April 29

Pitfalls of Being a Golf Club Fitter

Golf Club Fitting


I'm gonna rant a bit today.

First, let me start by saying that I really, really enjoy fitting and building golf clubs.

But sometimes, there are jobs that almost drive me to drink.  

This current job, for example, is one of those kinds of jobs.  Let's start by saying that, when adjusting lie angle, there are basic rules you should adhere to.

The biggest rule is that, for forged irons, you shouldn't exceed a 4-degree change either flat or upright.  The reason for that, while carbon steel is very malleable, it's the hard chrome plating that you have to be careful about.  Going over 4 degrees runs the risk of cracking the chrome, which promotes premature rusting.

For cast irons, which are usually made out of a stronger stainless steel, you don't want to go over 2-3 degrees upright or flat.  There's no chrome plating to crack, but you can snap the hosel.

Well... that's what's happened to me, TWICE.

The very odd job

A customer of mine has been going through an experimental phase.  He wanted a set of Sterling Single Length irons.  Not out of the ordinary, right?

Wrong.  He wanted them 10 (ten!) degrees upright!  I warned him, telling him exactly what I told you up there.  

He insisted, so... here we are. 

With the Sterling irons, the body of the heads (everything but the face, basically) are made out of 8620 carbon steel.  A soft metal.  Should be good to get a 4-degree change, but it's been rough to get to 10.

I managed to do it with the test 7-iron, but I had time to work on that.  With the full set, that's been more rough.

The change did happen, but there's been issues.

Problems with a 10-degree lie angle change

dent in the sole from lie angle change

This is the first issue.  Look to the right of the "7", above my finger.

You can see a slight dent in the sole.  Even using tape to protect the sole doesn't guarantee complete safety.

chips in the topline from a lie angle change

In this picture, you can see chips in the topline.

Layers of duct tape, two layers of lead tape, even a modified brass shim (brass is a non-marring metal) didn't stop it from happening.


But it did happen.  For a set that was 5-SW, all but one iron has been adjusted to 72 degrees:

a 72-degree lie angle change!

But it's come at a cost...

dent in hosel from a 10-degree change
another dent in the hosel from a 10-degree lie angle change

Dents.  F*cking dents.  

I've never, ever gotten dents in a bend before.  Of course, I've never had anyone want something well outside the norm, either.  And it gets better:

broken hosel from extreme lie angle change
another broken hosel from an extreme lie angle change

two different 6-irons, both broken.  

And both times, I was a single degree away from the target!  

Maybe you're thinking "well, why not just stop at 71 degrees?  He'd never know...".  Yeah, well, I'd know, and I'm not like that.  If he asked for 72 degrees, by god it ain't gonna be 71. 

That's what separates me from other fitters, and from all the OEMs: I can eliminate tolerances.  If you want a 31-degree 7-iron loft, it's gonna be 31 degrees.  If you want a 64-degree lie angle, it's gonna be 64 degrees.  Not 62, not 63, not 65; 64.

But it cost me- TWICE.

It's been a learning experience

Oh, most definitely has this been.

I also think I don't charge near enough for this extreme service, either!  LOL... no, but seriously.  I only charge $4.99 per head for a bend; but that's under normal circumstances!  Maybe for this I should charge more?

Well, that's my rant.  I appreciate you listening (or reading, rather)!

About the author 

Justin Blair

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!

You may also like

I’m Using Tiger Woods Irons… Kind Of

Oversized Grip on the Driver Only- Is It a Good Idea?

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Check out the Green Lantern Golf Store!

Wishon drivers and irons, Inazone wedges (for lefties!), and more!