Ben Hogan Fort Worth 15 Irons &TK 15 Wedges â€“ Official MGS Forum Review by SNCGOLF03
I fill you all in with a little information about myself and my game. I just turned 29 and have played golf I guess about 20 years or so. I played DIII golf up in Wisconsin where I'm from and got my HCP down to a 1 a year after I graduated in 2005. Then veterinary school came about and KILLED my golf playing time. I'm just over a year out of veterinary school and not able to play as much as I would like, but still more than my wife would like me to play. I probably get to play 9 holes a week on average during the months it's not snowing and my handicap is hovering between a 2-3.
My game is fairly consistentâ€¦consistently inconsistent that is. I'm fairly long, not the longest player by any means, but I consistently hit my driver 280-300 on flat, no wind, normal run outs. Driver SS is around 115-118 mph. I would say the weakness in my game is accuracy; I don't hit a high percentage of fairways and struggle to hit a high percentage of G.I.R.s. I usually only average probably 30-40% of fairways and about 50% of GIRs, therefore I am usually doing a good a bit of scrambling. So all in all my strengths would be my length and short game, and my weaknesses are my accuracy and iron play (low GIRs).
I don't typically try and work the ball that often unless the hole absolutely calls for it, so I typically hit more of a straight ball. I prefer to fade the ball if I want to work it, and am less comfortable hitting a draw on command but have recent been having a little draw to my ball flight. I've mentioned in by â€˜unboxing' my current gamers (Adams CMB and Cobra Trusty Rusty wedges) and the other irons I've played in the past few years.
My preconceived notions of the brand were that they would come out with a very high quality product that would stay true to the Hogan roots. Like almost all of the other Ben Hogan irons, I thought they would look amazing. I expected a classic look/design with a hint of modern technology to try and add forgiveness. I must say they definitely delivered on all fronts.
- Wedges (50* and up)
The wedges that I have are 51*, 55*, 59* and 63*. Prior to the Hogan's I had the Adams CMB in 51*, the Cobra Trusty Rusty in 55* and 61*. The previous gapping I had was typically 130 yards for the CMB Gap Wedge (51*) and I would hit Â¾ and Â½ shots all the way down to 100 yards. My Trusty Rusty 55* is typically the 115 max down to 80 depending on the type of shot I'm hitting, and the 61* is typically 90 yards and below. I typically use the 61* for the vast majority of the chip shots around the greens and bunker shots. I have to say probably my favorite club is the 51* Adams GW, very straight forgiving and consistent, so I was looking forward to seeing how the Hogan's faired in comparison.
The TK wedges look and feel freaking awesome. Around the greens they performed very nicely. I was able to comfortably hit any shot I was trying to. I often open up the faces to hit higher trajectory lobs and had no issues doing this. The sole grinds worked really well around the greens for this, as I was able to open them and swing confidently. They NEVER dug too much, and would bounce wonderfully under the ball. I must say I haven't had a ton of opportunities to play out of the bunkers with them yet, but the times I have, they have been good. They ARE better out of the bunkers for me than my Trusty Rusty's. The spin I would say is adequate, not as good as the Cleveland's or Trusty Rusty's were when they were brand new, but not bad.
Distance control has been a little bit of an issue with the wedges, but I will likely chalk that up to not getting to play a whole lot. Typically when I don't get to play frequently, my distance control with the Â½ and Â¾ shots suffers somewhat. On full swings distances were consistent when well struck. The 51* went slightly shorter than the Adams CMB gap wedge which is to be expected given it is 50*. I honestly am not sure how far I hit the 63* wedge as I haven't hit a full shot with it (mainly used it around the greens which it is wonderful for). I previously have never play a wedge of such loft. I can see why Phil loves having his 64* around the greens. I was curious to see how the KBS Tour V in x flex worked in the wedges as I've previously used S300s, S200s and RIFLE 6.0s. I really didn't notice that much of a difference in playability. Ball flight was nice, not overly high, and definitely not too low.
I tend to have a fairly steep angle of attack and on most occasions the V-sole does a great job cutting through the tuff. I have run into the issue of occasionally digging too much with these from softer fairway lies on full swings. That is one of the things I like with the Adams CMB GW vs. the TK wedges. The CMB seems to have more bounce and a wider sole that won't dig as much relative to the TK wedges. This isn't necessarily a negative on the TK wedges, but for my swing, I may be better suited for a little different sole grind (at least for the gap and sand wedges).
OVERALL WEDGE PERFORMANCE SCORE: 93/100
- Short irons (8-9-PW equivalent)
Much of the same here compared to the wedges. Looks are fantastic, and plays overall just as beautifully. They transition very smoothly from the TK wedges. I have always had separate wedges then the rest of my set, but really really like the idea and ease of playing club to club without needing to make any visual or playing adjustments. With my length off the tee, the 8 iron through lob wedge have typically been the irons I hit the most. Distance is pretty much on par with my Adams CMBs. Ball flight is wonderful with the Hogan's. Nice mid-high launch and piercing trajectory. I have not had any issues of the balls flaring up in the wind, the balls cut through perfectly. I've had a set or two of irons in the past that I've had issues with flaring up (Ping I20's for example with Nippon Pro Modus 120X) but was EXTREMELY impressed with the Hogan's paired with the KBS Tour V shafts. I have hit some really good shots with the 8-PW, particularly the 8 iron. Almost got my first hole in one on a 168 yard par 3 but I forgot to read the green J and the ball turned a touch right as it got the hole, ending up 5 inches to the right and 2 inches past the hole. I was hoping to see my GIR% increase some with these irons, but honestly haven't seen any uptick on the average. But they have been par for the course on what I typically do with any of the irons I've played in the past.
OVERALL SHORT IRON PERFORMANCE SCORE: 96/100
- Mid irons (5-6-7 equivalent)
Mid irons is where I started to notice the forgiveness category of these irons. I will be honest and say they are surprisingly forgiving on slight mishits where the clubface is still square to the target. I had many slight mishits off towards the toe where they have still ended up pin high to my delight! One particular hole I recall was a 193 yard par 3 into the wind slightly. I caught my 27* (5-iron) off the toe a touch and slouched down expecting it to be short right and in the trees. The shadows hid where the ball ended up from the tee box, but I was impressed to see that the ball ended up 30 feet just right of the pin on the green and exactly pin high. Trajectory and spin have been just what I would hope, couldn't ask for a better combination. Again I never have seen a ball flare and get knocked down when hitting into the wind.
I'm not going to sit here and say these are game-improvement irons and they will not penalize you with a mishit. If you have your face open or closed or hit a ball more than a slight mishit, you WILL suffer pretty significant distance loss and directional alterations. I feel as though my Adams CMBs are a little more forgiving overall, but not by much.
Like I said earlier in the introduction, I don't do a lot of working the ball, but on occasion I will. The Hogan's are quite easy to work. I did have a tendency to â€˜overwork' them especially when trying to cut the ball. I remember a handful of shots with the mid irons where I tried to play a baby fade, and ended up played a weak, significant slice instead. That being said, for those that enjoy working the ball, I think you will LOVE the flexibility and creativity these clubs can bring.
OVERALL MID IRON PERFORMANCE SCORE: 90/100
- Long irons (3-4 equivalent)
I guess the only club that I received that fits in this category is the 23* 4-iron. I really haven't had a 2 or 3 iron in the bag since my late high school and early college golf when I was bagging the MacGregor VIP 1025M irons. Since then I've played a 19-21* hybrid instead. For me, and I'm assuming the vast majority of people, the long irons are the weakest part of their games. I did struggle many of the times hitting the 23*. If you slightly mishit this one, you WILL lose a good amount of distance. I can honestly say I hit some pretty miserable shots with this club. I did struggle to hit accurate and well struck shots from the fairways. I was hoping to have a little more joy hitting this club, but did struggle to hit the center of the club face. Part of it is the club heads itself, being more of a blade, but some of it may be the length. The +3/4â€ increments between clubs, which I believe is the Hogan's standard length gap, may have added to the inconsistencies in hitting the sweet spot. It was about Â½â€ longer than my Adams CMB 4 iron (which is 24*).
Shots weren't all bad though mind you. The good portion of the time I hit pretty good to great shots off the tee when I wanted to hit a fairway. It offered piercing trajectory with great spin and flight. When hit pure, this was a fantastic and fun to hit club.
OVERALL LONG IRON PERFORMANCE SCORE: 84/100
Overall performance of the Hogan's was great. The transition from club to club was seamless and the irons are a joy to play with. Every time I stepped up to the ball, I expected a crisp, accurate, piercing ball going right where I aimed. Granted my swing didn't always end up doing what I expected, I looked forward to hitting the next shot.
TOTAL OVERALL PERFORMANCE: (average score of wedges, short, mid & long irons): 91/100
FLATâ€¦OUTâ€¦GORGEOUSâ€¦The simple and elegant lines flow beautifully throughout the set making it hard not to just stare longingly at them. I was very hesitant to even hit these clubs in fear of putting the slightest scuff on them! Don't even get me started on the fear of hitting a rock out of a bunker, or pulling a Tiger and â€˜dislocating my wrist' by hitting a hidden tree root and gauging the face or bottom. So far no major dings or scuffs so these bad boys look as sexy as when I unboxed them. If you have these in your bag, you will be looked at with envy and I guarantee you will get more dates. ***Be aware if these cause you to have an erection longer than 4 hours please seek medical attention.
LOOKS SCORE: 100/100
- Sound & feel
These do have a unique feel that is unlike anything I've hit. They do not feel as soft and buttery as the Adams CMBs, which I feel are one of the softest, best feeling irons I've ever played, but nonetheless, they do give you a wonderful forged feel. Like others have said, they do have a nice little (very little) click or crispness to them on impact. I love how they interact with the turf, just slicing through the grass like a hot knife through butter (except on those few when I get a little too steep and create mini-Grand Canyons).
SOUND & FEEL SCORE: 98/100 (just because I slightly prefer the feel of the Adams CMBs)
- Likelihood of Purchase (LOP)
This is where the frugal, $100,000+ in debt part of me has to be realistic. If I wouldn't have be one of the luckiest men on the earth by being selected to receive and review these, I can say there is no way I would have purchased these with my current financial situation. First off my wife would kill me, and secondly I got upset when McDonald's increased the price of the McDouble from $0.99 to $1.19, so needless to say it's hard for me to spend money, even when it's on the game I love to play. I rarely buy new equipment and often purchase used (unless I have proshop money from tournaments). I ordered the stock shafts and still these clubs would have cost almost $1800. Keep in mind though this was for 11 clubs (7 irons and 4 wedges), so when you think of it that way they really aren't that much more than other higher end players irons/wedges. As good as these are, and beautiful as they look, unless I won the lottery, at the current retail price, my likelihood of purchase would honestly by 0%. If they were $999 (and with the quality and craftsmanship, they SHOULDN'T be priced that low), I honestly still wouldn't buy them. But in all fairness, I wouldn't buy ANY set of clubs for $999 at this time. But that is just me and my honest opinion. If I wasn't a recent graduate and was financially set and could purchase any set of irons, the Ben Hogan's would without a doubt be a set I would look at purchasing. Given my current game, I likely would end up getting something with a little more forgiveness in the long irons though, but I would definitely game the mid-irons through wedges.
REALISTIC LOP SCORE: 0/100
IF I HAD MONEY LOP SCORE: 80/100
- Subjective notes
Look, sound, feel, and feedback are all fantastic on the Ben Hogan irons/wedges. So subjectively they are some of the best golf clubs I've played. Price not quite as awesome.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE (average of the above): 93/100 *Since my realistic LOP is a 0/100, I'll use the â€˜If I had money LOP' to not completely skew the averages significantly.
Conclusions & Total Score
All in all, I was completely impressed by the craftsmanship, look, feel, performance and by the company itself. The customer service was one of the best I have ever dealt with and I really like what they stand for as a company. It appears they are trying, and succeeding, in holding true to the ideals of Ben Hogan. I look forward to playing some more with these irons and wedges a little bit longer and potentially they will find a spot in my bag. Stay tuned for many more great reviews and let me know if you have any more specific questions for me and I'll do my best to get back to you all. If anyone is located in Wisconsin and around the Fox Valley area and wants to hit a few or play a round with me that may be a possibility! If I'm able to, I'll try and post a video at the range with them so you can get an idea of my swing and see the clubs in action (although Rick Shields already has a great video review on them already).
I'll be back in a few weeks with my â€˜follow-up' questions and answers!
SNCGOLF03's FOLLOW-UP FIVE
Will these irons stay in your bag? Why or why not?
As was alluded to in my Final Review, I really liked the overall irons and wedges that Hogan has brought out. That being said, I also really like my current set of irons and found the overall forgiveness to be better in the Adams CMB irons I have. There's not that much difference in the mid and short irons as far as distance loss on off center hits between the two but was more noticeable with the 5 (27*) and especially the 4 (23*). Mind you the Adams CMBs aren't extremely forgiving either but it is a noticeable difference. There is a pretty significant loss of directional control on the Hogan's when my clubface was not square, which was really accentuated in the longer irons. For my game, which is one that I don't tend to consistently try and work the ball left and right I am better suited for an iron with more perimeter weighting to help decrease twist on impact. The tungsten weights on the heal and toe of the Adams CMBs seems to do a solid job of that for me. Even the Adams though in the long irons are a little inconsistent for me and now that I am not playing quite as much (although I've played a lot more than normal during this review process), I may soon go even more forgiving than my Adams CMBs.
The Hogan TK wedges overall were great. I still though think they don't quite make it in my bag for a variety of reasons that largely have to do with my swing. In my â€œFinal Reviewâ€ I mentioned how much I like the Adams CMB Gap Wedge and the little bit wider sole helps me not dig as much on my relatively steep downswing. Although not bad at all, the V-sole was a little bit inconsistent when I was on tighter lies that were soft. If I made a poor swing I took some pretty large pelts of turf and came up quite short. The sole on the CMB helped forgive me more on those occasional poor swings. Up in Wisconsin we aren't faced with a ton of really dry conditions and fairways are often softer so I feel I will be much more consistent with the Adams Gap short irons and GW. The Cobra Trusty Rusty's, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of for my game either and think the Hogan TK wedges were a little bit better than those as far as turf interaction. I'm not sure of the exact bounce on the Trusty Rusty's (I think the bounce varies from heal, middle and toe) but I think they are pretty low bounce which for my swing isn't ideal.
As nice as the Hogan's feel, to me the Adams CMBs feel quite a bit better, and not a knock on Hogan's, just to me the CMBs are the best feeling irons I've hit. They just feel so soft to me and love it.
In the past few weeks since the overall review, I've been alternating playing rounds with the Hogan's and the Adams CMBs, keeping track of greens in regulation and scores. Overall this is the main factor of why the Adams CMBs will be staying in my bag. My GIRs have been much better with the Adams over the CMBs. Like I previously said in my other reviews, hitting greens has been not my greatest part of my game. With the Hogan's I've been averaging about 40-50% of GIRs, but the last few rounds with the Adams when they go back into the rotation I've hit 7/9 (the 2 holes I missed where when I hit drove it behind a tree and had to punch out, and the other was a 240 yard par 3 that I hit a hybrid off of). So with that round every realistic chance I had to use my irons into the green I hit it. Then yesterday I hit 14/18 greens, 3 of the â€˜misses' were just on the fringe, 2 of which I made for birdie, and the other miss was due to my tee shot amongst the trees. The conditions weren't benign either; 15-25 mph winds and I hit a solid 3/14 fairways! I just hit the ball much more accurately and the tendency to miss right and left is much less with the CMBs vs the Hogan's.
VIDEOS IN ACTION (last one is a range review):
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To whom, if anyone, would you recommend these? Why?
For someone that likes working the ball, I really think the Hogan's would be fantastic. The overall quality and performance is fantastic for someone looking for a unique set of irons that not many people have. You will likely be the envy of your foursome! For someone who previously owned or wanted to own Ben Hogan irons, I think will be very pleased with these irons. They stayed true to the Hogan roots and crafted a wonderful iron. I think someone who wants a more blade-like iron, yet still doesn't want to sacrifice complete forgiveness these are great.
How has this experience shaped or changed your impression of the Hogan brands?
I have been completely blown away by Hogan's dedication and commitment to customer service and willingness to satisfy the customer. There communication and turnaround time for answers were something I don't think I've ever seen before. I know there were some issues with some of the testers' lofts being off, and they went above and beyond to try and figure out and correct the issues. I never did get my specs measured elsewhere, but by how they played on the course, my yardage gaps were great and consistent so that's good enough for me. I really look forward to seeing what they come out with next in the future.
What features would you change or eliminate in the next generation of this model?
I would like to see them change their standard length gap be more â€˜standard'. I think the Â¾â€ gap is a little too much especially in the long irons. Maybe give some more sole options in the wedges. Like I stated, for me, I would prefer a little wider sole in the wedges to make sand shots a little easier, and more forgiving when I get a little too steep.
What feature do you really like, and would most like to see continued or evolved in future models? I really like the looks, classic and clean, and love how they blend from one head to the next. As many of the testers stated, the long irons can be quite challenging to hit, and miss-hits can be punishing. I'd like to see them evolve and offer maybe a blended, easier to hit option in the longer irons. Just to help those who need a little more help launching the ball and maybe a little more heel and toe weighting for those mishits. I'd like to see them evolve the â€œHogan Fitâ€ and work out the few kinks. Maybe add a shaft fit tool to help narrow down shaft options, as well as getting some static body measurements to get the lengths and lie angles as a starting point. I know it would be as good as a real life fitting, but I think it would help get a better online fit for those of us that aren't going to have access to fitters and places that carry the Hogan line. I made a post earlier about some of the kinks that I noticed too in case you didn't read it:
â€œWhen you fill out the HoganFit initially and put all your current set specs like Midsized grip, current length and lie, and then get your initial HoganFit Analysis results they have the grip size as Midsize...but then when you go to the Next Page to Purchase and they give you the summary, it resets the grip size category to standard. So if you're not careful, you may get the wrong grips/sizes.
They also don't automatically fill in the length adjustments and lie adjustments to match with your 'current set' so I'm assuming they mean for you to fill it in on your own.
I'm not sure if that's where some testers got messed up with the thinking that the HoganFit was designed to also 'fit your length and lie and grip size'. I was under the assumption, whether or not it's correct I'm not sure, but the HoganFit was designed to only fit the lofts and loft gapping, not anything else.
If they were wanting, which I think they should, to do a more comprehensive online fit, they could include arm length, hand length, height, etc. similar to the Ping Online fitting tool, to help get you on the right start of what length and lie and grip size you should get.
One other critique I had of the HoganFit was that after you put in your current set makeup, me for instance I have a driver,3 wood, 19* hybrid, 4-GW, 55* & 61* and putter, their recommendations give you too many clubs. So with the set I was given, I was rocking 15 clubs in the bag.â€
Any other lasting impression or parting thoughts you'd like to add?
Again I want to thank MyGolfSpy and Ben Hogan golf for this once in a lifetime opportunity given to me and a few other lucky members. I hope I helped give a little insight on these great clubs. Although ultimately they aren't completely perfect for me, the vast majority of people that try and see them really do love them. I really hope the Hogan brand will be successful and will continue to do great customer service and bring out other great products.