Ben Hogan VKTR Hybrid â€“ Official MGS Forum Review by Paul DePoy
Before this awesome opportunity, the only hybrid I had in my bag was a Taylormade RBZ Stage 1 - 5 Hybrid. I bought that hybrid about 4 years ago and absolutely love it. I originally bought the 3 hybrid, but after going over a green on a slightly downhill 270 yd par 4, I knew that was a little much. I returned it for the 5 hybrid and the rest is history.
I was absolutely thrilled when I learned about the opportunity to review a product, and something from the Ben Hogan Golf Company made it even more special. I play Ben Hogan Apex Plus irons. They are my first â€˜real' set of irons. My oldest brother sold them to me for $100 a few years ago. My oldest brother is a tremendous golfer and narrowly missed qualifying for the Western Am, because he was never the best putter! He has always been my golfing inspiration, so him allowing me to play the irons he played at one point was awesome. Now I am nowhere near the golfer he is. He golfed in school and worked at many golf courses. All of his clubs are fitted to him, and he can hit whatever shot whenever he wants. I like to play a draw, but the fade comes out.
My clubs are stock, except for the irons that are fitted to him but I am much bigger than he is. I have never worked at a golf course and no very few uncommon golf rules. Even though we are completely different golfers, the ability to play nice golf clubs allows me to think I am better than I am!
Performance at the Range
I spend a good amount of time at the range, so much that I should be a better golfer! When I got these hybrids in, I was at the range about 5 out of 6 days. I was trying to get a feel for them and to hit as many balls as possible for this review.
Accuracy â€“ Are you able to consistently hit your target?
All depends on what you consider consistent. For my abilities, yes, I hit these consistently where I'm aiming...if my swing is where it needs to be. Too often I line up just right of my target but am too quick with my lower body and just leave the ball out to the right. Then I try and overcorrect and end up too quick with my hands and pull the ball. But those days when I am swinging well, then these are locked on.
Distance â€“ How does the club compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective?
From what I am used to, these are nowhere near as long. My TaylorMade RBZ 5 hybrid is 25* and I hit that baby about 215-220 with a good strike. The VKTR are more like irons though. I hit the 24* around 200yds and the 20* around 210*. I guess TaylorMade was right when they claimed the RocketBallz were 17yds longer. But Hogan's Preciseloft System allows these hybrids to replace my 4 and 5 irons. I wasn't able to do that with the RBZ because I hit it so far.
Trajectory Characteristics â€“ Does the ball launch high or low, or somewhere in-between? Do you find it more or less difficult to get the ball in the air?
I have a natural high ball flight and these are pretty standard for me. Even with my driver, I don't get much roll.
Forgiveness â€“ What happens when you mis-hit the ball? How much distance is lost?
My only mishits with these VKTR hybrids have been right. I am not a very statistical golfer. I know about how far I hit each club and that's about it. I don't really understand misses except a slice or draw. I'm assuming my miss has been off the toe with an open club face and that's why it is going right. Distance is lost, probably 15%. So with the 24*, my mishit would only go around 170yds.
Control â€“ Are you able to make the ball do what you want it to (within the limitations of your own abilities). Can you launch high or low when you need to? Are you able to move the ball right to left or left to right?
I find the control to be pretty good. I am able to lower the ball flight a little bit when wanted. I can play a slight fade with it, although it sometimes turns into a power fade, but that is user error! For some reason with this club, I am not able to consistently hit a draw. I even have the 18g weight in the heel to allow the face to close quicker, but the draw is a rarity for me with these.
Range Score: 7.5 out of 10.
This range score is after a lot of time with these clubs. The first few times I was at the range, I did not like these clubs at all. They are so different than the RBZ at first. They feel a little heavier and have a much smaller head than the RBZ. But with time, I have learned to love these and have taken the RBZ out for good.
Performance on the Course
Accuracy â€“ How well did you hit the fairways? Were you often right/left/short/long?
I have not used these much off the tee, except 1 hole where I always hit hybrid. The 20* has been dynamite for me on that hole. I am able to stripe it down the middle with a slight fade just to the dogleg. That usually leaves me with a pitching wedge or 9iron to the green, depending on where I started the shot and how much fade I was able to get.
From the fairway (Or more like rough for me), these are pretty accurate. I tend to hit more accurate shots on tight holes, just because I have to be more precise with my aiming. These have been everything I could have hoped for with on-course accuracy.
Distance â€“ How does the product compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective?
Again, these are solid distance wise, but the only other hybrid I have played is considerably longer. I would rather have a club that is shorter but more accurate anyway.
Consistency â€“ If you were going for a 250 yard drive, did you get a 250 yard shot or did it vary by +/- 30 yards?
Most of the time, the distance was pretty consistent, but every once in awhile I would absolutely crush a ball and it would be 20 yards farther than I planned. Again, my swing isn't the most consistent, so it was more than likely me swinging too hard, or having an absolutely perfect swing and connection.
Shot Shaping â€“ If the course you play requires a certain type of ball flight for certain holes, were you able to hit this shot within reason for your skill level?
On the course I play the most, there isn't a single hole where I need to hit a draw on a long 2nd shot, which is good because I still can't get a consistent draw. There are 4 holes where I either lay-up off the tee with a fade or hit a fade with my 2nd shot, and that has been a decent go for me with these clubs.
Carry vs Roll â€“ Does the ball stay in the air forever and stop or do you hit low fliers that roll forever. Which is better for your course?
For me, the ball is in the air for a long time, then comes down and stops. That is how I want my shots to be. I am trying to fly a ball to the green and get it to stop. Most of the time I don't want to take the chance of coming up short. Most of the courses I play have soft enough greens where I can stop it. They also don't have the greatest approach areas, so I try to stay away from those.
Course Score: 43 out of 50
Distance and consistent distance were about middle of the pack, scoring wise, while accuracy, shot shaping and carry were pretty solid for me.
These hybrids performed very well in my opinion. Like I mentioned earlier, it took me awhile to get used to swinging these clubs. This could be due to a whole slew of factors, but I am assuming the shafts on the VKTR are different weight/tip flex(?) than the shaft on my RBZ. Again, I am not a huge technical golfer so I don't understand all the nuances of shafts and fitting. I would like to learn thoughâ€¦
With my TaylorMade RBZ hybrid, I absolutely crush the ball. It is like it is literally rocketing off of the club face. The only problem with my RBZ is that I tend to overcook it and hit a hook/really big draw when I am not trying for it. With the VKTR by Ben Hogan, I am not able to hit the ball as far, but I am able to have more consistent contact and accuracy. I think this could be due to the V-Sole and the wider, higher face.
According Golfwrx's press release from 2014 when Ben Hogan got back into the equipment business, â€œKoehler's commitment is to developing clubs that place a premium on feel and performance for players looking to create golf shots, not merely maximize distance.â€ I think they definitely achieved this plan. I really like the flat bottom of the face, I feel like it gives me a better chance of hitting it pure.
I am sold on the V-Sole Technology. With my inconsistent swing, I am prone to topping and or chunking the ball a few times every round. I cannot hit these bad unless I pull my head. I have not once hit too deep and went under the ball. Again, bounce isn't very familiar to me but the high forward bounce and low trailing bounce has worked wonders for me with these two clubs.
Here is a pic from the Ben Hogan website because I couldn't get a good enough picture to truly show the V-Sole.
I am not the biggest fan of the movable. While very easy to move and know when they are locked in (They click when locked), I think it is more of a hassle to have to think about how you want the weights. I have set them with the 18g weight in the heel and I plan on never touching them again. These are the first clubs I have had that are adjustable and adjustability will not affect future club purchases for me.
While I hit balls on the range a lot, I would much rather go out and play (Obviously). On the range, I am prone to spraying balls and not really taking my time. When I get on the course I am much more deliberate and accurate.
If Ben Hogan were to make another model of hybrid, I personally would like to see the movable weights done away with. I am probably the only person in the world that wants that, so I'm going to have to deal with them .
Now to the whistling. If you have read some reviews before mine, you know what I am talking about. When you swing these clubs, there is a whistle on the downswing. I didn't really notice it until some of the other members mentioned it. Once they did, it was in my head and I couldn't get over it. Once I added a small piece of tape of the toe weight port, it went away. Thanks to cksurfdude for that tip! I also only noticed the whistle on my 20* and not the 24*, not sure what that could be from. I have checked all of the weights and they are secure.
Looks, Sound & Feel
These clubs are absolutely beautiful, I would expect nothing less out of clubs from Ben Hogan. The red, white and blue color scheme just jacks me up. The design on the clubs is very simple, yet very elegant. They don't need to go the crazy graphic route that TaylorMade does. Standing over the ball, you feel as if you are going to hit a good shot just because the club looks and feels so nice. The smooth black with no mark on top is very simple so you are only thinking about connecting on your swing.
I love how Ben Hogan keeps the star logo and uses it everywhere on the club and weight tool. Even the top of the weight has the same logo. Really helps to build the brand because when I think of Ben Hogan golf equipment, that's what I think of.
I also love the sound when you connect. Unlike my RBZ hybrid and metalwoods that have a high pitched â€˜ting' when you hit the ball, these have a very pure â€˜schmack' sound. It is like you are pinching an iron off the turf and nothing feels better. I do notice when you hit it off the toe a little that it isn't as pure feeling or sounding. I like this though because it allows me to know when I am not hitting a great shot. Instant feedback.
Sound and Feel Score: 19.5 out of 20
These are the nicest looking and feeling clubs I have owned or hit. Dinged a half point because of the whistle. Nothing's perfect!
The headcovers are even built with great quality and craftsmanship. Nice leather and very sophisticated.
Likelihood of Purchase
If money wasn't an issue I'm pretty sure I would buy these clubs. I love to show them off when I am out golfing and I think I told anyone who would listen about them when I found out I got the chance to review these. But I don't have the money to spend on a club that I will only be using a couple of times per round. At $250 a club, they are way out of my price range. The most expensive club I have bought is my $200 RBZ Driver and I use it all the time. I just couldn't justify spending as much as my entire set of clubs has cost for 2 clubs. I would obviously like to thank MGS and Hogan for allowing me to not have to make the decision!
Again, I do not think they are overpriced because the quality and playability of these clubs is amazing, but they are just out of my price range.
LOP Score: 10 out of 20
I absolutely love these clubs, I can't say it enough. I never thought I would want to golf more than I did before these clubs. Boy was I wrong. If I have an extra hour on the weekend, I go to the range and hit a bucket. If it's still light out when I'm done playing 18, I go to the range. The feel is so pure with these clubs that they make me feel like a better golfer than I really am, and I'm fine with that! The VKTR oozes quality and style, and I love having them in my bag. Plus they look so nice in the bag!
Total Score: 80/100
I feel like this score is somewhat misleading. I was expecting it to score higher. If the cost of this club were $150 instead of $250, then this score would easily be 5 points higher.
Range Score: 7.5
Course Performance: 43
Sound and Feel: 19.5
Likelihood of Purchase: 10