Technical Tips

August 2006

Examining Custom Made Versus Custom Built
(From Bob Dobbs: Technical directors for the Professional Clubmaker Society)


Many OEMs offer the same type iron and wood heads that clubmakers do; they have forged blades, forged cavity back, cast cavity back, etc. But let’s go a couple of steps beyond. What a clubmaker can offer is a true custom set of clubs. First, the most valuable tool at the clubmakers disposal is the set make-up. Golfers take it for granted that a standard “custom-fit” from an OEM is a 3-PW. In your custom-built set of clubs, you can leave out the #3 iron and in a lot of cases the #4 iron, and really get into some nice custom options using hybrids and/or higher lofted fairway woods.

What about custom-fit versus custom-built drivers? Well the first thing we need to look at is the loft. In the Advanced Fitting School (offered by the PCS), clubmakers learned that the drivers loft is your best friend. For a large percentage of golfers, a high-lofted driver (14 or 15 degrees) is a good loft selection. With a lot of professionals now playing with a 9.5 and 10.5 degree drivers, does it not make sense that most average golfers will play better with 12-15 degree drivers? Yet the OEM’s are just starting to figure this one out by offering higher lofted drivers.

Now, let’s look at the engine of the club, specifically the driver shaft, the OEM’s offer stock or commercial-grade shafts in the majority of drivers. Your clubmaker needs to understand the difference between a stock shaft and a premium-grade shaft. Without going through a long winded explanation, a stock shaft or commercial-grade shaft is a very inexpensive shaft in limited flexes and weights costing most OEM’s $4-5 each. On the other hand, premium graphite shafts, from a bonifide shaft manufacturer will be a step up from a stock shaft, plus you will have at your finger tips all the various weights, bend points, and flexes not available from the OEM’s


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