When I rolled up the drive way I saw a little brown box. I sprinted up the stairs grabbed the box and opened the door. I ran to the extra bed room and heard a whimpering. I totally forgot to let the dogs out in my excitement. I had to quit opening the clubs and let the dogs out of their kennels and put them outside. Whoops! Look how pretty this packaging is!
When I was in college, I didnt take the game too seriously because money was tight,and I couldnt afford to play very often. That all changed when I took a job at a top 100 club fitting facility. They also had some of the top teachers in the Houston area. Working around such great golfers and instructors I couldnt help get better. While working there, I shot my all time best round of a 75. I was training to pass my PAT when I got an offer to work for the Houston Texans.
I took that job and since then the handicap has gone up. When you aren’t at the range and getting instruction every day, that tends to happen. After shooting in the 70’s, I now shoot in the mid 80’s. Since then my swing has “evolved”. Luckily, I have kept my swing speed which hovers around 100-105. If I really step on it, I have touched 108. I never like going there and, honestly, when I hit 108 it was on accident. I hit my swing speed with a fairly quick tempo. It is almost too fast, and I can’t control it. When that happens, I catch it thin. It will go straight but not very high. I lose distance and it is incredibly frustrating. My other miss is a push. It will start right and stay right. It wont turn right it will just stay right. This is very evident when you put a driver in my hand. I feel my scores would be better if I could keep the ball on the course. It is frustrating hitting your 3rd shot from the tee box. Where I “shine” is when you put me 30 or less yards from the green and a wedge in my hand. If you need a chip or pitch, I am your guy. When my ball striking is on I play a nice draw. On some other days a nice cut is what I have going on.It can change from day to day but it is consistent all day long.
This test is going to be very interesting for me. I currently really like my irons. I play the Cleveland 588 CB. I think they are one of the best looking irons around. They provide forgiveness while also giving me the ability to flight the ball. They have s300 shafts in them and I play 4-PW. Since Hogan uses the loft system, I will be giving the lofts of all my irons here
For the Hogans, I decided to not match my irons loft wise. I really want to test the consistent gaping theory of Hogan. I honestly don’t care if I gain or lose yards. Since Hogan wants consistent gaping I decided to go with this set up:
You will notice every club is stronger than the one they “match”. This was the configuration that fit my wedge set up. Since I play a 50/54/58 wedge set up, I wanted to keep the 4 degree gaping in all of the clubs. The gaping theory makes sense to me so why not use it?
The Hogans are going up against the incumbent Cleveland 588cb. As you may know Hogan does not use traditional club numbering. They only use lofts. They allow you to choose any lofts you like. They want to make sure all players have proper gaping between irons. In many modern irons you see an inconsistent gaping through a set. Rather than matching my current irons I decided to test this constant gaping theory. I felt I was here to test the Hogan irons not compare the Hogans to my current irons. With that being said I got a set of 22-46 with 4 degree gaping between irons.
Performance at the Range
When I got these I unpacked them and took them straight out to the range. I tend to spend quite a bit of time on the range. I like the calm and relaxation of the range. I can throw in some headphones and really focus. With that being said I couldnt put in headphones because I wanted to hear these and feel these. I really wanted to focus on a few things when I was out for the first time with these.
- Turf Interaction
I may not have had my best swing that day because I wasnt hitting the Hogans or my Clevelands like I wanted to. Thats just fine though because it allowed me to check out the mishits and how forgiving these clubs were. When I caught one pure it went about 5-10 yards longer than when I mishit it. That being said the misses were consistent. I hate when a mishit flies very short and way off line. In this case it was shorter (expected) but consistent. Mishits all landed close to one another. I love this and allows me to prepare just in case. I know that the club will fly short 5 yards and have a fade on it. If have trouble that way I know I should club up or try harder to avoid that area with my aim.
Most of my range sessions are actually at the PGA Superstore. This allowed me to have quite a few simulator sessions. I know these are not 100% accurate but it did allow me to compare apples to apples. I took my 22,38,46 degree Hogans and my 24,39,47 degree Clevelands to the simulator for a show down. As you can see the Hogans are stronger. To my surprise the distance on the Hogans was actually shorter on the 38 and 46 by about half a club. I was able to explain this a couple of ways. First off was the amount of spin I was getting with the Hogans. They had brand new grooves and were creating a ton of spin compared to the Clevelands. The clubs also flew much higher than the Clevelands. Again this had to do with the amount of spin but I am sure the shaft difference had something to do with it as well. I was going from a DG S300 to a KBS Tour V 110. It was lighter and higher launching. One thing I did like more than the Clevelands was the consistency. I could tell you EXACTLY where the Hogans were going. Everything flew within 5 yards of each other and landed in a nice neat area. The Clevelands were a little sporadic. I did appreciate this and honestly I am willing to give up distance for consistency. One feature I wanted to test on these at the range was the V-Sole. In my two outdoor range sessions I have found this very interesting. I found it to be very efficent on getting through the dry Texas soil. It reminds me quite a bit of the Srixon sole. I found I was able to “stick it” more with these irons on the range.
Range Score: 8 (Out of 10 points) It loses points for being shorter despite having stronger lofts but it gains it right back for consistency
Performance on the Course
Ill be 100 percent honest with you about a week before I got these the wheels had started to come off my swing. I couldnt keep a drive on the reservation. When you cant keep a drive in play it can make an iron review a little difficult. When I did find a part of the course that wasnt covered in trees these clubs were mind blowingly good. This swing I was fighting was leading to a big cut on the ball. The good thing was these clubs flew true. I knew I could aim left and the ball would cut right back to the right. It was so consistent. I couldnt believe it. Bad swings flew consistent. Good shots flew consistent. What else could I want? I decided since I cant keep a driver in the fairway I was going to cheat a little and take driver out of play. I went over to the local 9 hole par 3 course. This allowed me to hit the irons and see how they performed. When sitting on the tee box with the irons I had some confidence. Considering this was only day 7 of having them I was very happy. As I took them to the range more I became more and more comfortable with the shot shape I would hit. I figured out the swing hitch after some range time and thats when these clubs went to the next level.
When I first got these clubs I was surprised to see that the club that most closely matched my Clevelands was actually 5-10 yards short despite being 2 degrees stronger in loft. I first noticed this out on the range but was able to confirm it at the course. Despite this, They were consistent. I knew the 38 degree was going to go 145. When I figured out the swing flaw that popped up,the clubs were starting to go normal distances again. I have played 5 rounds on a full 18 and 2 on a par 3 course. On the par 3 course I was hitting greens at a fairly good rate. I was making balls dance like I never had before. I was making golf balls back up 10-15 feet. When they didnt dance back they were putting craters the green. Here in Texas thats a HUGE deal. On municipal courses that I play, plush and soft greens are not the norm. I usually have to play a little roll out no matter the ball. With these it was actually back from its pitch mark. I was beyond impressed. After a few weeks I was used to them and able to hit them much better. When that happened I was getting closer to the 150 I got with my Clevelands.
Another thing for me when it comes to irons is being able to flight them properly. I want to be able to hit it low or high. These irons like to hit it high but if I needed to I could play the ball back and get the ball to fly low. These clubs have some offset but that doesnt mean you cant work the ball. Left or right these clubs handle it. Im not much of a shot shaper. I dont like moving it side to side. I will try to fly it lower though especially in Dallas with our large amounts of wind. When I wanted to do that the clubs did exactly as I planned
Course Score: 27 (Out of 30 points)
Look, they are pretty. Gorgeous chrome goodness. Its not a giant cavity back but its not a blade either. I took the ones from the rack at a PGA Superstore and compared it to other irons. The closest match I found was the Cobra King LTD CB. As far as offset goes this club has some but its no Ping G Max. Its a nice compact CB with a little bit of offset. Think of most of the player CB irons and this falls in line with those. I hate doing this because it is incredible nit picky but I would change a couple of things about the irons looks. The cavity on the longer irons is smooth with paint. On the short irons there is some milling lines. The inconsistency drives me a little crazy. Its nit picky but hey thats why they ask us to do these.
Looks Score: 18 (Out of 20 points)
Sound and Feel
This is probably the most interesting aspect of these irons for me. The sound on these irons is very unique. The Hogans have a titanium face and a hollow body. If youre thinking that sounds a lot like the build of a hybrid, I thought the same thing. In the longer irons this is very noticeable. It really sounds like a hybrid. It really threw me off the first few times. Im not saying its bad its just…..different. The short irons sound more iron like. These dont have that mushy soft Mizuno or Miura sound. Its more clicky. Again not bad. Sounds better than a M2. Its a forged clicky.It is more clicky like a Nike forging. I cant argue with that at all.With that said they are oh so soft. I wanted to see just how soft these could feel. I bought a sleeve of Wilson Staff Duo balls. It was like hitting a marshmallow with a warm stick of butter. Go to the kitchen and try that. Ill wait……Ok thanks for returning. Howd that feel? Wonderful huh? Thats what it feels to hit a Duo with a PTX iron. With a harder golf ball like my e5 it still felt great. I love the grip. Its soft but feels tacky. The caveat on this is the grip has got to be pretty clean. I lost my glove for a hole but was still able to swing these pretty well. I have done that with other clubs and it was awful. Honestly the grip may be one of my favorite parts of this club. I kind of want to email Hogan and get them on all of my clubs.I also love the fact you know when you mishit it. You can feel a mishit but it doesnt hurt. It doesnt punish you too much but does let you know something wasnt right.
When hit pure I will put these up against anything in terms of feel. The sound on the long iron is a little weird but they still feel nice
Sound and Feel Score: 17 (Out of 20 points) They only lose points because the long irons and short irons sound so different
Like I said earlier these clubs are a strong step towards a perfect golf club. They offer forgiveness,good looks, and consistency. They could improve the sound of the clubs but if it meant changing the performance of the club I wouldnt do it. I have a little more practice to determine if I am finalizing them in the bag. If these are any indicator of how the Hogan brand will continue forward. I cant wait to see what the new CEO will bring to the company
Total Score: 90 (Add up all 5 categories and present a total score)
If you want something new you wont waste your time looking at these I promise.