WILLOW PARK, Texas — With the Charles Schwab Challenge celebrating its 75th anniversary, golf icon Ben Hogan's greatness is once again top of mind. Hogan won this event a record five times and his larger-than-life statue greets everyone who visits Colonial Country Club.
"The way Ben Hogan has created this mystique in the game of golf and [is] certainly someone I would read about and look up to,” said Phil Mickelson, who recently became the oldest major champion in golf history by winning the PGA Championship.
The book, 'Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons’ is a staple among pros who’ve employed it to improve their swing fundaments, but Hogan’s life story has proven impactful as well.
And just west of Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club, Hogan’s legacy lives on at the Squaw Creek Golf Course in Willow Park.
The newly-opened Ben Hogan Learning Center is a partnership between The First Tee of Fort Worth and the Ben Hogan Foundation; the second such collaboration.
"Building game-changers, that’s really what the First Tee is all about,” says First Tee of Fort Worth Executive Director Kevin Long.
Bold messaging on the center’s walls make Hogan’s compelling story come to life. The determination behind his rise from humble beginnings to golf superstardom provides the template.
"He really was a shining example of what golf can do for young people,” said Long.
The First Tee’s life skills curriculum helps kids transfer lessons from the game of golf to their daily lives. Nine core values, including perseverance, responsibility, and integrity, provide the foundation.
First Tee participant Harley Sabbatini calls it “a great blessing to be a part of the program."
"One of our biggest core values is perseverance,” said First Tee participant Johnnie Reed. "Just learning how to push through issues in my life and furthering myself through the game of golf has been such an inspiration to me.”
Reed added that although he never had the chance to meet Hogan, he feels like he’s served as a mentor of sorts, because of the way Hogan strived to become his best.
"These values that they’re teaching and the values that Mr. Hogan stood for, there’s just beautiful symmetry between the two,” explained Robert Stennet, the CEO of the Ben Hogan Foundation.
When it all comes together, it’s beautiful to see, just like Hogan’s perfect pivot.