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Renowed golf equipment manufacturer Ben Hogan Company has closed according to its President and CEO, Scott White.
White relayed the news to Golf Digest (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab)'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.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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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