FFS! Just Stop Already!

Golfers having bad tempers is not a new fad. We get it, the game is utterly infuriating and it was British nobility, His Royal Highness King George V who once said: “Golf makes me so damned angry”. Sir, you were so correct and truer words have never been spoken. But legends of our game, the professionals that many of us look up to were no exception.

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King George V strikes a ball at Royal Lytham and St. Annes

Tommy Bolt was known for his bad temper. The man who inspired me to take up the game (Mr. Palmer) was notorious for coloring the air “blue” around him. Although, he wasn’t excessive about it where an entire golf course and surrounding counties could hear him. John Daly, yes he had a pretty bad temper too and he’s had his moments. It makes me wonder if the Dali Lama himself uttered a few cuss words during his round with Carl Spackler. The reality is, outbursts have long been around the game.

There’s a difference though between now and then. PGA TOUR, European Tour, and LPGA TOUR players now have a lot more cameras around them during tournaments. Not to mention of course, that everyone and their uncle has a cell phone on them at all times. Much like regular news, social media and cell phones have made catching the next news story more plausible and easier than ever.

I’ve always said that if you want to be a celebrity or a professional athlete you need to be prepared to have your life examined under a microscope. It’s the price of fame and fortune. The current crop of PGA TOUR players is no exception. I won’t beat the “dead horse” Sergio Garcia because he’s been doing his thing for what seems like an eternity now. But we’ve seen Rory toss his clubs, and Tiger Woods, of course, is definitely not null and void from this conversation. Heck, even as recently Bryson DeChambeau damaged the course and then he was caught again this week at the WGC – Mexico Championship damaging a green. I like Dechambeau but this sours me on him more than the Kuchar nonsense. It just seems like the anger and outbursts are reaching a near epidemic.

Guys taking out their piss poor shots that they made on the greens, bunkers, and fairways. Seriously, for all of the TOUR professionals that take part in this crap just STOP!! Honestly, the ones partaking in this behavior you’re ALL acting like a bunch of entitled, spoiled little brats. Primadonnas. It isn’t you who stands out in the sun making sure that there isn’t a blade of grass out of place week in and week out during your jet-setting stops around the world. It’s the Superintendent or more specifically the guys and girls that work under him or her. For the most part, you guys and gals are guests playing a course that has to be shut down for a period of time. Let’s not lose sight of that. Oh yeah! One other thing. Take a look around you! The people in the galleries who buy a ticket to stand or sit in the gallery and clamber at an event for a selfie, autograph, golf ball or a glove. Sometimes, they just want to catch a quick glimpse of their favorite player. But likely, more importantly, they’d rather be the ones in your shoes playing that course or be the one “inside the ropes”.

 

As much as I’m going to point my finger at the player’s themselves to exhibit a little more self-control I’m going to point my fingers at the respective commissioners. Jay Monahan (PGA TOUR), Keith Pelley (European PGA TOUR) and Michael Whan (LPGA TOUR) the onus is on you to get a control on your players. I love the fact that the three of you are forward-thinkers with great new ideas and you are doing some great things. But you have a problem. Your players are making it ever increasingly difficult to watch golf. This coming from an individual who breathes and lives golf and writes about it for nary any sort of remuneration. Quite honestly, I’m not necessarily talking about issuing fines because what’s a fine to a player with a bankroll of millions of dollars. I’m talking something more punitive. Penalty strokes or perhaps a little more of enforcing Rule 1.2A (Serious Misconduct). What’s the difference between a TOUR player intentionally damaging a fairway, bunker or green (no I’m not talking about divots as the result of an actual stroke) or an adolescent getting caught spray-painting graffiti on a building? There isn’t! No… Wait there is. The adolescent has to atone for their actions and sometimes it may involve them cleaning it up.

Huh?! There’s an idea, make these guys go out and do some grunt work. He or she who ruins must repair. Get out there and spend time getting your hands dirty. It’s respect and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. Maybe then they’ll just stop… FFS!

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The only Tortoise err… Turtle that I want to see on a course. More Hare action.

**** Commissioners.  I nearly forgot. My recommendation for fixing another epidemic. Slow Play. Just start giving two-strokes to an entire group with no opportunity to appeal after the round. The players will govern themselves. Your players are the ones hurting the game. Who the Hell wants to watch 6-7 hour rounds? I played in Mini-Tour events that went like that and it destroys the game in both a literal and figurative sense.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company

In the history of the game there are certain names that need to be a part of it. Names like Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan. Every one of them no longer amongst us but their names and legacies still live on.

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I want to talk about the latter of that legendary list up above. Ben Hogan. We know a lot about him. Of course, his swing is what we recognize mostly and perhaps his driver’s cap. We also know him because he came back after a horrific car crash and would later win the 1950 U.S. Open some 11 months later. However, what we often forget was that he was an entrepreneur and that he wanted to start a golf club equipment company. That very thing would happen after Mr. Hogan would “pen” a letter confirming rumors stating his intentions. That letter seen below was dated October 5th, 1953.

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That letter was the beginning of something beautiful. Mr. Hogan would create some of the most iconic irons that we’ve seen to date. Models like the Apex, Apex II, Medallion, Edge, and Radial to name a few. Mr. Hogan would pass away in 1997 and what was once a maker of the finest golf clubs simply strayed away and drifted into the fading sunset. Eventually to all but disappear from the golf industry. The brand saw a carousel of ownership that included Top-Flite and it was in 2003 when Callaway Golf bought the name. In 2012, the name would be sold to Perry Ellis International who produced apparel, accessories and golf balls under the name. The name lived on but the premium golf equipment did not.

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Ben Hogan Golf Equipment as we know it in 2019 surfaced when a long-time admirer and fellow Texan Terry Koehler (formerly SCOR Golf) approached the president of Perry Ellis about purchasing the name. Mr. Koehler was intent on starting a line of equipment bearing the name. The transaction took place, the name was resurrected and the company launched in 2014. At the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show it became official. Like a “Phoenix” rising from the ashes Ben Hogan Golf Equipment was back bearing a line of beautiful irons (Ft .Worth 15) and the TK 15 wedges. The following year the company brought along the VKTR hybrid, PTX irons and the Ft. Worth HI irons. I was more than happy to cover all of the above in 2015 and 2016. These irons were gorgeous and performed. Mr. Hogan himself would’ve been delighted that these clubs would bear his name.

This background leads us to what the real point of this article is about. As I’ve elaborated  in other articles…golf is at a weird crossroads. Instead of it truly being about the products themselves the equipment has gotten to a point where the retail prices have become somewhat astronomical. It seems that prices are a large part of the golf dialogue. To seal the deal regarding the high prices you have to factor in that your local shop pays a wholesale price per product and they have to see a profit on the goods. It’s business. Depending on where you live and what kind of course it is the mark-ups for profit margin can be anywhere from 15% on some things to as much as 35%. I kid you not because having been management and a Director of Golf Services at a course I’ve budgeted for Pro Shops and seen the wholesale prices. This is where the beauty and genius of Ben Hogan Golf Equipment enters the fray.

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If you were to walk into your local golf retailer and wanted to purchase a Vokey SM7 wedge what would that cost you? Maybe $150.00 USD (more in Canada with the exchange). How about a new Mack Daddy wedge from Callaway Golf? Likely about the same and what about a new Cleveland Golf RTX-4 wedge? It’ll be a tad less… say maybe $135 USD. Out of the wedges that I just mentioned how many are forged? Now you have a case like the Ben Hogan TK 15 wedges or the Equalizer wedges. These are forged from 1025 Carbon Steel. Right away you have higher quality materials for manufacturing. They feature high quality steel shafts (KBS) and top of the line Lamkin Grips. One other thing, about the Vokey, Mack Daddy or RTX-4 mentioned above. What if you wanted graphite shafts? There’ll be a slight upcharge. With Ben Hogan there isn’t because steel or graphite will cost only $75 for TK 15 or $100 for the Equalizer. So I challenge you to find wedges of the same quality for that price. But…How do they do it?

***No retail mark-up!!!

Ben Hogan Golf Equipment only sells to consumers. There is NO middleman (hence retailer) and they are only available on-line. Instead of paying for profit margins and excessive marketing campaigns golf consumers get high-quality golf equipment from Ben Hogan at factory direct prices. Ben Hogan Golf Equipment knows all too well that the cost of purchasing equipment has gotten too expensive. Because their costs are less so to are their prices. For example, the VKTR hybrid is $135 USD. A 7-piece set of their Edge irons for graphite or steel is $735. Remember these are forged irons!! The classy and elegant PTX irons are a little bit more at $770. Now compare these to any of the others in the industry and you’re paying several hundred dollars more. Almost to the point where you could buy the set and add in 3 wedges and maybe a hybrid for the same price or less than what you paid for the Mizuno, Bridgestone, Srixon or Cobra irons.

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If you’re really concerned about your needs and fitting don’t be. Maybe you already know your specs. So if you need them adjusted 2* flat or a 1/2 inch longer it’s not an issue. With all Ben Hogan Golf clubs length, lie and now loft customizations are available at no charge. Another advantage to Ben Hogan Golf  is that their clubs are all handcrafted with no mass production. If you don’t know your specs there are resources on the internet or visit your local fitter. Either way, you can feel safe and secure knowing that one way or another you can be fit into a set of clubs without breaking the bank.

Ben Hogan Golf. I absolutely love the direction that you’ve taken. I also love what you’re doing down in Texas. Your model is a fresh breath of air.

I sincerely hope that more golf consumers look at Ben Hogan Golf. Their equipment is classy and timeless and is at the highest of quality. All of this at the lowest price point in the industry. Stay tuned for more on Ben Hogan Golf as I’m in the process of testing the Equalizer wedges for review. So far I cannot say enough complimentary things about them.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee