Hogan Equalizer II Wedges – Key Takeaways
- Hogan’s new Equalizer II wedges feature Progressive Center of Mass, slightly larger head and thinner top line compared to the original Equalizer.
- Optional Texas Grind sole offers extreme heel and toe relief for open-face shots and help on tight lies.
- Designed by legendary Hogan club builder Ronnie McGraw
The updated Ben Hogan Equalizer II wedges round out a busy spring for Hogan. In the past month, we’ve seen a new mallet, new putter finish options and last week’s game improvement Edge EX irons.
To be sure, none of it has been earth-shatteringly revolutionary or particularly innovative. But for a company that went bankrupt a little over four years ago, the new releases are all healthy vital signs. As for the new Equalizer II wedges, they too are neither earth-shatteringly revolutionary nor particularly innovative.
It is, however, a nice-looking 1025 forged wedge with enough CG and grind features to be interesting. The Equalizer II is also the final piece of Hogan’s visual rebranding, as the entire lineup now features the iconic Hogan sunburst logo. And for true Hogan aficionados, the name of the club designer—one Ronnie McGraw—is definitely appealing.
Depending on how you view your golf equipment, logos and designers may matter neither a jot nor a tittle. But depending on how you view your wedges, there may be enough to the Equalizer II to warrant your attention.
Let’s take a peek.
Hogan Equalizer II Wedges: A McGraw Original
“Ronnie McGraw actually designed these wedges for us,” says Hogan CEO Scott White. “He worked with Gene Sheeley at Hogan back in the old days.”
Sheeley was Ben Hogan’s personal club maker and McGraw was hired by the original Hogan Company back in 1980 as Sheeley’s assistant. Over the years, McGraw built clubs for Hogan himself as well as Hogan Tour staffers including Tom Kite and Hal Sutton. In fact, Sutton’s Be the right club today! 6-iron from the 2000 Player’s Championship was part of a special set of ’99 Apex irons hand-ground by McGraw.
The updated Equalizer II is reminiscent of those ’99 Apex blades, not to mention the more recent Hogan ICON blades. It features a distinct blade-on-blade look that frees up just a touch of perimeter weighting.
“We affectionately call that the ‘racetrack’ design,” says White. “It removes some perimeter weight and allows us to move it where we need it.”
Progressive Center of Mass
Wedge design hasn’t really changed much since Gene Sarazen’s famous sand iron from nearly 90 years ago. Yeah, there are grind evolutions and groove innovations but the one common trend we’re seeing is higher CGs to promote spin and control flight. Hogan calls it a Progressive Center of Mass.
“It’s not particularly unique but it does work,” says White. “When you move the center of mass up the clubface, it produces a lower shot trajectory.”
McGraw’s “racetrack” design frees up a few grams of discretionary weight. That weight is then repositioned to specific locations in the various lofts. The lower-lofted wedges have higher centers of mass. As lofts get higher, the center of mass moves lower.
As with the original Equalizer, the new Hogan Equalizer II wedges are 1025 forged. The blade length is slightly longer and the face itself is fractionally taller than the previous models which Hogan says creates a slightly larger hitting area. There’s a hint of a high-toe look to the Equalizer II but to the delight of many and maybe the chagrin of a few, Hogan did not opt for full-face grooves.
“It’s incrementally bigger, not a dramatic thing,” says White. “They do have a bit of a high toe but it’s not extreme. They’re still very traditional and classic looking.”
The blade-on-blade look does provide a noticeably thinner top line compared to the previous Equalizer. The offset, however, is virtually the same.
The Texas Grind
White admits that while the Equalizer II grooves are the most aggressive the USGA and R&A will allow, there’s no special tale to tell there.
The sole grinds, however, are a different story.
The standard Equalizer II lineup features Hogan’s V-Sole with a high-bounce leading edge and lower-bounce trailing edge. But the Equalizer II also features an optional Texas Grind.
“This is a pet project within a pet project,” says White. “We have a lot of good players in the office who love to grind their own wedges to what they like. And they all kept landing on the same design with a lot of heel and toe relief. So we had Ronnie develop this for us and it stuck.”
That extreme heel and toe relief is designed to help players pick shots more cleanly off tight lies. And for the more imaginative wedge player, it allows you to open the clubface way up.
It’s fair to ask just what is the appeal of the Equalizer II wedges. First, there’s value. It’s a solid, nice-looking forged wedge priced in line with Hogan’s factory-direct pricing. But for history buffs, the idea of playing a wedge designed by a guy who built clubs for Ben Hogan himself might just be too cool to pass up. Sure, history doesn’t get the ball in the hole but, for some, it might make the journey a bit more fun.
“Ronnie McGraw is one of those true master craftsmen,” says White. “He and Mike Taylor (former Hogan and NIKE club maker, now “The Guy” with Artisan), guys like that are few and far between nowadays.”
Hogan Equalizer II Wedge: Specs, Pricing and Availability
The new Ben Hogan Equalizer II wedges will be available for righties in even-numbered lofts ranging from 48 to 62 degrees. They’ll be available in both nickel-chrome and Diamond Black Metal finishes. The Texas Grind option will be available, in nickel chrome only, in 50-, 54- and 58-degree lofts.
There’s good news, sort of, for lefties. The Equalizer II will be available in 50-, 54- and 58-degree lofts for southpaws, in nickel chrome only. The Texas Grind will not be available in left-handed models.
The Equalizer II wedges can be loft-adjusted up or down two degrees. Loft, lie and length adjustments are no extra charge.
Because Hogan custom builds everything, there is no stock shaft. Hogan’s shaft offering includes the True Temper Dynamic Gold in R-, S- and X-flex; the KBS Tour V in S- and X-flex; the KBS Tour 90 in R- and S-flex and the UST Recoil graphite in A-, R- and S-flex.
And, as always, you can get any grip you want as long as it’s the Hogan-branded Lamkin Z5 in either standard or midsize.
The Equalizer II wedges sell for $125 in nickel-chrome and $130 in Diamond Black Metal. There’s no upcharge for graphite.