Will Callaway Ever Bring Ben Hogan Clubs Back Online
Late in 2003, Callaway agreed to purchase Ben Hogan Golf. You might not remember this since there has been nothing going on with the Ben Hogan brand since the purchase. At one time Hogan golf was known for making some of the best forged irons in the world and today when you call their new owner Callaway they don't even have a Ben Hogan department inside their complex. Hogan was not the first and unfortunately will not be the last of the older major golf brands to be swept under the rug or passed over by a new breed of golf companies.
Big names like Spalding, Wilson, MacGregor, Ram, Louisville and many others have all but become a childhood memory or a thrift store bargain. Back then new products were not released every 6 months like they are today by companies like Taylormade and Cobra. Here's a quiz quest
ion for you
. What were the name of all the irons that Taylormade and Cobra produced in 2007? The numbers of irons they released are staggering and the names are easily forgettable. How do they expect to brand themselves when you can't remember anything they developed? Well, I will save the reasoning behind all of that for another article.
I just feel that when all these older brand names are gone and forgotten there will be a pretty sizeable chunk of the nostalgia and tradition missing from the people that play this great game.
So What Really Happened?
Well, when Callaway purchased Ben Hogan they got a lot more then just one of the best forged golf club companies in the world, they also got Top-Flite. And this is really what they wanted. From what I heard at the time of the purchase Callaway was more or less forced to take the Ben Hogan brand in the deal if they wanted all the rights to the patents, trademarks, and facilities that Top-Flite owned at the time. They paid $125 million cash at the time for the rights to Top-Flite, Strata, and Ben Hogan Golf. Don't think just the Top-Flite name alone was worth it? You dont have to look much further then the recent lawsuit they won against the Titleist Pro V1 ball to understand why it was worth every penny.
Will Ben Hogan Never Rise Again
So...it starts to sink in that Ben Hogan might never rise from its grave again. With Callaway and Top-Flite moving up the ranks in golf ball sales and the Callaway golf club line encompassing almost every single golfer that shoots from 72 to 102 (now even forged irons) why do they need the Ben Hogan line at all? They really don't, but this is where it gets slippery. In recent conversations with the CEO of Callaway he has stated something along the lines of the following:
He said basically they had too much to focus on, with reinventing Top Flite (which they have done pretty well with- new balls (ceratinly) and entry level clubs (not sure how they are going, but they at least look good for the money), reinvigorating Callaway which had lost its way a bit since Ely passed away a few years back (they have a pretty extensive line up of good gear available at the moment- most of it new) and then stated that they would focus on Hogan later in 2008 for 2009 release.
Well it is 2008 now and they still don't have any new Hogan sticks...so maybe we will have to wait until 2009. But most likely this is just good PR work done by Callaway buying them some time to let the issue go by the wayside.
|Vintage 1983 Ben Hogan Decade 5-iron|
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