Archive for the ‘Driver’ Category

How To Make Toddler Golf Clubs!

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

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Today, I will show you how to make custom-fit (custom length) golf clubs for your toddler/kids.

Whether your toddler is a 12 month year old who’s 1.5 feet tall or a 3 year old 2.5 feet tall, making custom-fit golf clubs can dramatically improve chances of your child playing better golf.

The problem is that most of toddler/junior golf clubs bought off the rack at the retail stores or online are too long for these young, aspiring golfers.

If you want your child to be as good as Tiger Woods or to simply enjoy golf at an early age, it’s vital that you either cut junior golf clubs to fit their height or make toddler golf clubs from scratch as I am showing you in this blog post.

For one, most 2 year olds already possess enough muscle strength to hit a golf ball except there’s no golf clubs made for them!

By making these custom-length golf clubs, your child will be able to get a head start on golf, perhaps play better than you by the time they reach 9.

One of my friend’s daughters is trying to play golf and my friend has asked some advice so I’ve decided to make this 7-iron and driver for her.

And yes, plastic golf clubs would work too but real golf clubs would be ideal if the toddler wants to start improving his/her game from day one.

So, here it goes, this is actually my first attempt at making junior golf clubs and I haven’t done clubmaking in 10 years so I am a bit rusty.   But bear with me as I get the job done.

First, you will need some of the most basic golf clubmaking tools listed here:

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Epoxy – You can get any regular epoxy at your local hardware store.  Golfsmith and other golf clubmaking stores sell these golf epoxies but they are pretty much the same thing so you don’t need to spend extra $5 on them, just get it for cheaper at Home Depot.  I got mine for like $5 at Home Depot btw.

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Sand Paper – You will need some sand paper to prep the shaft so you can epoxy your clubhead to it.  If you have machine tools, that might work too but for the purposes of saving money too, you can just use some plain sand paper.

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Shaft Cutting Tool – You can use a fine-blade saw or a machine tool to cut your shaft.  If you don’t have them, the other best way is to get one of these golf shaft cutting tools.  I have had mine for over 10 years and they are great for cutting golf shafts plus they don’t take up much room if you live in a small apartment. ($9.99 at Golfsmith)
*Note – You can get the Chop Saw, which might be better if you are making a whole set of clubs.

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Junior Clubheads – For starters, you can probably start with any junior golf clubhead.  I went with a Snake Eyes Junior 7-iron($8.99) and a driver($17.99).  (There’s even cheaper ones too over at GolfSmith, check it out here.)

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Junior Golf Grips – Junior golf grips are slightly smaller than regular grips and you will need these.  I got the Junior Tour Velvet grips ($1.79 each) but there’s other choices as well.

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Double-sided Grip Tape – You need a double-sided grip tape so you can stick the golf grip onto the  golf shaft.  For this, I highly recommend the water-activated grip tape which requires no toxic solvents and easy to apply with plain water and a bit of soap.  Traditionally, you had to use toxic solvent plus a double-sided tape, which is faster to install but bad for our environment. (plus costs more for the solvent).

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Ferrules (optional) - For a finished look, you will want to get some ferrules.  The ferrules are different for irons($2.99 for dozen) and woods($2.49 for dozen).  But these are optional, they don’t really do anything but add to the overall “look” and do not affect the perfomance of your toddler golf clubs.

Standard sizes for iron ferrules are .370″ in diameter and wood ferrules are .335″ in diameter.  If you get special shafts you might need a custom ferrule but for most golf clubs, these sizes are standard, even for adult golf clubs.  There’s more styles of ferrules to choose from here but make a note that you get the right sized ferrules.

You might also want to consider getting a Ferrule installer if you want ferrule installation to be quicker/easier.

Total Cost

Total cost per club should be pretty cheap $20 per iron and about $30 per wood, still cheaper than buying off the racks.  Plus, the golf tools you buy can be used over and over for future clubmaking, not a bad investment at all.  I’ve also used the minimal number of tools here as I don’t like having big tools or spending too much money on them. (yet at least)

Not only are it’s a great skill to learn but as your toddler grows up, you will be able to provide them with custom shafts, which they will need if they are going to take golf to the next level.

How to Find the Right Length for Fitting the Golf Shaft

Before making the golf clubs, you will want to find out exactly the length your toddler needs to hit the ball optimally.

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Measure out how long your golf club should be by setting the shaft on your toddler child.  Then, make a mark with a permanent marker.  As a rough guide, try to get about 50 degrees from the ground to the child’s hands.  Where their hands end  on the shaft should be where you should mark the golf club.

Don’t worry if you do it the wrong first time, you can always cut the shaft and put a new grip if you make it too long.

Just don’t make it too short, then you will have to install a new shaft so…

How to Cut the Golf Shaft

Obviously, if you have a power tool or get the Chop Saw, you can easily cut the shaft but if you get the shaft cutting tool, you can  follow these directions.

Simply set the shaft to the shaft cutting tool in the middle groove then adjust the knob so it fits tightly.

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Rotate the shaft once  and tighten the knob a 1/4 of a turn, then keep repeating until the shaft if cut.

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You should get a nicely cut shaft like here:
And save the leftover shaft for later as it can be used as a ferrule installation tool.

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Video 1 of shaft cutting:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

How to Install the Ferrule (Optional)

If you’ve decided to install the ferrules, there’s some extra steps to do, otherwise you can skip this step.

*Note – If you bought the Ferrule Installer, follow directions for that, it should be MUCH easier/faster.  I am just showing you my hack without spending extra $10.

First, fit your clubhead to the tip of your shaft snuggly.  Then make a mark with a permanent marker where your clubhead ends on the shaft.  This will be where the ferrule must stop.

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Next, apply some oil or WD40 to the tip of the shaft so you can easily slide your ferrule in.

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Next, put the ferrule on the tip of the shaft.  If it get stuck just bang it softly couple times until the ferrule goes in.

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You should get to this point where the ferrule is about here.  If the ferrule is stuck, don’t worry, we will use the leftover shaft piece from earlier to bang it down a bit.

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Using the leftover shaft piece (you can also cut it even shorter so it’s easier to use), then place it on the ferrule.

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Use a hammer to bang the ferrule down the shaft.  Don’t hammer too hard, just a little tap at a time.

If you go too far down and it gets stuck for good, you might want to try bang it down the opposite way but use something plastic to wedge it on the other side 45 degrees.  (Watch my wood installation video as I get it down too far.)

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Don’t try to get it all the way to your mark btw, you can get it almost there, then fit your clubhead and start banging the clubhead until it pushed the ferrule in place.

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How to Install/Epoxy the Clubhead to the Shaft!

Next, once you are done getting the ferrule in place, let’s prep up the shaft for installing the clubhead.

Take a small piece of sand paper and sand  the shaft until it’s nicely “sanded”.  Of course, if you have a sand belt and machine tools, use that too.

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The shaft tip is now ready for epoxying the clubhead on:

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Next, squeeze out some epoxy and mix it with a toothpick.

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Once mixed, apply the epoxy mix to the tip of the shaft.

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Now slide the clubhead down the tip of the shaft and you should be done, make sure to wipe off any excess epoxy with a cloth.  Don’t use paper towel as it will get stuck on the club and make an ugly mess.

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Depending on the epoxy you got, it might take couple minutes before the epoxy settles.  You can carefully install the grip right away or wait couple minutes to make sure the clubhead doesn’t move.

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Video of Ferrule Installation:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

How to Install the Golf Grip!

Yey, you are almost done and installing golf grip is one of the easiest jobs so this might also be helpful if you have old golf grips and you want to install new grips.

First, you willl want to measure out and mark where you want to stick the double-sided grip tape on the shaft.

Take the end of the shaft and place the junior golf grip side-by-side.  Mark with a permanent marker where the grip ends on the shaft.

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Put the grip tape on the shaft and take off the unsticky sticker thingee.
*Note – You can also do double or triple layers of the grip tape if you’ve cut the shaft a LOT or you simply want a larger grip.

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Next, get the golf grip and cover the hole at the butt end of the grip with a ball marker or a golf tee like this:

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Then put a small bit of soap, I used regular handwashing dish soap here.

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Fill the grip with warm water and shake it so you get soapy mix.

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Now, pour that water over the double-sided grip tape you applied to your shaft.

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Put the grip on the shaft now, noting that the logo(or whatever mark you want on the grip) is aligned with the leading edge of the clubface. (or parallel to it)

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Once the grip is all the way in, you can pull the ball marker (or golf tee) out, you should hear a nice “swoosh”!

You can also adjust the grip once it’s on the shaft, you have approximately 30 minutes before the soap water starts drying off so make your adjustments here.

After everything is done, set the golf clubs against a wall for at least 12 hours before testing it out on the course.

If you are in a hurry, you could go out to the range in couple hours but probably best idea to let the epoxy cure enough and the grip to dry off completely.

Video of how to install the golf grip:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

You should get something like these two clubs:

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Congrats!  After making a couple of these clubs, it shoudn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to make a golf club.

As you can see, golf club making is relatively easy and you can save a lot of money too in the process.

Even if you don’t use this guide, I am sure you have friends who are avid golfers and perhaps you can tell  your friends about it.  Thanks!

Here’s more videos for reference:

How to Install a Toddler’s Golf Club – Wood Driver:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Nike SQ DYMO STR8-FIT Driver VS. TaylorMade R9 Review!

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

*NOTE – This post shall be submitted for eligibility in a Nike Golf promotion contest.

Dan from RocketXL has tipped me on the latest contest where you can win a trip to Fort Worth, Texas to get professional, custom-fitted with brand new Nike clubs. (worth $2000) Needless to say, I had to take advantage of this offer as getting your golf clubs fitted professionally determines a big portion of how well you will play on the course.

I won’t go into the specs of each driver as I don’t feel that’s more important than actual results from the field.

So without delay, let me go into how my test between the Nike SQ DYMO STR8-FIT driver versus the TaylorMade R9 went after hitting about 100 balls with each:

Nike SQ DYMO STR8-FIT Driver w/ 9.5 degrees and Stiff Shaft

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Points

  • It’s very easy to hit the sweetspot, the DYMO STR8-FIT driver has been designed so it’s really hard to miss the sweetspot.
  • Nike DYMO STR8-FIT is great since you can change your trajectory easily with the built-in wrench. Whether you are slicing or hooking certain days, it’s easy to adjust your driver to fit your swing, not the other way around.

Overall, I experienced consistent results with my trajectory yielding between a straight shot and a 30 yard fade on the factory neutral setting. One of the keys to success in tournament golf or weekend skin’s game is the ability to block out one side of the course.

As for me, I tend to hook my driver wildly under pressure, this DYMO STR8-FIT driver definitely helped me block out my weak side, the bad “hook”. On the plus side, I felt the DYMO driver had really good “high” trajectory mixed with overspin or no spin for longer rolls once the ball hits the ground. This is great stuff when playing in windy conditions as your drives won’t be as affected by the wind due to the “low spin”.

Another cool feature I experienced was that even when I try to hit a duck-hook, my drives would go super-straight with the DYMO STR8-FIT on neutral setting. That is a quite a bit of insurance against holes where there’s O.B. left. I have to emphasize that the clubhead did this, not my swing so I am figuring that the weight-balance on the Nike has been designed for minimal closing of the clubhead, meaning you will get more or less “square” at impact.

TaylorMade R9 Driver w/ 9.5 degrees and Stiff Shaft

Points

  • It’s hard to hit the sweetspot. This could be a more versatile for the more advanced players who want to work the ball both left and right but seems not a great fit for the average player.
  • Too many ways to adjust the R9 driver is it’s downfall.

Overall, TaylorMade R9 caused a lot of random, big wild hooks, although the ball probably went as far as the Nike DYMO driver. Even with distance, the TaylorMade R9 gave a slightly “lower” trajectory without the extra overspin “feel” that the Nike DYMO STR8-FIT provided. TaylorMade R9 is still a great driver for advanced players who need to work the ball a little bit more. I simply felt that I actually wanted to do less with my driver, hit it straight. (Even Ben Hogan used oversized grips on his driver and woods in order to keep it simpler.)

Conclusion

If you are looking for distance and consistency, I would definitely have to go with Nike DYMO driver. Honestly, I am impressed with what kind of drivers Nike is able to come up with for the average golfer while I still do think TaylorMade R9 is better suited for scratch/pro golfers who like to tinker.

As for distance, I have to say the Nike outperformed the TaylorMade as even my mishits with the Nike have gone 290 yards while the TaylorMade mishits were more in the range of 270 yards with wild hooks here and there.

One of things I want to actually emphasize here is not the club’s ability to adjust to different lies and trajectories but the clubhead itself is solid. Having a solid clubhead allows you to hit the ball straighter and with more “overspin”, allowing your ball to roll further and better control under windy conditions.

Overall, I will have to stick with the Nike DYMO driver now. My next change will include a shaft change from the factory UST PRO Stiff to a UST PRO2 Extra Stiff, this should garner me additional 20 yards.

For those of you who want to try out these drivers, head over to the Nike website to find the nearest DEMO location and you can also enter to win a free professional club-fitting trip to Forth Worth, Texas with your airplane expenses paid.

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(Nike DYMO STR8-FIT lie & trajectory changer)

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(Nike DYMO STR8-FIT wrench for changing your lie, very easy to use, took about 30 seconds to change.)

Here’s a short video I took while testing the two drivers. (Please don’t mind swing mechanics here, I haven’t hit too many balls lately…)

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Anthony Kim Driver Swing Analysis

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Okay, today, we will do a “real” swing analysis of Anthony Kim’s swing. (unlike my older post on Anthony Kim’s swing video only)

Now, this young man gas a great swing and might start taking over PGA Tour with multiple wins.

At takeaway, Anthony is a little too much inside. (This is what the “traditional” golf teachers teach you. But don’t be fooled, the follow-through will prove that Anothony “came back” to the right plane to hit the ball, which almost every pro tour golfer does)

At half-way, Anthony is still way too inside but that’s okay as it will get from here on.

At top os his swing, you can see how well his hands, and clubface are in-plane. (The four diagonal lines represent the true plane of the golf swing)

At downswing, Anthony is slightly inside the plane, which is perfectly acceptable.

At impact, notice how his left arms is straight and right arms slightly bent like at address.

Now what impresses me about Anthony Kim’s swing is not his takeaway or backswing but right after impact.

As you can see, his clubface is almost dead-on or slightly outside the plane. This movement is actually the best move. (Players like Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods do this)

After impact, it gets even better as Anthony’s club stays on-plane.

At finish, check out how controlled his right foot is, it’s barely coming up.

What can you learn from Anthony Kim’s swing?

There are many ways to swing the club. Try to focus on getting that club on-plane at the top of your swing and after impact.

Even most tour pros have completely different opinions on how to swing on-plane but their after impact positions will be the same.

Here’s Anthony Kim’s swing in slow-motion (SWING VISION):

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Fred Couples Swing – The Driver

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

I love Fred Couple’s swing. He probably has the most relaxed swing with such a fluid swing rhythm you can describe simple only as, “butter”.

He’s rhythm is the thing to copy. If you can watch his swing everyday and copy his rhythm, it will definitely help you.