I started as a full time professional clubmaker in 1993 and am now wrapping up my 16th year of spreading the word and providing many wonderful folks with good honest golf equipment. I have been a member of the GCA and the PCS for 15 years running.
In the beginning I was largely self taught. I bought and read all the books available at the time from Golfsmith, Maltby, Jackson and others. I caddied on the Hogan Tour (Nationwide) during summers while attending UNM. I became a “pro” caddy and eventually caddied for PGA Tour Pro David Peoples for a summer, traveling throughout the US and into Canada. This experience helped me begin to become a critical observer of swing styles and ball flight. From the very beginning I took every customer to the driving range to observe swing dynamics and ball flight. My 1st school was Golfsmith’s Advanced Practical Clubfitting in 1996 in Austin, Texas. I achieved the GCA Professional Advanced accreditation and earned my PCS “Class A” Clubmaker status in 1996. In 1997 I completed the Marketing Seminar 201 with the PCS. In 2008 I passed (score of 94) the PCS Certified “Class A” Club Fitter Exam. This completed qualification for me to be a PCS “Class A” Professional Clubmaker. The PCS folded before I received my certificates. In March of 2008 I was honored to attend the Golfsmith Master Craftsman School. This was the most comprehensive and “hands on” school I’ve had and was fun to be challenged and tutored by Master Club shaper and custom grinder Jeff Sheets. The take home materials are truly a wealth of information. All of the instructors shared hundreds of hours of hard work and learning. I attended Royal Precision’s Certified Fitting and Repair School (CRC) in 2001 in Scottsdale, AZ and followed that up with the refresher CRC School in 2006 in Orlando, FL. In January 2007 I attended the CRC Advanced School in Orlando and earned my Advanced CRC status. I also have completed the 1st of 3 teaching assignments in order to earn the Master CRC certification by teaching in a CRC class. In March of 2007 I was one of three panelists presenting to the PCS general membership a seminar on fitting and building drivers. In January of 2008 I wrote an 8 page presentation and gave a 75 minute talk at the PCS annual conference on “MOI: Building and Fitting Clubs Using the Auditor Speed Match System”. The room was packed and most of the guys actually stayed awake! I include these presentations under education as they are a powerful learning opportunity. I served on the PCS Top Shop committee for the past 5 years, which means evaluating and judging every presentation package submitted for the Top Shop Award. There are usually 4 or 5 entries for each of the two categories; home based and commercial. This is a rewarding experience and a surprisingly valuable resource of ideas on tools, equipment, layout, storage, safety, innovation, record keeping and technique from some of the world’s finest clubmakers and coolest shops. Certainly a big part of my education has come from attending every GCA conference and PCS symposium for the last 12 years. I only missed one GCA conference since 1996. There have been many wonderful presentations by a host of world class experts. For those attendees with a genuine thirst for knowledge, the learning and debating goes on well into the night in certain hotel rooms, which is great as long as you can make it to the next mornings first presentation! I have had guided tours by the design engineers at the production facilities of Aldila, Grafalloy, and Matrix Composite Corp. Multiple guided tours of Golfsmith, and tours of Power Bilt, Louisville Golf, Royal Grip, the Callaway iron production facility and visited Fujikura’s fitting center and Sonartec’s facility. I have visited numerous clubfitting/clubmaking shops around the U.S. and taken dozens of photos and kept in contact with the proprietors for ideas to continue improving and growing. Just this year I visited Max Out Golf in Sherman Oaks, CA and spent an hour on a guided tour. This provides a constant source of new goals to achieve and projects to implement.
I was awarded the GCA Distinguished Clubmaker for 1998 and the GCA Western Regional Clubmaker of the Year for 1999-2000. In 2004 the GCA gave me the Elite Clubmaker Award. Then in October of 2007 the good folks at the GCA awarded me the 2007-2008 Clubmaker of the Year for New Mexico and the 2007-2008 Top Ten Worldwide Clubmaker of the Year! What a terrific honor for The Golfmeister, Inc., for myself and my family and extended support group. I am personally deeply grateful to the people of the GCA for the recognition. Thank you!
The only portion of our business that doesn’t involve custom fitting is our eBay venture. Other than that, 100% of our business involves custom fitting. Our fitting sessions are by appointment, as they should be. The customer has my full attention during the fitting session. A typical driver fitting session lasts around 90 minutes. The first half hour is indoors, and then we head to the range. I never cease to be amazed from what I thought was right for them will not be so great once outdoors. I hope I never stop going to the range for fitting, it cannot be replaced by machine. Iron and hybrid fittings take longer, sometimes a lot longer. Two hours is the quickest I can do an iron fitting. Three hours is more the norm. If the customer wants a full set I will break the fitting sessions into two separate days. We do hybrids and irons one day, and driver, fairway woods and a review of hybrids the next day. This method suits us and our customers well. If we are fitting more than one person in a day, we allow for lots of time between the two in case one needs more time. If they need still more time, we will arrange another time, no problem.
We now are using the Zelocity Pure Launch. We used to have a Vector but sold it on eBay. It seems that the Zelocity is more reliable overall. The Zelocity uses a dual Doppler system that is more accurate in measuring ball flight. The Zelocity has a feature where the operator can use up to 2 monitors simultaneously to display separate screens of information. We are using two HD LCD flat screens to display two screens of info. One screen shows all the pertinent data and the other screen shows a 3D simulation of ball flight on a scenic view. Since we are at one mile in altitude, and some courses around here are at 7000 ft plus, the Doppler system works better than the picture system of the Vector. Many of our customers are serious, low single digit handicappers and we are using the gapping feature to dynamically adjust loft angles for irons. This is time consuming, but it separates us far from all competition, especially the name brand, store bought stuff, as we only provide this service to our customers. We are a full time, full service shop specializing in clubfitting and clubmaking. We can do pretty much everything encompassed by these two disciplines, whether it may be gapping your iron distances with the launch monitor and a loft machine, or grinding wedges for bounce angle, to bending hybrids and woods for lie and face angle. Every single customer gets what I call the “red carpet” treatment. This means that whether you’re a scratch or a 25 handicapper, we are going to give you and your clubs the full treatment. Everyone gets the same amount of time devoted to their appointment, which is as much time as they need. Everyone gets treated the same way with respect and a healthy dose of ribbing. Every single club we make has the full treatment; we do not offer any of these services as optional or a la carte. We are going to build the best club that we know how to, utilizing every technological advancement that we can provide. Every customer has lifetime guarantees on clubheads, shafts and workmanship. Every customer has free lifetime loft and lie adjustments and free buffing and smoothing service. Every customer enjoys our “must be delighted” money back guarantee that makes us the responsible party if we have not lived up to expectation. We can profile and orient your shaft, frequency match a set of wedges, MOI match a set of irons, refinish your fairway metal or bend your putter 7 degrees flat with a square grip and a good dynamic loft angle to keep you rolling it smooth. We can fit you for clubs based on distance, accuracy, feel, look, length, weight, swingweight, counterbalance, frequency, tipflex, buttflex, bendpoint, loft, lie, face angle, MOI, launch angle, angle of descent, ball speed, power transfer ratio, backspin, sidespin, carry distance and roll distance. Whew! You can have a driver built for 80% distance/20% accuracy for your sea level beach house or 70% accuracy/30% distance for your 8500 ft altitude mountain chalet. We can fit you for and build custom hand ground Japanese irons with your name engraved on them, and then ship them anywhere in the world. We will pick you up at the airport and give you an after hours appointment. We can sell your old set on eBay and get you a new embroidered bag or a rainsuit for your trip to Scotland. We can get you the latest Skycaddie and tell you how to reprogram it when it can’t find a satellite. We accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, debit cards, chickens and goats. We love our customers and will do damn near anything for them.
Being a golf shop and having a listing in the yellow pages means that every charitable organization in existence will be calling on you with open hand. We have a few designated favorites that we donate to. Usually we’ll provide them with a gift certificate for a set of grips or a custom putter fitted to them. Our favorite charity is The New Mexico Animal Humane Association and they are helping me to control a feral cat population in the alleyways behind my shop. I realize that this is not golf related but still helps the good of the community overall. I will spare the details but suffice to say that this is the most challenging and heartbreaking thing I’ve attempted. It’s not so much that I love cats, it is that this is where my shop is and this is where there is a need. A need to take responsibility, a need to deal with neglect. If it was horses in need then I would be helping horses, but its cats, and there are lots of them, and they are difficult to catch and rehab. Thanks to my golf business, my wife and I have been able to save and improve the lives of many horribly neglected and innocent animals. This is always ongoing, and will take many resources and much time before the situation is manageable. If you want to know more just ask as I have become quite knowledgeable in the area of feral cats! I never thought of my effort here as charitable, I am simply doing what decent people would do. It is charitable though, and the best kind of charity. Simply filling a need, and doing it anonymously, without accolades. By the way, would anyone like a kitty?
Participation in the game is flat. We know that youngsters must get involved so the game can live on. We approached the First Tee people locally and their program died for the year 2008. Through our contacts, we accepted hundreds of old shafts and club heads from The University of New Mexico Championship Course with the understanding that the First Tee would be revived for next year and that we are to make as many useable clubs out of that old rustpile as we can. Hopefully we can give a brighter picture next year.
Sherm HaworthTo top of page