Back in high school, I spent months saving up all the money I had at the time so that I could buy a set of Ben Hogan irons. I still have them at my parents' house. I love them, and I could put a new set of grips on them tonight and play them tomorrow like I'd never stopped using them.
Why did I buy Hogan irons? I believed they were a great iron for a good player, which I had convinced myself by junior year of high school that I was. (I was not. I didn't even start to figure out golf for another seven or eight years.) At the time I don't even know if Hogan made game-improvement irons (they did; the Edge irons), and I imagine a lot of golfers of my vintage didn't think of Hogan as purveyors of game-aiding tech.
Fast forward 20 years -- yup, 20 years -- and the modern incarnation of Ben Hogan Golf suffers from the same identity problem. The company conducted reputational research and found many mid-handicappers and above were intimidated by the Hogan name. Partially in an attempt to offer clubs for most golfers and partially in an attempt to fight the implication the Hogans are only for accomplished players, the company has released their new game-improvement irons, the Edge EX.
The Edge EX irons are a lot like modern game-improvement clubs. They have a two-piece construction, with a body and face insert. Compared to some of their peers in the space, though, Hogan has flipped the script, going with a forged face insert and a high-strength steel body.
These irons still have a traditional Hogan look, but they've got those touches that a mid-handicapper and above wants and needs.
The Edge EX irons have an open-cavity design, which is meant to drive weight down and away from the center of the clubhead to offer higher moment of inertia. The lower center of gravity also helps get the ball launching higher. In a bigger footprint, the net result is better ball speed across the hitting area. Of course, these irons feature more offset compared to a player's iron, which inspires confidence in a lot of mid-handicappers along with a thicker topline.
Carrying through the entire Hogan product line is the V-Sole technology, which has been fit into the wider sole of these irons. The leading edge has a higher bounce with a trailing edge carrying a softer bounce for ideal turf interaction from any lie. Also like all Ben Hogan Golf irons, there are four-degree gaps between irons, keeping with Hogan's gapping philosophy. Lofts can be strengthened up to 2 degrees in the fitting process, but the irons have more traditional lofts, so don't expect outrageous distance numbers compared to peer sets with much lower lofts on each iron.
Golfers can use the company's improved HoganFit online fitting tool to identify the right Hogan products for their game, but if you're in the double-digit handicap range, the Edge EX is almost certainly the Hogan iron for you.
The Ben Hogan Edge EX irons are available for pre-order and will ship in late April. The seven-piece set with a 4-iron through pitching wedge will be $800 with a variety of steel and graphite shafts available. There are five- and six-piece sets, too, for golfers looking to plug in utility irons or hybrids into their set instead of long irons. All irons are built to spec.