The Terrible Twos Syndrome of Golf Club Fitting: Part Fourteen

I have in essence previously stated that at heart I will always be a player and competitor, and because of this the club “making” aspects never have been nor ever will be a favorite or stimulating part of golfing to me.  But I engage in certain clubmaking aspects because my ultimate goal upon touching my club(s) is to play my best golf, whether it is against a human competitor(s) or something I want to accomplish on (or against) a golf course.  In painting a generalized picture, playing one’s best requires swinging one’s best, regularly swinging one’s best requires among other things proficient clubfitting, and proficient golf club fitting requires the capable application of certain clubmaking procedures.  Due to the clubfitting industry as a whole at the present time unfortunately not even coming close to achieving proficient clubfitting (this can be seen even at the most basic level[s] if able to penetrate the surface glitz offered by the industry that so easily turns the heads of most golfers that just do not know any better), there is really no choice but to learn certain club “making” tasks for self-application purposes (even if they might be dreaded) if proficient club “fitting” wants to be realized in order to make the opportunity to play one’s best golf.

Saving unnecessary expense and time are also factors toward learning clubmaking tasks that can be self-applied (even among those who are financially well off) because some of these tasks need to be repeated multiple times in the course of sound clubfitting practices.  Thus, even if a particular clubmaking service(s) is modestly priced, it could still become quite expensive and/or inconvenient to have the same service(s) performed over and over again at a location other than one’s own personal workspace set aside for such work.  As I have also previously indicated, uncounted past, present, and future accomplished golfers always have and always will do varying degrees of clubfitting and connected clubmaking work on their own due to pertinent matters like these.

Now I for one am actually beginning to sense a bit of relief that I am getting quite close to starting some actual swinging and clubfitting and revealing some clubfitting elements that have never really been close to being revealed before to the best of my knowledge, even though I consider many of these elements to still comprise first-grade-level basic clubfitting.  To perhaps get a sense of my concern regarding this work in progress (about half a year thus far on just this post title sequence), there was an article recently published on the website regarding golf grip size fitting that revealed the author’s “New” theory that grip size should be fit based upon actual swing performance rather than static measurement(s).  As I initially made it distinctly known years ago already within Waggle Weight Wisdom™ that dynamic golf club fitting has always been the supreme goal (and for all golf club specifications, not just grip sizing), several possibilities have crossed my mind since sighting this article.  One is that the conception claim of this “New” theory as published might have been intentionally meant as a satiric joke (because no author and/or so-called professional trade journal in the relevant field [golf] with any real awareness of previously published instruction could possibly publish such an article with seriousness).  Another is that the author and/or publisher of this journal are truly unaware of what is going on in its own field of instruction.  And then of course it could be that somebody just plain stole some of my work, further contemplating whether I should pursue some legal action (regardless of whether the occurrence was intentional or unintentional).

But because I have yet to hear back from this entity at the time of this writing regarding an inquiry of mine, these possibilities will have to be contemplated for at least another day.  The rest of the article has pretty simplistic stuff about primarily watching golf ball flight and choosing one’s golf grip size based on that.  For a national publication, the article grievously displays certain obvious and critical deficiencies in understanding effective golf grip size fitting comprehensively, and the article’s remainder has little to do with the far more advanced (yet very logically approached one step at a time) grip sizing work that will be exposed in this post title sequence.  Nonetheless, seeing such an article urges me to get to the heart of the testing and conclusion(s) immediately before anybody else has the slightest additional opportunity to try to publish more correct work regarding the subject before it is disclosed here.  But alas, even at the risk of that happening, I must first address certain clubmaking elements I have not even mentioned yet before I will be undividedly ready to continue further.  The combined circumstances including my current recommendation that golfers perform as much of their own clubfitting as possible due to the present general state of the clubfitting industry and that certain clubmaking tasks must be well-applied to achieve that clubfitting well make no other choice reasonably possible.

As I relate here again that in some club “making” areas I am not a master to say the least, I thus need to officially absolve myself from any liability with respect to the application of club “making” elements I refer to throughout Waggle Weight Wisdom™.  You would fully understand and agree with my position if I were to detail all of the inexperienced and laughable things I have done through the years with respect to working on my own golf clubs.  But writing that “book” in its entirety is a little too far off the current topic at this time.  Suffice it to say that while I have already and will go into more particulars of clubmaking elements that are extremely important and relevant with respect to golf club specifications (and fitting them thereof) and that I have learned well, there are still other clubmaking topics that can also be critical to clubfitting (like safely bonding clubheads to shafts) to which I must defer to others that can be far more qualified than I in such areas.  Because I am not intimately familiar with many of the sources that teach clubmaking, I cannot make any reliable recommendations regarding sources that might be any better or worse with respect to learning clubmaking technique(s).  Clubmaking information can be found via numerous different sources.

The following are some clubmaking elements I have not even or barely touched on yet and that are advisable to investigate if one is going to engage in (highly recommended presently) doing any clubfitting work on one’s own.  While many of these elements are still very basic in nature, informed familiarity and experience is still essential in order to apply them effectively.  They include but are not limited to learning about different types of epoxy adhesives for securing clubheads to shafts (such as quick cure versus long cure and the advantages and disadvantages of each) and how to capably choose which, along with preparation and/or assembly procedures (which can vary for different types of components) for shaft tips, clubhead hosels (if necessary) and ferrules (if used) for assembly in order to assure the best security and functionality.  Bonding preparation could include tasks like enlarging a clubhead’s hosel bore diameter by various drilling or reaming methods, the addition of a shim if a clubhead’s hosel bore diameter is too large, and/or the addition of specialty material commonly called shafting beads to an epoxy mix to aid in centering a shaft better within a hosel upon assembly and/or effectively reducing the diameter of a hosel’s bore slightly if it is slightly too large (but not so large as to warrant replacement by a shim), plus sanding and/or cleaning components.

Even the skill of removing various types of golf shafts from various types of clubheads (after an assembly is cured) can be looked into if one desires for when mistakes are made and it is desired to try and reuse any of the components.  And rest assured mistakes will be made.  But the alternative is even uglier.  The alternative is to have one’s golf club(s) fit by a so-called professional clubfitting industry that among other things regularly fits multiple club specifications by having one fundamentally stand still and taking “statically inept” body measurements.  Then add the conventional “musical golf shafts” routine (a general expression for utilizing only a single identical specimen of each shaft model for testing, giving one no legitimate opportunity to consequently determine certain critical golf club specification measurements correctly).  And then there is the ongoing failure of the clubfitting trade to comprehensively and accurately detail the functioning of multiple golf club specifications for golfers, citing golf club face angle as an example in this case.  That is some alternative.

I will now take a brief look at golf shaft trimming, focusing on the butt end after shaft installation is complete.  In assuming a personal operation (larger clubmakers may have devices that can cut an entire set of golf shafts to length in a single operation), there can be different procedures (or at least different saw blade types) for cutting shafts of steel, graphite, or other material(s).  As an example, a hand tubing cutter might still be used effectively on many steel shafts, though I admit I was never very pleased with my own performance using that tool.  Chrome plating would occasionally flake off some shafts where I was cutting (possibly due to cutting blades that were too dull).  Another problem I encountered was the apparent warping of some shafts (circumference-wise) at the butt ends, likely due to the force I applied when using the procedure and tool.  (But to this day I am not absolutely sure of that, as many shafts were not perfectly round to begin with).

It helped when I cut a separate section of golf shaft whose diameter spanned from smaller to larger than the shaft diameter to be trimmed and pushed the section firmly into the butt end of the shaft to reinforce its original shape before trimming.  But while that particular detail improved, I would then sometimes inadvertently crease both shafts when trimming to the extent of having trouble getting the reinforcing section back out again when done.  Ah, the good old days.  At other times the tubing cutter would not stay in place properly as I rotated it around the shaft and it would start to spiral up or down the shaft and leave its initial cutting indentation as it went along.  Now one or more of these issues certainly could have been an improper and inexperienced application of the procedure and/or tool on my part.  One advantage of using a tubing cutter is that the shaft/club does not usually need to be secured by a vise or comparable means like it usually does when using a saw.

But the same tubing cutter could and should never be used on a graphite shaft anyway.  It would not work effectively and the shaft could easily be badly and irreparably damaged.  An electric hand tool with a spinning cutting blade might instead be used to cut graphite (and steel) shafts to length capably provided the cutting blade material and spin rate are appropriate for the shaft material being cut.  Having little experience with this specific method, I do not know if this would be so much more efficient than just using a hand hacksaw to cut shafts with.  In looking back at the number of shafts I have cut through the years for my personal experimentation and use, I cannot say that the number of them has been so great to warrant anything more sophisticated or quicker than a plain old hand saw.  As I have noted, different blade materials and/or styles are often needed in order to obtain the best results when cutting various shaft materials.

I will often first try to wrap a piece of masking tape squarely around a shaft where a cut will be to help guide me in making the squarest cut I can.  Sawing is fine for a larger cut, but if trimming a smaller amount of length, including but not limited to squaring off the end of a shaft if desired (so a golf grip can subsequently go on as straight as possible) or deburring any sharp edges after shortening shaft length, then a different procedure(s) may work better.  Some options for this are a metal hand file(s) or electric grinding wheel(s) for working on a steel shaft or a similar implement(s) but with an appropriate sandpaper-like surface for working on shaft material like graphite.