I recently had the pleasure of discovering one of the best finds of my golfing career: Byron Morgan putters. LG did a cursory POTW several months back when he got his first Byron, but this post aims to give a little more information.

Byron Morgan is a putter maker out of Huntington Beach, California. He is famous among golf equipment aficionados for his custom-made putter designs. If you own a Byron Morgan, chances are no one in the world will own a putter that is exactly like yours. Although he does make production runs, they typically end at 25 or so putters maximum, and his custom options allow him to create for his customers a truly one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.

Byron makes putters of all different models. His most popular models are probably the heel-toe weighted options

the 006, which looks much like a Newport 2 or Anser 2

the DH-89, which looks like a Scotty Cameron 009 (or Newport) and looks like (and is named after) the Scottsdale Anser;

and, the 007, which looks like something between the previous two.

Byron also makes other models (the Channel Island, Bombora, and others), and is willing to provide different neck options above and beyond the standard plumber’s neck of his options. There is no “Off-The-Rack” Byron Morgan Flatstick. And, unless specified otherwise, Byron’s putters come with his unique “twilight zone” milled face.


Byron offers a wide variety of material, finish, and stamping options in addition to his other customizable features. You can purchase a sound-slotted terryllium copper 007 with a slant neck and your name stamped on the toe in a polished finish at 350 grams; you can order a stainless steel DH-89 with blue oil flame finish and a flow neck with a raised sight dot and a stamp on the bumpers that says “drop” and “bombs”; you can get a center shafted 006 in carbon steel with a lightning bolt striking a four-leaf clover stamped on the face and “Xander” stamped in the cavity with an oil can finish. The options are virtually endless.

Unlike some of the more well-known putter makers, though, the cost will not break your bank. Ask Scotty Cameron to make you a custom putter to exactly your specs, and he’ll send you a bill for $5,000.00 (that’s right, five thousand). Plus, it’s likely he won’t give you all the stamping options you really want.

Byron will do almost anything you want (see http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/208308-byron-morgan-library-of-photos/ for a listing of some of his custom putters). His 007 and 006 models start at $300; the DH-89 models start at $500. While this may seem like a lot to the typical Sunday golfer, consider the equipment you have in your bag. You pay almost $400 for a driver that you hit 14 or so times each round, max. Meanwhile, you’ll take at least 24 shots with your putter over the same round–and 24 would be a GREAT round. A good putter is a very important part of the game. Then, consider the other options out there. A Scotty Cameron off-the-rack is $300 without any customization; it’s not even bent to your preferred loft and lie options, and if you want something other than 33, 34, or 35 inches, better get the shop involved, which means extra money; and I hope you like 330 grams, because that’s all Scotty makes (unless you get one with removable weights in it).

Meanwhile, you can get a Byron Morgan customized to look like what you want it to, at the length you want it to, at the weight you want it (that’s right, he’ll make it from 330 to 370 grams, no problem), milled to the loft and lie you want (not bent, like your Scotty–unless you happen to need the standard 71 lie angle and 4 loft of a Cameron), made out of the metal you want (Scotty gives you one option–which kind of means you don’t have an option), and made to the exact shaft length you want.

Plus, they look darn cool!

I was a bit skeptical at first. I thought they looked a little to hand-crafted. I thought they couldn’t really be as good as Scotty’s putters because…I mean, Scotty is endorsed by one of the best big companies, Titleist. He’s gotta be making the best, right?

I am so happy I tried Byron’s putters. I’ve never owned another putter that gets the ball rolling so quickly as my 007 does. It’s weighted and balanced so much better than my Newport Beach was. It gives me exactly what I need from a putter–confidence.

Moreover, the used market is not much different between Scotty’s putters and Byron’s. Obviously, you can find a Scotty Cameron on eBay for anywhere from $100 up to thousands–and, typically, a well-conditioned Byron Morgan putter is in the $200 range. But there are deals to be had. I’ve purchased Byron putters for $170 and $135 in very, very good condition.

However, that leads me to the second aspect of why I love Byron Morgan putters. In addition to making an amazing product, Byron is unbelievably accessible. Try to get customer service with Scotty Cameron and I think you might find it difficult. If you have a Cameron putter to send in for restoration, a staff member will email you and tell you what to do. And you’d better not have a lot of customization requests, because the Cameron shop will just ignore them and send you what they think you want.

What Scotty Cameron thinks is “customization”:

Meanwhile, I sent my current gamer in to Byron for work along with a letter stating what I wanted. Something didn’t work quite the way he thought it would, so, guess what? HE CALLED ME! Personally! I think my exact words were “I can’t believe I’m talking to you.” I spoke with him on the phone for about 20 minutes about what was going on with my putter in his shop as he worked on it by hand. He gave me a few ideas and told me what to expect. Amazing. Then, he called me again to tell me it was finished and even sent pictures to my email to let me know how it was going. In the end, I got about the closest thing I could to a custom putter.

My putter before:

See the big, ugly, non-circular sight dot? Guess what happens…

My putter after:

But that’s not all–I sent Byron the head by itself–in other words, with the shaft removed. Byron not only reshafted the putter for me with a new grip and a shaft, but he also replaced the paint fill–in custom colors that I asked for! All of this was included, and I didn’t even know it!

Now, Byron’s work is not for everyone. I understand some people just need to have a name that other people recognize. But the reason so many tour pros play the 009 from Cameron is that it is a high quality and custom made putter. Take the stamping off, and the Cameron 009 is totally indistinguishable from the DH-89. I have owned four Byron Morgans and I can say that, without a doubt, each one was better than any other putter I’ve ever played.

So, with all my reviews, there has to be a downside section. This is hard to come up with. If you’re ordering a custom putter, the major downside is trying to figure out what you want. And, once you do make an order, it can take some time (2 months). I’ve never experienced that, but almost certainly will one day when I have Byron make my custom putter. Availability is low since you typically can’t find them in a store, so you have to either buy one to try it or get involved with Byron’s demo program, which usually fills up the second it is released. However, that’s not really a downside because you can sell the things back for the same price you paid for them in almost every case. So, the most you’ll lose is the Paypal fees for selling them to someone else. BFD. It was a little difficult trying to figure out who to get in touch wtih and how to get in touch with them in order to get the work done. But, a little searching on GolfWRX or PutterTalk will get you in touch with Steve (Z-Man), who is Byron’s right-hand-man.

I can’t say enough good things.

Quality: 10
Looks: 10
Customization: 10
Customer Service: 9
“Cool factor”: 10
Value (cost vs. quality): 10

Overall: 9/10

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As you may recall, last October I posted a “preview” of a review for a lesson with Mitch Lowe.  I finally had occasion to take Mitch up on the lesson I purchased all those months ago.

Saturday Morning in San Francisco was a picture perfect day: clear blue sky with streaky clouds. Since I haven’t had a chance to play as much as I’d like prior to getting a lesson, I thought I’d get Mitch some “hard data” by playing a few holes and developing some statistics for him to analyze my game.  This was also a wonderful excuse to check out Harding Park’s Gem of a short course – the Fleming 9-hole.  This short course is composed of three par-4s and six par-3s.  The holes vary in length from 140 to 235 yards for the par-3s and 260 to 425 for the par-4s.  Having played few short courses, I was keen to try this one out to expand my horizons on this fantastic idea.  There aren’t enough good things to say about this short course.  It is set directly in the middle of the back nine of the famous TPC Harding Park.  The big course is prominently featured on the Champions Tour and was the site of one of the most dramatic Presidents Cups ever played (I was actually there!).  From my limited experience, I have gleaned that short courses generally get the low end of the maintenance support when compared to the marquee course.  I was happily dispelled of that notion at the Fleming Course.  The greens were impeccable and the fairways were trimmed as though the Presidents Cup were about to return.  Also, the Fleming 9 were not short on the scenic views that Harding offers.  The beautiful cypress trees that line the big course also have their counterparts on the short course.  This truly felt like a mini-Harding experience.  For $31 total, the deal could not be beat.  No reservation required, just walk up and request to go out.

Having played a decent warm-up round, I went over to the range to meet up with Mitch at the appointed hour.  At the beginning of my lesson, he asked me what I wanted to accomplish.  I told him my goal was to work on my spotty iron play and to have a plan for improving my consistency and distance.  He took these goals and ran with them.  I started off hitting a few wedges and Mitch took video on his iPhone and quickly deciphered that my weak fade and spotty iron play was due to casting of the club.  Sadly, this much I had gleaned from my own video before.  Mitch, however, had a solution.  His method focuses purely on getting the club to the right position at impact.  Rather than focusing on the positions that my body might have been in, he focused more on getting the club square at impact with forward shaft lean.  The videos he showed me proved that though my hands were fast enough to square the club and hit a straight shot, I was essentially turning my 7-iron into a 9-iron by adding loft and having a backward leaning shaft at impact.  After a few adjustments, the later videos showed that I had indeed moved from a backward leaning shaft to a forward leaning shaft and was having to rely less on my hands to square the club.  In the end, Mitch accomplished what few instructors actually accomplish: he created a plan for me that would lead me to achieving the goals I had set out at the beginning of the lesson.

As far as a review:  Mitch was a consummate professional.  He entertained my questions about playing in the PGA Championship as well as kept me on track with the principles he was attempting to convey.  I believe his style works for me in that we discussed the thought or principle to me that he wanted me to think about during the swing and let me implement it by experimentation.  I also watched him work with a beginner prior to my lesson.  During that lesson, he was much more hands on and was interested in helping the beginner simply make contact.  His style changes as the situation requires, which I find valuable in an instructor.  He is very knowledgeable about the game and conveys his knowledge in an accessible and easy to understand manner.  He also conveys a true love of the game.  Toward the end of my lesson I asked how often he teaches lessons.  His response was a big smile and said that it was his full time job.  He truly enjoys giving lessons and the game.  I would highly recommend him for anyone that needs a tune-up or introduction to the game, and I plan to continue taking lessons from him.

How to Grind a Wedge

February 14, 2011

To start, I always like to point to my references. GolfWRX provides the background again:
http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/53415-diary-of-a-wedge-grind/
http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/22167-grinding-a-wedge/

Grinding a wedge is a pretty neat process. It takes a lot of patience, care, and confidence to do it right. But making a club that’s exactly to your own specs is pretty amazing–and, of course, I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t at least a little fun.

I started with an old wedge–Tommy Armour. It had an ungodly amount of bounce, so I decided it was a good test piece. If you don’t have a wedge you want to sacrifice, Golfsmith sells grinding blanks for $10/head (see http://www.golfsmith.com/products/SE2886/Snake_Eyes/Custom_Grind_Wedge_Head). Pics of my starting wedge below:

Before starting, you need:
1) either a belt sander or a grinding wheel
2) a sharpie
3) gloves
4) safety glasses

For my wedge grind, I decided to pull the shaft from the head, as it’s usually easier to maneuver the head by itself without the shaft.

As shown in the references, the next thing to do is mark the grind with a sharpie. My goal was to replicate the Chikara wedge grind. Photos below show the Chikaras and my sharpie marking.

The advice from the WRX postings is to start where you have the most room to mess up–or, in other words, start with the place where the most material will be taken off, as you can fix a problem there easily. This was GREAT advice, as you really need to get a feel for it as you go.

I added the passes in relation to the shapie markings. The result…less than stunning.

The reason for the “bad” results was that I used a grinder. A stationary belt sander would work a whole lot better and make a much smoother cut.

However, not to worry. A WRX’er suggested that I use a metal file to smooth out the bumps. After some elbow grease, the grind looked smooth and consistent.

After a bit of sanding, the grind was done.

Altogether, I enjoyed the project. I’m not sure I’m ready to try it on my gamers. I took off A LOT of material, and I think the weight of the head really went down. However, I enjoyed the process, and now I know I COULD do it if I really wanted to.

Happy club work!

Oh, and, BTW, happy Valentine’s Day!

A GolfWRX member sent me a message about pulling shafts after viewing the post on replacing a Sonartec shaft, located at https://thepowerfade.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/how-i-do-club-repair-and-you-can-too/. Check out the interaction below:

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Sent 13 January 2011 – 12:36 PM
Hey man. A few quick questions for ya. I live in Pittsburgh PA and since we have 7 inches of snow, there will be no more golf. Time for some DIY golf.

I have some limited experience with golf DIY. I was able to refinish and regroove 2 wedges a few months ago. I did the paintfill and everything.

I’m looking to refinish a set of 695cbs that I have. My questions come in here. The 2 wedges that I did before, I wasn’t worried about keeping the shafts as they were not wedges I planned on playing. So I just heated the s*** out of the shaft and pulled it out. Since these are a set of irons I plan on playing with, I want to take the heads off as carefully as possible.

What is the best way to pull iron shafts that I plan on playing with? They are steel. I assume that I will need new ferrules as well. Can you tell me that best and cheapest place you know to buy new ferrules? Really appreciate the help and great write up. If you have a writeup to link me to or if you have some step-by-step instructions, I would really appreciate it. Thx.

Sent 13 January 2011 – 01:45 PM
Sounds like a pretty easy job. Graphite is a lot harder to deal with.

Since you “heated the s***” out of the two wedges, I assume you already have a blow torch. I would make sure it’s a propane torch, as other types (acetylene, butane, for example) can get too hot and damage your club. I use a Bernz-O-Matic propane torch (about $20 at Home Depot).

Your ferrules will be irreparably damaged, yes. Before you remove the shaft, hit them with the torch for about 2 seconds so they melt a little bit, then let them cool for about 20 seconds and cut them off with a box cutter.

Once the ferrule is off, you don’t need any special equipment to take off an iron shaft (this is where the difference between graphite and steel is really seen). What I do is (1) put a heat-resistant glove on my left hand (I’m right-handed), (2) start the torch, (3) pick up the club in my left hand (held far enough away from the head that I don’t burn my glove), (4) heat the hosel, (5) put the torch down and turn it off, (6) switch hands so that I now hold the (unheated part of the) shaft in my right hand, (7) grip the head with my gloved left hand, and (8) give the club head a twist to see if the head has come loose. I usually start with about 25 seconds or so of heat, then try to twist, then 10s more of heat, then twist, then 10s, then twist, and so on until the epoxy bond breaks. MAKE SURE that you don’t just heat the hosel in one spot–continually move up and down the hosel and around the hosel (face side, crown side, sole side, etc.) so that you’re not focusing in one spot. This can cause overheating of the one spot, leaving marks and, possibly, damage to your club. Plus, it takes a lot longer. Heat loosens the epoxy bond. If you’re staying in one spot with the heat, it has to travel all the way around the shaft to get to the other side. That means that one side will be hotter than the other side. If you circulate around the hosel with the torch, the heat will be even all the way around, so you won’t have any hot spots, and it’ll go faster. As with all things, if you take your time, you should be OK.

As for ferrules, sorry I can’t help much. There are some threads on GolfWRX.com/forums if you want “custom” ferrules (where you can buy custom colors) and I know there are offerings available online. Otherwise, it’s usually best just to buy a pack at Golfsmith or on golfsmith.com (if you don’t have a golfsmith near you). Always make sure you get the right ones for your shaft diameter.

If you need any more help (how to get the ferrule on the shaft, how to clean out the hosel, etc.) let me know. I’m happy to help.

Sent 13 January 2011 – 02:03 PM
Thx for the reply. I really appreciate it.

I have Sensicore high launch shafts in my irons. Do you know how I would tell what diameter the shaft is and what diameter ferrules I would need?

Sent 13 January 2011 – 02:14 PM

Re the “diameter,” Titleist should have material online somewhere about the hosel bore for 695cbs. If you’d rather not waste your time, you can actually call Golfsmith–they have a book where they can look it up. Usually irons are .355, but you need to confirm before buying. Also, don’t do like my friend did and mix up .355 with .335.

Let me know how it goes or if you have more questions.

Sent 13 January 2011 – 02:43 PM
HAHA. Will do. Thx. I will call Golfsmith and find out. My time frame is really whenever I get home from work. I dont have anything to do now that there’s snow on the ground so I’ll be messing around with it at night. I’ll take some pics and if you want to use them great. I’ll shoot you a message if I have any other questions.

Thx again.

Play of the Week 9

February 2, 2011

This week’s POTW goes to Chick-Fil-A. This restaurant never ceases to amaze me. LG visited Atlanta for the first time in awhile, having his first Chick-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich. I must say, I have about 3-4 of these per week right now.

The concept is unbelievably simple: put a piece of chicken between two buns and add pickles. But in practicality, it’s unbelievably delicious. Along with waffle cut fries and “sweet tea” (a southern tradition), the Chick-Fil-A spicy sandwich is tops.

But then, CFA goes and outdoes themselves again, releasing the Spicy Chicken Biscuit. If I weren’t habitually late for work, I’d probably be 300lbs right now scarfing down 3 or 4 of these per day (only available until 10:30 AM).

So here’s to you Chick-Fil-A. You may be overpriced for fast-food fried chicken, but I am so addicted to your amazing goodness. Keep it coming. Otherwise, I’ll have nowhere to eat lunch!