The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company, left for dead simply over a year ago, is returning one more time.
As MyGolfSpy initially reported on Twitter, Simon Millington, owner of Las Vegas-based Golf Brands, Inc., has actually struck a licensing handle Hogan brand name owner Perry Ellis to reanimate Hogan. Over the previous year, Millington has actually brought long-gone brand names MacGregor, RAM and Zebra back to life. And the chance to handle Hogan is something he couldn’t miss.
“I like to hunt these things down a little bit,” Millington informs MyGolfSpy. “So when they had the problems last year, I knew Perry Ellis and got straight to them, literally immediately.”
Millington states it took months to put the offer together as others had an interest in taking control of the brand name also. It all came together in late September.
“We’ve got all the old Hogan inventory,” states Millington. “There’s some inventory in China, which is current stock and a couple of new models. That gives us instant product and we’ll start working on new products over time.”
Ben Hogan Golf: Getting Back In The Game
Millington and his kids are working to develop a brand-new site and service structure before the wheels of commerce can begin rolling once again. He states they ought to be all set to roll within weeks.
“We’re getting into a busy market,” discusses Millington. “We’re as good as anything and, ultimately, we have to prove that and get that message across to the consumer.”
As with the born-again MacGregor, RAM and Zebra brand names, Hogan will once again be direct-to-consumer with a rates structure to match. The Hogan offering proposal will stay the exact same: premium, premium created irons, metalwoods and putters at factory-direct rates.
“We want people wowed when they get their product,” he states. “That’s the respect we want to earn. We have to earn it.”
The brand-new Hogan will deal with a lot of the exact same obstacles as Sub 70, Takomo and other DTC club brand names. First and primary is the presumption that golf devices that costs that much less than the “big names” can’t potentially be as great.
“We have to get the product right,” states Millington. “That’s the thing that drives us. Quality matters and then it’s about elevating the brand. But to do that we’ve got to get the product right.”
Millington has relationships with leading independent club designers. Austie Rollinson developed the MacGregor MT-86 irons for Millington in between gigs at Callaway and Titleist. And, not coincidently, the foundry in China that creates the Hogan heads likewise makes the heads for MacGregor.
The Up and Down History of Ben Hogan Golf
As discussed, the current model of the Ben Hogan Golf Company closed its doors on July 25 of in 2015. It was, coincidentally, the 25th anniversary of Ben Hogan’s death. The initial business was begun by Hogan himself in 1953 with its specified objective to make every club appear like a piece of great precious jewelry.
Since then, the business has actually had a wild history of ups and downs. Hogan offered the business to AMF in 1960. It was gotten by business raider Irwin Jacobs in 1984 as part of his hostile takeover of AMF. Jacobs offered it to the Japanese business Cosmo World which would ultimately own Pebble Beach Golf Links.
With sales growing following the release of the Hogan Edge, Cosmo offered Hogan to Virginia business owner Bill Goodwin who immediately closed down the Hogan plant in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved operations to Richmond, Va. Five years later on, Goodwin offered Hogan to Spalding.
Spalding declared bankruptcy in 2003 and was gotten by Callaway. Callaway mothballed the brand name in 2008 before offering it to Perry Ellis in 2012. Three years later on, Terry Koehler would reanimate the Hogan brand name back in Fort Worth however, by early 2017, the business would apply for insolvency once again.
Chicago financial investment company ExWorks Capital gotten Hogan and resumed it in the summer season of 2017. Hogan at the time was among, if not the very first, exceptional golf devices OEMs running specifically in the direct-to-consumer area.
Hogan flourished throughout COVID-19, running beneficially with sales growing every year. ExWorks Capital, nevertheless, applied for insolvency in the spring of 2022. Funding for Hogan dried up, requiring the business to shut its doors.
For great … or so it appeared.
What Does the Future Hold for Ben Hogan Golf?
Ben Hogan stated the most crucial shot in golf is the next one. And, for some factor, the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company keeps getting up off the mat for another shot.
“We are starting with this massive brand equity,” states Millington. “It’s been chipped away a bit over the years but there is this desire. People still want to have Ben Hogan. We just need to find more of them.”
Even in its prime time in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Hogan was a niche brand. It was known for its premium forged blades and the innovative (for its time) Hogan Edge. Don’t anticipate it to be anything various under Millington. Hogan won’t threaten any of the Big Five OEMs and even the next tier of OEMs such as Mizuno, Srixon, PXG and Wilson.
As with his other reanimated brand names, all Millington actually requires is to offer sufficient Hogan clubs to make it worth his while. He doesn’t have financiers to please or investors to deal with. He does need to keep Perry Ellis delighted however that’s the expense of operating as a licensee.
And The Bigger Question …
Does golf actually require another direct-to-consumer business? Maybe more notably, does golf require the Ben Hogan Company? Wouldn’t it be much better simply to let it rest in peace?
“Hogan could just die,” states Millington. “Some people will care. The real Hogan enthusiasts won’t want to see that but it won’t make a lot of difference in anybody’s life. I think it’s the same with any brand, really.”
Understand that Callaway, TaylorMade, PING, COBRA and Titleist offer in the community of 80 percent of all the premium golf devices offered on this here world. If everybody other than for those 5 failed tomorrow, we’d still have lots of equipment to select from.
Direct-to-consumer business use customers a value-laden option. Their devices varies anywhere from functional to extraordinary, with rates that yells worth. The difficulty for customers is to accept that something that much more economical can carry out like the huge names. And the truth the huge names continue to control is a homage in big part to branding and, to a lower degree, big-money R&D.
And although it can be lumped into a stack identified “Just Another DTC Brand,” Hogan is various since, well, it’s Hogan. Hogan the man and Hogan the business suggest something to golf players of a particular age. The tough part for the brand-new Hogan is getting that mystique to suggest something to enough brand-new golf players to make the entire endeavor beneficial.
“As long as we do a good job and keep elevating the brand, people will respect the brand and the quality it stood for,” states Millington. “And it’s our job to make that better.”
And the most crucial shot is the next one.
Postscript: If you wish to discover more about the history of the Ben Hogan Company, have a look at this three-part podcast by the Society of Golf Historians. It covers the complete history of the Hogan business from its birth in 1953 through its latest renewal.