Ben Hogan PTx Iron - Official MGS Forum Stage 2 Review - Paul Barker:
Hi It's Paul again ready for the stage 2 review. Sorry it took me so long to get to this point but work trips and a family vacation have gotten in the way. To refresh your memory here are a few details from my stage 1 review:
Currently play Hogan Edge Pro 2002 model irons and LUV them! Have always said I'd only replace them with another set of Hogans.
12.3 handicap and trending northward! Mid Irons are my strength and putting is the weakest part of my game.
Ball flight path is mid to high launch with a slight draw that lands softly.
Primary objective of this test for me is to see what 16 years of new golf club technology can do for my iron play. Also I'd like to get to a more mid launch shot. That lower boring ball flight.
For stage 1 I primarily focused on direction and ball flight. Did't worry about distances just yet. That will be stage 2 focus.
Using the Hogan Online fitting system I was sized up with their mid launch profile. My irons start at 220 and increases 40 up to 460
My immediate impressions of the first time I hit the PTx irons were:
" They are very similar in look to my older set but I can tell they have moved some weight around in the new design. I don't have as much right to left draw in my ball flight. It's a shot improvement iron so I think that makes sense? It will be interesting to see if this changes as I go thru the test as it would mean a change in the way I play which could mean a lot more work to transition to these clubs full time. The ball flight is lower than current set and I didn't seem to hit those really bad snap hooks that are my typical miss. Can't wait to hit these again!"
Move to current day:
So I've had the Hogan PTx irons for several weeks now. Been to the range a dozen times (including stage activities) and played three rounds of golf. Doesn't sound like a lot but I'm usually lucky to get to the range once or twice a month with my schedule. I can go 2-3 weeks without playing a round so this additional work is taking me back to the day when I used to be a range rat and hit ball after ball. I actually got some blisters on my hands from hitting which hasn't happened in years.
Oh, one side benefit of participating in this test that I already shared with the other testers. Somehow I convinced my wife that my current golf bag is old, dirty and doesn't provide the protection the new clubs deserve. She told me to go get a new bag!.....she said it awfully fast....I think she's cheating on me....But hey a NEW BAG!!! Ended up getting the Sun Mountain C130 - 2017 Edition. Really Nice!!!! Here is the new PTx irons in the new bag.
Much of my stage 2 review will focus around the range activities versus the actual rounds of golf as that's where I've spent most of my time. I'll summarize the rounds as well and provide a score but I will need many more rounds on the course in order to give final grades.
Phase 1- Range:
This is the part of the test process that interests me. I really enjoy hitting ball after ball, changing a variable and seeing what happens. It's the engineer in me. I have a standard process when I go to the range. After loosening up I hit a few wedges to get some feel. Then I start with the higher lofted irons and work down from there. I try to have an objective for every shot I take. At the end of the session I like to vary the irons and play out some actual scenarios that you might see on the course. You know.."this putt is to win the Masters" shots. Hey I can dream can't I! For this test I had to add the step of identifying the distances I could hit each club.
Unfortunately, the range I use isn't the best set-up for identifying specific distances. They have flags out there but the range is poorly marked and not yet set up for GPS functionality. COMING SOON THEY KEEP SAYING! In the first stage of this test, I just hit balls at the range to judge direction and ball flight. I paid attention to how far they were flying but it wasn't really the primary objective. Now with stage two I need to focus on distance.
Because of the poor marking of the range, I decided to use a comparison method in trying to figure out the distances. My current Hogan Edge PRO irons match up nicely with the Hogan PTx irons. See the attached PDF below. Only the older Apex Edge Pro â€“ 4 iron doesn't match up but with only a 1 degree difference.
Ben Hogan PTx Iron Stage 2_Chart 1.pdf
For each club I'd hit 5-10 balls with the older APEX Edge model and at least 25 with the new PTx iron it compared to. Not sure this was the best way of doing this but it seemed reasonable to me. I kept track of distances, ball flight, accuracy and dispersion of well struck as well as the poorly hit shots. Unfortunately there is a lot more data relating to â€˜poorly hit shots' than I would prefer. Sometimes I'd get through the entire set in a single range event. That's a lot of work for someone that isn't used to hitting that many balls at a time. I know what you are thinkingâ€¦.all you are doing is estimating this stuff. Yes, but I figure that I know my current irons so well that using a comparison method to the appropriate PTx iron I should be able to get close. Close enough to take it out on the course for real 'production' testing.
I will admit I have spent much more time on the higher irons (340, 380, 420, 460) because let's face it; I follow the â€˜path of least resistance' rule and know I will hit these better. It is also easier to â€˜estimate' all the data points I'm trying to monitor. Unfortunately the results also reflect the added work with the higher lofted clubs. I'm fairly comfortable with them but not close with the lower angle clubs. I've now repeated this process 4 or 5 times thru the set and have come up with the first set of distances and comments. I've summarized this by adding this information into the next PDF attachment. It includes some comments specifically to the PTx iron set.
Ben Hogan PTx Iron Stage 2_chrt 2.pdf
Stage 2 - Phase 2: Course work
With this information, I went out to play my first round with the new Hogan PTx irons. Played a favorite of mine called Waverly Oaks in Plymouth MA which is south of Boston just before getting to Cape Cod. Plymouth has several excellent golf courses and it would be a great place for a guy's golf trip. You could also bring the family and do the whole Plymouth Rock/Plantation history and Cape Cod thing and get in some great golf. Let me know if anyone wants more information on this. Waverly Oaks is a Brian Silva designed course, par 72, 7100 yds from the tips. We typically play the second set of tees which is a more manageable 6600 yds. This set of tees has a 126 slope. There are many elevation changes so the course is challenging and requires proper club selection. It was given 4.5 stars by Golf Digest and has won other awards. I was playing with my regular golf partners Rick and Tim. They have played many rounds with me so it would be interesting to see if they have any feedback for me. A few summary comments from this round.
Bad day off the tee so I found myself hitting more hybrids and longer irons than I'd like.
Putted great (for me!) so I made up a few lost shots I made in the fairway.
HIT EVERY PAR 3 IN REGULATION. Can't remember when I did that the last time. The most memorable shot was on the Par 3 â€“ 14th (163 yds), I hit a wind and elevation aided 420 to about 8 ft. Missed the putt for birdie. But my takeaway from this hole was I made the correct decision for club selection considering the wind and elevation impacts.
In general it was really difficult to keep figuring out which club to hit. I didn't have my numbers written downâ€¦.D'uh, so I took longer than normal for club selection. Both Rick and Tim commented to that point after the round. I am so used to thinking in terms of 5,6 or 7 iron versus 300, 340, 380. I need to work on this!!
My iron play aligned with my experiences on the range. I was pretty happy with the higher loft irons and it is clear I need to work on the 220 thru 300.
I think my initial list of distances for the PTx irons is close. For some reason I'm not getting the same distance improvement with the 420 as I am with the other irons in the set. I need to monitor that and maybe get that club checked out at the local pro shop.
Final score of 88 wasn't all that bad considering the new irons and how poorly I hit off the tee. I was pleasantly surprised at how I hit the PTx irons. Yes I hit some poor shots with them but nothing that caused me more than 1 stroke.
I've had two additional rounds as well and in each case you could see that I'm getting more comfortable with the new irons. Evidenced by the lowering scores. A few more summary comments on the course work
Confidence is really improving with the higher lofted clubs based on the results on the course. Lets face it that is where it really matter.
Accuracy is improving. Again hit every par 3 in regulation in the second round (again Waverly Oaks). That was two rounds in a row! Don't think I ever did that before.
Control - Not at a point yet where I am confident working the ball. I'm playing a lot more right to left draw than my older clubs. Not sure what is causing this. I can control it with the higher lofted irons but the lower I go the more draw.
Ball flight: More of the lower boring flight path but can launch the higher lofted irons higher if needed. Lower irons are improving but still not consistent
I'm seeing the ball (when hit well) stop fairly consistently on the greens. As I'm seeing more draw generally, the ball tends to spin left upon impact to the green. Grading:
Here are a few pictures from some courses I played after Waverly Oaks:
First is from Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor Maine
Next is from The Algonquin Course in St Andrews....not that St Andrews. This one is in New Brunswick Canada. I'll do course reviews of both of these shortly.
I'm getting a bit wordy on this so I'm going to move onto the Performance Rating questions and scoring I've been asked to answer.
Performance at the Range
Describe the following:
â— Accuracy â€“ Are you able to consistently hit your target? Yes with the higher lofted irons. Not so much with the lower lofted irons. Really struggling with the 22/26 degree clubs
â— Distance â€“ How does the club compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective? Getting 5-9 more yds. on each club. Toe hit's and mis-hits are getting more distance as well. I have to play another 5-15 yds. draw as well depending upon which club I am using.
â— 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? Mid launch profile. Easy to hit 46/42/38 irons higher if desired.
â— Forgiveness â€“ What happens when you miss-hit the ball? How much distance is lost? Does the ball still remain between the trees? Toe hit s are getting 85% of the desired distance and are straight to a slight fade. One miss-hit is a thin shot. This also goes straight and long. Not bad. The over cooked hook is still a problem.
â— 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? High lofted irons are easy to hit high or low. I play a right to left draw and I have to plan for more draw with these clubs. I never was one to play a right to left iron shot so I don't try that at all.
Range Score: (8 of 10 points)
Performance on the Course
Describe the following:
â— Accuracy â€“ How well did you hit the greens? Were you often right/left/short/long? I was pretty happy with the course work so far. Same as the range, the high lofted irons I'm getting really comfortable with. Longer irons I'm struggling with a low, hook. In two of the rounds I played I hit EVERY par 3 GREEN. These were with mid to short irons. One 260 to 25 feet. I was happy that I was making good club selection decisions. I tended to be longer than short when it came to irons from the fairway to the green.
â— Distance â€“ How does the product compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective? Same as the range. Getting more distance when hit well.
â— Consistency â€“ Consistency with higher lofted irons is pretty solid. Not so much with lower lofted. This is a real problem for my scoring. No confidence with what I consider my 4,5, 6 irons.
â— 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? I am pretty much a one trick pony with irons. I hit right to left draws unless I shank something. These clubs enhance my draw quite a bit as you go up in clubs.
â— Top action on the greenâ€“ When hit well, the ball will hit and stop fairly well as compared to my current set of clubs. As I'm putting draw spin on the ball, it does tend to spin left a bit. If I over draw it obviously it just rolls and rolls.
Course Score: (25 of 30 points)
â— How did it perform? The clubs are really solid. I am seeing generally 5-9 yds of added length with each club when struck well.
â— Were you pleased with how the club(s) performed? In general yes. I am seeing more right to left draw than I'd hoped. Not sure if its just me or the shafts.
â— Please compare and contrast it to what you are currently playing? Better feel from the PTx irons. I know exactly where I hit the ball on the club face. More forgiving with toe hits getting close to 85% of the distance.
â— What factors were you pleased with? Accuracy of the higher lofted irons. Lower more boring ball flight.
â— How did it compare to your current gamer(s)? I need to play more right to left draw than with my older set. I need more work on this to control it better. I'm also getting at least 5 to 9 yards more distance than the comparable lofted club in my current set.
â— Did you notice better production on the range or on the course more? On the range. I've done more work there.
â— Could you use it in both settings? Yes!
â— What factors did you find lacking? I prefer a grip that has some sort of alignment features.
â— What improvements would you like to see? I need to improve with the longer irons. I really am ssssttttrrrruuuugggglllliinngggg!
â— What would you do away with? My piss poor short game
â— General shape â€“ Thin profile, Less is better approach. Not a lot of extra bulk! Classic Hogan look with a modern touch.
â— Graphics â€“ Hogan branded. Not flashy
â— Other unique details â€“ Irons are identified via loft angles vs. standard # iron. I'm still trying to get used to this. Not sure if I like this or not.
â— How does it come together visually? â€“ Very well. It has the sleek look I like in an iron.
â— How does it compare to other products in its category?- Very Well. It looks like a top of the line club. Those that prefer the more modern club look may not like this but I do.
Looks Score: (19 of 20 points)
Sound and Feel
â— I like the sound of the club. Well struck, middle of the club face hits have that crisp sound. Mis-hits sound a bit duller. It's pretty consistent across all clubs.
â— The â€˜feel' is extraordinary! Much improved from my older irons. I can tell immediately where I hit the ball. I think this is one of the strongest benefits of this new iron.
â— As comparted to my existing clubs, the Ptx irons sound better and provide more â€˜feel' feedback than the older Apex Edge irons. I think this is the technology advancement I was looking for when I first started this test!
Sound and Feel Score: (18 of 20 points)
How likely would you be to purchase this product?
â— Why or why not?
This is a tricky question. I don't think I would purchase this EXACT iron profile for me knowing what I know now. I would purchase Hogan PTx irons with a different profile. The Hogan quality, look and feel is excellent and more than I expected.
I really like the 34/38/42/460 irons and are hitting them consistently. I'm getting close on the 300. I think I am more likely to look at moving the lofts around a bit. I would want to add the Hogan 500 (gap )wedge into the set set to cover a gap in my distances with my sand wedge. Through this test I learned I have a gap in the 120 - 130 range. Then I might take out the 220 iron and put in a easier hitting hybrid or try the Hogan HI irons to cover that.
LOP Score: (16 of 20 points)
I'm really excited that Hogan is producing clubs again. My overall impression is really positive for these new Hogan PTx irons. From the classic Hogan look, improved feel and performance. I'm consistently getting 5 to 9 more yards per club and the overall shot dispersion is better than my current clubs. I am struggling to get the ball off the ground with the lower lofted angles and I need to work on controlling the right to left draw on some of the clubs but that will come with time. I'm not entirely sold on the shafts just yet. I'm considering changing to a stiffer shaft as I think that might help with minimizing the draw effect. I wanted to complete the test with the shafts that were â€˜fitted' to me. I'll probably work the rest of this season with the existing shafts to give them some more time.
Regarding the identification of the irons using the loft angles versus the numbering system. It is different and does cause confusion on the course. I understand the reasoning but I'm not sure if I like this. I think Hogan should provide a bag tag with the irons to the golfer can mark down the distances. Over time I'm sure this will be less of a problem but it is frustrating sometimes. will learn
Testing the Hogan PTx irons has been a real treat for me. I enjoy the technical aspect of this as well as hitting ball after ball. In my stage 1 review I stated that one of my objectives with this test was to determine what 14 years of club technology will do for my game. Well, I've determined that I can get extra distance and more feel with the new clubs. I've learned that shaft technology is just as important when fitting new clubs. Probably the most important think I learned is that even the best new irons can't make up for a poor swing or poor decisions. That's all on me!
TOTAL SCORE: 84/100 points
I would recommend these clubs to those golfers that are looking for a high quality, high performance iron that provides outstanding feel. Also for those that are looking for more forgiveness.
Thanks MSG AGAIN FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY!