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2018 Official Forum Member Review - Ben Hogan Ft. Worth Black Irons

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Now this is just me and I am a big Ralph Maltby fan but I do not go by MPF that much. Basically if it is a blade iron and fits my eye I feel I can hit it. Some GI irons do not fit my eye as most CBs don't either. I think for me personally it also has a lot to do with feel and feedback. With me also it is ingrained instinct which ties into my feel.  IMHO the MPF is a general category and is a general guideline. I do know the other night on WRX in one of the threads someone stated that the MPF on some of the blade irons I hit is actually better than some of the new stuff. The guy who stated it also plays classic stuff too. It all ties in at the end of the day of what one feels comfortable with standing over the ball

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I'm just going to keep gently ticking on this.

These are still working for me. I've now shot four consecutive under-par rounds (admittedly on easier courses that I know quite well) and it's been based mostly on iron shots in the current weather.
I really have few complaints about these, for what they are.

That said, in a few weeks I'm going to try to get my hands on a demo set of a couple of different irons and do a fresh comparison.

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On 1/11/2019 at 11:33 AM, Jon Brittan said:

I'm just going to keep gently ticking on this.

These are still working for me. I've now shot four consecutive under-par rounds (admittedly on easier courses that I know quite well) and it's been based mostly on iron shots in the current weather.
I really have few complaints about these, for what they are.

That said, in a few weeks I'm going to try to get my hands on a demo set of a couple of different irons and do a fresh comparison.

Well done, seems you are in the groove!

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Stage Two – Dec 2018

Ft Worth Black Iron Review – Official MGS Forum Review by Travis Clarke

Hello fellow MGS members! I cannot express how thankful I am to the fine people at MGS and the Ben Hogan Equipment Company for letting me take part in this review and I apologies for my delay in my 2nd stage.
My testing including range time at my local course, 8 games of golf which included a fantastic trip to Cabot Links, and 6 hours on a golf simulator once the snow flew. I was able to really put these clubs through the ringer and this helped me gather some great information and form a strong opinion on these clubs. So without further delay below is review!
Looks (9 out of 10 points)
My first impressions of the new Fort Worth black Iron's by the Hogan golf company was very good. The black finish is very attractive on the heads and the graphite shafts with the gray/blue grips complimented the overall look very well. I felt the clubs have a very stylish and aggressive appearance.
post-82691-0-46272100-1537971384_thumb.jpg
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At first I felt they looked a lot smaller then my current set of irons which are the 714 AP2 model by Titleist. They looked more like a players club and something that was not going to be very forgiving. But after a closer side by side comparison I realized that is not the fact. Both clubs are very similar in face area. The main difference that I noticed is the top line slope from the toe to heal is steeper on the Hogan irons. This isn’t really noticeable at address and is more noticeable in a direct side by side comparison as show below.
 679427896_Comparison-Dec.thumb.jpg.015deecc72f802d6c7042b059e19c62b.jpg
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 Hogan has done a very nice job with the graphics on the club. They are a simple, and effective graphics that don’t dominate or take away from the overall look of the clubs. The graphics do their job to advertise for Hogan as well announce they are a players (forged) club.  
The finish on the irons is something that really intrigued me. Out of the box the irons look great with the black finish but I have to admit I was curious if the finish was going to hold up after repeated use. I can easily admit that I’m very impressed with the finish and how it is holding up. I would never hesitate to buy these clubs because of concerns with the finish holding up.  
Overall the appearance comes together very nicely and the irons really stand out compared to my more traditional Titleist setup. I feel the clubs do stand out from the rest of the pack but I wouldn’t go as far to say they are flashy which I really like.
Sound & Feel (9 out of 10 points)
These are definitely forged clubs and if you have played forged irons before you know what I’m talking about. When you hit a pure shot there is nothing that feels or sounds better in the game of golf. On the other hand, if you hit a bad shot you know nothing feels worse in the game of golf. This is especially case when the temperature drops.
I would describe the sound as very crisp on good shots. The quality of the click usually relates to the shot result. I found the higher the pitch the worse the shot was. The quality shots had a nice deep pitch that feels buttery smooth.
Range Performance (14 out of 20 points)
I really enjoyed my time testing these clubs on both the range and on a simulator. I felt it gave me a great understanding of how these clubs fit with my game.
The last few years I have been more focused on specific drills on the range as well as some range games for gauging my progress. For the club trial I wasn’t as focused on trying to implement swing changes or improvements rather I focused on using these clubs based on the current state of my swing.
The first game I worked on was what I call “targets”. Our range has 5 small greens and I progress thru all 5 targets from shortest to longest keeping track of shots to hit each target and total shots to hit all 5 targets. My results are below.   
 717706850_TargetGame-Results.jpg.0f35ca66b25b850db64fddee87deab25.jpg
From my results you can see I preformed better with my original set of irons. Part of the advantage I believe my old clubs had was on the 5th target. This target was at 214 yds and this was a nice distance for a full 4 iron with my old clubs. The Hogan irons I found definitely go further with the lower irons which I relate to the consistent 4-degree loft decrease per iron compared to other manufacturers. The problem on the 5th target was I had to take a bit off my full swing to hit the 214 yd target. I struggled finding the right distance, I was either to long, to short and the odd shot off-line . Eliminating that target brings the results much closer together.
I really enjoyed this game as it quickly made me realize the Hogan set got me more distant out of the low irons. I also found the ball seemed to have a lower more penetrating flight with the Hogan irons. For my next test I used the trees on the range as my guide and I hit several shots trying to get the peak ball flight below the tree height. My results for that was that I was able to keep 80% (8 out of 10 shots) of the shots below the tree tops with the Hogan irons compared to 60% (6 out of 10 shots) with my AP2 irons.
Unfortunately for us this year the cold came earlier then normal and this meant I had to take my testing inside to the simulator. The positive of this was I was able to get some really nice data and side by side comparison of the Ft Worth irons vs my current set. For this test on my simulator I hit 5 shots with the Ft Worth irons and then 5 shots with my current set and put the numbers side by side. I was able to compare the shot dispersion as well as the performance statistics. I did this with 3 different irons (PW, 7-iron and 4-iron) and the results are below.
PW – Stats Comparison:
2103630179_PWComp-Stats.jpg.5cdc3e7f1f3638733b3831401f736465.jpg
PW – Hogan Dispersion:
1937120013_PWHogan-Dispersion.jpg.386132129adcbb2da48a25a3acbde004.jpg
PW – Titleist Dispersion:
1848507530_PWTitelist-Dispersion.jpg.0f7174afc87507669f4066e618c98f65.jpg
7-Iron – Stats Comparison:
138220743_7-IronComp-Stats.jpg.fe3bdeff4e317261c10990970c27cde2.jpg 
7-Iron – Hogan Dispersion:
1142613739_7-IronHogan-Dispersion.jpg.b176fc610b2414c035956fddce35d181.jpg
7-Iron – Titleist Dispersion:
771623041_7-IronTitelist-Dispersion.jpg.3f0fbc664c86c9220510223e3efcaf02.jpg
4-Iron – Stats Comparison:
479744149_4-IronComp-Stats.jpg.859ce0a51f1128a8650186d33762d9c4.jpg
4-Iron – Hogan Dispersion:
1809804310_4-IronHogan-Dispersion.jpg.ef45c14c0a5022abfb90e934556bf48e.jpg
4-Iron – Titleist Dispersion:
1990143449_4-IronTitelist-Dispersion.jpg.1d9fa4ad3cdfc9a77f5f415d40e36ace.jpg
The results from the simulator were interesting as they confirmed some of my initial thoughts on the clubs but they also made me realize I was wrong on one of my initial assumptions.  
Distance: With Hogan using the consistent 4-degree loft change between irons resulted in me hitting my low irons further then I traditionally do. The Hogan 4 iron at 22 degree’s was averaging just over 225 yds per shot. Compared to my Titleist 4 iron at 24 degree’s averaging just under 218 yds per shot. Remarkably the distance with the high irons was pretty much identical which is probably related to the lofts being the same as well. I never realized this till now but I much prefer the consistent gapping used by Hogan.
Ball Trajectory: This is where the simulator surprised me a bit. Coming off the range I felt the Hogan irons had more penetrating (lower) ball flight vs my Titleist irons. When you compare the launch angles on the clubs it tells you a different story. Comparing both PW’s, you will see they have the same loft but you will also see the launch angle with the Hogan was actually higher compared to the Titleist.  This got me thinking and made me realize the Hogan clubs let me work the ball up and down better then my current set. This probably explained my better results with my trajectory game on the range. This definitely is a bonus or advantage to the Hogan irons.
Shot Dispersion: This is where I struggled with the Hogan irons. I typically struggle with my misses and I found that my misses were much greater with the Hogan irons compared to my Titleist irons. Comparing the 7 and 4 irons you will see I was consistently centre or left of centre with my Titleist irons where I was playing army golf with the Hogan irons. (Left, right, left, right). This really effected my mental game on the course which I touch on later in the review.
On-Course Performance (28 out of 40 points)
My on-course performance was both rewarding and also very challenging. I was able to get the new irons out to my home course for few rounds before I jumped right in to a golf trip to Cabot Links.
A quick plug for Cabot Links. This facility is truly world class and a must play for golfers with a bucket list. The conditions are incredible and it is a great test for your game. I would highly recommend playing Cabot if you get the chance. Below is a video that shows how fierce the wind blew for 1 of our rounds. This wind was a great test for the Hogan irons.

What I found on the course:
Accuracy – I really struggled with controlling the Hogan irons. Accuracy is a weakness of my game but I found it got worse with the Hogan irons. I found my offline shots would go further offline compared to normal and this caused the problems to snowball on me. I would try to correct my last miss and end up going the other way which was frustrating and ultimately lead to me having less confidence over the golf ball which is never good.
Trajectory – I loved how the Hogan irons performed. I was able to hit knock down shots with ease and this was a big advantage on the wind sweep links golf course’s at Cabot.  I was also able to launch the ball to good heights when the conditions allowed which was also a big bonus.
Forgiveness – The Hogan irons are a forged iron and as most know a forged iron is typically not the most forgiving iron. Hogan has done a nice job of providing a nice level of forgiveness with these irons without taking away from there playability. As expected, your misses won’t travel as far but I found the penalty wasn’t as dramatic as I expected. I found that on the course a miss would cost you about 1 club which I think is more than acceptable.
Workability – This is where these irons shine. I loved how I could work the irons up or down and left and right. On well played draws I had no problem working the ball 10 to 15 yds. Compared to my other irons which I really had to try to move that ball that far.
Confidence – Standing over the ball looking down at the irons I really like what I saw. From an aesthetics point of view the clubs are beautiful which I think is an important part of feeling good and confident about your next shot. This only lasts so long till my misses started weighing on me. I struggled controlling the ball on bad shots and this got in my head and didn’t help my confidence over the ball. I don’t blame the clubs for this as much as I do my ability but overall my confidence sagged as I played more and more with these irons which was frustrating. Perfect example was me missing the green on 3 consecutive swings on the signature par 3 - 16th at Cabot. The hole isn’t long but accuracy is demanding and missing the green leads to a re-load.
Play it or Trade it? (15 out of 20 points)
This type of club is made for a really good player and all really good players should consider them. My game isn’t consistent enough for these clubs and the benefits didn’t outweigh the draw backs . I believe if work on my game and reducing my misses I can get it to a point where these clubs will be more beneficial then not and will let me play with confidence.
At this point if I was going into a big game, I would have to put these clubs back on the shelf. The clubs are great to have but they don’t help me play my best golf at this point. 
Conclusion
Overall the clubs are a great players club and unfortunately, I’m not a top-notch player yet. The clubs looked, felt and preformed very, very well. I loved the look of my clubs and they brought a lot of excitement to the game out of the gate. I loved how they felt on good shots and was pleasantly surprised with how they felt on not so good shots. The clubs had fantastic workability which let me believe I could hit most shots. I just struggled with my misses which lead to me lacking in confidence. This ultimately led to me not scoring as well as I typically do on the course. My average score was 2 to 3 strokes higher when playing the Hogan irons compared to my old set.
This review really did open my eyes to the Hogan brand. In the past I would not have put the Hogan brand in the same league as other high-performance clubs on the market. That was a big miscalculation by me. The Hogan brand is a top performing brand and if I was in the market for this type of club, I would definitely give them a proper shot.  
Specifically, for my review of the Ft Worth Black Irons:
Pro’s:
·        Looks - these are beautiful clubs.
·        Feel – when hit well they give you a real buttery feel.
·        Workability – I loved how I could move the ball up and down and left and right with ease
·        Loft gapping – The consistent 4-degree loft change staggered my irons distances very well and provided                   consistent gaps between all irons
Con’s:
·        Misses – I struggled with my control. I found with these irons my misses went further left or further right then           typical which snowballed on me and my confidence over the ball.
In closing my game currently isn’t consistent enough for these irons. I found the penalty for my misses was too drastic and ultimately caused my scoring to increase. If I was a more consistent player, I believe these clubs would only improve my game and the pros would out weight the 1 major con. If you are in the market for high performance clubs make sure to give these irons their fair shake as you will be pleasantly surprised!
Final Score: 75
My 2nd review is up if any one is interested in reading. Let me know if any comments or questions.

Travis Clarke

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