By Art Stricklin
FORT WORTH — A Texas dreamer and industry veteran has revived the legendry Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company, back in its original hometown, Fort Worth, and is enjoying a return to the industry he knows well.
â€œI canâ€™t imagine it going much better,â€ Hogan CEO Terry Koehler said as his company is third full year of renewed operation.
Koehler recently led a Media VIP tour of the operational facility during the Colonial tournament, which its company namesake made famous.
A dedicated and unapologetic Hogan lover and disciple, Koehler worked for the previous version of the Hogan Company from 1992-1995 and knew him well. A longtime Texas club industry leader, Koehler considered himself lucky to be asked to return to the company and is now hard at work overseeing a legendary name in the business.
â€œIt is a dream come true to assemble and lead a team to bring the Ben Hogan Company back to the golf equipment industry,â€ Koehler said. â€œOur mission will be to make Mr. Hogan proud;â€
Hogan lived in Fort Worth for many decades before his death and founded his golf company in the 1950s. After a series of corporate mergers first moved and then threatened to end the iconic brand, Lone Star native Koehler took over as CEO to revive the company and bring it back to its Texas roots.
â€œEverybody has a Hogan story and everybody who knew him was impacted by him one way or another,â€ Koehler said. â€œMr. Hogan did things by hitting the golf balls no other golfers past and present have been able to do. Thatâ€™s what we want to do in bringing back the clubs. Precision is back.â€
Itâ€™s also back with some unique 21st century additions that Hogan, a consistent worker and tinker with his game would appreciate.
Instead of the industry standard arbitrary numbering on the clubs, 7-iron, 8-iron, etc., the new Hogan irons and wedges have the exact loft the club is bent, to give golfers a better idea of how far it will go.
â€œAlmost every golfer is going to hit their 9-iron a different distance depending on a number of factors, but with the loft on the clubs you know how far it will fly and how high it will go,â€ Koehler said. â€œFor todayâ€™s players itâ€™s a more consistent way to look at things.
â€œYouâ€™ve purchased your wedges by loft this way for over 20 years. You are well aware of the loft of your driver. Why should your irons be any different?â€
Those innovations were praised by national golf media who saw the latest Texas-designed and crafted products at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando or have been to the factory in Fort Worth.
A handful of new clubs stood out as worthy of mention,â€ said national reviewer Plugged-In Golf. â€œBen Hogan Golf had a stellar sophomore show with the debut of the VKTR hybrid and PTx irons. Both clubs combine great performance with timeless looks, and will help the brand to reach a wider range of golfers.â€
Sports Illustrated senior writer Gary Van Sickle ranked the new Hogan Irons as one of the top seven products of the show, remarking on the classic Hogan look and styling which made the original clubs designed by the golf legend himself famous.
Unlikely previous version of the clubs which had a brief, ill-fated tenure being sold at discount stores or mass merchandisers, Hogan clubs can be purchased at green grass golf stores and leading golf stores along with through the Hogan headquarters where they can be custom made.
For more information, go to www.benhogangolf.com or call 1-844-53HOGAN.