James Ingles joins Scratch Golf

by   |   January 22, 2013
Scratch by James Ingles

London-based custom putter maker James Ingles has reached an agreement to make putters exclusively for Scratch Golf.

Scratch will take orders for the totally customizable putters at its headquarters in Chatanooga, Tenn., starting Feb. 1. They will be handmade in London by Ingles’ company, James Ingles Putters, and will have a base price of $999. Scratch and Ingles are currently budgeting between 200 and 250 putters for 2013. Orders will be slotted on a first-come, first-serve basis, with only about 20 putters being made per month.

Ari Techner, CEO of Scratch Golf, said the decision to partner with Ingles was based on the quality of his work and the uniqueness of his design. He said he could not be more excited about working with Ingles, who shares a similar age, background and passion for custom golf equipment.

“I started Scratch because I couldn’t find an OEM that could give me the grinds I wanted in a wedge,” Techner said. “The same is true for custom putters. It’s hard for me to find a retail product that I really like.”

Techner was introduced to Ingles through the GolfWRX putter forum, where Ingles had posted pictures of his gun-inspired handmade putters. He contacted Ingles about creating two matching custom putters — one for use, one for display. Techner and Ingles traded more than 200 emails during the design process, settling on a pair of putters constructed with precious metals — Damascus steel inserts, gold inlays and handmade gold screws. Unbeknownst to Techner at the time, he was Ingles’ first custom putter customer.

See the photos of the putters Ingles made for Techner below. For more photos, click here. 

Techner's putter

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Ingles’ father is the sole owner of Charles Hellis & Sons, a London gunmakers that produces premium handmade shotguns with an entry-level price of more than £30,000. Ingles was involved with his father’s business in his youth, but was also an accomplished golfer. He was good enough to flirt with the idea of moving to the United States to play collegiate golf, but he ultimately decided to attend St. Andrews University in Scotland instead, where he studied business. But he continued to play golf and remained an equipment junkie.

“In the UK, it’s harder to try equipment out,” Ingles said. “It’s not like the U.S. The UK is about two years behind the U.S. in golf equipment. You can go to Edwin Watts and hit clubs into nets, but the only thing you can really try are the putters.”

In college, Ingles’ fascination with putters continued to grow. He started playing high-end putters such as models by Scotty Cameron and TP Mills. As a gift one year, he received a limited edition “Inspired by David Duval” Scotty Cameron putter, and began tracking down handmade TP Mills putters for his collection. After graduation from St. Andrews in 2005, Ingles began as a property manager in London, but he continued to be drawn to putters. One day Ingles had an idea — he challenged Hellis’ head gun maker to make him a putter in the Hellis style. He posted the results on the GolfWRX putter forum, which is how Techner originally viewed Ingles’ work.

Ingles received more positive feedback from the GolfWRX community, which he said led him to establish his putter company in 2009. The first obstacle was finding out whether he could locate forgings for his putter heads in the UK, which led him to Victoria Forgings, a 100-year-old family-owned forging house located in the Midlands which still serves the gun industry, but now specializes in producing forgings for the aerospace and engineering industries.

Ingles said his putter company is about the quality, precision and craftsmanship typical in the London gun making industry. His decision to join Scratch was based on the fact that the two companies share a common goal — creating custom golf clubs that are exactly what their customers want.

“In terms of irons and wedges, [Scratch] does what we do,” Ingles said. “For the future of my putters, it makes sense to partner with Scratch. America has been my best market, and Scratch has an unbelievable reputation in America.”

This is not the first time Scratch has entered the custom putter market. In June 2009, Scratch partnered with Gene Nead to make custom putters for the company, but the deal fell through shortly after. Scratch’s master craftsman Jeff McCoy has also designed putters for special Scratch customers, but Techner decided it was in the best interests of the company to have McCoy focus on the company’s irons and wedges.

Techner said Ingles’ extensive background with managing firearm production will help Scratch manage customer delivery dates and the flow of orders, which has been a problem for Scratch in the past.

“I’m really excited about this new partnership,” Techner said. “I feel like the stuff [Ingles] is on another level. James is making the most beautiful high-end putters available, and I think our customers will appreciate his craftsmanship.”

Click here to view more photos of James Ingles Putters, as well as a custom set of Scratch musclebacks that Ingles engraved for Techner.

Click here to view more photos of James Ingles Putters, as well as a custom set of Scratch musclebacks that Ingles engraved for Techner. 

About

Zak is the Managing Editor of GolfWRX.com.

He's been a part of the company since 2012, when he was hired to develop GolfWRX's front page. Since that time, GolfWRX has become the go-to destination on the web for golf equipment news, tour news, instruction and opinion.

Zak also developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers who want to improve their skills and allows established golf professionals to communicate directly with readers.

He played college golf at the University of Richmond, where he took too many strokes. Good thing he also studied journalism and creative writing.

You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss all the cool gear and insider info that's part of his job.


14 Comments

  1. Tim Gaestel

    April 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    James and Ari are two amazing people and I had the pleasure of working with both of them. Very good for the game of golf!

  2. K'Man

    February 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    This may be a poor analogy , but it seems fitting.
    I can spend a few $ and buy a Nice Van Gogh poster, and enjoy it every day…
    Or I can spend the same $ and go to a gallery And see the Original ‘work of art’ and be stunned by how pale the reproduction is.
    Just because I cannot afford the Original piece of Art doesn’t mean someone else can’t .
    Why deny others the opportunity to own a (functional) piece of Handmade art just because You believe the artist charges too much$

    Go buy a Cleveland, or Odessy putter just as you would a mass produced poster depicting a True piece of art and be Happy.
    But your kidding yourself if you think its the same as possessing the original work of a master.

    • brett tee

      March 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      As a reply to all: What exactly establishes a putter or putter maker as great? For me it is 80% performance and 20% style/looks, but that is because I do it everyday as my career. Although I must admit that with putters they must definitely appeal to the eye in order for me to perform well with them. This being said there is really no way to compare artwork to something that is to be used for a sport. These are definitely beautiful putters and we all know that anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, but are they pieces of art made pretty to look at or are they tools used by artists who play the game of golf? To me it goes completely against what Scratch Golf is all about. Does James Ingles have close to 20 major championships won with his putters as Don White does with his forgings? When he gets to one major I will give him $200 bucks for one.

  3. Desmond

    January 25, 2013 at 4:37 am

    I think it’s a poor business decision if one wants to sell putters to more than a few people. It sounds as if Ari fell in love with the unique look of the putter and said, “What the hell, maybe a couple of hundred people per year might also be interested.”

    This is not a business decision. If it was, he’d go to someone like Edel, who is custom and has a unique fitting system that works to help performance.

    This is about Scratch attempting its own version of Table Rock.

    • Bob

      January 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Agreed. This is a really bad business decision. Really bad. It costs them both too much in shipping that only makes the UK and US gov happy, and perhaps the customs brokers; Not, Ari, James, and not the customer are any better for this. So dumb, it freaks me out that I have scratch wedges and irons in my bag. Wake up guys. Its not too late to retract this ridiculous decision.

  4. MyBluC4

    January 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I have always admired the putters James Ingles has designed and built. He is a true artisan. While I think this alliance is a good move from Scratch Golf’s point of view, I’m also not sure putting a Scratch logo on an Ingles putter is such a good idea…kind of marginalizes the Ingles brand and heritage. While I’m sure a very high quality putter will put out there, I did like the idea of Ingles being a lone wolf, whose unique designs were very exclusive, especially so with the bullet casings and scroll work. I wish them all the luck in the world. At $999/stick they will need it. Just hope Ingles experience turns out better than Bruce Sizemore’s situation with SuperStroke.

  5. luke keefner

    January 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Clubs for the 1 percent. I am sure they would skip nicely on the surface of a pond after the third consecutive 3 jack.

  6. Rolf

    January 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    These are so bespoke that I doubt my proletarian hands could even hold them. It’s a shame that only the elite have access to this radical game-improving technology.

  7. Nick

    January 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Wow, some harsh comments in here.

    I can say this, those are some of the most beautiful putters I have ever seen. The logo that resembes the base of a spent shotgun shell with a firing pin struck primer is awesome and a great, but subtle, nod to the clubs connection with the firearms industry. Scratch is certainly a good fit for expanding this club manufacturers base of customers.

    I look forward to seeing the future of this endeavor and hope to see if any models are made at a price point in the 600 dollar range where I might pick one up.

  8. Jason

    January 23, 2013 at 12:18 am

    It’s just sad… These people talk about being all about the customers and what the customers want… When the truth of the matter is @ 1,000 per putter… All they are doing is creating a collectible niche… They don’t care about their customers or they would make putters that a majority of golfers could enjoy as a golf club not a display piece… Another example of marketing. Well marketed gentlemen. A least dont talk about how customer focused you are, cause its blatant BS.

    • Tom

      January 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      I enjoy seeing articles on smaller (in this case essentially an individual) custom manufacturers. The products made by James Ingles are going to appeal to certain people… with disposable income. I’m sure if you wanted to purchase a putter through him you would get top notch customer service with specs/design to fit your wants.

      Not everyone can afford a Mercedes let alone a Bentley, but some folks can and do buy these things- same concept with high end golf products.

  9. Jason

    January 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    1. I wept openly when I saw one of these putters in person.
    2. Then I 3 putted and was like, “lol”

  10. Andrew Mill

    January 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    1. Those are beauties. That said what we are saying is very subjective judgment so please let everyone judge for themselves.
    2. You may eventually score better if you get better feel because of finer materials used e.g.
    3. I bet you are new to putters man. If you need to justify those 1000$, get an awesome Cleveland putter for a 50$(I am gaming one right now and I looove it) and don’t read about stuff like this. You will be better off going outside and hitting a few shots instead of reading this for you actually absolutely useless article.

    Good luck with Scratch guys

  11. Steffan Perry

    January 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    1. Those are ugly..
    2. You will not score any better with them..
    3. Because of 1 and 2, i dont see how anyone can justify a $1,000 for something that wont benefit your game

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