By Graylyn Loomis
Do you need to pay the pros to customize your clubs? We tried six common alterations at home.
I rarely see a service or repair that doesn’t make me think, “I could do that myself!” Car trouble? I can fix it. Need a frame for that picture? I’ll make one.
This attitude applies to golf, as well, where I often wonder if my clubs need to go to a pro or back to the manufacturer for minor modifications. So I picked six modifications—or “mods”—that I thought would be perfect DIY candidates. I tried doing them myself using tools and materials readily available to the “Homegamer”—someone who works on projects in their garage.
These were my first-ever attempts and I’m not suggesting these fixes will be professional quality, but with a little practice and a range of typical tools, you’ll be pleased with the effort. Attempt these club modifications at your own risk and take the necessary safety precautions to avoid personal injury or damage to your clubs.
The Homegamer Scale
Based on my own attempts, I’ve rated each of the mods on a combination of difficulty, danger, and desired end result.
1-4: Relatively simple tasks that require easily accessible materials and tools you likely have.
5-6: Modifications that require special tools or materials, as well as experience and/or a level of safety beyond the norm.
7-8: Probably should be left to the pros, but still in reach for the avid Homegamer. Special tools are required and injuries can easily happen.
9-10: Don’t even try. Take to the nearest pro shop then go home and crack open a beer.
The Mod: Fixing Sky Marks on Woods
Materials Needed: Sharpie or black acrylic paint pen
Homegamer Scale: 1
– Step 1: Carefully color in the sky mark and use acetone to remove any color that spills onto the clubface.
The Mod: Re-Painting Wedges
Materials Needed: Acetone, wire brush, gloves, old t-shirt, small paint brush, acrylic paint
Homegamer Scale: 3
– Step 1: Brush acetone into painted areas and let sit for at least an hour to loosen and remove existing paint. Additional brushings may be necessary to remove the last traces. Completely dry off the heads, taking care to not get acetone on your skin (protective gloves are a must).
– Step 2: Using a small paint brush, cover any stampings or logos on the club liberally with your choice of acrylic paint and then let dry 30 minutes.
– Step 3: Use pieces of an old t-shirt dipped in acetone to lightly rub the painted areas in a circular motion. You will begin to carry away the surface paint, leaving the color in the stamped areas.
The Mod: Re-gripping Clubs
Materials Needed: Box cutter or hook knife, grip tape, grip solvent, new grips
Cost: $35-$200 (for single club
or full set)
Homegamer Scale: 4
– Step 1: Slice the old grip using a box cutter or hook knife.
– Step 2: Peel off the old grip and tape on the shaft and wipe away tape residue.
– Step 3: Cut a length of grip tape to ½” short of total grip length and apply the new grip tape to the shaft.
– Step 4: Liberally apply grip solvent to the tape and inside of new grip. The solvent acts as a lubricant for the new grip to slide onto the shaft and more solvent makes it easier! Before the tape and solvent set, align the new grip to avoid any twists or misaligned grip markings (a vice to hold the club makes the task much easier).
The Mod: Stamping Wedges
Materials Needed: Metal letter punch set (must be for metal, not leather), hammer
Cost: $20 (I purchased an $11 punch set from Amazon)
Homegamer Scale: 5
– Step 1: Rest the face of the wedge on a flat surface.
– Step 2: Carefully line up the letter punch, keeping it 90 degrees to the surface of the club.
– Step 3: Strike the punch with a heavy hammer. Most metals will require numerous blows to achieve the desired depth of the stamp.
Note: This mod was tougher than anticipated. Be very careful aligning the stamp for each subsequent blow to avoid double-stamping an adjacent area as I did in the photo. Subsequent attempts were much better, but I suggest practicing on old clubs or a scrap piece of metal.
The Mod: Torching Wedges
Materials Scale: Propane blowtorch and pliers
Homegamer Level: 7
– Step 1: Hold club in a vise or clamp. Using the torch, evenly heat the clubhead, focusing on the thicker sole.
– Step 2: As the clubhead heats up, it will move through a range of colors. From 400–500 degrees Fahrenheit the clubhead will change from a light straw color to a deep bronze. From 500–580 degrees, the head will change from a dark brown to a purple and then blue. Depending on the desired color and effect, you can stop at any point and much of the color will remain
in the steel.
– Step 3: Using pliers, pull off plastic ferrule, which will be soft and malleable due to the heat.
– Step 4: Apply further heat to the hosel area and gently remove clubhead from shaft using pliers. This treatment will release the epoxy securing the clubhead to the shaft, so the club will need to be reshafted (a modification for another time).
The Mod: Shortening Clubs
Materials Needed: Grinder, metal cutoff wheel (or pipe cutter), file,
Homegamer Scale: 8
– Step 1: Place club in a vise and using a box cutter or hook knife slice and remove old grip and grip tape.
– Step 2: With a set of calipers, measure and mark how much shaft you want to remove.
– Step 3: Using a pipe cutter, miter saw with metal blade, or abrasive wheel on grinder, remove the desired length taking care to cut at a 90-degree angle to the shaft.
– Step 4: Using file, remove any sharp burrs or edges left by cutter or grinder. Follow the re-gripping instructions outlined above.
Have you done any club modifications yourself? Tell us about them in the comments!