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The inside story of the surprise popularity of the TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue on tour

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“Let’s build ’em hybrids. What the hell.”

The TaylorMade tour staff photoshoot has become an early November tradition that is well known to the golf junkies of the world. For civilians, it’s when Tiger, Rory, DJ, Rahmbo, and the rest of the staff will get their first look at the new TM equipment.

Fun for us onlookers, but extremely stressful for TM marketing, R&D, and tour departments.

“First impressions are everything. If we don’t get ’em excited right away, it could go the other way fast.” – Chandler Carr, TaylorMade Product Creation

The task of prepping the new clubs falls on the shoulders of TaylorMade’s Product Creation Team—Chandler Carr and Patrick Baxter. Every year, they get staff specs, pillage the stock for the right components, and assemble the full gamut of what each player typically games. One thing that is never in the conversation is hybrids, however—nobody on staff hits ’em so why build ’em?

This is where this story gets fun.

Either as a joke or out of general curiosity, Chandler had the thought to build up hybrids for the entire staff.  Obviously team TaylorMade has all players specs dialed in but Hybrids? Without knowing the exact hybrid specs there was a good amount of guesswork involved as well as some healthy debate between those in the room (including Baxter) on the practicality of building a hybrid for Tiger Woods, Rory, or any of the staff that has never even sniffed a hybrid.

I know Chandler well, and he is a gearhead of the highest caliber as well as a person who will take a risk just to see the outcome. What’s the worst that could happen? Nobody hits ’em and they end up back at HQ in a pile of “I told you so?”

So, after finally convincing Patrick Baxter to go along, the Rescues were built to spec and shipped off to sit in the bags of the highest-ranked tour staff in the world.

Now, there are hybrids on tour—lots of them. But they are not the most desired choice for multiple reasons the main one being a left-miss tendency. And frankly, most players would rather look at a 5-wood or 2-iron. In relation to TaylorMade, they don’t really make hybrids for the tour: they are for the higher handicap player.

Rory McIlroy was testing a SIM Rescue ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The story continues…

The TaylorMade staff shows up at the Floridian in West Palm Beach, Florida, for a day of content with people like Me and My Golf, for testing with Tomo Bystedt, Bazz, and Keith, interviews with selected press, and the fun of all being in one place at one time on a day off.

When each player approached the new bags of goodies, Rory was the first to comment

“There is a hybrid in my bag, is someone trying to tell me I need help with my long irons?” 

He was kidding, obviously, but it was a weird thing for a player like that to see in his bag. However, during a break, Rory decides to kill some time and starts hitting the 19-degree Sim Max Rescue. He put on a ballstriking clinic that had the whole place in awe.

“The flag was 260 out and he was peppering this thing with draws, fades, stingers on command.” – Chris Trott, TaylorMade Sports Marketing

Low and behold DJ gets wind of the action, hits a few, loves it and puts it in the bag.

This is a unicorn situation for TaylorMade…sort of. A few weeks later, the buzz around Rory and DJ putting Sim Max Rescues in the bag hit Instagram during the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, and it was a big deal. That buzz created curiosity that trickled down the world rankings, and within days the TaylorMade tour crew had orders coming from some of the best players on the planet, staff and non-staff.

Looks good for marketing, but for Wade and the boys in the truck, it’s been a club building calculus problem.

Heres the thing, Sim Max Rescues are production-only heads…not tour spec heads. They’re built for big box retail and online buyers. When a product goes to Tour, it’s built for the tour, which in this case means it would have a longer hosel for manipulation, center of gravity would be different, and there would be a hot melt port for sound and swing weight, etc.

The issue is the heads that went out to the truck for the first event stateside were retail production heads. So, if a guy wants to try one and give it a fair shot, the TM tour trailer has a component that is damn near impossible to bend (due to the short hosel), tricky to weight with no hot melt alleyway, and also it’s a head built specifically for a 65-gram 40-plus inch regular flex graphite shaft. For the club builders out there, you can see the dilemma.

In a one-off situation, it’s not a huge issue, but due to the volume of players wanting to test, TaylorMade literally ran out of Rescue heads this week in Phoenix. Wade and crew are in full grind mode on the truck. This is the “influencer” thing working. Situations like this where the world No. 2 gets excited, puts it in play and boom, instant curiosity from his peers.

I’m assuming the plan is to create a tour head to allow for an easier build, but that could take weeks. (I’ll keep you posted on that)

So it goes like this: TaylorMade owes Chandler and Patrick a thank-you for the bold idea, and Chandler and Patrick owe the boys on the truck a case of apology beer for the chaos created. And if sometime in April Rory flings his Sim Max Rescue into the eighth green at Augusta and has a four-footer for eagle to take the lead, Chandler and Patrick can say “I told you so.”

Not all heroes wear capes.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Ben

    Mar 11, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    I hit the 4h 22* looking to replace my 4 iron using the stock shaft. Stupid long, launches high and is as long as my R15 3h. Now looking for a 5h in xstiff. Will need to custom order. Sound was fantastic too. I might look for a low lofted one to replace my 3w

  2. Martin

    Feb 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    This just shows us how reluctant the guys on tour really are to try new stuff. Unless another player use it, they wont use it. They just follow the pack. So there is nothing special with this hybrid, its just another hybrid on the market.

  3. derek gzaskow

    Feb 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    anyone seen it in their bags at Riviera?

    • Juanny

      Feb 17, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Nope. All out of the TM guys bags now. Every hybrid they’ve come up with since the Aeroburners in 2014 have the same identical shape.

  4. Jim

    Feb 5, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Great article Johnny. It was hilarious hearing Chandler and Tomo tell the story. I liked the feel of the SIM Max Rescue. The trajectory was great. I just need a flatter lie to work for me.

    • Mamba

      Feb 17, 2020 at 4:53 am

      No doubt. I bet all the hybrids, woods and drivers on tour have a flatter lie than what the manufacturers make for us. They always seem too upright.

  5. Alex

    Feb 5, 2020 at 10:44 am

    I completely get it. The way these guys hammer driver their 3 wood is too long for approach into a par 5. So you either bag a one trick pony 5 wood for 2 shots a round or…bag this hybrid for the 250/260 shot and it also serves the purpose of a long iron to hit off the tee on a short par 4. These guys are long enough with 4 iron for all par 3s they’ll see so it’s actually the perfect fit. Also let’s you carry 4 wedges and have the gaps all covered. I bet we’ll see more of this come back into the tour bags unless you are Cam Champ long or Jim Furyk short. I can’t figure out guys that carry nothing between 3 wood and 3 iron, seems like a gigantic gap in a range that these guys have to be good from to make birdies on par 5s.

  6. MadMex

    Feb 2, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Looks like a V-Steel remake,,,, old is new?

    • geohogan

      Feb 5, 2020 at 11:06 pm

      My TM 5 W has always been easiest to hit.

      if the SIM Max rescue hybrid improved upon the V steel, they may a winner.

      • geohogan

        Feb 5, 2020 at 11:10 pm

        The perfect shaft for the Sim Max Rescue is the Nunchuk Hybrid shaft.

        No stiffer without being boardy, and no straighter shaft on tour.

        • derek gzaskow

          Feb 15, 2020 at 2:18 pm

          I’ve never seen the Nunchuk compared to any other shaft on trackman tests on you tube. its about time someone does it.

  7. Ben Hogan

    Feb 1, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Rory and DJ aren’t putting these in their bags as part of a marketing ploy. The best players in the world are trying to win. TM isn’t going to force them to do this at the price or their careers. They may have 14 club deals but not deals that say you must play our newest equipment. That’s just silly.

    • Joe

      Feb 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

      YET THE HYBRID NEVER MADE IT IN THE BAG. All marketing. Neither player has a hybrid in the bag for actual play.

  8. MCoz

    Feb 1, 2020 at 4:36 am

    Sometimes I wonder why I read comments from golf sites. There is a lot of stupid people here who have no clue. I am sorry but the “haters” have no idea what they are talking about. I have commented here on GolfWRX in the Forum discussion on this new SIM Max Rescue. I was asked to try this club out the first week in January, as I received the other SIM clubs. I really wasn’t interested in a new Rescue. The oldest clubs in my bag are such. One from 2005 (Cleveland Hi Bore 16* #1 that really plays like a 2i and a 2013 RBZ Stage 3 that plays like a 3.5i. I have had great success with these two and wasn’t looking for anything else. But I said I would look at it. Fujikura sent me a couple of shaft options to put in it. (Thanks Chad) I received two Atmos HY shafts. The first one I tried was a Blue 8S Tour Spec. Magic!! This is a real revelation. While in Orlando at the PGA Show I got 4 rounds of golf in with real players and this was the club that just shocked everyone I played with during the week. I can say it was the best club in the bag the whole week. My friends have already ordered the club for themselves, some even ordered two lofts. So while “haters” want to hate, I hope you don’t mind losing to those who want to win. This is a remarkable club and while it may not look a lot different that the previous models (M6 and earlier), it definitely plays different. This is a players utility. Don’t let the “boneheads” expound on things for which they have no clue!

  9. Guanto

    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Still have a couple aeroburner tp hybrids which are the best hybrids to date.

    • TomStanford

      Feb 25, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Nope — RBZ Stage 2 Tour Hybrids are some of the best ever made by anyone. Most perfect look at address of any hybrid (slight toe open — unique to the Tour as I recall).

      The Aeroburners were good but had to much of a draw bias built in (the TP version less so).

      Just my .02.

  10. Larry Y

    Jan 31, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Does anybody else think the SIM hybrid looks a lot like the Adams Super LS?

    • dave hollander

      Feb 5, 2020 at 2:43 am

      ding

    • MBU

      Feb 19, 2020 at 5:23 am

      Exactly! I just bought a new 17 degree Adams LS 17 hybrid last week and you can easily see where the similarities are. And of course they bought up Adams..

  11. Travis Boerner

    Jan 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Chandler and the product creation team are genius for this. Pin seekers from 260, are you kidding me!? Did you see Rory’s bunker shot at Torrey with that hybrid? A classic case of not judging a book by its cover. Get the product in their hands and let it speak for itself. Well done.

  12. Steve Wilkins

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Great read! So cool that we can dig a little deeper and hear from the people who make all these things happen.

  13. JohnK

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I’m just glad to finally have a left handed 5 hybrid option. I can finally retire my TM burner 5 hybrid from the mid to late 2000’s.

  14. Charles

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    I love all the hate towards Taylormade, this is a story more about a few guys changing the game more then most people will ever take the initiative to do so. Hybrids have become a staple in recreational golfers bags for a quite a few years and good by them to go out and take a risk and bridge the gap between common folk and the greatest players on the planet.All the industry animosity is quite redundant if you have no allegiance play the clubs that fit your game! Props to the team guys like Patrick and Chandler are the reason you have the ability to play the latest and greatest Taylormade product. And I am sure that if it were another companies tales you haters would be all about it….. GROW THE GAME!

  15. Sevestyle

    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Finally… a fresh 585 . H

  16. Max

    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Cool story, but I agree with the skeptics that this is totally just a clever marketing story from Taylormade. The SIM hybrid is literally just a re-skinned M6 hybrid, which was literally just a re-skinned M4 hybrid, which was literally just a re-skinned M2 hybrid. There is literally nothing new with the SIM hybrid over the pat 4-5 iterations of the same club to warrant a sudden interest by the pros. Literally.

    • M Coz

      Feb 4, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Before you make wild comments, maybe you should try things out before you spew knowledge-less hate. Read my comments from Feb 1. Also While I have tested the previous hybrids you mention none of them even had a chance to get into my club mix. This club may not look that much different on the outside but it is clearly superior to the M6 which tended to be a “hook” club.
      TM didn’t expect this club to be this well received by the Tour Staff, that’s why they only had one club at the photo and filming at the Floridian. It is also why they only made one design for all players.

      • Max

        Feb 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm

        Lol, how do you know I haven’t tried it? In fact, I have tried it. The clubs have been available to try for some time now, you’re not special in getting it early and your free shafts and name dropping the guy from Fuji doesn’t make your opinion or experience any more or less more authoritative than mine. It was fine, just like every other iteration of Taylormade hybrid before it. Great clubs all. Still just a cool marketing story. Just my non-hateful BUT knowledgable opinion.

        • Shawn

          Feb 17, 2020 at 10:21 am

          Dead on Max. It’s just marketing fluff. They both did not play it this week and it’s over. Buddy above thinks he’s on tour but, likely just another name dropping know it all.

  17. roho99

    Jan 31, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    hard to believe tm designed a head for a regular flex shaft only.

  18. Rusty Cockering

    Jan 31, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve been playing Taylor Made hybrids for years. Its just a smaller-headed, shorter fairway wood, really.

  19. Mehas Tinecock

    Jan 31, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I use hybrids after my 7 wood. A lot of hybrids. I’m so cool.

  20. Joey5Picks

    Jan 31, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Taylormade hate is strong with this crowd.

  21. Cody Reeder

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Nice article. Thanks.

  22. Benny

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Love it JW & Golfwrx. I know its not easy to find great stories in the golf world. But appreciate you always trying to entertain. Awesome!

  23. Ty Webb

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    I got one of these with some points I had. 19 with a project x hzrdus smoke 90 hybrid in 6.5. I must say this thing is pretty solid. High tight draws.

  24. NoHolesParred

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    This is the kind of content we need. Like the other guy said, most of these articles are reworked PR fluff with no actual insight. Hopefully you guys do the work to make this a trend going forward.

  25. Blubber Watson

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Cool story bro!

  26. Fj27

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    This is a marketing move, plain and simple. What’s the easiest way to sell hybrids? Have Rory put one in the bag and, oh, also let’s grant some interviews to golf media so they can write fluff pieces about how impressed our staffers were.

    Call me a cynic, but I’d be shocked if Rory has a hybrid in his bag come The Players.

    • ht

      Jan 31, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Exactly my thoughts. And better yet, claim there was a mixup and the pros were putting THE SAME CLUB YOU CAN PURCHASE AT A RETAIL STORE in play! How convenient

    • dat

      Jan 31, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      Where’s Tiger’s hybrid? Oh, right… Nowhere.

    • BigFoot

      Jan 31, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      The nail on the head, you have hit!! The whole situation was awful convenient for TM wasnt it?

  27. I know donkeys

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    What about Matt Kouchar? Kduoooooooooooooooche, Kduooooooooooooooooche, Kduoooooooooooooche, Kduooooooooooooche….

  28. Barney Adams

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Sell that snake oil taylormade, sell it!!!

  29. Rich Douglas

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    A lot of the time, these articles are just re-warmed press releases. But not this one. I really appreciated the candid admission that what you can buy is not what these pros get to work with. Most of us know that, which is why some of us buy from club-fitters instead of off-the-rack.

    Just like the ball. Bridgestone made golf balls for Nike in general, but one specifically geared for Tiger alone. You couldn’t buy it. (Nor should you, necessarily.) But the golf equipment industry has held tightly to the illusion that you’re buying the same gear and, thus, the same results. (You would NOT get the same results with their gear.) But this article tells the real truth, and it’s a good one.

  30. JP

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Reading ability is not a gift everyone was born with.

    • Funkaholic

      Jan 31, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      It is literally something nobody is “born with”. Reading is a learned skill ,common sense on the other hand……….

  31. 19_Majors

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    First impressions are everything? If we don’t get them excited? What are they going to do, leave their contracts?! Taylormade pays these guys huge amounts of money to play their gear. They are going to play the new stuff regardless of if they are completely thrilled about it or not. The people who work at Taylormade sound incredibly insecure and really put these Tour guys on a god-like pedestal…

    • Prime21

      Jan 31, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      That’s what you got from that article? Tough crowd.

    • Funkaholic

      Jan 31, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      They only have the best staff players on tour. Do you think these players beg to be with Taylormade? Just because they are aggressive in the marketing department doesn’t mean they make bad gear. They have a lot of equipment being bagged by non-staffers on tour.

      • Hype

        Jan 31, 2020 at 7:07 pm

        Dont they get paid to have one or two clubs from a different manufacturer in their bags so a manufacturer can say they are first in hybrids or fairway woods.

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Equipment

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

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@golfexchangeapp

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

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

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

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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

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

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

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

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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

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

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

——————

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

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

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

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

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

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

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

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

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

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

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

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

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

Botching a Grip Installation

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

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

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

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

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turning an Extension into a Shank

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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