November 2008 Golfsmith Clubmaker Back to Main
clubmaking tip
The Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler
by: Bill Totten
Master Clubmaker

Clubmaking is all about measurement. Every single aspect of clubmaking involves a measurement of some kind. Each golf club has a length to which it needs to be cut, a swingweight or MOI that needs adjusting, a shaft flex that has to be addressed, etc.

Among all these measurements, there are those that are absolute, but some allow for interpretation. Club length is one of the measurements that often falls into this gray area, but of all the measurements taken, likely it is the most important. Depending on who the club is for, it can be the most defining specification of them all. It is important that you get the length correct and make sure the length differential between clubs is correct as well.

That’s why Golfsmith introduced a new tool this past March. The Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler is a device that simplifies the measuring process and allows precise golf club length measurement.

With any tool’s use over time, we often discover needed improvements. In this case, it wasn’t an improvement to the tool itself that was necessary, but instead an additional tool to improve the quality of the original. In planning this improvement, we considered how the USGA measures golf clubs. The USGA stipulates that the lie angle for measuring maximum club length must be 60° and that all individual head specifications must also be measured at 60°.

Snake Eyes Viper XTi Driver Head
With the hosel against the back of the ruler and the grip against the stop, slide the 60° angle against the club sole to easily read length.

To reflect these rules, we created a new add-on to the Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler: a sliding 60 angle fixture. This improvement makes measuring club length with the Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler a piece of cake, because the angle fixture allows club measurement to be exact and instant. In contrast to some measurement devices, the fixture leaves absolutely no room for interpretation — simplicity at its best.

Here’s our recommended technique. The ruler’s scale is from right to left, with 0" at the right end and 48" at the left end. Lay the club face down with the grip against the right end of the scale. Push the head against the back rail until it makes contact. Slide the 60° fixture from the left until it makes contact with the sole of the clubhead, and then read the measurement through the cutout in the angle fixture. That’s it. Time saved and accuracy achieved, it is time to move on to other duties that need attention.

Another key feature of the Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler is the detail on its right side. The grip stop, where a finished golf club zeros out, is a sliver of metal that sits horizontally 7/8" above the base. When cutting the butt end of the golf club to length, this feature allows you to be very precise and accurate. Here’s how it’s done. In our shops we always trim the shaft butt ¼" shorter than the final golf club length in order to allow for the thickness of the grip cap, so on our bench ruler, we make a permanent mark at ¼". If the golf club needs to be cut to 42", place the shafted head at the 42" mark. The butt end of the shaft will slide under the metal stop on the right side of the unit. Use the 60° fixture to make sure the measurement at the head is accurate, and then mark the shaft butt at the ¼" mark on the right side of the ruler.

Once the correct length is found at the head end, mark the butt of the shaft ¼” from the stop to allow for the length of the rubber grip cap.

Measuring club length may seem like a routine task, one of those you could do in your sleep, but given its importance in the fitting process, it’s worth rethinking. We owe it to our clients to to make length measurements as precise as possible and to ensure that their clubs strictly conform to USGA standards. With its recent improvements, the Golfsmith Professional Bench Ruler makes both of these goals as easy to achieve as possible.

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