Hogan Ft. Worth 15 Review
For the record, I am not what you would call a club junkie. Never been one to swoon over the latest driver promising massive yardage gains or those newfangled irons guaranteeing pin seeking accuracy. I think the numbers bear out that new drivers aren’t actually significantly better than technology 3 years prior. Maybe in the 90’s the gains could be dramatic from year to year with the explosion of new titanium technologies. Currently, stringent performance standards set by golf’s governing bodies restrict the ability to gain 20 – 30 yards over the driver you bought last year. I think you likely gain more through proper fitting and improved technique more than that “new” technology. Sometimes though, a new club stirs the soul a bit. Urges the need to experience the new which is actually old but made new again. Say what?
When the announcement was made about the Ben Hogan Golf Company rebirth, I must admit I was intrigued. Just the name Hogan evokes principles rooted in precision, craftsmanship, a lineage to a greatness predicated on an ethos of hard work and determination. His book 5 lessons is never far from my night stand. A reference as it were to make sure I continue to key on the absolutes necessary for a repeatable swing. What of these new Hogan Ft. Worth 15 blade inspired irons? Are they game changers like their namesake?
I happened to be at Bridgemill Athletic Club early before a round a few weeks back. We had some time to kill and a Hogan dealer was on site for a club demo. As a preface, I happened to play with a guy who was an old school blade aficionado who had recently hit the Hogan’s at the PGA Superstore. On his recommendation, I made a trip to the PGA Superstore and hit a few in an open bay, nothing too extensive, but I left impressed. Generally, I don’t give much credence to hitting balls inside, I just never get a true feel for the product. Admittedly excited, I moseyed on up to the tent and chatted with the PGA Professional who is also an area rep for the Ben Hogan Golf Company. He was extremely knowledgeable about the irons, gave me the low down concerning the design and performance characteristics. He took a look at my ancient (but still very lovely) Titleist 690 MBs and tried to match up specs as best he could. Set me up with the KBS Tour 120 gram X stiff shafts in a 5 iron and gap wedge. The weighting and feel were similar as I currently game KBS 130 X-Flex Steel Iron C-Tapers.
Already warmed up, I hit a few with the gap wedge. A “set” gap wedge which I haven’t played in 15 years, opting instead for a Titleist Vokey or Cleveland wedge to accompany my irons. The Fort Worth 15s impressed from beginning to end. The feeling was very much that of a forged blade, yet there was an immediate sense of forgiveness for the less than perfect. Biblical. I knew from the strike where the ball was going, the feedback unencumbered. Turf interaction as good as any iron I’ve ever hit. The sound and ball flight are what you would expect from a players iron. Acoustically the impact was muted similar to a Mizuno forge different from the little click you would associate with a Titleist blade. As I said, this was a “set” wedge, but I would game it without hesitation.
I was able to really get a true evaluation when I demoed the 5 iron. Side by side, I could hit my regular 5 iron and the Hogan 5 iron (marked 28 degree). The ball flight piercing with a medium trajectory the shots landing in similar groupings. The forgiveness was more evident with the longer irons. Finding the bottom was bit more of a challenge even though the shafts were pretty similar. That said, my misses held their line better than my Titleist. Makes sense, because the Hogan’s aren’t true blades, but I found myself regarding them as such. They look and feel like blades except when you miss. We all miss and I’ve come to appreciate the forgiveness built into my 690 MBs. Yes, they are forgiving to a point. You don’t have to hit them absolutely perfect to still achieve a good outcome. Missing with the Hogan’s was a little different. You know it on the strike, but the rebuke is less penal. Yet, the miss still encourages you do better on the next swing. You will grow to love and want the immediate gratification from a properly hit shot. That sweet feeling only achieved when you hit it pretty close to the center.
The Hogan Ft. Worth 15s are a tremendous new golf iron. They are a must demo. If you are in the market for new clubs and they aren’t in your area just yet, wait till they are. Find a way to hit them before you make an iron purchase. I’ve been a devout Titleist follower for what seems an eternity. Only Mizuno has occupied the space in my bag for periods of time. When I do replace my current irons…which is still a tall order…these Hogan’s are the only iron on the shortlist. If budgets didn’t exist, I’d already have them in my bag.