Twenty years ago I was fortunate to be part of a special team that taught clubmaking and clubfitting classes at the Dynacraft Clubmaking Institute.
Back then most of the attendees were in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who were looking for something to do as a hobby or to supplement their income as they neared retirement. Many of those I taught I still keep in touch with and now they are in their 60’s to 80’s. Last week I had a nice conversation with one of those former students about the age of those in the craft today. The gist of it was we are seeing fewer younger individuals to replace those who are getting up in years as they hang up their aprons and no longer build or repair golf equipment.
My father was part of the greatest generation and someone who experienced first-hand the hardships of the Great Depression. Let me tell you people from that era could fix or build anything – sometimes out of necessity. It is no wonder I grew up knowing the value of a tool and working with my hands. Through the generations I feel some of that knowledge and enthusiasm has dimmed as less and fewer individuals are rolling up their sleeves and getting hands on.
You might argue there is no need for as many craftsmen as we live in a disposable society. Well it is that kind of attitude why people here in America don’t manufacturer diddly-squat today. However, there is always going to be a need for people to build and repair things including golf club equipment. Building and repairing golf clubs may not be a lucrative career move, but few are. For those who like golf and are good with their hands might find an enjoyable new endeavor.
People who enter the craft start out building golf clubs for themselves and yes some of those will take their hobby to the next level and create a side profession making clubs for family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. But you have to start somewhere and today might be that day. Replace that worn grip on your wedge or build a new putter – those things aren’t hard to do. If you take my challenge, I feel that you will experience the self-satisfaction and economic advantages that clubmaking affords.
If you are interested more into clubmaking, visit or join an organization like the International Clubmaking Guild (ICG). For clubmakers deciding to call it quits and finally wanting to enjoy retirement, become a mentor and pass down some of what you have learned especially if you are in an area where you established yourself are the place to go.