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How to create your own custom-stamped wedges

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Like so many other readers here on GolfWRX, I eagerly look forward to PGA Tour WITB photos each week. One of the most interesting aspects of Tour bags for me (and especially at the Waste Management Open) has always been the custom-stamped wedges and irons, like Pat Perez wedge pictured above. Custom stamping is no longer just for the Tour, however.

Cleveland, Mizuno and Vokey offer different options as well as initial stamping on their wedges and this year Nike is offering it on its irons. But, like many other at-home projects, it’s just so much more satisfying to do it yourself. Let these pictures be a guide to getting started. It’s easier (and could be cheaper) than you think!

Materials

  • Stamping kit: Harbor Freight $9.99, Amazon.com $15 to $100.
  • Hammer/Mallet: I have a 4-pound mallet and found that to be the most effective.
  • Tape: Double-sided and masking.
  • Paint (Optional).

Setup

The goal here is to firmly secure the club face to a hard surface. If you have access to a vise, you are in business as most vises have an anvil. If not, just make sure that the clean club face is firmly secured with double-sided tape. You may need someone to hold the club head securely in place while you swing the mallet, which is not as dangerous as it sounds.

photo 1 (5)photo 2 (3)

Stamping

Identify the area you want to stamp and cover it with masking tape. This serves three purposes: you are able to draw reference lines with a straight edge to make your stamping neat, the imprint shows better on the tape so you can re-align your stamp for successive strikes and the tape absorbs some of the blow, making it less likely that the stamp will “bounce” and create a second impression on the wedge.

photo 3 (2)

Take note of how far apart you are spacing consecutive letters as most first-time projects end up looking a bit like this: “G O L FW R X”

Let’s face it: some guys are better with a hammer than others. If you can make a confident swing at the stamp and create a deep imprint with just one swing then good for you! If not, it’s OK to take multiple swings. In fact, you’ll see Scotty Cameron doing just that if you watch this video from his website. According to Cameron, deeper strikes look “more finished … thin looks dainty and weak.” From my own experience, I have learned it is best to oscillate the stamping pin so that each successive strike drives the stamp from different angles to ensure that the stamping is symmetrical and deep.

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Now bask in the glory of your very own “Tour” golf club! Obviously, this will take a little bit of practice. In the spirit of “measure twice, cut once,” you should probably try making a few practice stamps on an old club first. Keep in mind that forged clubs will be much more receptive to stamping than cast ones. Even with the cheaper Harbor Freight stamping kit, I still have not come across a wedge that is “unstampable” though.

custom stamping

Paint is optional and a great way to further customize your clubs. You can find many posts in the forums detailing different user methods. If nothing else, it most certainly brings a smile to my face when I look down in my bag to grab my DIY custom-stamped golf clubs.

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Eric Johnson is a golf professional presently based out of Park City, Utah. A long-time GolfWRX member, he has also worked at Australia's Barnbougle Dunes Golf Links and the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Eric is excited to be a contributor to the GolfWRX community.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Gary

    Jun 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Instead of using mallet would a impact driver work work?

  2. Kevin

    Dec 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I used to punch stamp my clubs but the results were not as good as I wanted. So after searching on the internet I found http://www.personaltouchsports.com These guys did amazing work. After going through them I would never punch stamp again!

  3. Corey

    Nov 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Where can I get that solid dot stamp and what’s the best way to fill in the stamps with paint

  4. nik dallos

    Feb 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I am embarrassed someone even had to give this tutorial. Next tip, how to tie laces on your shoes. And how to put new grips on your clubs! Man im a negative nantz. Feel free to swear at me and put me down.

  5. melrosegod

    Feb 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I have stamped a few wedges and I like the “not so clean look”. That said, layer 4 or 5 strips of masking tape to develop an indentation when you stamp. It will help you keep your die in place for multiple hits.

  6. Tony

    Feb 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Anyone tried this on Ping wedges? Specifically the Tour S’s.
    Thx

  7. Jon Deerman

    Feb 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    As a metal worker with stamping experience, I would suggest to practice your technique on an old club or scrap piece of metal. Many first timers (including myself at the beginning) will not place the stamp correctly, causing uneven stamps or even damage to the material itself. (This means you must take a grinder and remove material to take the “bad” stamp away, which could change the feel of your club) As all things with golf it comes with practice, so if you keep at it success will come. Just remember… don’t make your first stamp an attempt to do it on those new Vokey’s or Fourteens.

    • Eric Johnson

      Feb 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Jon – good reminder. It was my experience that the spacing of the pins was difficult at first (instinctively I placed the stamps too far apart) and that the depth of the stamp was not uniform. It was when I struck the stamp from several different angles that I saw the best results. Any other suggestions from your experience?

      • Jon Deerman

        Feb 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

        Don’t be afraid to swing the hammer harder then you think, it is steel and most of the time this is a problem leading to a dreaded double hit. (Same stamp, same location but slightly off) On ease of use, there are metal stamp holders which allow a number of pins(They very from size to price, ebay being the best source), will allow you to stamp it in one swing. You may have to go over a few of the stamps but it will be quicker. If there is a missed hit, rock the pin until it settles in the previous stamp, and rock it slightly to the unmarked area hitting it with the hammer. On spacing it is good to have a lined up one after the other method. The gaps between the pins are usually what size it is (1/8″ Stamp should have 1/8″ between letters). A cost effective approach is to put a light coat of removable metal paint marker (around $5) on the bottom of your pins, placing them where you would like to see them on your clubs. This should create a template for better spacing.

  8. zack

    Feb 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I have cleveland cg14 wedges and find them to be un-stampable. I was wondering if anybody has stamped a cg14 wedge before and can give me any tips

    • Eric Johnson

      Feb 5, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Zack –
      CG14 are the same wedges I use and have had success stamping them all (I have 5!). I would guess that your wedges are not set firmly enough in place or your hammer/mallet is not heavy enough.

  9. Mark

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    What size stamp should I buy? 1/8″ ?

    • Eric Johnson

      Feb 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Yes 1/8″ is the size you normally see

  10. John Moriarty

    Feb 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    You do not ruin the finish when you stamp into it. Also instead of masking tape us double sided tape where you are going to stamp. You can press the stamp in by hand first and it leaves a mark of the letter. It allows you to plan out a bit better. Also when you hammer away the stamp won’t slip since it’s held down by the tape.

  11. Roberat Upton

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Frankly, that cheap square font on those punches looks amateurish, cheap and nasty to me ? Why would you want to de-value a relatively expensive club like that ?

    • Jack

      Feb 6, 2014 at 3:09 am

      Roberat, tons of golf pros have it done, so maybe we just want to be like them? I’ve not done it personally since it does affect the resale value.

    • Nate

      Feb 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      When I did mine I purchased a Comic Sans set of stamps instead of the block font (believe its Courier). There are also some design stamps people might find interesting, like a bird or clover. My vokeys get a clover for each chip-in or hole-out.

    • Monster

      Mar 30, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Roberat, It is meant to look that way. Its personal, A wedge is to be used until the grooves are gone. They are not for real sale. Next time you’re working on the game, Put your driver down and Go practice some wedges.

  12. Chris

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I always love the phrase “it is not as dangerous as you would think”

  13. Kevin Hefner

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    What happens to the plating on the wedge, if it is chrome plated or a black wedge?

    • Eric Johnson

      Feb 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Kevin – I have had no wear issues stamping chrome plated and raw clubs. I personally have not stamped any darker finished clubs but cannot foresee any danger to the club’s integrity. If you’re worried about rust then I’d be sure to fill in your stamps with paint. Good luck with your “wedged” haha

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Whats in the Bag

C.T. Pan’s winning WITB: 2019 RBC Heritage

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Driver: Titleist TS2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos 6 Blue X

3-wood: Titleist TS3 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK 70 TX

Irons: TaylorMade M3 (2/3), Titleist 718 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Red 85 (M3), Project X 6.0 (others)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46-10F, 52-08F, 62-08M), Titleist Vokey 2017 Prototype (58-10K)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 (Purple)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Prototype

Ball: 2019 Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Another look at Pan’s wedges, c/o Vokey wedge rep, Aaron Dill on Instagram

 

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Whats in the Bag

Brooke Henderson’s winning WITB: 2019 Lotte Championship

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Driver: Ping G400 (9 degrees set at 8)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-VR 5X, 48″

3-wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 degrees set at 12.4)
Shaft: Ping Alta CB X, 45″

Fairway wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees at 18)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP6X

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees at 22.75)
Shaft: Fujikura Pro 73 R, 41.5″

Irons: Ping i210 (5-UW) (lie: 2.25 degrees flat, UW 1/2″ shorter than standard)
Shafts: Nippon Modus3 105-S

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (52 degrees at 53), (60 degrees) (lie: 2.25 degrees flat, 3/4″ shorter than standard)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 115 Wedge

Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Valor (33″, 23-degree lie, 2-degree loft)
Grip: Rosemark MFS Wide Top

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

 

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Equipment

Talking New Level Golf with founder Eric Burch

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“If you want to make a small fortune, start with a big fortune”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard many times before, not just with the golf industry but in other industries that are, let’s call them — leisure or sports-focused. It’s an uphill climb to enter any market, but golf might be on another level. There are the big players that are worth BILLIONS, and spend millions of dollars in research and development, along with equal amounts marketing, to make sure that every golfer is aware of their new club technologies. They also have well-oiled systems of distribution.

But in this new world of brand-agnostic fitting centers, boutique brands, social media, and the ability to reach your target demographic like never before there are a LOT of new companies creating high performance, high quality, well-engineered products. But when it comes to forged irons for golfers of all abilities, industry veteran Eric Burch’s New Level Golf stands on its own.

If you don’t know Eric Burch, and you’ve gone through a custom fitting recently, then you are at least partially aware of some of the breakthroughs he’s helped create in the golf industry, including the Club Conex system. His newest endeavor New Level Golf was only started in 2017, but in that short time, it has made some very big strides including distribution in over 150 brand agnostic club fitting facilities and now some professional golfers signed to the roster (including PGA Tour winner Ken Duke).

So how do you go from designing club fitting components to designing forged irons and starting a company that has products on the Golf Digest Hot List? I got the chance to talk to Eric about New Level Golf, his background and how after his years in the golf industry he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

RB: Based on your history in the golf industry you seem to be a real problem solver with a “Be your own boss” mentality, is that how you would describe your self?

EB: I’ve been in business for myself since my early 20s. Other than a few short stints for other golf companies, I have primarily been my own boss involved with golf. I would consider myself a problem solver. Not necessarily by design, but mainly due to starting companies that have always been undercapitalized which forces your hand to learn a variety of tasks to help the business move forward.
Although I’ve received notoriety as a club fitter/retailer, Club Conex, and now New Level. I’ve been fortunate to have won the professional Clubmaker’s Top Shop Award (2004), Golf Digest Top 100 Club Fitters (2016),  & have products I’ve designed be on the Golf Digest Hot List (2019).

RB: What was the first product & club head you ever designed, and how does the workflow go now with New Level?

EB: The first golf products were, of course, the Club Conex prototypes and those were generated from hand-rendered sketches. I still believe, given what I did with Club Conex and the universal system I designed, I hardly get the credit I deserve. I bought a milling machine without really knowing how to use it and over the course of 6-7 months taught myself how to use it and started creating prototypes. Those prototypes eventually became the Uni-Fit system.

The first clubs I ever designed were putters dating back to the mid 2000s, but in terms of New Level, I know what I am trying to accomplish in design as well as fitting into player categories that comes from my years working at my own shop and fitting golfers from professionals to higher handicaps. Since product is made overseas, the engineers I work with at our factory have done a very good job of helping bring my concepts and designs to fruition. I really enjoy doing the designs and creating something that will one day be in someone’s golf bag.  The only current issue with the success we’re seeing now is if the company continues to push forward we will at some point be forced to bring on an industrial design engineer to further help with product development, but that would be in 2021 as most of our products for next year are in development, or have already been developed.

RB: On that note, how long from having an initial concept to that first set of irons or at least a prototype head in hand?

EB: This is heavily dependant on the complexity of the design. The 4995 HB took almost 9 months to get it where we wanted, whereas the 902 took just about four months. Typically we can get a first article sample of a playable sample in less than 60 days.

RB: When you consider the logistics and tooling involved, that’s quite an impressive turnaround time. From a design perspective, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of creating an iron head and the manufacturing process that you face?

EB: This is a hot topic with me since most people just don’t understand the depth of the manufacturing process. A lot of people think of the term open model (a factory’s in house design produced to create a starting point for some companies), they think we are just stamping our name on a head that is already been refined and finished by someone else which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Like with many aspects of club designs some of the tooling we use are openly available, but for example the raw forged blank head is on average 407 grams on a 6 iron that needs to be designed into a profile that weighs just 262 grams. So as you can imagine a club head overweight by more that 35 percent, it’s far from being a finished product. We call all the shots when it comes to every pertinent parameter and specifications of our design. The only thing incorporated into using this process and something we can’t change is the offset of the club. All other facets of the design are facilitated by my directive and incorporated into the final design.

I chose this method of manufacturing for New Level because it allows a far more flexible range of experimentation before a final design is consummated and brought to market. As a new company starting out it would have been near impossible to use a process similar to other OEMs that create a final tool for each and every design solely based on scale. We had several designs that were not used because they didn’t make the cut when it comes to performance and if we had gone the other route we would have had hundreds of thousands of dollars in tooling alone from products that never saw the light of day.

This process is called the “near net” process, and I find it to be much more in tune with today’s industry. I will take it one step further by saying regardless how good one may be at hand grinding and polishing, a human will never be as consistent and effective as a CNC machine. This entire process allows us to keep our costs reasonable and offer a…uniquely designed, full one-piece forged club for a fair price. There are a lot of other companies using this process you’d just never suspect it.

RB: As a club builder and fitter myself, I have encountered my fair share of misconceptions from golfers, what do YOU feel is the number one thing golfer misunderstand from a design perspective of their clubs?

EB: I can only speak from my experiences, but most golfers are scared of the word “forged” as it has been far too long associated with blades and hard to hit designs. I believe the average weekend warrior still views forged as a design methodology as opposed to a manufacturing process. That is a major objective for New Level to prove that forged clubs can be forgiving, can produce great ball speed, & can be used by your average mid handicap player. Our 1126, for example, is longer from heel to toe, has a shallow profile, and deep undercut – lots of forgiveness for any level of player. From a fitting perspective, I’d say that over 80 percent of players are using shafts that are too heavy, and too stiff for them.

RB:  We’ve talked a lot about the product, and now I need to know – How many retail outlets currently carry your irons and wedges. And lastly, what advantage do you believe New Level irons and wedges have over the competition?

EB: New Level products can be found at roughly 150 locations worldwide and growing almost weekly. If I had my way, we’d never sell another club off the website since I truly believe getting fit by a professional is the best way to get the right set, but saying that as the brand is growing and during the infancy stages, I am trying to get as much product in the field of play as possible to spread brand awareness. We get positive feedback on a daily basis. We have an extensive questionnaire on our site to help those that are not close to one of our retailers, and we also have a lot of people that see our clubs, like what they see and order to their known specs.

As far as our advantages go, I believe it’s pretty simple — being small allows us to pay more attention to each and every client and ensure they are getting the attention that they deserve. The mentality is always to be big enough to make money, yet no matter how we grow, act small and care about every single customer. Currently, we have the care part down very well. My belief is with any business I’ve ever been involved with is that if you do the right thing and stay focused eventually the money will take care of itself. It’s funny because I experience many of the same challenges with New Level as I did with Club Conex early on. Although I am mixed in with a ton of larger players in the golf industry, with New Level I am starting to see our awareness with golfers grow. I hope that this growth continues and we still maintain a great rapport with our customer base.

If you are interested in New Level products check out their website, or call and check with your local club fitter for availability.

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