Country Club, Mike Wright, who subsequently donated them to the Ben Hogan Foundation when it was established in 2007. They donated all the clubs to the Ben Hogan Foundation. Similarly, when Spalding closed the Hogan Company, all of the clubs that were in Mr. Hogan’s office were donated back to Mike Wright and Shady Oaks, and we’ve taken possession of those, as well. Basically, these were all the clubs that were either in his home, or all the clubs that were in his private office at the Hogan Company.

You know, Mr. Hogan was the Iron Byron. He didn’t have a hitting machine in his day [to test equipment]. He would go into the factory, he would go invent, he would go tinker with a club, and he would bring it out to Shady Oaks and he would be the Iron Byron. He would test it, take it back to the factory, tweak it, and these are some of the experimental clubs Mr. Hogan was tinkering with. Most of them subsequently became very famous clubs.

That’s why we try to say people don’t realize how innovative Mr. Hogan was. Mr. Hogan the scientist. How innovative he was in golf club design. And a lot of people know Mr. Hogan’s dad was a blacksmith. Even though he lost his dad at a very very early age, a lot of folks can make a pretty compelling argument that Mr. Hogan’s love of tinkering with things and bending irons and stuff like that came from his early childhood days of his father being a blacksmith there in Dublin, Texas.

How were these clubs getting made? How were they going from idea to product? 

He created his own company, and my own substantiated belief is he did that because his previous company couldn’t stay up with how rapidly he was making design changes in equipment. So he created his own company in 1953. He had his own scientist. I’m sure he would draw something out on paper, send it in, they would bring a mockup to him, and then they would go back and forth as they were creating new equipment designs.

Gene Sheeley was one of his early scientists. He was there for a long time. Then after Gene, a guy that’s still around and a good friend, Tom Stites, was his chief scientist. Tom’s stories are really fun, talking about Mr. Hogan’s ability to see and feel things in a golf club that no human could do. He could pick up a golf club and say, “Well this is wrong…this is too heavy.” And Tom would say, “No sir, we just put it on a machine.” They’d put it back on a loft machine and they found out Hogan could identify something no one else could.

How would you say Hogan’s clubs stand out? How are they different, and what makes them unique?

That’s a good question. What probably makes Hogan’s clubs unique was Mr. Hogan was a perfectionist in everything that he did. That was his commitment in his letter that he sent out to his friends that he was going to create the best golf club known to man, and that his quality control was going to be such that he was going to measure a golf club that was better than anyone else’s. His tolerance for imperfection was very small.

You know with Hogan, everything Mr. Hogan did was with purpose, from the extra spike in his shoe, to the way he dressed, to the way he practiced. It carried forth into his business, and the equipment design. A lot of people know the first batch of irons that he made…he had them all destroyed. And he lost a business partner. They spent, back in the day, $100K on making those irons, and they were not to his standard. He made them destroy all of them and start over again because they weren’t perfect. My understanding is they were chopped up. He said, “These are not acceptable.”

Now that sets a pretty good tone when you’re starting a company and you have a certain amount of seed money, and you take that seed money and make your first sets of irons, and you say these are not acceptable to be sold to the public, and you chop ’em all up and start over. That sends a pretty good message to your staff of what you’d expect as a leader.

Can you go through some of these clubs, and tell me what you know about them, whether it’s materials or the idea behind them?

What I did was I just brought 5 examples here. It’s one thing to hear my words how creative and how innovative Mr. Hogan was. It’s another thing to show you a club that no one knows about that was perhaps invented 20-30 years before you’ve heard of the club.

I’ll take this [hybrid] for example. You can see there’s no number on it. He never made this. He just built this experimental club, took it out to Shady Oaks, hit it, tinkered with it, but here is what I believe to be the first hybrid ever known to man. This was made probably 20-25 years before you ever heard of a hybrid.

If you look at it, and look at the shaft and set it down, it’s a hybrid. There’s no doubt. They didn’t have that name at that time, that’s just what he was inventing. He was experimenting and creating a hybrid 30 years before you heard the word hybrid. I think this was in the early 1960’s. Most of these clubs were from the early 1960’s.

When did you first hear the word hybrid? Mid 80’s? Late 80’s? So, 25-30 years before you heard of a hybrid, here’s Mr. Hogan inventing a hybrid.

Here’s another example that we brought. You see again, there’s no number on this. It was an experimental club. I believe that this was perhaps the first metalwood ever made about 20-25 years before people started creating metalwoods.

You can kind of see the reflection, it does actually have Hogan’s signature on top of it. It doesn’t have a number on it. He never produced it for the public’s consumption, but he was experimenting with different metals on woods.

Similarly, here’s an iron. He never made it. It’s made out of, I think, aluminum. It’s about half the weight of a normal iron.

I’m sure he was experimenting with swing speeds. I don’t know what the 5+ means on there, but this set of aluminum irons that we have, each one of them has a different groove design on it. He was trying to see if that could somehow effect spin and club head speed with different metals.

Here’s what I believe to be the first bore-thru shaft that Callaway made famous with the Big Bertha in the early 90’s or so. Here’s a bore-thru shaft that Hogan was making in the 1960’s before you heard of the Big Bertha.

It’s the most widely sold club, maybe to date, and part of their design was the bore-thru shaft.

And we have a…this was a different kind of putter. I could also bring you a counterbalanced putter that Mr. Hogan made 30 years before you heard of counterbalance. He filled this whole top part of the club with lead. It’s so heavy you can’t believe it. He was experimenting with counterbalance on putter 40-50 years before you started thinking about distributing the weight differently in a putter.

I feel like Hogan was basically Bryson DeChambeau before Bryson came along, except he had his own company to build designs, try things out, and chase perfection.

All pros today build a golf club around their swing…they have all the technology. You think about 70 years ago, they didn’t do that. Mr. Hogan built golf clubs he couldn’t hook. He put a Apex 5 shaft in, he tipped it, he set the grip on it, he put a reminder in it, he set the grip in it where the club was sitting 4.5 degrees open. He built a golf club that no human could hook. He started building a golf club around his swing in the 1950’s. Now, everybody does that. But 70 years ago, nobody did that. That was part of his scientific approach to golf.

What was Hogan’s background like? Did he have any engineering or science background? I know his dad was a blacksmith, but did he have any qualifications other than curiosity and knowing the golf swing better than anyone else in the world?

I think you probably hit it. Mr. Hogan did not have the opportunity to pursue his education. He was obviously a brilliant man, but he had to drop out of school in 10th grade to sell newspapers and to go loop at Glen Garden Country Club to get that 65 cents to give his mother so they could eat. And Mr. Hogan always believed in education. That’s why the foundation gives out scholarships, because he always believed in an education…but he did not have that privilege. He always respected it. He was a brilliant guy, but he did not have the opportunity to pursue a formal education.

His attention to detail was so amazing and he was so meticulous, and he spent so much time investigating and learning the golf swing that equipment design naturally flowed to his love of golf and his interest in pursing perfection.

Can you tell me a little about what the Ben Hogan Foundation does?

Thank you for asking. We created the Ben Hogan Foundation in 2007, so we’re relatively young. I was fortunate to know Mr. Hogan. I guess I first met Mr. Hogan when I was 14, as a teenager. Then I knew Mr. Hogan until he passed, when I was in my mid thirties or so. So forbout the last 20 years of his life. I didn’t know the great golfer. He was more in his grandfatherly stages.

I had the opportunity to see Mr. Hogan hit golf balls later in life and it was astounding how well he could hit it as an old man. But I knew Mr. Hogan more as a gentleman. The stories that you hear Mr. Hogan being aloof and difficult etc., I didn’t see that. Mr. Hogan would walk into the 19th hole and he would always be the first to speak. He’d pat you on the back and he’d say, “Hi, fellas!”

When you were touched by the hawk, you’d say, “I’m going low today, boy. I’d been touched by the Hawk.”

But I knew Mr. Hogan later in life, and I knew him as a very kind man. And that’s what we do with his foundation. Mr. Hogan’s word was his name and his words were so important. Hence, our interest is in working with the First Tee organizations across the country and building Ben Hogan Learning Centers. People think the First Tee teaches kids golf, and it does, but more importantly, it teaches kids about core values, the importance of honesty and integrity, and perseverance and hard work. We think that’s something Mr. Hogan would want us to do.

Then we have about five different scholarship programs that we do. As I said, Mr. Hogan wasn’t able to pursue his education, but we have scholarships to help young people pursue their education, because he didn’t have that opportunity.

The final element that we do is when Mr. Hogan was winning about a third of the tournaments he was entering, he left the PGA Tour and joined the Army Air Crops and he proudly served his country in World War II for three years. I knew how patriotic Mr. Hogan was, so we do a military appreciation event each spring at Fort Hood to thank our soldiers for their service. Everything we do, we do because we think it’s something Mr. Hogan would want us to do. Teaching young people core values, helping young people pursue their education, and thanking our military for their service to our country. That’s what we do with Mr. Hogan’s foundation.

Just for a general consumer, if they’re interested in seeing these clubs in person, do you have a facility where people can go and look at his old clubs and merchandise? 

These, they can’t. These are special. They go into a locked safe. These are irreplaceable. We’ll bring them out here like we do at Colonial when we have friends contact us. We want people to know the Hogan story. We want them to understand all the interesting elements that made Mr. Hogan so special. We have a small museum that we support in his hometown of Dublin, and we have some clubs on display there. We do some displays at Shady Oaks Country Club, or if somebody wants to contact me, they can come by the office and we can show them Mr. Hogan’s collection. A little private tour.

Any final words you may want golf fans to know about the Ben Hogan Foundation? 

Thank you for giving the foundation a platform. That’s important. If you’re not actively, especially as fewer and fewer people know Mr. Hogan, if you’re not actively trying to maintain that legacy, people can forget. Byron Nelson is a good example. I can’t believe how fast his legacy is going away for being one of the absolute greats of the game. I don’t think Jack’s or Arnie’s legacies will diminish because of their Children’s Hospitals, that will really keep their legacies there. But it’s important, and it’s important for these young pros out here to learn about Mr. Hogan.

We just signed an agreement with one of the biggest collegiate golf tournaments to move here to Colonial every year. We just signed an agreement to put that tournament in Mr. Hogan’s name. It will be called the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational. It will have the 15 best golf teams in the country here, and as a part of that, as I was visiting with our friends here at Colonial, one thing is to put Mr. Hogan’s name on it and create a Hogan-esque trophy, but the other element of that is these kids are in college to get an education. Every time they come here, they are going to get and education on Mr. Hogan. It won’t be painful. We’ll have Bruce Devlin or one of his friends tell fun Hogan stories, or the guys that were around and shagged range balls for Mr. Hogan. It’ll be a fun thing for them. It’s important they learn about Hogan and learn about the history of the game.

Click here to see more photos of Hogan’s prototypes

Your Reaction?
  • 31
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Vokey WedgeWorks adds 2022 T Grind to SM9 wedge lineup

Published

on

Vokey WedgeWorks has today announced the launch of its long-trusted T Grind.

Played by tour pros such as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, the T Grind was designed for great hands and vivid short-game imagination and is designed for a shallow angle of attack in firm conditions with low bounce and a narrow crescent surface.

Compared to Vokey’s L Grind, it has a wider back flange which aims to allow for lower measured bounce, and it arrives in 58 and 60 degree loft options.

“Wedge play is an art, and the T Grind brings out the best in the artist,” Bob Vokey said. “The leading edge stays low to the playing surface as the wedge is rotated, which allows you to hit a variety of shots from tight lies. This is the wedge that really made Vokey Grinds an important part of our process –and still to this day is a great option.”

As a reminder, the SM9 wedges contain a CG that has been raised vertically by adding weight to the topline design, where a tapered pad at the back of the toe helps align the CG properly without being visible from the playing position.

Specs, Pricing & Availability

  • Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200; Grip: Tour Velvet 360 White
  • Lofts: 58 and 60 degrees in RH/LH
  • Finishes: Tour Chrome (RH only), Raw (RH/LH)
  • Bounce: 4 degrees 
  • Availability: June 8, 2022
  • Price: $225
Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL2
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending