Ben Hogan GS53 MAX Driver – Key Takeaways
- The new Hogan GS53 MAX driver is a more forgiving version of last year’s GS53.
- It’s 460cc and features a bigger face and a lower and deeper center of gravity.
- The GS53 MAX offers three real-deal shaft options
- The price won’t make you gag.
The new Hogan GS53 MAX driver is further proof the Ben Hogan Company is planning to stick around. Seriously, there are so many Hogan comeback stories flying around you’d think they’re getting ready to remake Follow The Sun.
Hogan has launched more than a dozen new products since its rebirth three years ago. Last season’s original GS53 driver was the first new driver bearing the Hogan name since the CS-3 in the early 2000s. The GS53 and its companion fairway woods made Hogan a full-line equipment company once again.
So, do we agree, no more comeback stories?
Good. With that out of the way, let’s see what makes the new Ben Hogan GS53 MAX driver tick.
Hogan GS53 MAX: Bigger, Taller, Deeper
The original GS52 is staying in the lineup. However, at 445cc with a forward-ish CG, it’s not the most forgiving stick on the rack. The new Hogan GS53 MAX, however, is meant for us mere mortals.
“We always intended to bring out a couple of different drivers,” Hogan CEO Scott White tells MyGolfSpy. “This new driver complements the original and it’s geared toward a wider range of players. You don’t have to have a 105-mile-per-hour swing speed to make this new driver work for you.”
The new Hogan GS53 MAX does share some DNA with the original. You can tell it’s a brother from another mother. First off, the GS53 MAX is a full 460cc. The body itself is 22 percent larger and the face is 11 percent taller. The other major difference is in materials. The original GS53 is all titanium. The new Hogan GS53 MAX joins the Space Force with a light carbon fiber crown.
“It’s a cool visual,” says White. “You can see the carbon fiber through the paint on the crown.”
And the carbon fiber crown does what carbon fiber crowns do: give designers discretionary weight to play with. Given a few grams and clear marching orders, any good designer will move the CG back and low to boost launch, forgiveness and MOI. There’s also a tungsten sole weight in the GS53 MAX positioned in the back to help.
Real Deal Shafts?
The new Hogan GS53 MAX offers the same three stock shaft options as the original GS53. If you want a low trajectory, there’s the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black. You have the Tensei™ CK Blue for mid-trajectory and the UST Mamiya Helium™ for high-trajectory.
“They’re the real aftermarket shafts,” says White. “They’re not the inexpensive versions or value-engineered shafts. These are the same ones you’d buy from the manufacturer directly or would get from a fitter like Club Champion.”
As is Hogan’s way, there are no other options or upgrades. You can, however, get fitted for the GS53 MAX at Club Champion or any other Hogan fitter and purchase the driver with the shaft of your choice.
The Hogan GS53 MAX also features Hogan’s Flight Control adjustable hosel. You can adjust the loft one degree up or down and you can adjust the lie angle and face angle to square, open or closed, for a total of eight possible settings.
“What I like about the adjustable hosel is it allows you to keep the grip orientation and shaft graphics the way you want it,” adds White. “You can change the settings but the shaft and grip will stay in the position you want them in.”
Reminder-grip users may now rejoice.
A question Hogan (and other direct-to-consumer equipment brands) constantly face is pretty straightforward. How can the GS53 MAX, priced at $355, be anywhere near as good as its higher-priced competition from the Big 5? It’s a fair question but one we probably ask subconsciously. The answer, dear reader, may lie in how you keep score.
In this year’s Most Wanted Testing, the original GS53 was a meh performer overall but did finish 11th overall for mid swing speed (95-105 mph) golfers. In terms of Strokes Gained, it finished only 3/10ths of a stroke behind the segment-leading Cobra SpeedZone Extreme.
The difference in carry? A whopping three yards.
If dollars per yard is part of your price-value matrix, here’s a nugget to chew on. Based on the results for mid-swing speed players, at the Cobra’s original MSRP of $449 you’re paying roughly $2.08 per yard. The original GS53 at $300 is $1.41 per yard.
Admittedly that’s a huge oversimplification but there’s a larger point. You can moan and wail and gnash your teeth over $550 drivers all you want. But for every $550 driver, there’s an army of Hogan, Sub70, Wilson, Tour Edge, Inesis, Tommy Armour and Cleveland drivers offering close-enough performance for a lot less cabbage.
The Hogan GS53 MAX is designed for a wider range of golfer so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in next year’s Most Wanted. In terms of yards-per-dollar, however, it will almost certainly be a top performer.
Price and Availability
The Hogan GS53 MAX driver is available starting today on Ben Hogan’s website and through Hogan-certified fitters. As mentioned, there are three stock shaft options in different flexes and weights and the driver itself is offered in both nine- and 10.5-degree models. As with every other Hogan club, you can get any grip you want, as long as it’s the Hogan signature-branded Lamkin in either standard or midsize. And as with many of Hogan’s product launches, it’s initially available for righties only.
And in keeping with Hogan’s direct-to-consumer model, the GS53 MAX sells for $355.
So, for roughly $200 less than the newest offerings from Titleist (and, we presume, the 2021 TaylorMade and Callaway models), you can buy a fully adjustable driver with a carbon fiber crown and a real-deal aftermarket shaft.
The question is: Will you?
For more information, visit BenHoganGolf.com.