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Tyk

What should I know before I buy a loft/lie machine?

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Topic pretty much says it all. Several of us are going in on a loft/lie machine to put in the basement at our course. So while I wouldn't say we don't care that much about money, we are dividing the cost several ways so an extra couple hundred bucks to get real improvement in both features and durability is well worth it to us.

 

I've looked at the GolfSmith machines, but don't really know what else is out there.

 

Any recommendations? We want a quality piece of equipment, the easier to use, the better. Thanks!

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I've looked into this a bit myself, and I can tell you that Mitchell is pretty much the industry standard. If you call them, they often have refurbished models that sell for quite a bit less than new. There's also a company/machine called True Blue (?) that a lot of people speak very highly of.

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Buy a Mitchell and buy the stand. I'd talk to the course to see if you could counter sink some anchors in the concrete floor though.

 

Don't waste your time on the hobby model, get the quality one to start with. How will you keep people who didn't help pay for it off of it?

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get yourself a mitchell and never look back. take pride in a few things about mitchell. they make everything in America. they dont market/advertise. every single machine that is in the tour vans, or owned by colleges, pro shops, tour professionals, were all paid for. they dont give anything away for free, and dont care who you are - from greg norman to the titleist tour van, you want the best, your going to buy a mitchell. nothing comes close.

 

i speak from experience and bought a golfsmith one when i was in college. it does hold the club and i use my mitchell bending bar (because the golfsmith one broke in my hand) to adjust a club up or down by eye. the gauges are off and one of them broke. the mitchell is much more solidly constructed and the angles are exact. so you know a 56degree wedge is a a 56 degree whether your on any one of the mitchell. they are awesome.

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Thanks for the advice, a Mitchell is a bit more than we'd hoped to spend I think, but I think that's just going to make us hold off a bit, not buy something on the cheap! Going to look into the True Blue a bit more as well, but am pretty much off the idea of the GS machine.

 

Our plan is for a few of us (4-6) to go in on the machine and then charge $5 per adjustment/club check to our association members, the money to go to benefit the association. Those of us that care and want the machine just want to be able to conveniently check and adjust our clubs, and to have access to a good machine for 1/4-1/6 the cost due to the shared purchase is worth it to us. I figured to keep people off of it we'd just lock the bending bars in a tool box, but mostly it won't be a problem, not many have access to our clubhouse basement anyhow, and certainly not the general public.

 

That's the plan anyone. Foreseen problems would be guys moving or quitting the course or the game, but I figured we'd just buy it with the understanding that the machine stays at the course unless there's a unanimous vote amoung the purchasers to move it.

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[The Mitchell units are the industry standard and do cost. The refurb units are best value. I have one in my shop and will have it for ever.

The true blue is an great machine too. It is also less expensive than the Mitchells. The only issue I have heard from other clubmakers is the ability to get them. The owner/ bldr of the unit does other machine work and it would seem the TB is the second priority. The TB does do ALL clubs including the putter.

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Well, we ended up ordering the GolfSmith Professional Loft/Lie Machine. I would have loved to get a Mitchell, but we just didn't have enough guys willing to part with that kind of money!

 

I figure the GolfSmith Loft/Lie machine is a good starter unit and much better than nothing!

 

Now, how do I use it?! :lol:

 

I have a feeling I'm going to be the only one willing to actually break my own clubs, but I'd appreciate any tips on how to avoid that! Anyone know of any training videos avaialable? Anyone perhaps have one that would be willing to burn it and send it to me?!

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YouTube has lots of videos about club repair. The advice that's been given to me, and seems to work: don't "jerk" the bar, it's all about slow steady pressure. Don't be afraid to bend a little, check, and bend again.

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Thanks MSat, I've looked at some videos and it seems pretty straightforward. I'm very worried about marking or damaging clubs with the bending bar. How is this best avoided?

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Ha! I actually plan on taking some old clubs and deliberately seeing what it takes to break them, figuring that would help give me a feel for what not to do!

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Thanks MSat, I've looked at some videos and it seems pretty straightforward. I'm very worried about marking or damaging clubs with the bending bar. How is this best avoided?

 

I can't recall leaving any significant marks with the bending bar, just with the clamps. The guy who taught me (who has bent thousands of clubs) regards the clamp marks as unavoidable, so I'm not sure that there's anything to do about that.

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Tyk, why not have it somewhere near the front (near/behind a counter)? It can be a good selling tool: someone sees it, wonders "what's this?" and asks you about it. Give them a little demo... you may end up adjusting a whole set on the spot!

 

To start: either get the magnetic lie angle tool from the Golfworks, or just have some putty and a straw handy. When they're looking at the machine give them a demo with their 9 iron (since it'll be the most dramatic). Place the tool on the 9i's face and show them what a "normal" lie angle does- points straight at the target. After that, lift the heel- this will show how far to the right a too-flat lie angle causes shots to fly. Obviously, lift the toe to demonstrate the too-upright effect (shots go left). The face will point towards the target the whole time, but the straw/tool will point away from the target when you lift the toe and heel. For all the guys that just KNOW they're aimed correctly, yet still wind up left/right of the green, this may be the culprit. Hopefully, they'll want a fitting/adjustment then and there!

 

The putty/straw technique will work, but I think the tool is "better" (in my opinion) because of a dual purpose: it will ID anyone that has zinc irons. Zinc (and Beryllium copper, for that matter) are nigh impossible to bend- they'll break first. They'll play just fine, but you may as well forget about making adjustments to those two materials.

 

You're going to come into situations where you'll break a club... the Law of Averages dictates that. Some people only recommend bending a couple of times for the same club- if you aren't told that information, it can be a surprise. Same goes for people with "unbendable" material in their clubs... unless you're told, how are you supposed to know? And of course, maybe you'll just break one even though negligence is a non-factor, because life isn't all sugar and rainbows. That's why it's generally a good idea to have people sign a waiver that tells them the things that can happen, even if you're extremely careful. That's up to you, though.

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Good information about clubs that can't be adjusted, that's something I didn't know. I knew cast clubs were more fragile and had limitations, but didn't know that some should not even be attempted. Is there a list or forum online that provides an easy reference for this information? Or even just a description of what should not be attempted so I can post it by the machine as a reference?

 

As far as what this machine is for: we have 80+ guys in our golf association at our course. About 12 of us went in on the machine and I'd like us to form a Club Builders Club and start collecting some equipment. Hopefully the Loft/Lie machine is just the start of a good little workshop. I've got a grand vision, I'll keep you posted on how it plays out! The plan is that the machine will only be used by the club members, but we will provide services to the other association members. It will not be used by or for the general public, although we would of course be willing to help someone that hears about it.

 

I'm dreading the first club snapping! I know its bound to happen, but I'm REALLY not looking forward to it! We will definitely have everyone sign waivers before any club goes near our machine!

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Good information about clubs that can't be adjusted, that's something I didn't know. Is there a list or forum online that provides an easy reference for this information?

 

As far as what this machine is for: we have 80+ guys in our golf association at our course. About 12 of us went in on the machine and I'd like us to form a Club Builders Club and start collecting some equipment. Hopefully the Loft/Lie machine is just the start of a good little workshop. I've got a grand vision, I'll keep you posted on how it plays out! The plan is that the machine will only be used by the club members, but we will provide services to the other association members. It will not be used by or for the general public, although we would of course be willing to help someone that hears about it.

 

I'm dreading the first club snapping! I know its bound to happen, but I'm REALLY not looking forward to it! We will definitely have everyone sign waivers before any club goes near our machine!

 

in all seriousness you need to break a few clubs first to get the feel of what the limits are. go practice on some old forged wedges and cast 5 irons.

 

the cast irons looking for 1-2 degrees max, and i'd go more jarringly with those.

 

forged, keep the pressure smooth on it and yank that baby 10* and make yourself a 70* wedge and have some fun. then bend it back see what happens.

 

on of the most important things is the bending bar you use. the one i got with my golfsmith machine was a cheap zinc thing that snapped itself first time i went to use it. crappy bar. i proceeded to make the best investment i ever did and buy a then $80 bending bar from mitchell. the length and weight gave me phenomenal leverage to bend anything.

 

just be aware that some clubs you just wont be able to bend - for me they were the burner bubble irons - SNAP every single time.

 

good luck

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Remember also: for every degree of loft you change, you change the bounce proportionatly as well. So, a 2* weaker loft change will result in a 2* increase in bounce. Go 2* stronger, you'll get a 2* decrease in bounce.

 

MSat said something about getting nicks/dings... "Total Clubfitting in the 21st Century" suggests using lead tape on the head at the contact points, and a brass sleeve to go over the hosel. You don't have to, because a lot of the nicks will look like normal bag wear, but it is something to think about.

 

To add: Ralph Maltby is the MAN when it comes to this stuff. It's just too bad his company doesn't offer more LH options...

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone, especially for the videos speszel!

 

Manavs: I definitely plan on breaking a few clubs intentionally, I figure there's no better way to get a feel for where that limit is than to experience it first hand! We ordered the premium bending bar from GolfSmith, as everyone said the one that came with the machine was crap, and also wanted to be able to adjust short hosel irons like Callaway. I hope it is as good as the Mitchell bar. It was $70, so I hope its of similar quality! We also go the hybrid adapter for the machine, so we can break those too!

 

Justin: Tell me more about this lead tape and especially a brass sleeve. I think I get the lead tape, would you put it on the club or in the jaws? It does however seem to me that the lead would allow the club to potentially move or not seat in the machine properly. Its something I'd have to see to understand perhaps. The brass sleeve makes alot of sense, is this just a short length of brass pipe that fits over the hosel? I guess the bending tools will fit even with the wider diameter?

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Justin: Tell me more about this lead tape and especially a brass sleeve. I think I get the lead tape, would you put it on the club or in the jaws? It does however seem to me that the lead would allow the club to potentially move or not seat in the machine properly. Its something I'd have to see to understand perhaps. The brass sleeve makes alot of sense, is this just a short length of brass pipe that fits over the hosel? I guess the bending tools will fit even with the wider diameter?

 

That's about it in a nutshell. The tape is just stuck to places like the topline, it shouldn't move from there, but it'll provide a cushion so the machine won't nick it up. Not everyone is ga-ga about this, so yuo're right- it's something to experiment with.

 

http://www.golfworks.com/product.asp?pn=BHP

 

The link is to the brass hosel protector. I don't think I need to add anything here- you're pretty intuitive!

 

One other thing I forgot last night: be prepared for finish cracking/stretching on forged blades and black irons. The forged irons can be bent more than 2*, but after that you risk creating cracks or stretch marks on the chrome plating. It's different than stainless steel because those don't have a coating, but because of their design, they have a higher risk of breakage. The stretch marks won't effect play, but can cause early rusting... i can't put a percentage on how often you'd need to go past the 2* change, but it's one more thing to be cognizant of.

 

After rereading my posts, it sounds like I'm lecturing you. But you do seem to have quite an understanding of the nuts-and-bolts of it, so all that's left is to just have fun with it. One thing I've noticed, at least in my own personal experience, there's never been a bit of golf-related research that wasn't fun.

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