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James Ingles resurrects custom putter brand

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Everybody loves a comeback story. Ben Hogan post-1949. Tiger Woods post-2009. You remember the first act and are now given a glimpse at what a second act could become. It’s a chance to reimagine and build on success. While the reason James Ingles Putters has been placed on hiatus for the last five years isn’t exactly “rock and roll,” they are indeed back on the market and ready to deliver. If you’re in the dark on James Ingles Putters’ history and/or why they’re back, here’s the story…

James Ingles started playing golf when he was 14 years old in 1997, which was an exciting time in golf, especially in the world of equipment and putters more specifically. Around that time, he purchased a special edition Scotty Cameron putter, which was inspired by David Duval, who was his favorite player at the time. He rushed home excited to show the new flatstick to his dad. His dad proceeded to look it over and sort of brushed it off as just a machine-made, milled steel putter. There were probably thousands of others just like it.

Heel-shafted blade 28g James Ingles Putter made from a copper alloy called Coldur A

That may be a curious reaction to most people, but as it turns out, James’ father has a unique frame of reference for this sort of thing. At that time in 1997, he happened to own Charles Hellis & Sons, a bespoke gunsmith in the London area (about 18 months ago he sold the business and retired). In his trade, no two items are alike. They begin with a quality forging and are then finished by hand to the customer’s specific requests. Shotguns from makers in and around London are known all over the world for their craftsmanship and attention to detail. It also happens that a lot of the steps in the gun making process actually transfer quite well to making putters.

In 2009, James approached the head gunsmith at Hellis and asked him if it was possible to make a putter in-house. That conversation started the development of James’ first putter, an 8802-style blade known as his 28g model. James uses the same forging house as Charles Hellis, which has been in business since 1904 and served many industries over the years. Hand engraving, when requested by the customer, is done by independent third-party engravers who also serve the local shotgun industry.

“I’d been around Hellis since my early teens, so I had at least seen and therefore had an appreciation for the machining and hand engraving that goes into shotgun manufacturing.  I spent a lot of time on the aesthetics of that first putter because I really wanted to get that right.  We knew there was going to be a fair amount of handwork involved in finishing the putter after the forging, but ensuring the overall shape of that forging was absolutely critical.”

Custom heel-toe weighted blade putter with hand engraving from James Ingles Putters

It’s worth taking a quick pause to point out an important distinction. There are loads of high-quality CNC milled putters today, which are milled by a computer to exacting tolerances from a 3D CAD model (think Tyson Lamb, Logan Olson, and the like). The “old fashioned” way many putter makers (such as T.P. Mills and his contemporaries) would have crafted their putters would have been start-to-finish on a hand-operated milling machine. One of the things that sets James’ putters apart is that they are first forged into a rough shape (not dissimilar to the way many forged irons are made) and then milled by hand into the finished product. This isn’t to say one method is objectively better or worse than another, only that they perhaps may arrive at a different result and may be for different customers.

“When we first came to market, everything we sold was direct to the consumer.  The golf industry was quite different in those days, so if you wanted to be competitive, you had to keep cost and margins as low as possible.  Then we started to partner with Scratch in 2013, which made sense for a lot of reasons.  Essentially, Scratch would work with the customer to define specifications and such.  They would send us that information and we would make the putters.  When Scratch went under in 2015, there were a host of other things going on in my life, though.  My first child had just been born and I had a full-time career as well, so going back to the way things were didn’t make sense.  I didn’t have the capability to have everything go directly through me anymore, so we made the decision to kind of shut things down for a while.”

Custom James Ingles Putter Covers

For the last five years, James’ life has mainly been focused on raising his two young kids and making a living as a building surveyor. By his own admission, he hadn’t even been playing much golf and had instead taken up long-distance running. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic started taking hold, and he started to introduce his now-five-year-old son to golf.

“We had gone to the driving range and Jude was having lots of fun hitting golf balls.  I also started to realize I could actually find the middle of the club face every now and again, so that was promising.  I then took him to the local pitch-and-putt and all of a sudden, all of my enjoyment for golf really just started flooding back.  I started an Instagram account for the golf business [@jamesinglesputters by the way] and posted pictures of Jude and I playing and also pictures of old putters I’d found lying around my garage.  Loads of people started commenting and messaging and it just felt like there was some unfinished business there.  Ultimately, I suppose that’s why we’re launching the business again and you and I are having this conversation.”

James Ingles putters have two main forgings that they can work from: the aforementioned 28g and also the 12g, a traditional heel-toe weighted blade design which can be finished in a number of ways depending on the customer’s preference. They are also capable of milling custom shapes from billet steel.  In addition to putters, James will be doing many small runs of accessories such as putter covers, ball markers, and divot tools.  All information can be found on his new website.

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Peter Schmitt is an avid golfer trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. He believes that first and foremost, golf should be an enjoyable experience. Always. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids. "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." -Arnold Palmer

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  1. JP

    Oct 29, 2020 at 1:06 am

    Where do I send the money?!?

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Danny Willett’s winning WITB, 2016 Masters

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Driver: Callaway XR 16 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana W-Series 60 X
Length: 45.5 inches

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3-wood: Callaway XR 16 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana W-Series 70X

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5-wood: Callaway XR 16 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana W-Series 80X

Irons: Callaway Apex UT (2, 4), Callaway Apex Pro (5-9)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

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Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (47-11 S-Grind) Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind (54-11, 58-9)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

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Putter: Odyssey Versa #1 Wide (WBW)
Lie angle: 71 degrees

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Ball: Callaway Speed Regime SR-3

Check out more photos of Willett’s equipment from 2016 here.

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Project X Denali Blue, Black shaft Review – Club Junkie Review

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Originally, Project X was known for low-spin steel iron shafts. However, the company might now be known for wood shafts. Denali is the newest line of graphite shafts from Project X. With the Denali line, the company focuses on feel as well as performance.

There are two profiles in the Denali line, Blue and Black, to fit different launch windows. Denali Blue is the mid-launch and mid-spin profile for players who are looking for a little added launch and Denali Black is designed for low-launch and low-spin. Both models are going to offer you a smooth feel and accuracy.

For a full in-depth review check out the Club Junkie podcast on all podcast streaming platforms and on YouTube.

Project X Denali Blue

I typically fit better into mid-launch shafts, as I don’t hit a very high ball so the Denali Blue was the model I was more excited to try. Out of the box, the shaft looks great and from a distance, it is almost hard to tell the dark blue from the Denali Black. With a logo down install of the shaft, you don’t have anything to distract your eyes, just a clean look with the transition from the white and silver handle section to the dark navy mid and tip.

Out on the course, the Blue offers a very smooth feel that gives you a good kick at impact. The shaft loads easily and you can feel the slightly softer handle section compared to the HZRDUS lineup. This gives the shaft a really good feel of it loading on the transition to the downswing, and as your hands get to impact, the Denali Blue keeps going for a nice, strong kick.

Denali Blue is easy to square up at impact and even turn over to hit it straight or just little draws and most of the flex of the shaft feels like it happens right around where the paint changes from silver to blue. The Blue launches easily and produces what I consider a true mid-flight with the driver. While it is listed as mid-spin, I never noticed any type of rise in my drives. Drives that I didn’t hit perfectly were met with good stability and a ball that stayed online well.

Project X Denali Black

When you hold the Denali Black in your hands you can tell it is a more stout shaft compared to its Blue sibling by just trying to bend it. While the handle feels close to the Blue in terms of stiffness, you can tell the tip is much stiffer when you swing it.

Denali Black definitely takes a little more power to load it but the shaft is still smooth and doesn’t give you any harsh vibrations. Where the Blue kicks hard at impact, the Black holds on a little and feels like keeps you in control even on swings that you try and put a little extra effort into. The stiff tip section also makes it a little harder to square up at impact and for some players could take away a little of the draw from their shot.

Launch is lower and more penetrating compared to the Blue and produces a boring, flat trajectory. Shots into the wind don’t rise or spin up, proving that the spin stays down. Like its mid-launch sibling, the Black is very stable and mishits and keeps the ball on a straighter line. Shots low off the face don’t get very high up in the air, but the low spin properties get the ball out there farther than you would expect. For being such a stout shaft, the feel is very good, and the Denali Black does keep harsh vibrations from your hands.

Overall the Project X Denali Blue and Black are great additions to the line of popular wood shafts. If you are looking for good feel and solid performance the Denali line is worth trying out with your swing. Choose Blue for mid-launch and mid-spin or Black for lower launch and low spin.

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What we know about Bryson DeChambeau’s 3D-printed Avoda irons

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Bryson DeChambeau fired an opening-round 7-under 65 at Augusta National, hitting an impressive 15 of 18 greens in regulation in the process. Golf’s mad scientist’s play grabbed headlines and so too did his equipment. In place of the Ping i230 irons he had in the bag last week for LIV Golf’s Miami event, DeChambeau is gaming a prototype 5-PW set of irons from little-known direct-to-consumer manufacturer Avoda.

What is Avoda Golf?

Founded by Tom Bailey, also a Mike Schy student like Bryson DeChambeau, Avoda Golf is a direct-to-consumer golf equipment company that currently manufactures both single and variable-length irons in one model that are available for pre-order.

What irons is Bryson DeChambeau playing?

Per multiple reports, DeChambeau is playing a custom-designed set of single-length irons that incorporate bulge and roll into the face design. The two-piece 3D-printed irons were reportedly only approved for play by the USGA this week, according to Golfweek’s Adam Schupak.

Regarding the irons, DeChambeau told Golf Channel the irons’ performance on mishits was the determining factor in putting them in play this week. “When I mishit on the toe or the heel,” DeChambeau said. “It seems to fly a lot straighter for me and that’s what has allowed me to be more comfortable over the ball.”

What can we tell about the design of the clubs?

These days, it is a little hard to speculate on what is under the hood with so many hollow body irons. DeChambeau’s irons look to be hollow on the lower section as they do flare back a decent amount. That “muscle” on the back also looks to be fairly low on the iron head, but we can assume that is progressive through the set, moving up higher in the short irons.

A screw out on the toe is probably used to seal up the hollow cavity and used as a weight to dial in the swing weight of the club. From pictures, it is hard to tell but the sole looks to have a little curve from heel to toe while also having some sharper angles on them. A more boxy and sharper toe section looks to be the design that suits Bryson’s eye based on the irons he has gravitated toward recently.

What are bulge and roll, again?

Two types of curvature in a club face, traditionally incorporated only in wood design. Bulge is heel-toe curvature. Roll is crown-sole curvature. Both design elements are designed to mitigate gear effect on off-center strikes and produce shots that finish closer to the intended target line. (GolfTec has an excellent overview of bulge and roll with some handy GIFs for the visual learner)

What else is in DeChambeau’s bag?

Accompanying his traditional Sik putter, Bryson builds his set with a Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, a Krank Formula Fire driver and 5-wood, and a TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver, all with LA Golf graphite shafts.

 

 

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