May 06, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Ben Hogan's Ft. Worth 15Hi retails for $169 with KBS's Tour V or Tour 90 shafts.
When it comes to the most popular long-iron alternative on the PGA TOUR, the hybrid is still king. Along with offering more forgiveness, distance and a higher launch angle, the club comes in a variety of lofts that makes it easy to fill a yardage gap at the top of the set.
However, over the course of the last few years, hybrid usage has declined slightly thanks to the emergence of the utility iron that's designed with a long-iron profile (top line and sole) and hollow construction. Launch and workability are also more in line with that of a traditional long iron.
Not only that, the addition of materials like tungsten and an ultra-thin face have made it possible for designers to reduce spin and create hybrid-like ball speeds with improved forgiveness.
Today, every equipment manufacturer offers a utility iron, including the Ben Hogan Golf Company, which recently unveiled the new Ft. Worth 15Hi iron that's forged from 1025 carbon steel and features two-piece hollow construction that redistributes more mass low, back and toward the heel and toe to increase launch and forgiveness across the entire face.
“It really is the best of both worlds,” said Terry Koehler, Ben Hogan Golf's president and CEO. “The Ft. Worth Hi irons prove that you can have the forgiveness of a game improvement iron without sacrificing traditional looks. Our two-piece hollow forging design makes the longer irons playable for a much larger segment of golfers than ever before."
Available in one degree increments from 20-31 degrees (12 different loft options), the Ft. Worth 15Hi has a slightly larger top line and profile than the standard Ft. Worth iron that was introduced last year. According to Koehler, the similar profile makes it possible to blend the Ft. Worth 15Hi long irons with Ft. Worth scoring clubs.
Going with a hollow construction made it possible to redistribute weight within the head, lowering the center of gravity (CG) by 15 percent in the process. The lower CG increases forgiveness, especially on off-center strikes.
“When you get under 30-32 degrees of loft, spin is your friend, particularly in off-center performance,” stated Koehler. “Most long-iron misses are low on the clubface and result in low launch/low spin shots that have shorter carry distances and shallower angles of descent. The hollow construction and precision engineering deliver the right balance of perimeter weighting, looks, ball flight and distance control, creating the new standard in long iron design and playability.”
Ben Hogan's Ft. Worth 15Hi retails for $169 with KBS's Tour V or Tour 90 shafts. UST's Mamiya Recoil is the standard graphite option at a retail price of $184.