One of the most exciting additions to the Ben Hogan Museum collection was installed this week, but it took five grown men, several dollies, and lots of cheerleading to get it done.
Mr. Hogan’s “loft and lie” gauge is a large metal contraption that was used at the Ben Hogan Company to customize golf clubs. It was donated to the museum by Tom Stites, head of golf club creation at Nike who was an engineer for the Hogan Company until it sold. Mr. Stites personally holds more than 150 golf patents, many of which were earned through his club creations at the Hogan Company.
Mr. Stites commented that even without a formal engineering and physics degree, Mr. Hogan understood “the synergistic and dynamic nature of club loft and lie.”
“He understood that the two specifications for a club are linked,” Stites said. “Through his experiences on the course and his sharp mind, he knew that when one specification changes, so does the other, with respect to ball flight. Before this machine, there was no way to statically measure the relationship.
“This machine was used for many years in the tour shop (of the Hogan Company) to measure and adjust thousands of clubs for touring professionals,” he said. “Clubs checked and adjusted with this machine were used to win hundreds of tournaments and numerous major championships around the world.”
The machine was picked up at the Nike plant in Fort Worth by Pat and Lee Leatherwood and unloaded in at the Dublin museum with the assistant of Pat Dematruk, Terry Miller and Andrew Kinzer. It is one of several recent donations which will be unveiled at the upcoming “Remembering Mr. Hogan” banquet on Aug. 11 which celebrates what would have been the 100th birthday of the man who is considered the finest ball striker in history.
Dublin was the birthplace and childhood home of the famed golfer and the museum opened on Mr. Hogan’s 99th birthday through the assistance of the Ben Hogan Foundation and the Hogan family.