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The Artisan Golf putter fitting experience

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There is a certain mystique surrounding Artisan Golf.  In clubhouses and on courses around Texas, the name Artisan is spoken almost as if it’s a local legend. Something unattainable that only the best players in the world get access to.

Did you see so and so is playing artisan wedges? He ordered a putter from them too. He must know somebody who knows somebody. Those Artisan guys are the old Nike club-makers who worked with Tiger and Rory and Reed.

For nearly the first two years of the company’s existence, Artisan didn’t have a website and orders for custom putters and wedges needed to be done via phone or social media. It wasn’t until January of this year that they launched a website in order to better sell their equipment. And now if you want a custom Artisan club, you can get one. But simply getting online and ordering a wedge or putter isn’t the way they want things done.

“Every single person that has bought a putter, I have talked to them one on one,” said John Hatfield, Artisan’s Head Putter Maker.  “It’s important because I want to make sure that we are getting them the best possible build that we can get them. We are never going to be a volume business. We never want to be a volume business. We want to make what we make and have that good relationship with the consumer.”

John Hatfield

When Nike closed its doors for good on the club making business, Artisan opened the following Monday in the very same space. And things ran pretty smoothly on just word of mouth and prior relationships. Hatfield focuses on putters and Mike Taylor is the wedge maker. But in 2018, Patrick Reed won the masters with a pair of Artisan wedges in his bag and people took notice. The company went from 300 Instagram followers to over ten thousand, essentially overnight. Hatfield doesn’t mess with all that, though. He is old-school and just wants to give golfers the best possible equipment to fit their game.

“We wanted to continue doing what we had been doing,” Hatfield said. “We wanted to offer the consumer what the tour player could get when he or she came in to see us. We had seen people on GolfWRX saying “oh man that is cool but we are never going to get it!” and we said you know what, if you’ll pay for it and if you want it, come and get it.”

And make no mistake. These Artisan guys have worked with the best players in the world. And they still do. When you walk into the Artisan facility, one of the first things you see is a big wall full of signatures from some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Rory McIlroy, and a ton more are all on the wall. Even George Strait has been in for a club fitting.

I went to Artisan headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas to start my relationship with Hatfield and Artisan. To this day, the company is still housed in the old Nike building, nicknamed “the Oven,” which comes complete with a practice green, driving range space and a wedge fitting area. I was there for a personal putter fitting. Having worked for Ben Hogan Golf and Nike, Hatfield has been in the club making business for over 30 years. The man is passionate about putters. But when it came to this fitting, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The fitting took place outside on Artisan’s practice green. And that is by design.

“We like to fit in the dirt. I don’t understand being indoors on a flat putt,” Hatfield said.  “That’s not natural. When you get outside with undulations and trees. This is real. This is how you play golf. I want to see what you are doing on real greens.”

And when Hatfield says he wants to speak with every person that he makes a putter for, he means it. My fitting took two and a half hours on the practice green, hitting putt after putt with different models and weights. Throughout the process, we made some adjustments on my stroke and the ball’s position in my stance but only minor tweaks. It felt like a putting lesson without completely getting away from what I was comfortable with. Hatfield wasn’t there to change the way I putt. He was there to get to know me so he could build the perfect putter for the way I putt. To Hatfield,  that all starts with look and sound.

“The number one thing is that it has to look good,” he said. “It needs to give you confidence. If you set something down and you don’t like to look at it, how long are you going to play it? Then after that it needs to sound good. That audible sound has to give you good feedback or you aren’t going to play it. The different mill depths can give you the different sounds that you need.”

And throughout the entire process, he didn’t write down a single word. It was all in his head and in his hands. Hatfield would adjust the weights on a putter and hand it to me. While I used it, he would observe the stroke, ask me questions, adjust a different putter and then hand that one to me. Then Repeat. Different lengths of putts, different lines and reads and speeds. For over two hours. We were narrowing down our options and Hatfield was building my putter in his mind. And at the same time, he was giving me tips on how to better put the ball in the hole.

I came to realize that there was probably no one who understood putting better than Hatfield. Sure, there are his equals. But this guy has spent the last 30 years building putters and fitting them for players. He knows what he is doing. And he wants to use his experience to make you a better golfer. He can talk to you and explain things in a way anyone can understand.

At the end of the fitting, we went back inside and filled out the Artisan putter order form with my specs. We picked out a grip that felt good in my hands but also weighed the appropriate weight for my stroke. I ended up going with the 0217 midslant because it fit my eye the best of the four putter models. The “bluebonnet finish” with a sight circle top line also looks phenomenal in person. I was hooked when I saw it. The full custom fitting and build ended up with a $975.00 price tag.

Each artisan putter comes with a serial number that is assigned to that particular customer. That way, Hatfield will always be able to look back and see exactly what was built for you. And if you want to change your grip or head-weights, that’s fine with him but he wants you to call him and let him know so he can update your file. If your putting turns south, Hatfield wants to know why and he wants to fix it. It really is all about the relationships and making you a better golfer.

The putters aren’t cheap but you are getting personal attention and a relationship with the guy who is making your putter when you spend the money. That is worth a ton, in my opinion.

The headcovers are custom as well. When you end up making your putter purchase, an online headcover creating form is sent to the customer so they can customize the color and stitching. The customer’s input is included in every aspect of the putter purchase.

And if you aren’t able to make it to Fort Worth, Texas for a personal fitting with Hatfield, that is perfectly fine. He still wants to spend a considerable amount of time with you on the phone, talking about your game. He even loves it when you send him videos of your putting stroke and the specs on your current putter. If you go somewhere local for a fitting, he wants to know about that too. The more information, the better. Hatfield wants to get to know you. It’s all about the relationships. He gets to know the player in order to build him the perfect putter.

And that is the thing that impressed me most about Artisan Golf. They care about your score. They want you to improve and if you shop with them, they are going above and beyond to put you in the right equipment to improve your game. If that means spending close to three hours on a putting green with you, Hatfield will do it. If that means giving you his cell phone number so you can call him to tell him you want to change the grip on your putter, Hatfield will do it. If that means taking time to watch videos of your putting stroke and then talking to you on the phone to make sure you get exactly the putter you want, Hatfield will do it.

Artisan cares about lowering your score. Plain and simple.

“We are focused on making products and improving your game,” Hatfield said. “We aren’t focused on all that other pizzazz.”

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Johnny Newbern writes for GolfWRX from Fort Worth, Texas. His loving wife lets him play more golf than is reasonable and his son is almost old enough to ride in the cart with dad. He is a Scotty Cameron loyalist and a lover of links style courses. He believes Coore/Crenshaw can do no wrong, TMB irons are almost too hot and hole-in-ones are earned, not given. Johnny holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Some genuinely choice articles on this site, bookmarked.

  2. Charanpal Singh Sekhon

    Mar 28, 2019 at 11:08 am

    I reached out to Artisan Golf I think last year and they gave a quote of $700 for the putter but with extra $250 for the custom fitting session with the guy himself, it’s not bad at all. Custom Scotty Cameron or Odyssey Toulon will be close to $700 with the putter purchase and no way it guarantees that will be custom fit to your eye. I have had few Putter fittings ( Club Champions, PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE VAN FITTING and a local Golf Tech) but all of them were indoors. Some with highly sofisticated machines and some with just observing with naked eye. I would give it a go as I am local to Fort Worth (45-50min). But $1000 is little too much at this point where I am making too many adjustments to my stroke and learning about the art of putting.

  3. Rusty

    Mar 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    PS ..”My thoughts exactly. I am glad you got to experience it too, Allen. I really enjoyed my time with Mr. Hatfield.”

    You talk of a great experience, great time there – you dont actually say and the putter is really great and it works for me…

    And in your article there are no words like “WOW once it ws fitted for me – it felt fantastic and I holed everything” or it is on par with my belived scotty cameron, and you will take a lot to beat that…. etc And extra $600.00 is bucket load to pay , another 2 putters…

  4. Rusty

    Mar 25, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    So after all that does it work? No mention from I can read..

    • Johnny Newbern

      Mar 25, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      The putter that worked best for me was the 0217 Model. And yes, during the fitting I was putting a much better stroke on the ball with that model. Once we got the weights dialed in, I was making more putts.

  5. JP

    Mar 25, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    “I was hooked when I saw it. The full custom fitting and build ended up with a $975.00 price tag.”
    .
    .
    However, since it was agreed to be a wrx front page story, these were all free for any wrx staff that wanted one.

    • Johnny Newbern

      Mar 25, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Oh man…I wish this was true! Funny stuff. Thanks for reading!

  6. Mike Cleland

    Mar 25, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Looks like good stuff to me. A $1,000 putter isn’t rediculous when it comes with a 2-3 hour fitting on a real grass green. A putter is half the game. Wedges are beautiful too. Biggest problem is I live in Minnesota which is a long way from Texas.

  7. T

    Mar 24, 2019 at 11:37 am

    You look at the putting stats on Tour, none of this is necessary.
    Not one player is ever making 20 putts every round they play consistently. Everybody makes some sometimes, and everybody misses some, sometimes. If you can make anywhere less than 28 putts every round, you’re a great putter!
    Just go get a putter that feels comfortable, for length, looks, balance, weight, grip fit in hand, and impact feel of the face and the price you can afford or want to pay, and just go practice. Practice. Practice.
    How about that. Just practice.

    • Euan Hardman

      Mar 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      Spot on.Follow the advice you’ve given and there’s no need to show off with a $1000 putter that looks like, and feels like, a $50 BeCu Anser.

    • C

      Mar 25, 2019 at 9:43 am

      “for length, looks, balance, weight, grip fit in hand, and impact feel of the face”

      So in other words, getting fitted. Ok. Thanks.

    • harold

      Mar 25, 2019 at 10:06 am

      The difference is what Artisan is doing is actual art. Its a custom experience. Its one of a kind.

      No different than many other items that you can buy custom. You can go buy an Ikea kitchen table and it gets the job done. Or you can find a custom woodworker and build something unique, custom to your tastes and wants, with your chosen wood, to your chosen dimensions…etc etc. and its going to cost more. And yeah it serves the same purpose as the Ikea table. Not everyone wants the Ikea table.

  8. Allen Wilson

    Mar 23, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    This is the exact experience I had a month ago. I couldn’t believe John too 2.5 hours to do the fitting. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. When you’re done, you will have extreme confidence the putter you have is the best putter you can have.

    • Johnny Newbern

      Mar 25, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      My thoughts exactly. I am glad you got to experience it too, Allen. I really enjoyed my time with Mr. Hatfield.

  9. Michael Ehrenborg

    Mar 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    This was a great read ! I love the guys at Artisan. I am up there at least once a week just to chat and pick mikes and johns brains . Also have had my Scotty redone by John and had a great experience. DR shafted , gripped and adjusted my lie and lofts to my specifications to a T. I will be getting 4 wedges from mike very soon . I can not wait to be part of the Artisan army .

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What GolfWRXers are saying about TaylorMade’s P770 irons

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In our forums, our members have been discussing TaylorMade’s all-new P770 irons. WRXer ‘texcrom’ has had his set delivered and tested the irons out on the course, and here are his thoughts on the new clubs:

“Looks – Best looking iron I have ever put in my bag. At address, just a great looking club, minimal offset, relatively thin top line. 

Feel – Surprisingly soft feel. I expected harder, with more of a click. As soft as my MP20 MMC’s but in a different way. Just soft, which I found very, very pleasing!

Forgiveness – Very pleased here, as a couple of shots that I felt like I missed ended up not off by much! This is why I bought these…my concession to loss of skills through aging, and wanted more forgiveness with a players club look and feel. Got it!

Distance – Initially seemed shorter than my Mizuno’s, and I was surprised. Turned out it was a result of 3 weeks off, and a temperature of 59 degrees at tee time. High flight, and distance in line with Mizuno’s (at almost 65 years old, life is a 150 yard 7 iron).

Dispersion – Excellent, but be aware these irons are straight! Back nine, I managed a couple of very slight fades, but these are pretty much aim and shoot. 

Turf interaction – This was the best surprise of the day. My Mizuno’s typically cut a pretty deep divot and an all too frequent heavy shot. The P770’s were smooth through the turf, and even in my first round with them, I did not miss an iron shot. Great through the turf! Very pleased!!!

Very pleased with these!! Playing again Monday, and will know more after second round!”

Our members have been discussing the irons with some sharing their early experiences with the clubs in our forums.

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.

  • Hougz79: “Had another round with the 770s. Played my home course which (for me) is quite challenging. Fired a +6 78. Better performance than my i210s. The turf interaction is far superior for my swing. This course requires the whole bag to be hit, so tested the mid and long irons a bit. Very pleased. Very satisfied with these thus far. I think TM has a winner on their hands.”
  • ASN21: “Came to these from the OG P790’s and haven’t missed a beat. They simply check all the boxes. Can’t wait to use them again on Friday.”
  • gwelfgulfer: “If I do end up changing irons over the winter, these will get serious consideration. Was impressed with just trying a 7i quickly at a driver fitting, and have always loved the look of the ’05 TP CB’s.”
  • tdelam: “Got mine today, and I came to this section to see if the feeling of love is mutual with fellow WRXr’s. My god, what a beautiful set of irons. The feeling of these are so nice. I am coming from P790 (2019’s) custom-built from TM with DG S300, PXG 0311T gen 2, and Mizuno MP 20 SEL’s. I went with KBS Tour S 120’s in the P770’s, very glad I did. I was very very surprised with the forgiveness of these as well. Sold my P790’s quickly. I think the TM’s win; Now to sell the other 2 sets (leftys).”

Entire Thread: “TaylorMade’s new P770 irons”

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GolfWRX Classifieds (9/21/20): Sub70, Callaway X2 Hot, Titleist TS4

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment—plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Golfman1 – Callaway X2 Hot 3 wood

The XHot line changed the entire trajectory of Callaway fairway woods on a performance level and the X2 Hot is still, as the name suggests, one heck of a hot fairway wood.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: X2 Hot 3 wood

Member chrisokeefe12 – Sub70 Pro Fairway wood

How do you get one of the best value fairway woods on the market for an even better value? You buy it used! Sub70 is known for quality clubs for a great price, and this 4-wood could be just the club you are looking for.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Sub 70 Fairway

Member farrar24 – Titleist TS4 Driver

One of the lowest of low spinning drivers on the market in the Titleist TS4, and if you plan on playing some golf during the breezy fall, this could be your next fairway finder.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TS4 driver

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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What GolfWRXers are saying about ‘old but still relevant fairway woods’

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the best old but relevant fairway woods. WRXer ‘moogolfer’ kicks off the thread with his picks, saying:

“If you come across one of these fairways give them a try: R7 TP, Cleveland Launcher Comp and Mizuno MP Titanium. The most recently released club is the Mizuno at 10 years ago with the other two around 15 years ago, which helps make them inexpensive. 

All 3 have titanium construction in varying degrees, and all 3 have great distance. I say this not as they have good distance for old clubs, but have distance comparable to anything you’ll find today. Every now and then you’ll find an RBZ, 2016 M2, 917 or SIM that flys as far as your driver, true, but give one of these old boys a try some time. “

Our members have been sharing which fairway woods they feel fit the bill, and why in our forums.

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.

  • boggyman: “My OG R’ballz is with its trusty Green NV. Good as anything I’ve ever played for myself. It’s still in standby, going nowhere till it collapses.”
  • Chadwickog: “I have an OG Exotics XCG, that’s a wonderful club as well.”
  • tannyhoban: “Funny you say that as I just picked up a R7 Titanium 7 wood. It might come in handy.”
  • marrtinbns: “I just put an 8-9 year old Callaway original Xhot 3w back in my bag. IT fell out of my bag several times it’s so boring, but always seems to be back.”

Entire Thread: “Old but still relevant fairway woods?”

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