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Northern milling: SGC Putters is Canada’s own putter boutique

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It seems like everywhere you look nowadays there is a new putter boutique popping up across the USA. With all of these new options who needs to go down to their local big box store and grab the latest mass-produced OEM offering.

We all want something personal and something no one else has.

For many years customers in the USA have been able to access custom boutique putters such as Mann Krafted, Piretti, Tyson Lamb, Artisan, Scratch, Xenon, APC, and the list goes on from there. These brands are all phenomenal in their own rights but come at a high cost to us North of the border once you add exchange and duties.

I am sure that many a Canadian has wondered what if we could get something milled in our own country that we could take pride in like our neighbours to the South. We did have this option at one time through Daito Putters till they went out of business.

There is a new option, and I am fairly certain that if you are not from Truro, Nova Scotia, or the surrounding area you have most likely never heard of SGC Putters.

Staurt Cox, the founder and inspiration behind SGC Putters, never intended to get into putter manufacturing business. In speaking with Stuart, he actually got his start in the putter business was through refinishing. During his University days, he would buy refinish and resell all types of putters. It was this process that peaked his interest for milled putters. Like any true club lover, his time was slowly taken over by researching the stories and processes of many different milled putter makers. Stuart remembers that “Piretti was just getting started when I was in university and I actually contacted them (and other makers about info). I bought a few Early Piretti putters just out of curiosity.”

After doing his research and dedicating himself to school studies as well as the putter industry Stuart decided to download some cheap CAD software and teach himself how to use this technology. He made a few designs at first and just let them sit for a few years.

Stuart decided to take the plunge after university was done. In late 2012, he had a few heads milled. Following this, he went all in in 2013. Stuart remembers, “I started SGC Putters….one head style…limited options…. eventually as I sold some I added another head, etc. I taught myself everything as I went from design, stamping, shaping, finishing, making my own headcovers, website, etc.”

The growth of his business was slow but he did still have the refinishing aspect to fall back on as well. As the years went by he decided to invest more in his hobby and started having both grips and headcovers made professionally to go along with his growing number of head styles.

I asked Stuart about his design inspirations and he told me “I like clean, classic designs. I’m not out to reinvent the wheel but eventually, I likely will grow to offer more complex head styles.” I also inquired about why milled putters when there are so many other types of clubs. “What intrigued me about milled putters were the fine lines and sharp edges so my earlier putters had sharp lines and edges… eventually I’ve come to appreciate softer finishes on edges, but will leave them if a customer wants them less softened.“

Stuart does still consider this a business a “hobby” but at the same time realizes how important customer input and interaction is to his success. He can at times feel limited in comparison to other putter makers as he doesn’t have the time, money and resources available to them. He went on to tell me that “I only invest what I have available into heads, covers, grips, shafts, etc. I have small batches of head milled so if I have a logo on the head, I have to work with that on a customers design… the same with my face mills, I just offer the pattern on the face and don’t get into offering different patterns. This allows me to keep my costs down and my prices lower than some other makers.”

Stuart won’t let being a small maker get in his way when it comes to a special request from a customer. He is very forthcoming with his customers and says “I will push myself on some special requests from time to time – it’s all a learning process. I have always been good with my hands and making things so sometimes taking a risk or chance on a design becomes less scary once you have the experience and understanding to know that you can fix the problem if you screw up. Customers are always great and very understanding when I explain what I can and can’t do currently.”

When asked about the future Stuart says he “hopes to continue to slowly grow the brand. I have realized that if I want to grow things I couldn’t do it making every putter individually. So I’ve started to come out with a line of putters more focused on retail, but still customizable.”

Although not his day job, it seems as though Stuart is creating a niche for himself within our large industry. In addition to his putter crafting, he is an Operations Manager as a PGA of Canada Club professional in Nova Scotia. More importantly, he is a husband with an exceedingly patient wife and a father of two small children.

It is always an exciting thing to a gear junkie to be able to find something that is playable, exceptional quality, and that none of your buddies have. Stuart provides this through SGC Putters. I know that my all-blacked out model is ready to hit the course this spring!

See Stuart’s site and creations on the SGC Putter website

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Andrew Warrington

    May 2, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Stuart is awesome to work with, and the putters are fantastic. My SGC has been my gamer since 2016.

  2. CJB

    May 2, 2019 at 3:04 am

    Good Luck Stuart, I hope it works out for you.

  3. H

    May 2, 2019 at 12:56 am

    They look ‘orrible

  4. Ben

    May 1, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Great Ping copies

  5. Tommy Roberts

    May 1, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What happened to John Byron Putters? As everything except for modern mallets, copy/deviations, just very well made. Have a bunch of their prototypes, but never hear much.

  6. Adam Dickinson

    May 1, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Massive shout out to Stuart for his involvement in this article. A great person to deal with and a super high quality product. Will go that extra mile. #makebirdiesnotpar

  7. Jeff Burns

    May 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Great write-up. I recently purchased a putter from SGC and I can’t say enough good things about Stuart and the process we went through. It was completely painless and in the end he crafted EXACTLY what I had envisioned. It’s truly a playable work of art… I couldn’t ask for anything more!

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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