Offered here is one of the most significant sets of irons to ever grace the auction block. Yes, in Lot #1 we have Tiger's irons that are among the most celebrated irons in golf history. Well, offered here is likely the 2nd or 3rd most important set of irons in golf history - Ben Hogan's irons attributed to Hogan's magical 1953 season where he won all 3 Majors that he entered.
This isn't just any Ben Hogan iron set that he may have used once or twice. These are Hogan's actual working MacGregor set from 1953, when he not only won 3 Majors and all 5 tournaments he entered, but also when was fine tuning his idea for the perfect golf club. Hogan fulfilled his lifelong goal by forming the Ben Hogan Golf Company in late 1953. Once the Ben Hogan Golf Company was formed, Hogan, of course, never used MacGregor clubs again. Therefore, since all of Hogan's used MacGregor clubs date to 1953 and before, they are coveted by collectors.
The offered set is one of only three Ben Hogan "Personal Model" MacGregor iron sets known to exist, and the only set in private hands. Those two other sets are owned by the USGA Museum and Merion Golf Club - the site of Hogan's 1950 US Open victory.
We were most interested in the USGA Museum set, as it also dates to 1953. According to the USGA Museum, that barely-played set was used by Hogan during his historic 1953 season. When our set of Hogan irons first made it to auction in 2014, the USGA granted us access to their 1953 Ben Hogan set, which is displayed in the Ben Hogan Room at the USGA Museum in Far Hills, NJ.
So what happened when we closely inspected the USGA Museum set? Well, let's just say that we were in for the shock of our collecting lives!
It turns out that the USGA Museum set of Ben Hogan's 1953 irons is actually a partially mixed set - it is missing the original 9 iron (Ben Hogan "Personal Model" 1037) that matches the rest of the set. Well, guess where that missing 9 iron is? YES! - the missing 9 iron from the USGA Museum set is in our possession and is included with our set of Ben Hogan's 1953 irons.
Quite significantly, while the USGA Museum set shows little use, our irons (with the exception of that 9 iron, which also doesn't show much use) are what we believe to be Hogan's actual working clubs from one of the greatest seasons in golf history. You want to know how Hogan came up with "the Secret"? It was by pounding thousands of balls on the range and at the course with clubs like these. Just inspecting these irons brings back the memory of Ben Hogan; the well-worn irons exhibit an extreme amount of use, and underwent an extraordinary amount of the Hawk's famous tinkering. Every amount of custom clubwork imaginable has been performed on these clubs - the soles, heels and bounce have been ground, the hosels bent, the lofts and lies altered, and a substantial amount of lead weight added. Most of the grips appear to also contain the reminder wire for which Hogan was known to use on occasion.
These Ben Hogan irons are attributed to Hogan's magical 1953 season. Six of the seven clubs (3 iron through 8 iron) are identical Ben Hogan "No Series Number" "Personal Model" irons exhibiting an extreme amount of use, and the seventh club is a Ben Hogan Series 1037 "Personal Model" 9 iron exhibiting light to moderate use that matches the USGA 1953 set.
Ben Hogan's 1953 irons originate from former PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Jimmy Powell, who received them over 4 decades ago from Hogan's best friend Dennis Lavender. The winning bidder will become only the 4th owner of these legendary irons since Ben Hogan.
Letter of Provenance from Jimmy Powell
2014 Letter of Provenance and Authenticity from Golden Age (then named Green Jacket Auctions)