Renowed golf equipment manufacturer Ben Hogan Company has closed according to its President and CEO, Scott White.
White relayed the news to Golf Digest, who confirmed the company closed on Friday 22 July. In an email to Golf Digest, White wrote: “I am very proud of what we accomplished at the company over the last few years. We had a great team and produced some excellent products that we think would have made Mr. Hogan proud. We were simply underfunded and couldn’t pursue a lot of the more expensive initiatives that would have accelerated our growth.”
White cited supply and financial constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as reasons for the decision to close the business, despite the company enjoying a successful 2021 – its best since pivoting to a direct-to-consumer business model four years earlier.
Majority shareholder ExWorksCapital, LLC had been the majority shareholder and manager of the board for the company since its relaunch in 2017 after it originally ceased trading in 2015. However, the funding it was providing to the business dried up in late 2020 amid the strains of the pandemic, while the pursuit of alternative investment proved unsuccessful. ExWorks Financial filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March this year.
When the company relaunched five years ago, it targeted more accomplished players, which limited its appeal. However, despite White’s efforts to broaden its scope, those efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful.
At the present time, the company’s official website is still live. However, a banner on the top of it reads: “Our website is currently experiencing technical difficulties and we are unable to process orders. Our engineers are working to rectify the problem as quickly as possible. Please check back at a later time to place your order on BenHoganGolf.com. Thank you for your patience.”
This is a real blow to the industry because Ben Hogan's product, especially the irons like the PTx Pro and the Icon irons, really impressed. It was a brand that also did things slightly differently, selling clubs direct to the consumer via its website and even offering a free trial to ensure the end user was completely happy.
According to MyGolfSpy's John Barba, the Ben Hogan equipment business was profitable and achieved double-digit growth in sales during the last three years, but having a bankrupt owner in ExWorks Capital of Chicago has meant that Ben Hogan's number is now up. The brand is actually owned by Perry Ellis, who licenses the name to the Hogan company to sell equipment, but pulled the licensee agreement two weeks ago.
Whether another company steps in to resurrect the brand, we'll have to wait and see. Callaway originally sold the Hogan brand name to Perry Ellis in 2012 and may be interested in reacquiring it given the synergy with the Apex franchise but if anyone steps in to save the Ben Hogan equipment company, it will require significant investment and patience to sort out the finer details.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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