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How to Build Putters, The Easy Way

If you've never built yourself a club before, why not give it a try?

Building your own golf clubs, especially a putter, isn't really difficult.  It's going to take me longer to write up this post than it'll be to get most of the work done.  Honestly! 

Not only that, but the sense of ownership, that the putter you're holding in your warm and slightly-but-not-yet-disgustingly-moist hands was something you created, can be very rewarding.

Here's an easy, step-by-step introduction on how to build your first putter.  Don't worry- I've included pictures!

First, a parts list:

  • check
    2" (or 48mm) Double-sided grip tape
  • check
    Grip solvent (or Naptha)
  • check
    Paper towels
  • check
    Sharpie marker

You can get most of this stuff here.  The other stuff, like the Sharpie and paper towels, will most likely be in your house already.

In the above link, I have a rotary tool listed.  That will do the job admirably, and it'll be useful for other projects around the house.  Just make sure it comes with a "cut-off wheel" (or buy it separately)  The less expensive route would be the pipe cutter but it'd be only for steel shafts- and has less practical uses around the house.

NOTE 1: I didn't include the vise in this post, but it's in the parts list in the link above.  If you have one, great, but if you don't have one, you can still install the grip and abrade the tip... but it'll be a little harder.  OK, a lot harder.

NOTE 2: You don't have to have grip solvent.  The non-ecofriendly solvent is common Naptha, just sold at a higher price (because: golf).  Arnold Palmer has stated on The Golf Channel that he uses lighter fluid.  Others have used mineral spirits, even kerosene!

The Legal Team would like me to tell you that Green Lantern Golf does not in any way condone the use of gasoline, kerosene, or anything that ends in that "een" sound, as grip solvent.  We cannot be held responsible if you decide to do so. 

I like Naptha/grip solvent because it gives you some extra time to adjust the grip if you didn't put it on perfectly.  Mineral spirits and lighter fluid dry out too fast <gets Evil Eye from Legal Team>.

Enough rambling- let's learn how to build putters!

STEP ONE: Abrade the Tip

Insert the shaft tip into the hosel, and mark where the shaft seats into it.  Tape above that mark.

This is one of those spots where it's going to be difficult without the vise.  Cut a strip of sandpaper, about 1" wide by at least 2" long.

The ideal method is to clamp the shaft in the vise, then rub across the shaft, with a "shoe shine" (left-and-right) motion.

Make sure to rotate the shaft, so you can abrade the whole tip.  It should look like the pic on the right.

abraded putter shaft tip

Notice the "matte" finish when the shaft's been abraded?

PRO TIP!

STEP TWO: Mix up the epoxy

mixing up epoxy for putter assembly

Masking tape, an old coffee lid, paper plate- they're all good for mixing epoxy.

PRO TIP!

STEP THREE: Coat the shaft tip in epoxy

adding epoxy to the shaft tip

It's a lot easier to clean up epoxy if it's still wet!

Don't use too much epoxy, but don't use too little, either. If you use too much, it'll spill out from the hosel.  Clean it up before it sets!

thoroughly-coated shaft tip

It's OK to take the shaft out and give it a quick inspection.  You still have plenty of time, even with the 5-minute style of epoxy!

cleaning up excess epoxy

STEP FOUR: The Waiting Game

Now, let it sit for 24 hours...  Yes, it's a beautiful mess.

PRO TIP!

STEP FIVE: Prepping for the cut

The picture tells you, but let me reiterate: factor in an extra 1/8" for the grip cap.  Unless you're OK knowing your club's an eighth of an inch off...

Be careful here.  Markers are generally wide-tip, and even the thinner ones still aren't exactly thin.  Where you cut will be based on where you make your mark; for myself, the left side of the white mark is where I'll cut.

marking the putter shaft for butt-trimmnig

STEP SIX: It's (finally) time to cut the putter shaft!

cutting the putter shaft

When using a pipe cutter, you don't want it too tight, or else the shaft will deform.  Not only that, you risk slippage, where the cutter slides up closer to the end of the shaft, throwing off your cut.

PRO TIP!

STEP SEVEN: Prep the shaft for the grip

putter in the vice, ready to be gripped
making sure there's 1/8" of grip cap

Again, a vise would make this much easier.  But I'm not gonna beat a dead horse, so...

marking the shaft, for tape placement

Personally, I prefer to put a strip long enough to cover almost the entire length of the putter grip, but some don't.  It's more of a preference thing... I've just had more success with longer strips of tape.

Stuck on what grip to get?  Why not read my review of the Golf Pride SNSR?

Save yourself a big headache and lay the tape evenly, and use a gentle touch to set it.

Any slip-ups here can lead to bumps in the tape, which will affect what you feel.  

It can also cause the tape to come up while you're sliding the grip on; if the grip catches and pulls the tape up, the grip'll get stuck.

If you mess up, just rip the tape off and do it over.

laying the tape on the putter shaft

The final moment before the grip goes on for real.

It's not fancy; just give the tape a little twist and tuck it into the shaft.

PRO TIP!

the last step before the putter grip goes on

STEP EIGHT: Time to slip the grip on!

cover the vent hole before squirting solvent into it!

After covering the vent hole with your finger, pour some solvent/Naptha inside the grip.  I do halfway, but YMMV.  If you're nervous, just pour some more straight on to the tape!

PRO TIP!

STEP NINE: Clean up

cleaning up after installing the grip

There's gonna be grip residue that gets pushed out onto the shaft by the grip.  It's normal.

The easiest way to clean it up is to wipe it away with a paper towel before it dries.  After that, you're gonna need Goo-Gone or the Naptha to remove it.

PRO TIP!

As I said earlier, grip solvent/Naptha gives you a little extra time to play around with the grip, in case you didn't get it lined up how you wanted.  

You don't have to rush, but don't lollygag, either.

ensure the putter's properly aligned
That's it- you did it!

Congrats on building your first club.  Maybe this will be your first steps into a much larger world...?

Now, I'll ask you:

Has any of you tried to build your own putter?  If not a putter, a different club?  How'd it go?

Share your stories below.  Success or horror, I'm game for all of it! 

If you’ve never built yourself a club before, why not give it a try?

It’s not really difficult.  Honestly!  Here’s an easy, step-by-step introduction on how to build putters.  Don’t worry- I’ve included pictures!

First, a parts list:

  • Putter head
  • Shaft
  • Grip (maybe a P2 putter grip?)
  • Epoxy
  • 80-grit sandpaper (only for steel shafts!)
  • Double-sided tape (2″ or 48mm)
  • Grip solvent (or Naptha)
  • Paper towels
  • Sharpie marker
  • Tube cutter

You can get most of this stuff here.  The other stuff, like the Sharpie and paper towels, will most likely be in your house already.

In the above link, I have a rotary tool listed.  That will do the job admirably, and it’ll be useful for other projects around the house.  You can use a pipe cutter for steel shafts.

NOTE 1: I didn’t include the vise in this post, but it’s in the parts list in the link above.  If you have one, great, but if you don’t have one, you can still install the grip and abrade the tip… but it’ll be a little harder.  OK, a lot harder.

NOTE 2: You don’t have to have grip solvent.  The non-ecofriendly solvent is common Naptha, just sold at a higher price (because: golf).  Arnold Palmer has stated on The Golf Channel that he uses lighter fluid.  Others have used mineral spirits, even kerosene!

The Legal Team would like me to tell you that Green Lantern Golf does not in any way condone the use of gasoline, kerosene, or anything that ends in that “een” sound, as grip solvent.  We cannot be held responsible if you decide to do so. 

I like Naptha/grip solvent because it gives you some extra time to adjust the grip if you didn’t put it on perfectly.  Mineral spirits and lighter fluid dry out too fast <gets Evil Eye from Legal Team>.

Enough rambling- let’s learn how to build putters!

How to Build Putters

Note the difference between the non-abraded side of the tape and the abraded side. The abraded side has a “satiny” sheen.

Insert the shaft tip into the hosel, and mark where the shaft seats into the hosel.  Tape above that mark.

This is one of those spots where it’s going to be difficult without the vise.  Cut a strip of sandpaper, about 1″ wide by at least 2″ long.

The ideal method is to clamp the shaft in the vise, then rub across the shaft, with a “shoe shine” (left-and-right) motion.

Make sure to rotate the shaft, so you can abrade the whole tip.

A good idea for people sans vise: wrap the strip of sand paper around the tip, holding the two ends together.  Pull on the lip while pushing the tip against the tape.  Rotate the shaft inside the “loop”.  This’ll take longer, but it’s a doable alternative.

How to Build Putters

20 full “stirs”, or, count to 40.

Masking tape, an old coffee lid, paper plate- they’re all good for mixing epoxy.

 

Pro Tip: You don’t need “clubmaker” epoxy, especially with putters.  Even the “5 minute” stuff you can find at Wal-Mart is good enough.  

Why?  All you need is an epoxy with a shear strength greater than 3,000.  It’ll say on the back.  Most of the 5 minute stuff has that, but you have to let it sit for 24 hours, just like the clubmaking kind.

Also, putters don’t hit the ball with nearly the same amount of force as, say, a driver or 6 iron.  It’s very non-violent.  That means, you don’t need to be as much of a stickler with putters compared to the other clubs.

How to Build Putters

Don’t use too much, but don’t use too little epoxy. If you use too much, clean it up before it sets!

How to Build Putters

How to Build Putters

How to Build Putters

Now, let it sit for 24 hours…  Yes, it’s a beautiful mess.

24 Hours Later…

How to Build Putters

Let me reiterate: factor in an extra 1/8″ for the grip cap, unless you’re OK knowing your club’s an eighth of an inch off…

Be careful here.  Markers are generally wide-tip, and even the thinner ones still aren’t exactly thin.  Where you cut will be based on where you make your mark; for myself, the left side of the white mark is where I’ll cut.

How to Build Putters

If you have a Dremmel tool with a cut-off wheel, or a chop saw with a thin masonry wheel, these will also work.

How to Build Putters

Placed in the vise, ready for the grip to be applied!

How to Build Putters

Further Reading: Green Lantern Golf’s Review of the Golf Pride SNSR Grip!

How to Build Putters

Also Read: The Pros and Cons of Oversized Grips!

Apply the tape evenly.  Any slip-ups here can lead to bumps in the tape, which will affect what you feel.  It can also cause the tape to come up while you’re sliding the grip on; if the grip catches and pulls the tape up, the grip’ll get stuck.

If you mess up, just rip the tape off and do it over.

How to Build Putters

How to Build Putters

After covering the vent hole with your finger, pour some solvent/Naptha inside the grip.  I do half way, but YMMV.

With your other hand, use a finger to cover the mouth of the grip and shake it.  The idea is to coat the inside of the grip with the solvent.

From there, point the mouth of the grip at the tape, release your finger from the vent hole, and soak the tape.  Try to cover the whole length.

It’s OK if you don’t.  Just take the bottle and squirt more onto the tape.

How to Build Putters

How to Build Putters

Personally, I think starting the grip is the hardest part.  Pinch the mouth into an oval shape, then slide it on.

How to Build Putters

There shouldn’t be any slop at the butt end.  If you pinch the grip cap (the thick part), it shouldn’t wiggle around.  If it does, just push it all the way on.

How to Build Putters

As I said earlier, grip solvent/Naptha gives you a little extra time to play around with the grip, in case you didn’t get it lined up how you wanted.  You don’t have to rush, but don’t lollygag, either.

That’s it- you did it!

Congrats on building your first club.  Maybe this will be your first steps into a much larger world…?

How to Build Putters

Still in the wrapper…

    About the Author

    Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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