Introduction: How to Make Your Own Set of Custom Golf Clubs for Cheap!

Picture of How to Make Your Own Set of Custom Golf Clubs for Cheap!

You may have only recently begun to play golf or you may already be life long fan of the game.  

Regardless of your experience, if you are hooked like I am, you already know that golf clubs can be pretty expensive.  Of course, being the techie that I am, I drool over the latest and greatest clubs. Unfortunately, the best clubs are hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a set of irons. Sure, you can buy used but youll can still shell out $500 for a used set of Callaway or Taylormade irons that may or may not suit you. So, after quite a bit of research and shopping on eBay, Ive built a high-end set of irons made specifically for me for about the same price as a cheap Walmart set. You can buy all the components from one place like GolfWorks or Golfsmith, or shop around on eBay.  In the end you'll have a set of custom clubs that you'll be happy to talk about and use as the reason for your great (or poor) performance on the course.  

Now take all the money you saved and take some lessons!  You'll be glad you did and will enjoy the game a whole lot more.  

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
There are lots of books and online resources which tell you which type of irons, shafts and grips are best for you so I wont get into it here. Everyone is different but chances are you are not as good as you think you are so don't buy super stiff shafts or tiny blades unless you can already hit them!  If you are a high handicapper (15+) or don't even know what a handicap is, you will definitely want to buy "game improvement" iron heads with a fairly large cavity.  

Youll need:
  • 8 shafts (graphite or steel, your choice). 8 will make you a 4-SW set. (no one uses a  3-iron anymore).   Make sure your shaft tip size matches the type of heads youll be using (i.e. .370 shafts for .370 hosel bore on the heads).
  • Club heads. I'll focus on irons, but most of the steps in this instructable also apply to woods and hybrids. You can spend anywhere from a few dollars a head to a few hundred, so you might want to start off cheap before going to an expensive set.  I've found great sets of heads on eBay for a fraction of their retail value.  
In no particular order, you will also need:
  • - Rubber shaft holder and bench vise
  • - Ferrules (these are the black decorative trip pieces that hide the transition from the head to the shaft)
  • - Grips. Go to your nearest big golf store and try some out, there are hundreds to choose from
  • - Grip tape and solvent.  It is available in either a spray can or liquid, I prefer the spray
  • - Tubing cutter for steel shafts or hacksaw with a fine blade for graphite shafts
  • - Dremel or other rotary tool with sanding drum
  • - Shafting Epoxy
  • - Masking tape, small wooden stick, paper towels, sharpie marker
  • - Old Tshirts or rags
  • - The GolfWorks catalog (www.golfworks.com)

Step 2: Selecting and Cutting Your Shafts

Picture of Selecting and Cutting Your Shafts

You can buy decent steel shafts for under $10 each new all the way up to over $30 per shaft. Lose the ego and stay within your budget. I wanted an expensive set but didnt want to pay the $$ so I bought a set of Taylormade pullouts off eBay for $60. These were previously installed in a new set but were pulled out and changed by their previous owner. You can save a bunch of money this way since there is not much you can do to mess up a shaft.   As I said before, don't buy stiff shafts unless you know you have a swing speed of 100mph or so.

Although there is no one standard, most factory irons are made for the average American. So, if youre between 5'9" and 5'11", the factory standard length will be about right for you. If you are over 6' or under 5'8" you should go longer or shorter to match your height. Womens clubs are usually one inch shorter with more flexible shafts, but if youre a woman over 5'9" you should make the appropriate changes (you will basically end up with men's irons with "lite" flex shafts).

Use the chart to determine the length of your 5-iron.  Measure the distance between your wrists and the ground while wearing your golf shoes.  Take both measurements and average them.  Use the following chart to determine the length of your 5-iron.  Each larger/shorter iron differs by 1/2 inch.

Determine the proper length of your clubs and cut the shafts accordingly using your tubing cutter or saw.  Do not use a tubing cutter for graphite shafts!  Remember that club length is not the same as the shaft length, since the shaft will go into the club head anywhere from 1 to 1.5 and different club heads will be of different heights. Once cut, mark each shaft with a piece of masking tape so that you dont accidentally put the 4 head onto your Pitching Wedge shaft. Also, only cut from the butt end, not the tip since cutting the tip will affect the stiffness of the shaft.

If in doubt, it is always a good idea to use an existing club for reference.

Step 3: Test Fit Your Club Heads

Picture of Test Fit Your Club Heads

Next, test fit your club head and mark how far the shat goes into the head with a piece of tape. Use your Dremel tool to sand the shaft tip until you see bare metal. Its OK to go into the tape a little bit, it will be covered by the ferrule later.

While youre test fitting your club heads, also mark how far the ferrule should go onto the shaft. TIP: warm up the plastic ferrules with a heat gun to soften them up, otherwise it will near impossible to get them up the shaft. Push them as far up the shaft as you can by hand and push the rest of the way with the club head. Cover the ferrule and club head with tape. Not absolutely necessary, but there is a good chance that youll get epoxy on these and you want them to look professional. You can wipe the epoxy off when it is still wet, but it will damage the ferrules so I just tape them. I also draw a line with a marker so that I can line up the shaft with the logos the way I want them. I assembled the shafts and grips with the logos such that I dont see them when addressing the ball.

Step 4: Attaching the Club Head to the Shaft

Picture of Attaching the Club Head to the Shaft

The shafting epoxy is a two part product. Squeeze equal amounts of both onto a piece of cardboard and mix thoroughly. This is strong stuff and youll only need a small amount. With the amount shown I was able to assemble my whole set. The epoxy will also get all over everything if youre not careful so have the paper towels handy. I cut them into squares and use/discard one square at a time.

Using a stirring stick or toothpick, carefully dab the epoxy mix onto the shaft tip. It doesnt have to be perfect and don't use too much, it will only ooze out of the hosel when you install the shaft.  It is amazing how strong the stuff is.   Line up the marks, clean up the excess epoxy and set the club on a cardboard box. Repeat for all the clubs and set them to cure overnight.

Resist temptation and dont touch them for 24 hrs!

Step 5: Now We Wait...

Picture of Now We Wait...

Once you install the heads onto the shafts and have cleaned off the excess epoxy, lay down the club somewhere with the head hanging off the side.  Don't touch them for at least 24hrs!  I know it is tempting but  if you don't wait it will all be for naught. 

Also, don't try to put on the grips until the heads have cured!

Step 6: Intalling the Grips

Picture of Intalling the Grips

Using the rubber shaft holder, set the assembled club into your vise. Cut a piece grip tape a little smaller than the size of the grip and wrap it around the butt end of the shaft. Make sure there is a little bit hanging over the end and tuck it into the shaft. Make a smooth wrap with the tape or you might have trouble putting the grip on. Thoroughly wet both the inside of the grip and the tape on the shaft with the spray solvent, don't be afraid of using too much.

Line up the grip the way you want it and QUICKLY push the grip all the way onto the shaft. The solvent dries quickly so if you don't use a lot of solvend and don't go fast, youll end up with the grip stuck halfway onto the shaft and youll be forced to cut it off and start over. For that reason I use an air compressor to install my grips but thats a topic for another Instructable.

I'll try to post more pics this weekend.

Step 7: Finished!

Picture of Finished!
Now use the money you saved to get some lessons from a golf pro, it is no use to have a nice set of clubs if you swing like Charles Barkley!


Comments

DoDo729 (author)2012-07-09

Very interesting Instructable, being a golf nut as well, I find this very interesting and will likely give it a try. You might want to check out my Instructable on making tapered vice jaws, they would work great on the tapered shafts for golf clubs. Thanks for submitting.

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Bio: Hello, my name is Eddie. I'm one of those people that can't leave well enough alone so I'll inevitably take things apart ... More »
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