Ben Hogan, just the name conjures up images of some of golf’s greatest legends: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. Just a little interesting trivia; all three of these great players were born in 1912. There will likely be a centennial celebration of this trio this year.
When we think of Ben Hogan, we think of Fort Worth, the Colonial Country Club and Shady Oaks Country Club, which was Hogan’s home club. He lived in Fort Worth for many years and that is where, in 1953, he started the Ben Hogan Company to manufacture golf clubs because he was dissatisfied with the clubs he had been using.
However, Dublin is Ben Hogan’s hometown. Ben was born in August 1912, the third child of Chester and Clara Hogan. Chester was a second generation blacksmith and worked at the family business with his father. Young Ben spent many hours at the blacksmith shop with his father and grandfather.
Ben, his brother Royal and sister Princess attended the Dublin School until 1921, when demand for the blacksmith trade started to diminish due to the increasing use of the automobile.
The Hogan family then moved to Fort Worth in search of a new way of life. However, the tragic death of Chester in February 1922 forced the young Hogan children to find new ways to help support the family. Ben and Royal sold newspapers at first; then Ben heard that he could make 65 cents a game caddying at the Glen Garden Country Club which was just a few miles from their house, just a good walking distance.
While at Glen Garden, Ben met and caddied for Marvin Leonard, owner and operator of the largest department store in North Texas and later, founder of Colonial Country Club. It was Leonard who encouraged Ben to pursue his growing love and interest in golf; and also supported Ben in three failed attempts to join the fledging PGA tour between 1930 and 1938.