What is the difference with custom built clubs?

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Well this is a question I often get.  I think some people think custom built means you get to choose colours of grips and the paint in the numbers on the clubs.  Those can all be true but custom fitted golf clubs are clubs that are custom fitted to your requirements.  When you are custom fitted I look at a number of parameters when you are hitting balls in my indoor studio and from the numbers the launch monitor data gives me I am able to filter out certain club heads and shaft combinations until we find the best performing club for you.  Once the best head and shaft is found the custom building begins.  I measure each demo club I use for length, weight, shaft frequency and loft and lie.  This ensures that the clubs you buy perform the same as the club you tested.

When I assemble the club I write a spec sheet.  This allows me to record all the data about the clubs I am building, it also is a record of what I have built in case of a lost club or for reference when looking for proven head and shaft combinations.  I build 1 club at a time starting with length of the shaft.  I dry assemble the club to check firstly shaft frequency.  Once that is correct, I then trim to length.  Then the club in trimmed to length I then check the swing weight of the club.  Only when I am happy with the data from the assembly stages is the club set to one side and the next club in the set is dry assembled.  There may also be a lie angle stage added into the dry assembly stage as lie angle can affect the swingweight of an iron.  When the full set is dry assembled special golf club assembly epoxy (not araldite) is mixed and the clubs glued together.

I am writing this post as most of the major OEM are offering custom fitting.  Yes they offer you a choice of heads and shafts and find the best loft and lie angle for you some even offer a selection of grips but it’s the assembly of the clubs where a club builder really come into their own.  I often see clubs that customers tell me they were custom fitted for nowhere near the specifications they ordered.  While the components ordered are correct the way the factory assembles your clubs and the way I do are often two very different procedures.

If you are struggling with equipment that you were custom fitted for but has been factory assembled bring it in for inspection, it doesn’t take long to check the specifications and establish what needs doing to get you playing better again.  Or if you would like to be custom fitted and have hand assembled clubs call in for a chat.

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Hybrids V long irons revisited.

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I am revisiting this post as it keeps coming up in fittings.  Too many people keep their hard to hit long irons in play instead of looking at other options.  I understand that the traditional concept of high flying hybrid clubs doesn’t suit some people.  Some people want lower flying clubs, particularly since my move to East Lothian and Scottish links golf I understand this but there are many head styles and shaft profiles that can be used to make a club do anything you need it to.  I am currently undergoing a swing change and am struggling with long irons so added an Adams Super 9031 18 deg hybrid to my bag.  18 degrees is 2 iron loft, can I hit a 2 iron? No, but this has been my go to club for the last few rounds hence visiting my original post, Hybrids v long irons.

This may at first glance appear to be 5 years too late but read on.  Start at the beginning.  What is the longest iron in your bag? Now what is the longest iron in your bag that you hit well every time?  I am guessing most of you will answer 4 iron to the first question and 6 iron to the second.  When I say properly I don’t mean can you thin your 5 iron 5 yards longer than your 6 iron I mean launch the 5 iron high in the air so that it can stop on a green that is protected with a front bunker.

This concept of replacing mid irons with lofted hybrid clubs isn’t confined to the amateur golfer, take Y.E Yang, he carries driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 19 deg and 21 deg rescue clubs.  The longest iron he carries is his 5 iron.  More and more golfers on the senior tour are dropping 3 and 4 iron for corresponding hybrid clubs and so should more amateurs.

The test I can perform for you to ascertain if you would benefit from replacing long and mid irons with custom fitted hybrid clubs is very simple.  We hit a number of balls with your 7 iron to get a good average ball speed, then we go onto your 6 iron and due to the longer shaft we should see about 8-10 mph increase in ball speed if we see that we go onto 5 iron, again if we see 8-10mph increase we go onto 4 iron.  If your ball speed increases by less than 5 mph per club it’s time to replace that club with a hybrid/wood to optimize distance and trajectory.

Recent hybrid club fitting sessions I have performed show that 6 to 5 iron ball speed tends to only go up by about 4-8 mph and 5 to 4 iron speeds 2-3 mph, some showed a drop in ball speed.  In my opinion you will see very little difference in distance between the 6,5 and 4 iron hence there is a requirement for replacing the 5/4 iron with a lofted hybrid.  Some people say they can’t get on with hybrid style clubs and that fine and the beauty of visiting a custom fitter / club builder as I can offer lofted fairway woods to replace your hard to hit irons.

Give me a call to discuss this further.

Now Open in North Berwick, East Lothian.

Fit For Purpose Golf Custom Fit Studio

Following in great golfing history I am proud to announce the opening of my new Custom Fitting Studio and Repair Workshop in the the old Ben Sayers factory,  North Berwick, East Lothian.

I have been club building and custom fitting for the past three years in Cheshire.  I carry

“boutique” products that most golf shops don’t offer.  Everything I sell is hand assembled by me to my exacting standards and tested by you in my indoor hitting bay.

Fully equipped golf workshop including:

  • Loft & Lie machine – for adjusting ball flight, carry distance and increasing centre of the club face strikes.

  • Putter loft & Lie – for improving ball roll and set up position.

  • Shaft frequency analyser – matches the flex in your shafts through the set.  Ever had a club in the set that you just can’t hit? maybe the shaft doesn’t match the rest of the set.

Brands I fit:

I have selected these brands for the reasons below.

  • Accra Golf Shafts

Graphite shaft company from Canada.  Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Peter Hanson and me,  all use Accra by choice.  Great product, really stable with profiles to suit all swing speeds and styles.  If you have never tried an aftermarket shaft in your driver you don’t know what you are missing.  Most of the shelf clubs have watered down versions of aftermarket shafts that rarely perform like the original version.

  • Adam’s Golf

The No.1 hybrid on tour.  “The second shot company” amazing fairway woods and Hybrids.  Adam’s have just re released their groundbreaking fairway woods from the 90’s, Tight Lies brand.  Very easy to use and consistently long.

  • Okra Golf

British owned golf component company.  Orka supply me with heads for wedges, irons, rescues, fairway woods and drivers.  Buying them as heads only means I fit you with a shaft that works for not the shaft the manufacturer has done a deal with.

  • Vega

Forged golf club heads from Japan, amazing build quality and feel.  The  craftsmanship in these products is second to none.  I currently use a Vega driver, fairway wood and driving irons.

  • United  Forged iron heads, manufactured to very tight tolerances which enable me to build them into very accurately matched sets. Great feel and easy to use.  ( In my bag currently)

  • Scor Wedges  Rethink the way you look at your scoring clubs.  Online fitting questionnaire to help you establish where Scor can benefit you. These are really easy to use and feel great.  I use 4! 47,51,55 & 59 degrees.

  • SeeMore Putters  Rifle Scope Technology alignment aid on each putter ensures you set up square to target every time with a repeatable stroke.  Zach Johnson wins with SeeMore.  I truly believe SeeMore is a game changer.  I am a SeeMore SPI qualified instructor and builder.  This will be in my bag, forever.

  • KBS Steel Shafts  Highest quality steel shafts, a weight, flex and launch profile to suit players of all abilities.  KBS had numerous wins in 2013 including 3 majors!

  • AeroTech Steel Fibre  High quality graphite iron shafts.  The feel from these shafts is immense.  Don’t confuse modern graphite iron shafts as something for women and seniors.  There is a quiet revolution on tour with graphite iron shafts as the manufacturers can manipulate the profile of a graphite shaft much easier than steel.  Aerotech won numerous times last season.  Matt Kuchar, Brad Snedeker, Fred Couple and me.

New Base for 2014

I have made reference to a move on Facebook and twitter over the last few weeks and now have everything in place to officially announce it.   In late December I will be moving to the East Lothian coast of Scotland and opening a custom fitting and repair studio.  I currently have my workshop at home and use the facilities at Hazel Grove GC with James Rowland.  I owe a great thanks to James for letting use the facilities at the club as they have allowed me to progress my custom fitting skills and often tapped into Jame’s knowledge of the golf swing to provide a complete solution for my customers.

My new Studio and workshop will be based in North Berwick where most of you will be aware there are amazing golf courses and a very rich golfing history and love of the sport.  I will have indoor swing room with launch monitor, putting area and workshop all in one space which will allow me to fit and adjust all in one session.  Weather you require a full bag of clubs or only a new grip I will be able to assist you.

I thank everyone who has supported me in Cheshire area and at Hazel Grove and hope that some of you will use the great local courses as an excuse to come and visit my new studio.  Who knows, one day they may give me one of these;)

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New Product lines for 2014

A quick update.  2013 has been a great season for golf weather, a bi-product of that has been a busy studio custom fitting golf clubs which left little time for updates.  I am going to list a few new additions for the studio and then elaborate on them in more detail over the next few weeks.

SeeMore Putters.  I continue to fit SeeMore putters in the 2014 season and have just added their new Cliq-Fit system to my demo range.  Cliq-fit allows me to change the shaft length when putter fitting.  Each shaft has a different grip also so I can fine tune shaft length, lie angle and grip size during a fitting session to ensure the best fit for you.  I have been playing around with this system myself and have made some adjustments to my gamer as a direct result of the Cliq-Fit system.

Vega Golf   I have added Vega custom fit woods and iron to my line up.  I am so impressed with the feel of the Driver, fairway and hybrids that I have tested and added to my bag that a selection of demo irons will be available early 2014 also.  Some of you will rule out Vega on price without even trying them but a Vega driver with an Accra Tour shaft isn’t much more than an off the rack un fitted TM club.

United Golf  British designed irons and woods.  I have the SBC-1 in play with AeroTech steel fibre shafts and every aspect of this combination of heads and shafts is stunning.  First customer of mine that tried them bought a set! That is a great seal of approval for my product selection and building.

Sukira Golf  is the latest product I am testing.  Built a few pieces but haven’t yet completed testing.  Very impressed with the look and build quality but i have not hit them enough to write a full review yet.  These are a great price point and feel sure they will perform excellently .

I will continue to offer Orka Golf Products, Accra Golf, Scor Wedges and the usual selection of OEM, plus a couple of surprises for the new season which I am unable to confirm yet.

I will keep the website/blog more up to date over the next few weeks as the workshop / fitting studio usually go quieter now.

What is swingweight?

Swing weight is the balance of the head, shaft and grip.  How does it effect the club?  It is all about feel and how you swing the club.  I could explain exactly how I measure swing weight but it isn’t very exciting, message me if you want further info.  Anyhow, normal swing weight for men’s irons is generally D2.  Well I say normally.  When I build clubs for men with anything more than a reg flex shaft I build 4-9i at D2 and Pw-lob wedge D3- D5.  So as the club gets shorter the convention is for the club to get heavier.  I often see mass produced off the rack clubs with a real mixture of swing weights, how does this effect you? Well each iron will feel very different in your swing.

So why the post about swingweight?  Well I recently reshafted my Callaway Xhot 4 wood with an Accra Tour Z 65 CB.  Played it a couple of times and it’s superb, finally able to reach some par 5s in two!  The club developed a head rattle, so I took the shaft out and squirted rattle stop glue into the head.  It’s a non setting glue that catches small bits that rattle in the head either from when the head was welded together or when it was reshafted.  Well I put a little too much in with took the swing weight to D6 and I normally play my fairway woods at D3 so it was 6g too heavy.  Assembled it and hated it, couldn’t hit it.  Disassembled it last night, removed some of the rattle stop to get it back to D3 installed the shaft and hit it today and it’s back to the same as before.  So if I didn’t know the swing weight was off I would just think I had put a bad swing on it.  It just goes to show that a bad shot or a club that you can’t get on with may not in fact be you it might mean the club wants fine tuning to suit your swing style and feel.

Swing weight takes minutes to check so why not call me to see how yours check out?