Sometimes, you just find yourself in the wrong place.
You look around: see the sights, smell the stinks and wonder how the hell it came to this. As the song goes, ‘I’ve been down that road before, seen a lot of broken hearts along the way.’
Other times you squeak with joy and quote The A-Team: giggling, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Suddenly, “how the hell did it come to this?” is a good thing.
That was me the other day. In the shed, a moody Lyle Lovett on the Sansui, a cup of cooling tea and a package from the post office on the work bench before me. It had international stamps and the bugger was heavy.
How the hell did it come to this? I’m not entirely sure, but I know there was that heady combination of internet, alcohol and a credit card. And whilst lots of people think that’s a short walk down the long road called disaster, the whiff was pure opportunity.
With the package open, my heart leapt … Japanese newspaper. From there it was like pass the parcel. Under the newspaper, my bounty was wrapped in more newspaper and bubble-wrap.
Raw Japanese wedge heads, straight from the factory. Which factory? I’m not sure. But they’re heavy and ugly and oversized. I nearly wet myself.
I really do love it when a plan comes together.
Amazingly, this was exactly what I’d purchased. The plan being to shape them myself and create my own, personalised, hand-made, hand-ground, hand-stamped and possibly hand stuffed up short game solution.
What fun! What joy!
I’d been watching YouTube clips of real life club-makers tooling around with wedges, and it didn’t actually look that hard. They did have great equipment and really fancy sanding belt thing-a-ma-jigs – but I have an angle grinder and a belt sander, so surely that put me in the game.
So you know, to grind your own wedge is actually pretty straight forward. You could hit your Vokey if you wanted to. You literally shave off the parts of the wedge you don’t want, leaving the bits you do. The big tip is to mark the areas you want to lose, then get rid of them. There’s room to work, too. The wedge blanks are about 30-40 grams heavier than a shop bought wedge, so you’ve actually got a fair bit of steel to shred.
The belt sander was quickly replaced with a random orbital sander. The spinning disc kind, and, this bad-boy had game.
For the lob wedge, now stamped “SHIZZLE” so, if I was not at my bag and needed that club I could say to a playing partner, “Hey bro, can you pass me the Shizzle?” I gave the sole an apex. Ping Zing 2-ish and classic. So you can lay it right back if you need to.
The sand wedge, stamped “S&Y.” As in, S-and-Y, or ‘sandy’, it’s similar, but not as pronounced. It’s schmick, and seems to like me.
The gap wedge is the “SHOOTER.” For much the same reason as the “SHIZZLE”. And no, I don’t smoke drugs. The Shooter is a ripper. Really, my absolute favourite.
For the three heads, I had to take about half a centimetre from the periphery of the faces, which is quite a lot of steel. But it does mean you could actually have some wicked designs – something I look forward to seeing from you in the coming months. In terms of how you manage the bounce, again, that’s a brave new world of opportunity.
In the end, and not through choice but pure lack of ability, I ended up with three fairly different looking clubs. But that’s fine, because they do different jobs. Before shafting them with perfectly good shafts from perfectly crap wedges on the chuck out pile, I torched the heads – turning them blue.
Fire and a grinder, cool.
Then, I dipped them in motor oil, which was fine once I changed the plastic tub to a metal one. Bit of a free tip for you – the scorched wedge head is stronger than a yoghurt container.
Finally, I stamped their names on them. And the optimum distances the ball would travel if the sun, moon, stars, wind and my swing aligned.
How good, right? Who wouldn’t want to do this stuff?
You’re wondering how they go. Good question. At first, not so good. Not to their optimum distances. That was a matter of trial and error and annoying Rob Richards at Warringah Golf Club into letting me use his lie and loft machine.
How do they go now they’re bent properly and they look hot?
Well, I like ‘em. Isn’t that what matters?