The new Ben Hogan Edge EX irons are something of a unicorn in the game improvement arena.
There’s a growing trend in the GI category of calling an iron “forged” when, in fact, only the body is forged. The face, which actually hits the ball, is high-strength HT1770 steel or something similar. There’s a reason for that (which we’ll discuss later) but semantics are semantics. The new Hogan Edge EX, however, is bass-ackwards. The face and hosel is a single 1025 forging while the frame is investment-cast.
Whether that makes any difference to you is a good question.
Whether that, plus a price tag 40 percent lower than comparable sorta-forged game improvement irons, makes any difference to you is an even better one.
Ben Hogan Edge EX Irons – Facts and Figures
For any hardcore Hoganista, the new Edge EX branding, open cavity and iconic sunburst logo will make you want to party like it’s 1999. Or maybe 2003. Either way, it brings back memories of Hogan’s Spalding era.
“There were some Hogan irons back in the Spalding days that had this open-cavity look,” says Hogan CEO Scott White. “We looked at those and the Edge EX irons are an optimized version of those. Similar but certainly different.”
That open cavity is the defining feature of the Hogan Edge EX and is the biggest change from the 2018 Edge. While not particularly innovative or unique, an open cavity effectively frees up mass for extreme perimeter weighting. That’s essential for good game improvement design.
“There’s so much perimeter weighting with nothing behind the face, it almost looks like the face is floating,” says White. “The ball really feels like it springs off the face. Mid-handicap players tell us they don’t have to work to get the ball up in the air.”
Hogan isn’t touting any technological breakthroughs with the new Edge EX nor is it making any distance claims (more on that later, too). In fact, White admits the EX doesn’t really mean anything. It just sounds cool. You could just yawn and file it all under “remarkably uninspired” or you could call it refreshingly candid. Or you could say the new Edge EX is quintessentially Hogan.
Simple, straightforward. What you see is what you get.
“Some prototypes had some low tungsten but we found it didn’t dramatically increase spin rates or anything like that,” says White. “So why add tungsten if it only adds cost? Given our direct-to-consumer business model, it’s a pretty good deal for someone who wants forged game improvement irons for 800 bucks.”
Loft Jacking? Ahhh, No
The game improvement category is where OEMs pack in all their distance technology. And as mentioned, we’re seeing premium entries with forged bodies and ultra-thin, high-strength steel faces. The reason? The never-ending quest for ball speed and launch monitor supremacy.
There’s one huge drawback to a 1025 forged face—it can’t be made as thin as, say, HT1770 and still maintain tensile strength. If you want ball speed, thin is good while thick is a serious buzz kill. Also, compared to virtually every other game improvement iron, the Edge EX loft structure is relatively traditional. Given a weaker loft structure and Hogan’s signature four-degree loft gap between clubs, it’s probably a good thing the Hogan Edge EX isn’t in retail stores. The 32-degree Edge EX 7-iron is going to get its ass kicked in the demo bay all day long.
“If you compare our 7-iron to a jacked-up loft 7-iron, we’ll lose that fight every single time,” says White. “But people are really starting to understand that compressing all the lofts at one end of the set just doesn’t make sense. You’ll have three or four clubs that you hit virtually the same distance.”
The previous-generation Edge last appeared in Most Wanted back in 2018, right after it was released. It predictably finished near the bottom in all the distance categories.
Hogan has strengthened the Edge EX lofts by two degrees compared to the 2018 version to at least give it a fighting chance. But if you’re looking to launch missiles, this ain’t the iron set for you.
Who Is the Hogan Edge EX For?
With no tech or distance stories to tell, it’s fair to ask why you should pay attention to the Edge EX. For its part, Hogan is hoping the Edge EX will open up Hogan to people who thought the brand was for better players only.
“This is meant to be a club for players who just felt Hogan wasn’t for them,” says White. “They may aspire to play Hogans but the legacy, the history, was that Hogan was for the better player.”
There’s also that growing demographic of players who still have some game but for whom the sweet bird of youth is beginning to flutter.
“It looks like a Hogan,” insists White. “It’s game improvement but it doesn’t look like a piece of plumbing equipment on the end of a shaft.”
A PTx Pro/Edge EX progressive set remains a distinct possibility although White isn’t committing to it just yet. The new Edge EX visuals and slightly larger heads should make a progressive set flow nicely. Lofts, however, are the challenge. The Hogan Edge EX lofts are two degrees stronger throughout the set compared to PTx and ICON. For a company dedicated to four-degree loft gaps, that creates a math problem.
“We’ll have a loft issue somewhere in the transition,” says White. “We’ll figure out how to make it work, though. It’s not a problem we can’t overcome.”
Hogan traditionally offers its irons in a Diamond Black Metal finish. White, however, says it’s unlikely for the Edge EX due to the two-piece construction. Left-handed versions, however, are on the clock.
“I don’t know exactly when. We haven’t started tooling yet. But we know there are a lot of lefties who’d love an iron like this.”
The $800 Hook
OEMs spend a lot of money making sure you know how innovative, how groundbreaking and how freaking long their game-improvement irons are. For better or worse, Hogan isn’t giving you any of that.
“We don’t pay a lot of attention to our competitors’ club lines,” says White. “We do get a feel for pricing but we don’t do a lot of testing against competitive clubs. We’re sort of in our own little sandbox.”
Cast game improvement irons are typically in the $799 to $899 price range. Forged body/steel face GI irons are in the $1,300 to $1,400 range. Whether golfers can really feel the difference between, say, a cast Mizuno JPX 921 Hot Metal and a forged body/steel face Callaway Apex DCB is an open debate. Either way, the Edge EX is a tweener. You won’t get the same tech-driven distance but you will get a customized forged feel for $800.
“I may sound like a broken record but forging is a better way to make a club,” says White. “Mid- and high-handicappers who’ve tested the Edge tell us, ‘Man, I never knew what feel meant.’”
The Edge EX won’t be available for us to test until the end of April so we can’t corroborate feel or performance. We can say both the Hogan ICON and PTx Pro irons offer more of a crisp forged feel than a buttery soft forged feel. And you get the feedback you want without rattling your metacarpals.
Ben Hogan Edge EX: Specs, Price and Availability
As mentioned, the Edge EX loft structure is somewhat atypical for a game improvement iron. Hogan insists on four-degree gapping between clubs so the set starts with a 20-degree 4-iron and progresses to a 44-degree pitching wedge.
Hogan’s shaft offering remains limited. You can choose from the True Temper Dynamic Gold (R-, S- and X-flex), the KBS Tour V (S- and X-flex) and the KBS Tour 90 (R- and S-flex) in steel and the UST Recoil with SmacWrap (Sr-, R- and S-flex) in graphite. There’s no upcharge for graphite. All customizations, including length, loft and lie adjustments, as well as swing weighting, are at no extra charge.
And you can get any grip you want, as long as it’s the grey and black Hogan branded Lamkin Z5.
A seven-piece set (4-PW) sells for $800. You can also order a five-piece set (6-PW) for $630 or a six-piece set (5-PW) for $720.
As for fitting, Hogan is in all Club Champion locations in the U.S. and at Modern Golf centers in Canada. They’re also available through select fitters in the UK, France and Denmark.
And while not the same as an in-person fitting, Hogan has upgraded its HoganFit online fitting program to at least get you started. Hogan also offers its two-week on-course demo program which lets you try demo clubs for two weeks.
You can order the new Ben Hogan Edge EX irons starting today on Hogan’s North American and European websites. White says the irons are due to ship by the end of April.