by: B. J. Hathaway
Recently after studying the swing of Ben Hogan more and more I developed a deeper interest in the history and design of Mr. Hogan’s golf clubs, especially the irons. My quest to acquire historical Hogan irons began a few weeks ago and will no doubt continue as my study of these beautiful clubs continues. After finally getting some good weather here in Augusta, I was able to do my first test using Flightscope.
Having not hit blades very much since my teen years, my objective was to determine if:
a) are blades really that much harder to hit than cavity back
b) with weaker lofts are they dramatically shorter
Not wanting to dampen my peaking excitement with further research on lofts, I did a quick check and found that basically there could be as much as 8 degrees of loft difference between the test clubs and today’s standard irons.
This test was with three 8 irons:
1964 PTIII (Power Thrust 3)
The shafts of the 60’s irons are original but the shaft labels are unreadable. They have the original grips which are like racing slicks even after clean-up with sand paper, soap and water. The Apex irons have the Legend 5 shafts and fairly new grips.
The test results will show in the following summary chart from the Flightscope session of 10 balls with each club. The 83 Apex was a nine iron and that was just for fun. Consider that my average, stock, modern day Wishon custom 8 iron carries around 165, I was pleasantly surprised to see the numbers.
For the PC5 I’m blaming the slick grip for some distance loss but otherwise a great feel. Again note the 83 Apex is a nine iron, so the average carry distances with even “old” clubs was not significantly shorter than a modern 8 iron at least by this first test. Just for the notes, the max carry distance came from the 73 Apex @ 172 yards followed by the PCII @ 168 yards and the PC5 @ 165 yards. More tests will continue as my collection increases but for now I’m thinking “old school” is not such a bad thing.
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