Fort Worth, TX
A native of the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, and a scratch golfer who played collegiately at Kansas State University Tyler Brewton serves as Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company, which is also based in Fort Worth. A results-oriented eCommerce and Marketing Professional with 10+ years of business experience, Tyler oversees all product development and marketing for the Ben Hogan golf brand, including forged irons, woods, wedges, putters and hybrids, as well as golf bags and accessories. He is also responsible for advertising and e-commerce in managing the Company’s unique factory-direct to consumer business model.
THE BREWTON STORY —
Golf has been and will always been a passion of mine. Since an early age, I have lived around or been directly involved with the sport of golf. Growing up the son of a PGA club professional, I have picked ranges, cleaned carts, mowed greens and even worked behind the counter of multiple pro shops.
My professional life in golf started after a successful collegiate playing career. Not knowing where to go or what to do, I began my career like most golfers who were better than most, but not good enough to play on a major tour, behind the counter. I worked as an Assistant Golf Professional enrolled in the PGA program at a private country club in the Twin Cities, MN. Through a little bit of hard work and a lot of luck, two years later, I became the General Manager managing the entire facility with the desire to do more.
My big break came within industry when the Ben Hogan company called in 2014 asking for someone to lead their eCommerce team. Since that time, I have been a part of the Ben Hogan team with a brief stint at Bridgestone Golf leading the eCommerce and direct-to-consumer teams. Forging the path of how serious golfers buy golf clubs online, I am excited to be part of the Ben Hogan Golf team.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
My family, no doubt. My wife and I have three young and active kids whose events consume our life away from Ben Hogan Golf. We feel that our job as parents is to provide them the best life we can, and we try to provide them as many opportunities as possible.
Next is Ben Hogan Golf. At Ben Hogan, we believe we are positioned very well in the industry with our sales model of providing the highest-quality and best-performing clubs at a cost that does not include the inflated retail pricing. We believe this puts us ahead of the curve.
What distinguishes the Hogan golf company from your competitors?
First, the name. There is not a better name in golf. Though Mr. Hogan is obviously not involved, he is still around us. From the people who worked with Mr. Hogan to the artifacts we have in our offices to his goal of creating the best-performing clubs we still believe in; he is still here.
Followed by our sales model. We are changing the way people can buy premium golf clubs from us directly at a fraction of the cost. The best part of being the first golf equipment company to sell direct only, no other golf manufacturer can do what we are doing by not including a retail markup. Other golf manufacturers have the large overhead, the insane tour budget and retail partners they have to answer to, we do not. Granted, we do have to answer directly to the golfers, that’s a good thing. It allows the end-user or golfer to hold our feet to the fire ensuring our messaging is true of high-quality and best-performing clubs at a fraction of the price. And trust me they do!
What gives you the most pleasure in your position and what gives you the greatest challenge?
The most pleasure is to say I work for Ben Hogan Golf. I am a golfer born in north Texas and get to work for the one of greatest golfers, if not the greatest, whose legacy from playing and building his equipment company started right here where I am from. Our greatest challenge is still letting everyone know we are back and how we are different. Look, people are used to going to their local pro shop or retailer and when they do not see a Ben Hogan club, they think we are non-existent. Thank god for the internet.
The Hogan name is clearly known by active golfers — however — how do you brand the company to a wider audience of consumers who may not have that much familiarity?
Again, the internet plays a large role in this. We do spend a fair amount of money with digital advertising and education, but that allows us to target different groups of golfers and introduce them to Ben Hogan Golf and how we are different.
Describe the process the company is following in selling your product line. You are cutting out the usual formula in having buyers get their equipment from a retail outlet.
We really believe in our product. Through our own product testing vs. competitors we know it performs. Our process in selling equipment is through our website and website only. We have invested and will continue to invest in our website to make sure serious golfers know what we are doing, why we are doing it and allowing them to test our product before purchasing.
One advantage we have is our demo program where we send 2-club demo sets of any product a golfer wants to try of us — minus our putters — with the shaft of their choice. The golfers can then try the Ben Hogan equipment vs. their own current product on their own course. Rather than having a sales guy overlooking their shoulder, our demo program allows for a non-pressured environment to allow the golfer to feel comfortable with our clubs before ordering. That seems to have worked really well for us as a large majority of those try our demo program end up ordering.
If Hogan were alive today — what do you think he would say about the equipment being produced not only at Hogan but throughout the broader golf industry?
That’s a good question and hard to answer. For the Hogan clubs, I think he would be proud. We take great pride and at the same time are very sensitive knowing his name is on each club that we build. In a time where everything needs to be built and shipped faster and people expect anything they order online should be on their door step the next day, ours is definitely not. Each of our clubs are built one-at-a-time to each golfer’s specs. We do not start building clubs until someone tells us what clubs are right for them.
For all other clubs, I think he would appreciate some of the new technology and like the innovations made throughout the industry. Mr. Hogan was known as innovator and being able to personally see some of the prototypes he was working in the 60s & 70s, he would appreciate it, but probably question some of it at the same time. Where I think he would not agree is off-the-rack purchasing, the allowed tolerances some manufacturers accept and the loft compression we see in a lot of iron sets.
Plenty of equipment companies tout customer service as a major items of importance. Define the term and the approach followed at Hogan?
Customer service is definitely important and something we take very seriously. To be honest, we are still a ‘start-up’ in golf, and we have struggled at times with customer service as we were not prepared for the overwhelming demand we received in the revival of the Ben Hogan brand, but we are getting better.
Knowing our clubs are not sold in retailers or local pro shops, we have continued to add more ‘serious’ golfers to our staff allowing any golfer to pick up a phone or e-mail us and ask us anything about the current equipment and sometime the equipment of the past.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
A common theme we read about all the time is to make golf courses shorter or roll back golf ball distance, but going out on a limb, I think it would be requiring practice before you step out on a course. “The Secret is in the Dirt.”
A PGA Professional who introduced me to the game when I was 10 made me spend a year on the driving range practicing and learning the rules before I was allowed to step out on the course. I realize this is an impossible ask, but if everyone was required to even hit a bucket or two the day before playing, I believe their round would be not only more enjoyable for the golfer, but probably the other golfers in the group.
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract new players to the game with Millennials, women and minorities the key priority. If you were advising them what you suggest be done?
Being a former PGA Professional, I think the PGA organization has done a nice job of creating programs introducing the game of golf to youth as well as the First Tee organization. I do not think I have a perfect answer here, but I think it is important to keep trying and keep exposing golf to all. Golf does not have to be a battle of 4 or 5 hours on the course. I think with the rapid expansion of TopGolf and other items like 3 hole loops that some courses are introducing, we are learning that anyone can swing a golf club and have fun and do it in less time.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
A family member once told me in life you can do anything and everything you want, but don’t. Meaning, pick a few things in life that make you happy and make sure you do it well. We have taken the same approach at Ben Hogan Golf. We will never be everything to everybody, but what we do, we are going to do it well.
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