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Ben Hogan Golf’s Terry Koehler

We’ve had Ben Hogan Golf’s President and CEO Terry Koehler on our GolfBetter Podcast several times before.

On Day #2 of the PGA Merchandise Show, it was our first time to meet him in person.

Terry discusses the rebirth of the Ben Hogan brand, his passion from the man, Mr. Hogan himself, which goes back to the days when Terry’s father played with him, and the buzz surrounding the Hogan booth at this year’s Show.

Take a watch below, or check out the audio podcast on our website, on Soundcloud or on iTunes.

 

Tom Brassell: 2016 PGA Merchandise Show continues as we’re at the Ben Hogan booth with the president and CEO Terry Koehler. Terry, great to meet you in person finally.

 

Terry Koehler: Yeah, finally. We’ve done things on the radio together it seemed, or on the show, but not in person.

 

Tom Brassell: I thought about that. We’ve done it on the show and it seems like either the second or the third sentence, the first time I talked with you, the name Ben Hogan came out. I could tell you had the passion for the man. Talk about your dream and what you’re doing here.

 

Terry Koehler: First of all, I couldn’t dream this big to be able to do this. My relationship with Ben Hogan goes back to my childhood. My father played golf with Mr. Hogan before the war and they became acquaintances. I wouldn’t say friends, but they ran into each other during the war a few times and then after the war. I grew up with a copy of Power Golf and Five Lessons and, “There’s nothing wrong with your game 5000 balls won’t fix.” Mr. Hogan was my singular sports hero my whole life. To be able to be in a position to continue to honor him by doing this kind of work under his name, it’s a huge opportunity but also a massive responsibility that we feel here.

 

Tom Brassell: Talk about what you’ve done up to this point. You took it over a couple of years ago and where you guys are at now because the show is great, the game is great, but you guys are the buzz this week it seems like.

 

Terry Koehler: That’s what we keep hearing and we’ve been busy here. What we did, we actually started this process about almost two years ago. The first product we showed at the show last year, a most beautiful pure forged blade but with some contemporary engineering twists on it to get more performance out of a forging. A line of wedges, I’ve always been a wedge guy, and we’re able to push wedges, continue to push performance on wedges. Our story is, “Why don’t we demand the same forgiveness out of wedges that we demand out of everything in the bag?” We accept these high fade shots that don’t go anywhere. We’ve addressed all that and fixed it. We got outside the box of what wedges ought to be.

 

This year, we’re showing exciting new technology in hybrids. The most advanced movable weight technology in hybrids. We’re putting some spin back in the hybrids. You can actually hold a green from long range. Then a new set of irons called PTX that brings long iron performance and short iron performance together so that you can get these penetrating trajectories in short irons that better scoring requires, but the nice high, soft landing long irons. People are taking the spin out of long irons. It makes no sense. We need these to hold the green. It’s been a real buzz here, it’s very exciting.

 

Tom Brassell: You want to make sure to get fit for these clubs, right? You just don’t want to pull anything off the rack.

 

Terry Koehler: We believe in custom fitting and more and more golfers do. One of the things we do because of the way we build irons, we make every loft from 20 to 47 degrees. We make 28 golf clubs, so we can build you a low-launch profile, a mid-launch profile, a high-launch profile within either one of our sets of irons. Nobody talks about fitting launch profile, but we think it’s very important to do that.

 

Tom Brassell: Terry Koehler here with Ben Hogan Company. Terry, I think you answered my question just a minute ago about that consumer that thinks that technology can’t get any better, that you can’t hit it any farther, that you can’t be more forgiving. Big fallacy, right?

 

Terry Koehler: There’s a lot of technology in our game. I tend to be a little bit respectfully irreverent of some of it. I think some of our technology is more because the company needed something, rather than the consumer. There’s a lot of technology here. We kind of take a different approach. There’s far, but then there is this far. When you’re in the iron game or the wedge game, it’s a specific yardage you’re trying to do. If you need a 195 club and I give you a 200 or 205 club, I haven’t solved your problem yet. We believe, and the reason we make all the lofts, we’ve re-gapped the set, we’ve uncompressed the long end of the set, we’ve got your short clubs back closer together for distance control.

 

Terry Koehler: The technology doesn’t stop in the club head. The way we build golf clubs, the shafts we use and the way we gap your set, it’s all about technology and applying technology to get the results you want. In our world, what we believe golfers want, at least a core segment of golfers is, “I don’t want to just hit it further, I want to hit it straighter. I want it to be more reliable and I want to hit golf shots. I want to work the ball down, I want to work the ball up. I want to fade, I want to draw.” There’s a sizable percentage of the golf population that wants to hit these different golf shots and we’re there to help them maneuver the new golf ball a little better than maybe some others.

 

Tom Brassell: Terry, thanks so much for your time and congratulations on what you’ve done.

 

Terry Koehler: Oh, thank you. It’s a great honor to do this and come on and talk with you about wedges or irons anytime you want.