After the smashing debut of last year’s Ft. Worth 15 irons, the company hopes to repeat its success with the PTx.
It’s a well-known phenomenon in the music industry: Second Album Syndrome. Think Terence Trent D’Arby, Hootie and the Blowfish and other performers who overachieved with tremendously successful debuts, only to follow up with duds.
Golf’s had its own one-hit wonders. Remember Nickent? How about Merit? Would the Ben Hogan Golf Company, reinvented a couple of years ago by former Hogan employee and long-time Hawk devotee Terry Koehler, become the latest?
Hogan introduced its debut iron last year. The Ft. Worth 15 received such high acclaim, there was a grave danger the fledgling manufacturer had peaked too early.
So at the recent PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, all attendees were scrutinizing the Ben Hogan Company’s PTx iron. It won’t be released until April, which means we’ll have to wait to see how highly the Universe rates it, but initial reports from Florida suggest it showed very well, and will receive the same hosannas as its predecessor.
The stylish Ft. Worth 15 was unabashedly for the better player—a tribute to the man whose legend is stamped all over Koehler’s reincarnation. It’s easy to imagine the nine-time major champion studying the club quietly for several minutes, ruminating over every detail, and eventually walking away well satisfied with what he had seen.
The PTx might give him pause though. Aimed at mid-handicappers, it features a good-sized cavity and a little offset. Hogan would look at Koehler, a slight frown forming on his brow, his demeanor clearly that of a man expecting an explanation.
Gulping, Koehler would explain the club is forged, built to the same tremendously high tolerances Hogan would expect, and, if Mr. Hogan would care to have another look, he’d still see an extremely elegant club despite its game-improvement features.
Koehler might also explain to his former boss that, in order to give slightly less proficient golfers a chance of hitting pleasing shots that ensured their enjoyment, a whole new iron category had opened up since the days of carving knife blades, and that he (Koehler) was trying to attract this golfer without ever abandoning the Hogan Company’s close attention to detail. It was still committed to making special clubs of which the owner would be proud.
The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company says the PTx is co-forged, meaning a 1025 stainless steel body surrounds a titanium core. Because titanium is lighter than the steel, this has the effect of creating a naturally perimeter-weighted head.
Another significant design feature of which Hogan would most surely approve is the location of each club’s Center of Gravity (CG), which remains at the same height in relation to the ball because of the titanium core’s precise positioning.
The short irons feature a slightly higher CG In than other irons of this type, promoting a more penetrating trajectory. Meanwhile, the slightly lower CG in the longer irons makes it easier to get the ball in the air, and bring it down softly on the green. A 17g tungsten weight in the toe of the long irons also facilitates getting the ball airborne, says Koehler.
In other words, as a second release, the PTx is closer to Led Zeppelin II than Fairweather Johnson.
There are 28 PTx irons which, like the Ft. Worth 15s, are labeled with degrees of loft rather than the conventional club number. They are available from 20 degrees to 47, and will come standard with the KBS Tour V or KBS Tour 90 steel shaft, or UST Mamiya Recoil graphite shaft.
Steel shaft – $169 per club; graphite shaft – $184 per club.