Chesterfield High School golf coach Barry Brown recently took several members of the golf team to visit the shop of local golf club maker Jim McLain. The trip was to provide an opportunity for the young golfers to learn more about the makeup of the equipment they use and how to repair and modify the clubs to help their game.
McLain demonstrated how to replace shafts, adjust clubface angles, measure swing speed and, generally, how to get the individual golfer's equipment to match his game. McLain pointed out that young golfers are the most unique group there is in the game because they change. Young golfers grow, change body types and golf swing characteristics, things other golfers don't do. This means the young golfers benefit from learning how their clubs can be modified to match their changes. McLain pointed out that you can't buy your game, no matter what the advertisements say.
"Golfing skills make you play better, not equipment. But, bad or ill fitting equipment will keep your skills from allowing you to play your best" he stated.
McLain owns McLain Custom Golf and has recently been nominated as the Golf Clubmakers Association clubmaker of the year. He and wife Vicky (political cartoonist for the the Chronicle & Advertiser) established this business three and a half years ago when they retired and moved to Chesterfield. McLain does club repairs for the Chesterfield Country Club and makes custom golf clubs to order. He does most of his sales through E-bay and has repeat customers in Germany, England, Spain, Japan, Singapore and Australia. His local customer base is growing, he says, but the local golfing community is too small to provide full-time business, so the Internet is his main sales opportunity. According to McLain, the biggest obstacle to selling clubs is the advertising of the big companies. "It's just easier to believe that the clubs used by Tiger Woods or Ernie Els have to be better than something you can have made by ole' Jim down the street," he said.
For more of this story see the July 24, 2003 edition of the Chronicle or Advertiser.