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(Update 9/17): PXG Founder Sues TaylorMade for Patent Infringement



Update 9/17 at 5 p.m.

On Friday, Judge John J. Tuchi denied PXG’s request for a TRO (temporary restraining order) against TaylorMade P-790 irons. A TaylorMade representative released the following statement on behalf of the company:

“While TaylorMade respects the intellectual property rights of others, we will always defend ourselves vigorously when someone falsely accuses us of infringement. Our victory in court today re-affirms our confidence in our products and technologies, and reinforces the excitement and momentum we are experiencing with our P790 irons to date.

“P790 is a TaylorMade owned, game-changing product that delivers superior performance benefits to golfers through its key innovations.  When you have an iron like P790 that also has Tour player adoption and golfers of all skill levels testing, experiencing distance gains and placing orders, others have no choice but to attempt to slow down our momentum. We fully anticipate a strong reception at retail this weekend and are already increasing our forecast to accommodate greater than anticipated demand.”

A hearing on PXG’s appeal for a preliminary injunction against TaylorMade is set for November 14.


PXG Founder Bob Parsons said in a Tweet that he’s sued TaylorMade for patent infringement related to its new P-790 irons.

TaylorMade’s P-790 irons are due in stores on September 15 in the U.S. They use a hollow construction that’s filled with a material TaylorMade calls “SpeedFoam.” It supports the thin, forged clubs faces used in the irons the help improve distance and accuracy. The material also helps quiet vibrations to improve the sound and feel of the irons.


Tech Story: Learn more about TaylorMade’s P-790 irons 

PXG’s 0311 iron series also uses a hollow-body construction. The forged club heads are filled with a TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) material that serves the same purpose as TaylorMade’s SpeedFoam.

To get a handle on the lawsuit, we spoke to Rob Van Arnam and Mike Sajovec, two patent attorneys from the law firm Williams Mullen. They explained that, in sum, PXG is claiming that its design for a better-performing iron is accomplished by the clubs having an expanded sweet spot, an ultra-thin club face, and an elastic material injected into the hollow-bodied club head. The claims of PXG’s patents are generally alleged to cover any golf club that includes a hollow portion filled with an elastomeric polymer, a first weight portion at a “top-and-toe transition region”, and a second weight portion located below a horizontal midplane of the golf club head with the first weight portion having a mass less than the second portion.

Thus, in layman’s terms, the patents attempt to cover the PXG club head with a polymer/rubber insert with the four weights near the toe and the seven weights on the back face of the club head closer to the sole of the club head. The eight patents asserted by PXG are related and are part of PXG’s portfolio of patents.


Related: What makes PXG irons and wedges so different?

We also asked them why they thought this case was filed.

“It is not surprising that PXG filed suit to protect its technology and PXG irons, as they appear to be the lifeblood of Bob Parson’s company,” Van Arnam said. “PXG will likely portray itself as an innovator and that TaylorMade is merely trading off PXG’s technology and success.”

We asked about the defenses TaylorMade will raise.  

“TaylorMade will likely counter that golf club heads for years have had hollow cavities with polymers or foams and have come with weights,” Sajovec said. “Thus, nothing that PXG is doing is new; it only looks better. TaylorMade will also focus on the different design of its weights, while PXG will allege that because TaylorMade utilizes two sets of weight, those weights are equivalent to the weights in the PXG patents claims. TaylorMade will counter that although PXG patents may be valid, the claims do not cover the TaylorMade design, particularly the placement of the weights.”

So what will happen first, how will the case proceed, and how long will it last?  

“PXG has already asked for a TRO (temporary restraining order) and a preliminary injunction to stop TaylorMade from making and selling its P-790 clubs while the case is pending,” Van Arnam said. “So there will be an intense few months to decide that motion. Because of the extraordinary relief injunctions offer, that may be an uphill battle. At the same time, we would expect TaylorMade will seek to stay the case and to challenge it with an Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceeding in the patent office, seeking a reexamination and invalidation of the patents.”

Sajovec added that IPRs are a common litigation challenge in patent cases and that “a quick look at the prosecution history of several of the PXG patents gives the impression that the patent examiner may not have fully appreciated the prior art cited during prosecution.”

“As a result of those actions and barring any early resolution, the case could last for 2-3 years or more,” Van Arnam said. 

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  1. SK

    Nov 5, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    These things are not golf clubs; they are just expensive toys for wannabes and gearheads who have more money than brains or ability.
    It’s such a scam but as Harvey Penick said on page 74 of his Little Red Book “Golfers are gullible.”.
    This fraudulent ‘over-engineering’ of golf club heads is comical and pathetic for the intended use. It’s a marketing scam and gullible golfers are taken for a futile ride.

  2. Jerry

    Nov 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    The reality is that TM did copy PXG.

    Question is whether it’s a legal copying.

  3. Todd

    Sep 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    PXGs Tag Line: NOBODY MAKES GOLF CLUBS THE WAY WE DO. PERIOD. Well apparently someone does for a lot less money, and they did it along time before PXG was around. Kinda takes the air outta their exaggerated clubs.

  4. many irons on their site at this moment?

    Sep 21, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    No offense to TMAG, but why not come out with something better? I don’t know how close they are or specifics of patent PXG holds on their iron head design, but it does seem like a complete “we will make a set just like theirs; just half the price” and will be on sale rack half that price 3 months later.

  5. Engineer Bob

    Sep 17, 2017 at 2:30 am

    TM P-790 and PXG 0311 fake forged scam exposed on GolfWRX!
    Only the thin face plate is nominally ‘forged’ while the rest of the club body is cast SS.
    The two pieces are welded together to form the hollow cavity filled with foam or gel.
    They’re like 90% cast steel body and 10% forged plate. Wotta scam and the gearheads just lap it up without complaining.

    • Craig

      Sep 17, 2017 at 2:41 am

      It is well known this is how PXG clubs are mean, not sure I understand your point. No one thought they were blades.

      • AllanB

        Sep 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm

        Both clubs have the word “forged” stamped on them which would lead you to believe they are 100% forged. Cast SS is cheap and the thin so-called ‘forged’ face plate is cheap too.
        So why the high prices for these cheap to manufacture clubs? It’s a scam.

        • SoloGolfer

          Sep 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

          Fake fake fake fake (forged)

          • MN

            Sep 24, 2017 at 1:20 am

            Lol, it does say forged. But it didn’t say 100% forged, so that doesn’t mean its not. Get over it.

            • SG

              Sep 25, 2017 at 2:11 am

              So you just believe whatever the OEMs tell you about their cooked up products…. because you love the status of owning OEM clubs.
              People like you are the proverbial “a sucker born every minute”.

        • Thomas A

          Sep 29, 2017 at 9:13 am

          You would believe that if you believed everything you read. Seems like in the specs they call out the manufacturing process and materials, so they’re not hiding anything. It’d probably blow your mind if I told you that the pumpkin in pumpkin pie is actually squash. Semantics.

  6. Gbx

    Sep 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    The day I wanted to buy pxg clubs was the day I realized I must be having a midlife crisis.

    • Nick

      Sep 18, 2017 at 2:15 am

      …. or you wanted skrews in your head …..!

    • Looks like a point for PXG

      Sep 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Whether other OEM’s have tried in the past, it’s working for PXG now. Ironically “the biggest name in golf” made an attempt to make a very similar club to satisfy those with PXG price issues. TMAG hould have tried to build something better, but I guess all Ping engineers are happy at PXG. They will be on the sale rack just like the rest of TMAG’s equipment.

  7. John Agel

    Sep 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    This is ridiculous absolutely ridiculous. This is not new technology in any way shape or form and actually I believe it was Tailor-Made in the 90s with their Burner series that first came out with cavity clubs that were foam filled this is… just childishness.

  8. Jimmy O

    Sep 16, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Patent trolls might have a field day with this. Nickent had the ARC blades about a decade ago and were filled with elastomer. If they had a patent, the material used might not have been limited to just elastomer. Yonex had their a blade irons filled as well… Should be an interesting few years of suits and counter suits.

  9. Freddie

    Sep 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    If TM has prior art work, or has produced a club similar prior to the PXG patent, they are good to go. Public disclosure trumps a patent. In other words if you patent something that has already been done, your patent is useless.

  10. Jacked_Loft

    Sep 16, 2017 at 4:14 am

    TM probably knew that this was going to happen when they first started working on the 790s on the drawing board. I’m sure that their legal beagles did the due diligence before the release and know that PXG hasn’t a chance in hell to sue them.

  11. allanaj

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    ”The GolfWRX forums exist so golfers have access to the latest equipment releases, hottest discussions, real equipment reviews, best instruction, new technologies, and everything golf you can imagine. So if you love golf, the GolfWRX forums are your sanctuary.”
    Okay, now tell us if the TM P-790 and PXG 0311 irons are FULLY forged, or are they only face-plate forged and the rest of the body is a SS casting with the parts welded together.

  12. dcorun

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I like my 2017 M2 driver but, not a total TM club fan. Should be fun watching this for awhile before something else comes along to distract us. 🙂

  13. peter collins

    Sep 15, 2017 at 11:59 am

    PXG will win the day pay up TM

  14. BigBoy

    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:59 am

    They’re both sh*t clubs.

  15. Kevin

    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

    In baseball terms, they would both be considered cheaters for “juicing the bats”

  16. Tblack

    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I have had some dealings with PXG they are very arrogant, hope TM Clobbers them

  17. Golfr42 PA

    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

    End of the day, how it will play out is that TM has the attorneys on payroll and can tie it up in litigation so long that BOTH companies will have moved on to the new “bigger and better” (or should I say “longer and more forgey feeling”) thing three times before PXG decides they can’t afford to pursue it further. Another possible outcome is that TM pays PXG enough to get them to STFU and drop the suit.
    Either way you look at it, and if you are a fan of either, both or none of those companies, this should generate enough butt hurt on the forums to keep those of us who really don’t give a damn some entertainment watching folks self-destruct over it. Still better entertainment than the left vs right political vomit that’s been polluting the forums and social media recently.

  18. Jimmy Ray

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Am I the only one horrified that someone cut a $300 iron in half just for a money shot? I could have sold that baby on eBay!

    • Golfr42 PA

      Sep 15, 2017 at 9:07 am

      More than likely it was a QC reject that was butchered on its way to the scrap heap

  19. Judge mental

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    PXG reinvent the wheel ,so watch out everyone !!!!!!

  20. Jack Nash

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Taylormade getting sued? Again? That’s why they bought out Adams. Hmmm slot technology. Then again, if we’re going for Style points I would imagine Mizuno and Titleist would have a beef against both these companies.

  21. Spitfisher

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Looking at the picture at the top of article, looks like the iron on the right has better quality control…..don’t tell Bob he’ll sue his own manufacturing

  22. jack

    Sep 15, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Sticking to the subject, PXG has numerous patents including the injection of a polymer into the cavity of the club.

  23. Mike

    Sep 14, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Bob needs the money to continue to sponsor Paige Spirinac.

  24. AllanA

    Sep 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I suspect TM and PXG have colluded with these publicity law suits to suck in the geerhead market to look at their clubs and create a desire to choose sides and form TM and PXG teams …. at exorbitant prices to join the teams and own cheap cast steel clubs with a thin ‘forged’ face-plate. Ya think?!!

  25. Bert

    Sep 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Better sue Yonex as well – what a joke.

  26. BO

    Sep 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I sue you
    You sue me
    Let’s all just sue
    That fella behind the tree !!!

  27. Blake

    Sep 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Thats rich coming from the guy who stole PING employees then created PING clubs with screws on the back.

  28. Chris B

    Sep 14, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I can’t see how they have a case, hollow irons have been around before and most will have had some hot melt put in at some stage. Foam is very different to a thermoplastic material.

    They all copy each other anyway.

  29. Jose Pro Se

    Sep 14, 2017 at 7:45 am

    TM will be fine. Parsons is about to get a very expensive lesson – just b/c you get a patent doesn’t mean you have an enforceable patent.

    Who wins? TM and PXG ATTORNEYS

  30. Mike Honcho

    Sep 14, 2017 at 7:38 am

    PXG. Pompous Xtreme Golf. Get over yourself Bob!

  31. Anthony Rowe

    Sep 14, 2017 at 1:17 am

    At the end of the where does it all end , most big brands , drivers have the same adjustable weights and shafts, and the other is people’s preferences and budget, PXG over $3000 for just a set of irons, so which clown at PXG can possibly be thinking about the market of golfer they are making for, at least taylormade, who is now probably the biggest supporter of golf, with products that a real golfer can afford, PXG want to tread lightly after alot of there staff are ex PING employees, PING might be next to sue PXG for copyrights?

  32. LLC

    Sep 14, 2017 at 1:04 am

    For TM:
    “…“SpeedFoam.” It supports the thin, forged clubs faces used in the (P-790) irons…”
    And for PXG:
    “…The forged (0311) club heads are filled with a TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) material…”
    Thank you GolfWRX Staff for admitting that the PXG is fully forged and the TM is only face-forged ….. or is it?

    • Bert

      Sep 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      How would you forge a hollow club head? I thought forging was a stamping process from a solid piece of metal and cast was poured melted metal. Not sure how you could stamp a heated metal ingot into a hollow body. My bet is neither are really a forged club.

      • AllanA

        Sep 14, 2017 at 8:23 pm

        I suspect only the face-plates are forged and the rest of the club is cast SS with the forged face welded to the cast body.
        So where does the ‘forged feel’ come from; only from the face-plate or the entire body and in particular the hosel which transmits the impact feel to the shaft?
        I recall a blind test done with forged and cast steel clubs and most of the regular golfers couldn’t tell the difference on center hits. Perhaps forged heads help muffle the off-center hit shock.
        And perhaps the ‘feel’ difference only emerges in high speed pro swings where the forged hosel changes the feel sensation.
        Perhaps the myth of ‘forged’ is being exploited by TM and PXG…. and the gullible geerheads just imagine the feel differences. Of course OEMs can charge outlandish prices for clubs with fake forged lettering on the body.
        Perhaps it’s all a scam……….

      • Chris

        Sep 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm

        2-piece forged. Then welded together I guess, it forged a second time with the polymer sandwiched in.

        • allanaj

          Sep 15, 2017 at 8:47 pm

          You don’t know what you’re talking about. Stop guessing and ask GolfWRX to investigate and inform us.

  33. DaveT

    Sep 13, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    A couple of comments on the patent and legal issue, not the technology itself:

    (1) Since I started out as an engineer in 1962, the patent process has changed enormously. In order to handle the huge crush of applications in more recent years, as well as speed the issuance of a patent, the examiner does a lot less critical examination of the application. They (rightly IMHO) issue patents too easily, and let litigation decide which are important enough to investigate in detail. So the IPR request from TaylorMade is entirely appropriate, and it may invalidate the hollow, foam-filled part of PXG’s claim. And TM was doing screw weights and placement before almost anybody, IIRC. So only the specific configuration of PXG’s screws is likely to be patentable. I imagine that is not infringed by TM.

    (2) The really critical thing is not whether the patent is deemed valid or not; it is the injunction. The suit itself will take years to get to a decision. By then both companies will have different products and the decision will be moot. So the big thing commercially is whether or not the court will let TM sell their product while we wait for an answer. Yes? TM won, period. No? PXG won, period. The outcome of the trial itself doesn’t really matter.

  34. Mark Walgren

    Sep 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    PXG lol… what a joke.

  35. Dat

    Sep 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    PXG is a JOKE!

  36. Brian

    Sep 13, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Lol. PXG just sucks.

  37. tlmck

    Sep 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    TM just needs to tie this up in court for 6 months or so. By that time they will be releasing their new iron offerings that won’t sell either.

    • Anthony

      Sep 14, 2017 at 1:06 am

      6 months? have they changed their release times? More like 3-4 months lol…

  38. LITM

    Sep 13, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    You idiots don’t know much about patents

  39. Allen Rawlins

    Sep 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Back in the mid 90’s taylormade made an iron that had in the hollowed out cavity….. FOAM!!!!! Makes you wonder who is infringing on who??!!

    • Historian

      Sep 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm


    • allanaj

      Sep 15, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      And the original TM Pittsburgh Persimmon hollow steel drivers were filled with foam… but only to support the sole, crown and face for the welding of the parts.

  40. Rich

    Sep 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    This takes it back to the Macgregor hollow back V foil irons and the old Wilson Staff Relex irons of many years ago. Heck tell us some Mfgs that have copied from a previous design !!!

    • Historian

      Sep 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      The Wilson Reflex iron is a great example of the slot in the sole technology. I’m not sure how Wilson can’t claim the technology – they had it in the late 1970’s. Has the patent expired?

      • JThunder

        Sep 14, 2017 at 4:18 am

        Design patents last 14 years in the US.

        Any patent PXG holds would have to be very specific to their design, since nothing they’re doing in general is new; forged. hollow, gunk-filled, weights…

        Bob Parsons clearly just has too much money and needs to find ways to spend it. A team of lawyers would drive 99% of the population into bankruptcy, but won’t even dent Bob’s ludicrous cash pile.

  41. UnclePhil

    Sep 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    @Bishop!! Well played, love that comment!

  42. OX

    Sep 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Will TM counter-sue and ask for costs? Then PXG drops their suit and TM will withdraw claim for costs. Then there will an ad campaign between PXG 0311 and TM P-790 ….. and the winner will be …… BOTH … ( and the club owning golfers will lose because they fell for the scam).

  43. Bob Jacobs

    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    This is like saying as a club maker that I will be suing every other club maker because they have irons made of metal, same as I do. Silly and p.s., I bought a set of PXGs and ZERO feel off the face.

  44. alan p

    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    now i know why these performed so well in the member testing.

  45. Scott

    Sep 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Taylor made had foam filled irons in the 1990s first well before pxg was even a pipe dream. Parsons will lose

  46. Boss

    Sep 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I’m going to sue PXG for making golf clubs that look like other golf clubs but are far too expensive and don’t perform as advertised!

    • john

      Sep 13, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      I have a set of 0311t’s and they perform as advertised. High quality irons that came with exactly the right lofts and lie angles as expected from a proper manufacturer (without every second club having tip weights, hey titleist). Taylormades I had before the 4 iron and 5 iron had the same loft. The only part advertised that you don’t agree with is the price. Should get a better job.

      • Willgolf

        Sep 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

        What do you mean by second clubs having tip weights?

        • Charlie

          Sep 14, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          Tip weights put into the hollow part of the shaft at the bottom where the head is connected…they add head weight so that you can get the desirable swing weight. With shafts that taper in length (4 iron 38.5″, half inch increments down to 35.25″ in wedges), you have to have corrasponding head weights to match the shaft length to get the clubs at the same swing weight. So, an example (though not completely accurate) would be because 4 iron is 38.5″ in length, the head weight needs to be a few grams lighter than the 5 iron headweight, which will be put into a 38″ shaft. If they head weights aren’t right you need to compensate by tip weighting the shafts (or adding lead tape) to get the appropriate swing weight. It doesn’t really make any difference but some people say it’s a testament to the quality and attention to detail.

      • craig

        Sep 15, 2017 at 9:11 am

        Every major OEM uses the tip weight system.
        I have pulled apart irons, hybrids, fairways, wedges, putters and drivers from all OEM,s and they all have some sort of tip weighting system.
        Because all clubheads, grips, shafts have tollerances up to 5-10 grams each then this practice is going to be the norm. If you have never pulled apart a golf club then you will never know.

        • Chris

          Sep 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm

          Not so for Miura, Epon, Vega, PXG. In general, the more high end JDM stuff never feature tip weights.

        • Bob Pegram

          Sep 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

          Custom clubmakers will weight their heads and use the ones that get the right swingweight without added weights. They will also check lofts and lies, and adjust where necessary to get correct specs. That is the big adbantage of buying clubs from a custom clubmaker. They take the time to do it right.

  47. Bishop

    Sep 13, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    So, you’re saying that if I buy the 790’s now, I’m getting the 0311 irons for half price???

    • rymail00

      Sep 13, 2017 at 10:10 pm


      HAHAHAHA, well said Bishop. I saw and hit the demo 7 iron at DSG. The pics on here make them look quite a bit bigger and more driver iron-ish. Definitely a great shape and size, nowhere near as big as I as expecting. Felt pretty good too, I preffered my AP2 for feel but could get used to them easily.

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




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:
  • “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”



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



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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