The Hawk has returned.
Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers the game has ever seen, has his name back on clubs as the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company in Fort Worth made for his triumphant return.
Seizing on Hogan's status as one of the best ball strikers to play the game — he honed his skill digging it out of the dirt hour after hour on the practice range — the company has introduced the Fort Worth 15 irons and TK 15 wedges and focused its engineering on precision, accuracy and forgiveness instead of distance.
"This relentless quest for distance has caused golfers to have huge yardage gaps where they need to be more accurate in the scoring end of the set," said Terry Koehler, president and CEO of Ben Hogan Golf Equipment. "We believe it's the way Mr. Hogan would have done it. It's all about bringing precision back to iron and wedge play.
"The irons prove that you can have the forgiveness of a game-improvement iron without sacrificing traditional looks. This perimeter weighting design makes a precision iron playable for a much larger segment of golfers."
For more than 40 years, the Ben Hogan Co. turned out golf clubs in Fort Worth under Hogan's watch. Hogan, who won nine majors among his 64 Tour titles, produced some of the best clubs on the market for years. But new owners slowly and painfully caused disorder in the brand and the clubs bearing his name eventually vanished.
Sure, you could find a set or two or one of the irons on eBay, a yard sale or at a flea market. But with new-age technology, the irons have become dinosaurs, with the sweet spots about the size of a dime. They became more of a collector's item than a useful tool on the golf course.
But last year, Koehler reached agreement with Perry Ellis International to bring Hogan's name and knowledge of the game back to the club industry. Based only a few miles from the original Ben Hogan facility, Koehler and his team, many of whom worked side by side with Hogan, tossed orthodox wisdom out the window. There are no 3-irons in the set. Or 4-irons. Or 5-irons or 6-irons and so forth. Instead, each Hogan iron and wedge is built to a specific loft rather than a traditional number. The Fort Worth 15 irons and TK 15 wedges are available in 44 lofts, from 20 degrees to 63 degrees.
"It's time to challenge conventional wisdom about irons," Koehler said. "Today, 6-iron lofts can range from 26 to 35 degrees, so how could a golfer ever make a fair and accurate comparison? Over the years lofts have gotten increasingly stronger, so that today a typical 6-iron can have even less loft than a 4-iron in Mr. Hogan's playing days."
So when you inquire about the new Hogan irons, you'll get fitted to exactly the loft that best fits your game. The new clubs, formed from premium 1025 carbon steel, have the sharp, sleek look of blades irons but come with perimeter weighting technology.
With all the loft options, the irons fit any swing and launch profile. With its perimeter weight design, mass is distributed around the primary impact area of the face of the club to increase greater forgiveness and more consistent distance, especially on off-center strikes. The irons also feature a V Sole design that delivers versatility for different lies.
The TK 15 wedges also are forged from premium 1025 carbon steel. The wedges are engineered with a loft-specific weighting design that distributes the mass vertically across the primary impact area of the face. This delivers more control on the flight of the ball and increases distance for off-center hits, especially those struck high in the face of the club.
"It is no secret that Mr. Hogan was deadly accurate with his wedges and short irons," said Justin Honea, director of research and development. "Our goal with the TK 15 wedges was to make the most accurate Hogan wedges ever, while at the same time making them playable from any lie. Mr. Hogan would be proud of these."