Building Golf Clubs

By Bill Herrfeldt

When you set out to buy a new set of golf clubs, you will soon realize that you can spend $1,000 or more for top-of-the-line models. But you can spend a lot less for them if you make your own. Besides, you will have a set that is right for your game, which will translate into lower scores. If you are not very handy, making golf clubs may seem impossible, but with the right tools and the ability to follow step-by-step instructions, you will not only make clubs that are suited to your game, but you will acquire a skill you didn't know you had.

Do research into shafts that are on the market and decide whether you should buy graphite or steel. Each has its advantages. First, steel shafts are quite a lot less expensive than graphite, but they are heavier. Since graphite shafts are lighter, more of the club's weight is placed in the heads. Also, check out the various flexes offered by shaft manufacturers and buy the ones most suited to how you play.

Buy grips and clubheads. For many years there weren't many options for golfers, but now there is almost an infinite variety of grips and clubheads from which to choose, and most of them are available online (see Resources). Grips are made of a variety of materials, and you can find clubheads that vary in weight, configuration and cost.

Make your driver first because it will be the easiest job to attack. When considering shaft length, most professionals on tour use a driver that is slightly short because they feel it will give them a slightly more accurate drive, although they may lose a little distance. However, most amateurs will want to get as much distance as possible out of their drives. Keep in mind, if you are replacing golf clubs whose length is comfortable for you, your new clubs should be the same length.

Roughen the shaft where it will meet the clubhead to ensure it sticks firmly after you apply epoxy. If you have chosen steel shafts, sand or file where they will enter the hosels, or connectors, of the clubheads. But if you go with graphite shafts, your task is a bit more complicated. First, using a belt sander, you must take off the outer coating where the shaft meets the clubhead, then lightly rough up the area with sandpaper. After you finish, if the shafts are too large to go into the hosels, simply ream them with a wire drill bit until they fit snugly.

Put the epoxy on both the outside of the shaft where it enters the clubhead, as well as in the inside of the clubhead's hosel. Then, insert the shaft inside the hosel, making sure that the epoxy has bonded tightly by slightly rotating the shaft. Be sure that the shaft is all the way into the hosel by hitting the butt end of the shaft against something firm.

Let the epoxy harden for 24 hours; then begin shortening your shafts to the desired length. For graphite shafts, you must first wrap them with three layers of single-sided tape where the cut will be made to prevent the shafts from shattering, and then cut them with a band saw. With steel shafts, simply saw them down with a hacksaw or a band saw.

Complete the job by putting on the grips, an easy final step. First, clean the shaft thoroughly with grip solvent where the grips will be placed. Then, wrap the area with double-sided tape, and completely soak it with grip solvent before you put on the grips. Make sure they are all the way on. Since the grip solvent will take about 10 to 15 minutes to dry, you have plenty of time to adjust the grips to your satisfaction.

About the Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

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