Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby lagpressure » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:21 pm

I think the Speed Slot and the Powerthrust irons came out around the same time. The PT irons had a lot of weight shaved off the toe area which was a totally unique design at the time.

To my view, this is "hitters' stuff.

If you are accelerating the clubhead, you can move more mass behind the sweetspot which these irons do. It should be noted that the Powerthrust irons are not lighter due to the toe shaved design. The mass was just re distributed from the toe back into the center of the club.

Clubs that are more toe weighted (most irons) bring the toe more into play especially for swingers. Swingers use the toe weight to help close the face through the strike through CF.

Toe weight will tend to get pinned back actually opening the face which requires more active rotation to "close the door". This is exactly why hitters should not like offset either. We want to be rewarded for our rotational aggression through the strike. I "get" was Hogan was doing with this design.

However, I think most players who bought these clubs did not have great hitting technique. To my view, it was not a club really designed for any kind of mass market. This was a specialty club that Hogan designed. From what I understand, this was also the last blade that Hogan himself designed. Hogan probably realized that this kind of design work would not keep his company afloat for very long. He needed to make blades for good players but not necessarily for the most elite ball strikers. That could always be done at the company custom shop etc.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:38 pm

Dear RR,

Thanks for thoughts again and encouragment.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:42 pm

Dear Lag,

You know it is very interesting that you mentioned this because after my experiment, I have been mulling over the 73 Apex's for a week now. I realized that there is a lot of weight on the toe. As mentioned I had some problems hitting the ball off the toe. Used some tape and was consistent, but on the toe. After making some compensations started to hit the face in the middle, now but the ball was actually flying popping up a little more and losing some distance.

Also just for reference when I mean distance I don't mean the overblown distance expectations of goday, I mean hitting my equalizer 100yards down to about 75yards but on higher trajectory.

Gave a really hard second look at the Apex 73's and various models from about the Bounce S
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:04 pm

(Note: Apologies for the weird post I was typing when my internet cut out. Had to reboot and relog on. Apparently, my incomplete post got posted where I left off, but I can't seem to delete it: the typical "edit" or "delete button is not appearing at the top, so I will type up the rest here. Sorry for inconvenient reading. If any of the moderators want to delete it, for tidiness sake, just pm and I can repost as originally intended in a single post. I will rewrite and save a copy of the full post incase. Thank you)

Continued:

...Gave a really hard second look at the Apex 73's and various models from about the Bounce Soles through the Apex 94's and realized with the exception of the Apex PC's and perhaps the Medallions the center of mass moves progressively lower and lower on the face throughout the years. I mean just compare the muscle pad of the Apex 72 vs Apex 73, and more and more mass is situated out towards the toe. The Apex 73 though it has a clip in near the toe actually tapers from the toe down towards the heal. The thickest part of the blade is the toe!

The actual blade on blade is not beefy like the Power Thrusts and the older percussion center irons of the 1960's used to be. In fact the Apex 73 lasted in production until the Apex II in 79 and was relaunched on a limited basis as the Decade and Classic Apex irons. Furthermore, after taking a good look, the 88 Apex (Redline) is basically the 73's with more toe weight and a little diferent grind. The 92 Apex Grinds being a slightly different grind of the 88 Redlines.

I think you are spot on Lag, even the premier apex line seemed progressively to be catered towards swinger mechanics as the years went. And to be honest, the man had to run a business, I get that. Reading some of the sparce interviews where Mr. Sheely and Mr. Stites speak about their experiences with Mr. Hogan or through second hand conversations like when Mr. Wishon met with Mr. Sheely and handled Mr. Hogan's actual clubs, it strikes me how Mr.Hogan was extremly finiky about what "he would consider usable", but I think as the years went on he tried to cater for the weekend golfer crowd. Not because he was selling out, but because he knew most would not take the years to really be patient and digest what he shared and work at it until they started to master the swing. Everyone thought his "secret" (or secrets) was some sort of magical thing, any person can incorporate a seemingly insignificant move and become and expert ballstriker. I recall reading somewhere that when asked why the people and even the pros who tried to use his "secret" from the life magazine were actually getting worse, Mr. Hogan's response was something along the lines of "All I will say is they are not doing it correctly."
Last edited by eth14dev on Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:08 pm

I was looking into the old long hosel clubs of 40's and 50's to try and get more weight feel towards the heel for this reason. I will definitely check out the 1960 Power Thrusts as well after my journey in shafts is done.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:03 am

Also, relooking over I realized somethings might not have been clear. The tape was the face tape that tells the user where they are impacting.

And I think sleepiness at near midnight got me. By "compensations" meant to mean "corrections". Saw a thread from the old archives recently talking about flat shoulders vs steep. Realized due to old habits, I never noticed I was address flat, and now my backswing turn was flat, but in my down swing I was turning steep which would obviously drag my arms down and in towards my body, but in the wrong kind of way.

This explained why I was address in the middle of the face but all my impacts were off the tip of the toe. Fixing this has brought the impact point in, but it is still a little toeward, as mentioned. While the original intends of the "open face post" was not related to this and more just my ponderings, I realized by RR's and Lag's explanation of the effect of the toe and the weight distribution of my equipment, that the thickest part of the 73 apex when seen from below (sole) and above (topline) is toward the toe, right where I am hitting it now.

I wonder if its my brain sensing that this spot has the most mass? I guess I better use metal tape and try experimenting, with redistributing the balance. To get the COG in the middle. Thanks for the great thoughts.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby lagpressure » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:30 pm

Any truly fine ball striker should end up with a set of classic blades at some point. From there, no reason not to explore the offerings from the age of steel and the peak of golf's greatest shot makers.

In my mind, Hogan's best blade was the late 50's Sunburst. It was the accumulation of Hogan's knowledge and also at a time when he could properly field test his own creations. The PowerThrust is another very interesting design worth exploration for certain players. The Spalding Bird on Ball was basically a PT knockoff.

I think the 56 Dynas up through the Wilson Turfriders offer the unique qualities of a true low profile weight distribution. It should be explored as a set for consideration for fine strikers. It was Palmer's club of choice.

The Mac M85 and Tommy Armour Silver Scots series offered a higher weight distribution to keep the ball down while still having a relatively low profile head.

The Wilson Dyna Bullet Backs were the precursor of most of the modern blades that became popular and found a happy medium for a lot of the qualities that fine forged blades offered.

One of my personal favorites were the Mac VFQ heads with the triangle of dots on the face. What I like about those blades was not so much the dots but the very thin flange, and it had quite a bit of bounce for such a thin blade. Just a very versatile club for so many kind of lies, grass and situations when golf was played on less than perfect surfaces..... which I think it still should be if you really want to master this game. Those blades were also very heavy but had a look that was very compact and clean.

The Haig Ultras offered the "Contour Sole" which I think is another very viable concept for certain conditions. I think they were one of the best hitting clubs from bad lies and rough.

So just some quick thoughts on head shapes. The shaft discussion is a whole other topic.
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby LesMurray » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:12 pm

I have a set of original '57 Wilson Staffs with leather grips and TT Rocket shafts. I love to hit those clubs. Something about the shaft makes it a very enjoyable experience each time I use them. Sometimes I'll grab some old balatas I have laying around and some leather-gripped Mac persimmons and go have an old-man golf day. Lot's of fun.

I have a set of Hogan Precisions - the model before the Sunburst irons and very similar in design. They are shafted with modern TT X-200s and rubber grips. Also hit very well. I like those because they really reward you with a center strike, plus provide excellent feedback when you don't without too much penalty shot-wise.

I'm working a set of Wilson Staff Buttonbacks into my rotation as well. Also shafted with X-200s and rubber Mint grips. Very playable and a touch longer than my other sets. The odd long/left shot comes into play with these. I think it's because they have more weight out on the toe.

I've been playing persimmons and blades almost my whole time playing golf. Just recently started flirting with a toaster-on-a-stick driver, mainly for the distance. But it's a two-edged sword - it's either long and straight or long and gone!
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Re: Thoughts on Ben Hogan

Postby eth14dev » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:44 am

Hey Les,

Yes those toasters on sticks are indeed all or nothing. I grew up with cast cavitiy irons (thinking they always looked cool with the fancy decals. Didn't know any better) and was enamored by professionals from the late 90's unto the 2010ish hitting 300-350yard drives with super high tech stuff. Wanted all that until I quit. Cannot attest to how many balls I have lost. When I was in my teens, I stuck with using a 5 wood out of the tee box. Yes it was a super, whippy graphite shaft and ultra light, but always felt I could at least make the ball go somewhere near the fairway vs driver or 3 wood. My biggest surprise going into vintage is when I went to the used club bags in a local golf store and saw an old beat up rusty cracked laminate #1 wood and realized the thing was smaller than my cereal bowl sized metal 5 wood.

When I returned to golf few years back, and in the last year, got interested in vintage, never looked back. Thanks on the input about how the older clubs feel because I always wondered where having the greatest center of gravity and mass was optimum for me, now that I am on the vintage side, really opened my eyes to the great ideas of past club designers. Your perspectives have been invaluble because it confirms for me I am really going to like the older long hosels like the BH Precisions or various Macgregor irons. I think my next set will definitely be from the 40's and 50's and then my third the 1960 BH PowerThrusts as Lag mentioned. Gonna go for the 1960 version specifically over the 61 or 62 as it looks the most like a set of Precisions that Mr. Hogan grinded out, then sent then to Mr. Sheely for prototyping.


My long term goal is to have a true ball strikers set of perfectly matched woods, irons, wedges, and putter. All perfectly customized to me. I legitmately want them to not look like anything on today's store shelves.

Thanks as always for your helpful thoughts.
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