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So, you’re interested in building your own golf clubs.
Awesome! It’s a rewarding way to take ownership of your gear. But how do you start?
Easy! Just follow along with GLG’s Quick-Start Club Building List!
What you’ll need:
1. A workbench. Some might disagree, but it’s a good thing to have a centralized area (in the garage) to do your work. Preferably, not on the kitchen counter near the apples and bananas- especially if you’re working with stuff like Naptha and graphite dust. If you need a bench, get one here!
On a personal note, this is the same bench I have, and I really like it. I have no damn clue what the pegs and squared “bolts” are for, so I don’t use them. Same with that side clamp… but I haven’t given up on that one, yet. It could be useful as a third “hand”.
2. Shaft Puller. Maybe you start building everything from scratch, but eventually, you’re gonna want to swap shafts. If you don’t have an adjustable-hosel club, or you want to put the current (or only) adapter you have on a new shaft, you’ll need to pull it. Something like this:
While I prefer my hydraulic jack-powered shaft puller to a spring-powered model, if you can’t afford a hydraulic model like the one shown above, the “mechanical” style still good enough to get the job done.
If you’re not wanting to spend $120+ on a hydraulic model, or don’t plan on pulling too many shafts, this one will do the job just fine.
3. A Rotary Tool. You’ll need some way to cut the tips and butts of your shafts, and this is the easiest, least intrusive way to do it. Plus, it’s good to have something like this around the house for certain jobs.
This is where I diverge a little from “I use what I have here”, but not much. I have a different model, with fewer attachments, but since we’re talking golf clubs the only thing you really need for that is the metal-cutting disc (called a “cut-off wheel”). I’ve since upgraded to a miter saw, to handle more shafts in a single swipe, but if you’re only doing this intermittently, this will do the job just fine. Get it HERE.
4. A 48″ Ruler. You’re gonna need to know how long you’re making a club, so you’ll need something long enough to handle the job. 48″ is the USGA limit, unless you’re doing Long Drive (50″ for that), so something like this ruler is plenty long enough.
5. Double-sided Tape. Many of us are switching to air to install grips, because it’s more “green“. Don’t let that stop you from using double-sided tape and grip solvent, though. It’s still a viable way to install your grips.
Personally, I feel 2″ tape is easy to use, and more cost-effective. The reason is that less tape is used to cover the same area. But there are fitters that swear by the 3/4″ tape. No one’s right, no one’s wrong, so why not try them both, see which you like better?
NOTE: you can also buy grip kits, which is the tape, some grip solvent, and a rubber clamp (see below). Not a bad idea, if you only plan on regripping your clubs once a season. Get it HERE.
NOTE 2: I don’t recommend using double-sided tape as build-up tape. If you want to make your grips feel bigger, just lay down layers of masking tape first.
6. Bench Vice. I’m going to offer two versions here. Personally, a bench vice is something good to have in the garage, but if all you want to use it for is golf clubs (and not doing that many, at that), you don’t need to spend too much on one. Something like this would work:
If you’re wanting something for more intensive and non-specific work, maybe think about going with something a little more heavy-duty. The problem there is, it’s going to cost a little more. The blue vice pictured below is more expensive, and you can get it HERE.
7. Tape Scraper. You should regrip your clubs at least once a season. More if you play more rounds and/or practice a lot. A good number is to regrip your clubs ever 40 rounds. The reason is, the more sweat and dirt builds up on the grip, the slicker it gets. That will force you to grip tighter, which prevents you from squaring the clubface properly at impact, as well as slow your swing down.
I used to use a DIY tape scraper, made from the butt end of an old steel shaft. It worked… slowly. The Uneekscraper has been a much-needed upgrade!
8. Rubber Shaft Clamp. Yes, this is a tiny investment, but it’s a very, very good idea to get at least two. It’s especially useful for graphite shafts, not just to prevent marring and removing paint (making the shaft fugly), but from damaging the graphite fibers, as well. Mess those up and you’re inviting premature shaft failure.
Not good for something that can retail for more than $300, though you can find some good ones in the $50 area. As I said, buy at least two. The area at the bottom of the clamp (the lowest point of the “diamond” you see in the picture) can break. I have four of these, and only one has broke, but it’s something to consider. Besides, it’s always best to have a back-up, at least for some of the more inexpensive items. Get it HERE.
9. Golf Shaft Epoxy. While I have used that 5-minute glue from the local superstore successfully, there is some caveats that need to be known:
- It was on a set of steel-shafted irons
- The glue had a “shear strength” of over 3,000 pounds
- I let the glue cure for a full 24 hours.
That’s the key to any glue; to get the full cure strength, it’s best to let it set for 24 hours. That’s why, if you’re just starting out, get something more like this:
Pay careful attention to the mixing instructions. Some are equal parts (1:1), while some are 2:1. Get the epoxy HERE.
10. Electric Heat Gun. Heat guns are good to not only help you remove a golf club head, but to get old tape off your shaft when you’re doing a regrip job.
Sure, you could use a propane or butane torch, but I feel an electric heat gun will help more because of its extra use. The only difference is, it’ll take a little more time to get the epoxy in the hosel liquified to the point the head can be pulled off. Not terrible, especially if you’ll only be doing these jobs once in a while. Get it HERE.
11. The Little Things. Here’s a list of little things that you might, or might not, have laying around the house, but will be useful to helping you build your golf club(s):
- Hook blades. These are best for removing the grip from a graphite shaft, as it won’t cut into the fibers.
- Sandpaper. Sandpaper is used to abrade the tip of the shaft, to allow the epoxy to form an ideal bond. For steel shafts, 80-grit is good, but for graphite, you’ll want something finer, like 220-grit.
- Leather Gloves. When handling a metal golf club head, foregoing gloves is a bad idea. They get hot… really hot.
- Safety Glasses. When you’re cutting steel shafts, sparks will fly. You’ll need something to protect your peepers.
- Fire Extinguisher. You know those sparks we just talked about? That’s why it’s a good idea to have one of these around.
This will get you going in your golf club building endeavors.
OK, so… where to start?
Why not start by building a putter? It’s a very easy way to get your feet wet. Check out my putter-building post here to get you started!