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WRX to the Rescue! The 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

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This year’s Holiday Gift Guide was created for one simple reason: to make sure the golfers on your gift list get the coolest golf stuff possible.

Our equipment editors put their heads together and created a list of our favorite golf gear available this holiday season. To make things easier for you, we’ve provided online links for your purchases to help you avoid the chaos of shopping during the holiday season.

The best gifts don’t have to break the bank, but maybe they’ll help your friends and families break 100, 90, 80 or even par this coming golf season, and look good while doing it. Check out this list of 14 gift ideas in three categories: Stocking Stuffers ($60 or less), Game Changers ($200 under) and Big Ticket Items ($299 and up).

Stocking Stuffers: $60 or less

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Titleist golf balls with free personalization

Titleist is offering a rare holiday deal — free personalization on all Titleist golf balls, including NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT Solo. The free personalization covers three lines of block writing, with 17 characters allowed per line. Imprints can be made with black, blue, red, green or pink. Personalization ideas include full names, initials, nicknames, Twitter usernames (@GolfWRX), Twitter hashtags (#WRXgiftguide), inspirational messages (“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way”), or something more creative/funny (“Warning: Not a Flotation Device”).

Even more customization is allowed for Pro V1 and Pro V1X, where golfers are free to personalize a ball’s number with single or double-digit numbers (00 and 10-99). Individual numbers are also available on NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); and DT SoLo (1-4) models, however, an additional charge (usually as little as $1) may apply. Orders can be placed at any Titleist golf ball retailer.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.titleist.com/teamtitleist/b/tourblog/archive/2013/11/01/free-personalization-on-all-titleist-golf-balls-promotion-returns-for-the-holidays.aspx”]Learn More[/button]

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: $18

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This gift, although the cheapest on the list, might pack the biggest punch. It’s required reading for any golfer, and a cold winter is the perfect time for a golfer to catch up on instructional and inspirational reading. Harvey Penick was deemed as the “Socrates of the golf world” by Sports Illustrated. He grew up as a caddy at Austin Country Club, coached the University of Texas Golf Team and was the personal golf coach of countless half of fame golfers including Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, and Davis Love Jr. The book is packed with knowledge, stories, techniques, golf lessons and life lessons from Penick’s storied career in the world of golf.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451683219/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1451683219&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Ping iPing putter cradle: $30

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The iPing app is a free download available in the App Store for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, the iPod touch (4th gen.) and is also a free download on Google play for the Samsung Galaxy S III. The app works with the Ping putter cradle ($30) that holds the mobile device and clips onto the putter shaft. The combination of the app and cradle allow for the player to analyze consistency based on three criteria: stroke type (face rotation), impact angle (putter’s face angle compared to address) and tempo (duration of backswing vs. forward swing). It measures consistency over a period of five strokes, and develops a putting handicap (PHcp) that drops as consistency improves. It’s innovative in both putter fitting (with a recommended putter tab that suggests which Ping putter that fits you best) and stroke improvement. The cradle fits into a stocking and is a no-brainer for any golfer with a smart phone.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AMYMDU4/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AMYMDU4&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

110% Flat Out Sox compression socks: $60

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Flat Out compression socks target key zones for enhanced support, stabilization and performance. The graphic design on the socks works like kinesiology tape, which supports major muscles, enhances endurance, boosts circulation and provides comfort. The design is a little loud for the golf course when wearing shorts, but with pants it is easily concealed. They are perfect for golfers, who spend 4+ hours walking, twisting and turning on their feet. Get your family, friends and their feet the most innovative compression socks on the market.

[button color=”red” link=”http://110playharder.com/shop/flat-out-sox/”]Buy Now[/button]

Kingmade Jerky: $32 (assorted four pack)

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Kingmade was started by Luke List’s caddy, Jeff King, who made pounds of this mouth-watering jerky in his kitchen and shared it with other caddies and players on the PGA, LPGA and Web.com tours. The taste and tenderness was undeniable, and word spread quickly. Now, it’s in the diets of Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and a growing amount of other top golfers. Kingmade Jerky comes available in three flavors (Classic Recipe at 60 calories per serving, Buffalo Style at 50 calories, and Sweet Chili Pepper at 70 calories), each made from tender beef flank steak, rather than the tougher top round steak that most jerky is made from. Jerky is the perfect golf snack because it doesn’t melt, provides sustenance for energy, is easily transported and simply tastes great. Kingmade can be ordered as an Assorted Flavor Four pack ($32), a Single Flavor Six Pack ($48), or a Single Flavor Premium 1 lb bag ($54). See what the professionals are going crazy about by ordering some of this delicious jerky for your loved ones. Maybe they can’t play like Tiger, but they can snack like him!

[button color=”red” link=”https://kingmadejerky.com/cart/assorted-flavor-four-pack”]Buy Now[/button]

Official GolfWRX Gear

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GolfWRX gear makes the perfect stocking stuffer for any golf fanatic. A wide selection of Imperial Headwear hats are available in our online store, highlighted by the Flat Brim Snapback ($22) pictured above.  The selection also includes Knit Beanies ($18) to keep you warm in the winter months, Oxford Bucket Hats ($25) that block the sun when the weather starts to heat up and the more standard look of the Back 9 Flow Cap ($21) and the Back 9 Tour Visor ($21). The store is full of goodies from your favorite golf site including 2013 special edition poker chipsWRX head coverspolo golf shirtsiPhone casesumbrellasgolf grips and towels, among much more. If you want quality gear with a great look at a cheap price, check out our golf shop for the perfect stocking stuffers.

[button color=”red” link=”http://outfitted.golfwrx.com/”]Click here to shop in our store[/button]

Game Changers: $200 and under

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Seamus pitch mark repair tool: $75

This hand-hammered repair tool is something most golfers will never know they needed, especially when the price increases to $95 when 2014 hits. At 2.1 ounces, the tool weighs just more than a golf ball, providing enough heft to fix any ball mark. It’s made from 1018 Carbon Steel that patinas through continued use and looks more like something an ancient warrior would use as a weapon than something a golfer needs to maintain a putting surface. But we think that makes it cool (click here to see more photos, as well as videos of its construction). Each repair tool also comes with a pouch made from select remnant tartan and twill waxed canvas.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.seamusgolf.com/products/pitch-mark-repair-tool”]Buy Now[/button]

Cleveland Golf Smart Sole Wedges: $99.99

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The Cleveland Golf Smart sole wedges feature a wider sole design that reduces digging into turf and sand, and promotes clean contact around the greens from a multitude of different lies and situations. This is a game-improvement line of wedges designed to help golfers increase their ability to get up-and-down from anywhere. The C-Sole wedges are designed for more consistent chipping around the greens from grassy surfaces. The S-Sole wedges perform best from the bunker, providing ease through the ball in sandy surfaces. The combination of a C-Sole and S-Sole wedge will equip struggling short gamers with the tools necessary to build a better game.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FR2SMO2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FR2SMO2&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Bushnell Neo-X GPS Rangefinder Watch: $149.99

bushnellgift

Bushnell’s Neo-X GPS Watch provides all the distance-measuring information that a golfer needs, and will do everything that a caddy would– except carry your bags and clean your clubs. The Neo+ Watch was simple and accurate with a long-lasting battery life, and this mode has made wonderful improvements. The added features include:

  • Automatic Hole Advance: The GPS automatically changes holes as you move throughout the course without having to press a button.
  • Auto Course Recognition: Press “Golf” when near the course and choose from the list provided of nearby courses.
  • Preloaded Hazards: Gives distances to hazards and lay-up areas.
  • Lighter, thinner, and more comfortable: It won’t get in the way of your swing, and is only slightly bigger than the normal wristwatch. It’s the lightest and thinnest golf watch on the market.
  • Tee-time Start: A cool feature that allows you to program the day and time of a tee-time, and the GPS will start seven minutes prior to the programmed time without any additional set up.
  • Longer Battery Life: Battery lasts for 3+ rounds of golf without having to recharge.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C6NCDUO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00C6NCDUO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Big Ticket Items: $299 and up

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Miura MB-001 Tournament Blades: $235 per iron

“We don’t automatically come out with a new blade every year, so this is a big event,” said Adam Barr, President of Miura, about the release of their new MB001 forged blade irons. His public address is either humble or quite the understatement, since this is the company’s first blade release in six years. The MB-001 have a refined sole shape and Miura’s signature satin finish that makes them almost a shame to hit. But they’re even more pleasing at impact thanks to their handcrafted construction and the company’s painstaking attention to detail.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.miuragolf.com/shop_mb001.asp”]Learn More[/button]

Nike Method Mod Putters: $299

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Nike Method “Mod,” which is short for modern classics, add a splash of modern technology to popular putter designs from the past. Each of the four putters comes equipped with Nike’s Polymetal groove technology to increase MOI and provide a better roll. The Mod-30, pictured above, is modeled after an Anser-style putter and is more square than the Method 001 that Tiger Woods has in the bag. Also in the line of classics is the Mod-60, a half-mallet style putter, the Mod 90, modeled after the classic Bullseye design, and the Mod-00, modeled after RAM’s Zebra putter that was popularized in the 1970’s.  This is a phenomenal gift to show your loved ones a sense of history without sacrificing improvements in modern technology.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLZW6CS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00GLZW6CS&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Signature Model 1 ($375)

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Bettinardi teamed up with Matt Kuchar to design the ultimate Arm Lock putter. The result is the Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Signature Model 1, which Kuchar used to capture this year’s WGC-Accenture Match Play and The Memorial tournaments. The Kuchar 1 is face-balanced with a wide body, which adds to the putter’s heel/toe weighting and increases stability. It also has Bettinardi’s F.I.T Face (Feel Impact Technology), grooves that are milled over the company’s Honeycomb face finish and removes 55 percent of the face material for a softer feel (click here to read our full review). The Model 1 is sold at a standard length of 42 inches and 7 degrees of loft, which encourages the Kuchar’s Arm Lock style of putting. A more traditional 35-inch length is also available.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FWVZN22/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FWVZN22&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

Callaway Apex and Apex Pro Irons: $1099

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The Callaway Apex Pro irons combines the classic look of a blade with innovative technology to increase distance and forgiveness. Multi-material construction and Callaway’s new 37WV grooves add modernity to the previously released 2013 Callaway X Forged line. High-density tungsten was also added to the sole to lower the center of gravity (CG), which allows long-iron shots to fly higher. And the iron’s faces are made from 455 Carpenter steel faces, giving them even more pop.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FYJVO0M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FYJVO0M&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons: $799

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TaylorMade’s SpeedBlade irons are long: seriously long. They look, feel, and sound better than the company’s RocketBladez, which were the hottest selling iron in golf in 2013. The SpeedBlade has a more muted sound at impact, and removed a chunky toe section to give the long irons a lower CG than RocketBladez. A SpeedPocket, a slot in the sole of the 3-through-7 irons, allow for more flex on impact, which expands the sweetspot and adds more spring-like effect. Click here to read a full review of the TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons. 

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FM2P4U2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FM2P4U2&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy Now[/button]

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Fred

    Dec 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    As much as I’d love to own a set of Muira’s, I’ll have to stick with my less expensive Mizunos. That said, though, considering all the hype about Mr. Miura’s clubs – especially how well built they are – I’ve often wondered why few, if any, pros use them. I can’t be the cost.

  2. Raymond Rapcavage

    Dec 3, 2013 at 8:27 am

    …And if none of those gifts float your boat try THE GOLF SWING SHIRT ! Stop buying new clubs..buy a new golf swing !!!

  3. Mitch Oakes

    Dec 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Well this list will go straight to the girlfriend

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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