The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co. laid off the bulk of its workforce in Fort Worth on Tuesday in a move to reduce expenses and reorganize the struggling business.
In a statement, the maker of premium golf clubs, which brought the revered Hogan name back to the equipment market two years ago, said it’s “re-tooling and right-sizing in an effort to become more nimble and profitable in the highly competitive golf equipment business.”
About 30 workers were laid off, leaving less than 10 employees at the company’s facility near Interstate 35 and Interstate 20 in south Fort Worth. But the company said it has not declared bankruptcy and hopes to rehire some workers on a contract basis as golf season orders begin to roll in.
Executives have meetings scheduled with investors, led by Corbett Capital in Fort Worth, this week.
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“Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated,” said Scott White, Hogan’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “While our organization does not look the same today as it did in 2016, we are confident that the changes we are making will make us a stronger and better company in the future.”
White took over as CEO in August, replacing Terry Koehler. An industry veteran and onetime director of marketing for the original Ben Hogan Co., Koehler launched the new company in 2014 after licensing the Hogan brand from Perry Ellis International. Koehler, who lives in Victoria, remains on the board of directors.
Hogan golf clubs made their comeback two years ago when the company’s first set, the Fort Worth 15 irons, were introduced at the PGA Merchandise Show. Combining the sleek look of traditional “blades” with state-of-the-art perimeter weighting, the clubs also took the novel approach of numbering irons by loft — anywhere from 20 degrees to 63 — instead of the traditional 2-9 plus wedges.
A year later, a second set was introduced, called PTx, designed for a wider spectrum of golfers, as well as a set of hybrids. In November, Hogan announced that it would add the traditional 2-9 numbers on the hosels of the clubs.
The clubs, priced at the high end starting at $149 apiece, are sold through country club pro shops as well as select retail outlets, including PGA Superstores.
In recent years, the golf equipment business has been in a slump, hurt by a sluggish economy and waning interest in the game with the departure of Tiger Woods from PGA Tour competition. Last year, Nike announced that it was exiting the golf club business.
“We grew too fast,” White said in a telephone interview, adding that the Hogan company did not anticipate the industry would be in a slump for so long.