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2020 Official Member Review: Ben Hogan Golf ComPany-VKTR+, UiHi and GS53 FW


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18 minutes ago, jb0330 said:

Ben Hogan UiHi 18* Utility Iron

I meant to get this out yesterday but my honey to do list was longer than I thought it was. Anywho, I haven't swung the UiHi at a ball just yet but wanted to share a few of my first impressions.

First and foremost thank you MGS and Ben Hogan for this opportunity to do this!  

So this club is sexy or at least I think so. I could have club goggles on, who knows lol. I love the lines, very straight forward and not over the top. Looking down from the top I get the, I can hit this club feel, which I know plays a factor for me in my ability to hit a club or not. The club feels a little too light for my liking so after I play on Friday I am going to ping my buddy to see if he has time on Saturday for me to swing up to his house and get it on his swing weight. I already need to adjust my current Irons back to a D2ish. No matter what the swing weight is on the UiHi I will play in for a bit to see my yards and control to have a baseboard before I switch it.

I typically use midsize grips, did any of the other testers feel like the standard was bigger than a normal standard? Or am I losing my mind LOL. So this might be another switch I do just to get me normal with the rest of my clubs. 

The only thing so far that I don't like is it seems to be very upright. if I want the club to be anywhere close to flush with the ground I have to Bryson my arms up and straight a good amount. Who knows I have seen a few videos online that say with my swing maybe I should have it up to straighten me out a bit. 

I will update y'all after my round on Friday!!

 

2 minutes ago, scooterhd2 said:

 

Curious to see what you come up with here, as I have some initial thoughts about modifications but want to hold off until a range session or two. 

I feel like the grip seems bigger because of the shaft length. The shaft gets thicker the further you move from the clubhead, and this is likely the longest steel shafted club in the bag. With less shaft cut from the butt end, the grip goes on a thicker part of the shaft.

 

 

I think most iron shafts stop the taper at some point short of where the grip goes on so they should be a constant diameter unless you're cutting to a length that is way out of the normal range.

 

That said, this Lamkin Z5 grip is a 0.580" core grip and those KBS shafts in the utility irons are all 0.600" butt shafts so it is going to be a bit thicker than a normal standard due to the rubber in the grip being thicker having been intended for a smaller diameter shaft. Don't quote me on this, but I think that amounts to 1 extra wrap.

 

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Fellow Spies!!  My 3w came and as a special treat, here is an unboxing video for you all!

 

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Driver: Taylormade SIM2
3 Wood: Taylormade SIM
3 Utility Iron: Srixon U85
4i – AW: Taylormade P760
SW: Vokey SM7 M Grind
LW: Cleveland RTX 4 X-Low
Putter: Ping Vault Oslo

 

 

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and I'm still waiting... 🙄 Should be here tomorrow!

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So I also received mine last week.  

Headcover is super nice.  Club looks great at address - the toe is nice and high.  

Ill post some more pictures in comparisons later on.  Thanks Hogan

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5 minutes ago, scooterhd2 said:

 

Curious to see what you come up with here, as I have some initial thoughts about modifications but want to hold off until a range session or two. 

I feel like the grip seems bigger because of the shaft length. The shaft gets thicker the further you move from the clubhead, and this is likely the longest steel shafted club in the bag. With less shaft cut from the butt end, the grip goes on a thicker part of the shaft.

 

 

This is very valid didn't even think about it being a LONG iron shaft. I need to see if its the same length as my 3 Hybrid. 

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2020 TESTER Ben Hogan UiHi 18* Utility Iron

Driver:     - Anser - 8.5* - Fujikara Red Blur 005 XStiff - Standard L/L

3W:     - SQ Sumo - Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Stiff - Standard L/L

Hybrid 3:     - Machspeed - UST Mamiya AXIVCore XStiff -Standard L/L

Irons:      - Idea Black CB3  4-GW - KBS Tour Stiff+ - Standard L/L

Wedges:    - Vokey 52*, 54*, 60* - True Temper Wedge - Standard L/L

Putter:     - Versa Blade - 35in

Ball:      NXT Tour

Bag:  - Ultra Light Cart Bag  

Loc: USA/MD

Handicap: 13

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Let's see if this composite picture works out. I didn't want to upload a bunch of full size shots, and it gave me a chance to play with a program. The club looks really sweet, I hope I get to it soon. I have run into a complication, in that I have potentially been exposed to COVID, and I woke up this morning feeling rather poor. I got tested today (2.5 hour wait), and it will be 2-4 days before I hear the results. I'm not going out anywhere until I know, and then only if I am negative. If I am positive it will be too long in quarantine to do a timely review, in which case I'll ask the boss to pick a new tester, and I'll ship the club along.

Hogan VKTR+ hybrid new.jpg

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Just now, Siamese Moose said:

Let's see if this composite picture works out. I didn't want to upload a bunch of full size shots, and it gave me a chance to play with a program. The club looks really sweet, I hope I get to it soon. I have run into a complication, in that I have potentially been exposed to COVID, and I woke up this morning feeling rather poor. I got tested today (2.5 hour wait), and it will be 2-4 days before I hear the results. I'm not going out anywhere until I know, and then only if I am negative. If I am positive it will be too long in quarantine to do a timely review, in which case I'll ask the boss to pick a new tester, and I'll ship the club along.

Hogan VKTR+ hybrid new.jpg

hopefully you get better ! 

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Went out to the range today, to hit a small bucket with my 5 iron and the 3 UiHi. Got into a quick groove with the 5 iron, hitting shots carrying 185-190. 

Switched over to the UiHi and struggled mightily to find the center of the face. Carry distances and height were abysmal. Much like I saw on the course yesterday. Maybe worse since I was hitting without a tee. Finally, I choked down about an inch, and started hitting some flush. Got into a little groove on the last dozen or so balls, hitting low bullets that were flying 190-195. Some of these range balls are terrible and barely have dimples and sort of knuckle and drop straight down, so I'm not going to read too much into it. Ultimately, I saw a better ball flight than I did on the course, got a much better carry distance, and hit some very playable shots that would have quite a bit of roll out. Definitely have a little more confidence putting it into play. 

Current thoughts are - would love to see this 1/2 shorter and with a graphite shaft. Might help me find the middle while retaining speed. 

20201123_132235.jpg.8f3a0f099535042b8ba39a03611ae24c.jpg

 

 

 

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Was able to take advantage of the day off work and play some mountain golf in north Georgia today. Full write up coming tomorrow but so far I’m loving the hybrid. I’ve found it fitting my 4 iron to 3 wood gap perfectly with a more penetrating ball flight compared to my current hybrid gamer. C5257F9B-47B2-41EB-9FBE-54D795A604D4-D96CF07E-07EC-44D9-9C0F-E4F42D3BB7FA.jpg


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Hit up the launch monitor today with the UiHi and a hybrid of mine that I call my "driving hybrid". It's not a club that I currently bag, but was the first hybrid that I got along with. Very anti-left, and great off the tee.

The Apex has been shortened one inch from standard down to 39 inches, playing 3/4 of an inch shorter than the UiHi. I've added a +4 grip to neutralize the right hand some. Both of these modifications reduce the swing weight, so I have substituted a 12 gram weight in the head versus the standard 6 gram. Low launch, low spin, 85 gram evenflow black is a touch heavier than standard as well. Ultimately, we get low launch, great control and a flatter lie angle to keep it from hooking. Of course sacrificing some speed, height, and carry to do so.

 

apex.jpg.55f38f808e7e70fc36aec9021498c47c.jpg

 

I figured this would be my most similar club to the UiHi in terms of ball flight and potential use on the course. I needed little warmup for the hybrid. I know that club well and turned the monitor on after 2 hits. I captured my next 10 shots without removals.

Then I switched to the UiHi, and really struggled for a handful of balls. Not sure if it is the weight, or length, but something throws me off. More than just the obvious difficulty of loft. Eventually, I switched back to the choked down grip that worked better for me on the range yesterday, and then I started to find the clubface again. I then turned the monitor on and captured 10 shots with one removal on a nasty pull hook. All shots with both clubs were from the deck.

 

lm.jpg.0a0af92882d0bda61325d208911bd38a.jpg

 

Clubhead speed and ball speed are pretty similar. Kudos to the UiHi for having the better smash factor. That's pretty impressive for an iron. Especially with the Apex being shorter and my impression that I found the sweet spot better with the hybrid. I also kept the UiHi more on line and with less side spin, although the Apex did its job of being anti left. 

Ultimately, I am not launching the ball high enough to maximize distance. From a fitting perspective, more loft would help. Bending 2 degrees weak might help. A 4 UiHi might be a better option. Lighter, higher launching graphite shaft could help. But on the flip side, continuing to work with the 3 UiHi and improving my delivery would likely translate to better shots throughout the bag. I am obviously committed to testing the UiHi and am curious to see what else I can get out of it. 

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So as promised yesterday, here is my first impressions full write up. 

 

Let's start with the unboxing first impressions. Man, oh man am I a sucker for a good headcover or what and Ben Hogan did not disappoint on this one. The classic white and blue primary colors with red accents. The Ben Hogan logo just pops on top to finish it off. Having the headweight sticker still on the plastic wrap was also a nice touch. The grip is going for a similar look to Golf Pride's MCC but is all one material and feels like it's made of cheap material, but more on the grip later. 

 

Now on to the first range session. After going through my typical warm up I dove into a full testing session of the hybrid. I started with 10 balls just to get a feel of the club (which came with a couple shanks) then went into a head to head test in comparison to my Taylormade M6 21 degree hybrid. 5 balls with each to start with my 85-90% swing focusing on finding the center of the face. Instantly, I noticed how much more penetrating of a ball flight the Hogan had. Obviously this is partly due to the stronger lofted VKRT+, but even when I tried to keep my hybrid lower the ball flight was probably launching 5-10 degrees higher than the VKTR+. Besides the more penetrating ball flight, I noticed I was getting about 15-20 yards further carry with the VKTR+. Carry average at 215 compared to 195 with my M6. 

 

Things that I love about the VKTR+:

  • The look at address is great. Minimal offset and high face looks inviting and comfortable to hit
  • The head shape feels like a true hybrid between and iron and wood unlike the Taylormade M6 rescue which feels like wood condensed down
  • Ball flight is awesome to watch and is easily repeatable

IMG_2011.jpg.bc2c8641e7d481296483f3dc4b7c7e7d.jpg

A few quick hitters on room for improvement on the Hybrid at first opening

  • The Ben Hogan branded grip while a good look is obviously made of cheaper material and needs replacement immediately upon getting the club. Whether you're a cord fan or a MCC fan or even a Wynn Grip fan (gross), they're all much better options than the standard grip.
  • The paint on the bottom of the VKTR+ seems to be wearing off rather quickly compared to my M6 which has 20+ rounds on it

IMG_2012.jpg.4f00333aeec9d17c7db166c2438e470a.jpg

I was able to play my first round yesterday and while I only used the VKTR+ once, it was a 228 yard missile down the middle. Looking forward to a round on Friday to test further.

IMG_2026.jpg.f3e980a54890ea14eb309a64a29d59d3.jpg

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Little night range session .. sounds nice ! 

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If I can't hit the club yet, I can still give it the close inspection. I don't do much club building any more, but I still have all of the gear, though my frequency analyzer doesn't seem to be working right (I'll work on that again later). VKTR+ 3 hybrid, loft spec 18°, measured 18°, lie spec 57.5°, measured 57° (certainly within the limits of my gauge). Length: Spec 40.75", measured 40.5" (I know there are multiple ways of measuring, so I am sure this is just a difference in equipment). Swingweight: Spec: D3, measured D5. Grip: Lamkin Z5, spec is standard, measured at +1/32". The shaft is remarkably consistent in all planes, +/- 2 cpm, though the 253 cpm number I got seems well off (would make it a soft L flex). I plan to check the analyzer some more tomorrow. Head weight (per the label) is 239.0g, total club weight is 362g. 

These are just numbers for geeks (like me). The key takeaway is everything is within spec, though I was a little surprised at the swingweight, though the higher value probably suits me better. Now if my corona test will just come back negative, I'll get out and hit the thing!

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41 minutes ago, Siamese Moose said:

If I can't hit the club yet, I can still give it the close inspection. I don't do much club building any more, but I still have all of the gear, though my frequency analyzer doesn't seem to be working right (I'll work on that again later). VKTR+ 3 hybrid, loft spec 18°, measured 18°, lie spec 57.5°, measured 57° (certainly within the limits of my gauge). Length: Spec 40.75", measured 40.5" (I know there are multiple ways of measuring, so I am sure this is just a difference in equipment). Swingweight: Spec: D3, measured D5. Grip: Lamkin Z5, spec is standard, measured at +1/32". The shaft is remarkably consistent in all planes, +/- 2 cpm, though the 253 cpm number I got seems well off (would make it a soft L flex). I plan to check the analyzer some more tomorrow. Head weight (per the label) is 239.0g, total club weight is 362g. 

These are just numbers for geeks (like me). The key takeaway is everything is within spec, though I was a little surprised at the swingweight, though the higher value probably suits me better. Now if my corona test will just come back negative, I'll get out and hit the thing!

This is interesting thanks man hope your feeling better 

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On 11/23/2020 at 11:37 AM, Siamese Moose said:

Let's see if this composite picture works out. I didn't want to upload a bunch of full size shots, and it gave me a chance to play with a program. The club looks really sweet, I hope I get to it soon. I have run into a complication, in that I have potentially been exposed to COVID, and I woke up this morning feeling rather poor. I got tested today (2.5 hour wait), and it will be 2-4 days before I hear the results. I'm not going out anywhere until I know, and then only if I am negative. If I am positive it will be too long in quarantine to do a timely review, in which case I'll ask the boss to pick a new tester, and I'll ship the club along.

Hogan VKTR+ hybrid new.jpg

Hope your test comes back negative so you can get out and test! (that sounds weird off the tongue lol)

On 11/23/2020 at 2:21 PM, scooterhd2 said:

Went out to the range today, to hit a small bucket with my 5 iron and the 3 UiHi. Got into a quick groove with the 5 iron, hitting shots carrying 185-190. 

Switched over to the UiHi and struggled mightily to find the center of the face. Carry distances and height were abysmal. Much like I saw on the course yesterday. Maybe worse since I was hitting without a tee. Finally, I choked down about an inch, and started hitting some flush. Got into a little groove on the last dozen or so balls, hitting low bullets that were flying 190-195. Some of these range balls are terrible and barely have dimples and sort of knuckle and drop straight down, so I'm not going to read too much into it. Ultimately, I saw a better ball flight than I did on the course, got a much better carry distance, and hit some very playable shots that would have quite a bit of roll out. Definitely have a little more confidence putting it into play. 

Current thoughts are - would love to see this 1/2 shorter and with a graphite shaft. Might help me find the middle while retaining speed. 

20201123_132235.jpg.8f3a0f099535042b8ba39a03611ae24c.jpg

 

 

 

What is your reasoning for the graphite shaft to find the center a bit better? Is it due to shaft flexes being different or something inherent to a graphite shaft compared to a steel shaft? I thought at this point with technology it was just a preference?

4 hours ago, Siamese Moose said:

If I can't hit the club yet, I can still give it the close inspection. I don't do much club building any more, but I still have all of the gear, though my frequency analyzer doesn't seem to be working right (I'll work on that again later). VKTR+ 3 hybrid, loft spec 18°, measured 18°, lie spec 57.5°, measured 57° (certainly within the limits of my gauge). Length: Spec 40.75", measured 40.5" (I know there are multiple ways of measuring, so I am sure this is just a difference in equipment). Swingweight: Spec: D3, measured D5. Grip: Lamkin Z5, spec is standard, measured at +1/32". The shaft is remarkably consistent in all planes, +/- 2 cpm, though the 253 cpm number I got seems well off (would make it a soft L flex). I plan to check the analyzer some more tomorrow. Head weight (per the label) is 239.0g, total club weight is 362g. 

These are just numbers for geeks (like me). The key takeaway is everything is within spec, though I was a little surprised at the swingweight, though the higher value probably suits me better. Now if my corona test will just come back negative, I'll get out and hit the thing!

253 CPM makes a soft L flex? What is the range of numbers for the flexes? I'm sure I could just google it but I figure since you have experience building clubs, you would have more first hand knowledge. 

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253 CPM makes a soft L flex? What is the range of numbers for the flexes? I'm sure I could just google it but I figure since you have experience building clubs, you would have more first hand knowledge. 

The relationship between frequency and flex is also dependent on the length of the club. For a hybrid length club, 253 would indeed fall in the L-flex range.

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------------------------------

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Fairway:srixon-small: f65 15* and 19* - Miyazaki Kaula Mizo 5 R-flex

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7 hours ago, golfish! said:

Hope your test comes back negative so you can get out and test! (that sounds weird off the tongue lol)

253 CPM makes a soft L flex? What is the range of numbers for the flexes? I'm sure I could just google it but I figure since you have experience building clubs, you would have more first hand knowledge. 

As gbtrsc said, based on the club length the frequency for an R ought to be more like 275. However, I should add that this was tested with the grip ON. I haven't tested with this grip model before, so it's quite possible that there's a lot of damping going on. I don't want to pull the grip until after I've used the club a bit, but I will go back and test with the grip off sometime soon. I should have realized that before my original post, but it's been a while since I used the frequency analyzer. My brain is rusty.

To finish on a positive note, my COVID test came back NEGATIVE. Yay! Plus, since I never had a fever I do not need to further isolate (per Ohio guidelines). It took 33 hours from when they took my sample to when the email arrived. I'm a retired analytical chemist, so I understand testing protocols and schedules. I'm really impressed by that speed!

 I'll test the club soon, maybe at the range tomorrow. Today is out, as the rain is hammering down right now in Cincinnati.

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10 hours ago, golfish! said:

What is your reasoning for the graphite shaft to find the center a bit better? Is it due to shaft flexes being different or something inherent to a graphite shaft compared to a steel shaft? I thought at this point with technology it was just a preference?

My first preference is to shorten the shaft. That is what would generally help to find the center. 

But that is also going to stiffen the shaft and reduce the clubhead speed. Should also produce lower launch. With the ball flight that I am seeing and the numbers from the launch monitor, shortening the current shaft is really the last thing I want to do.

I need something that launches higher, and more speed would help. That's where a graphite shaft at 95 grams or so should have some increased speed over a 110 gram steel shaft, and something with a more active tip would launch a touch higher. With those benefits, going shorter would be a possibility.

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  • Wedges: :cleveland-small: RTX4 50, Modus 120x:taylormade-small:, Hi Toe 56 & 60, Modus 120x
  • Putter: :EVNROLL:  ER3 @ 33"
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