Ben Hogan’s Historic Brand
Yesterday we heard the sad news that the legendary Ben Hogan company filed for bankruptcy after years of financial struggle. In early January, they were forced to lay off about 30 employees which represented the majority of workers in Fort Worth, Texas.
At the height of his career, Ben Hogan started the club-making company in 1953 in his home-state of Texas. He created clubs for “the better player” and reportedly had the entire first run of irons destroyed as they didn’t meet his standards. Although Hogan stayed on as chairman of the board for several years, the company was sold in 1960 to the American Machine and Foundry company. It then exchanged hands several times up to 2015 where Terry Koehler, an industry veteran, revived the brand after Callaway had discontinued it in 2008. Koehler launched a set of forged irons at the 2015 Merchandise Show which stayed true to the “for the better player” mentality.
We could speculate that the financials were mismanaged, the product wasn’t competitive or the brand direction wasn’t relevant but instead, let’s just appreciate the history of the Ben Hogan brand and the man who created them. Hogan, amidst his busy tour schedule and success, created a golf club company that lasted 60+ years and help change the way performance clubs were made.
Our hearts go out to the folks that were laid off in Texas. Be proud that you were part of one of golf’s legendary brands.