You don’t have to be an equipment nerd to notice this new trend on the PGA Tour. It’s called stamping and it literally has nothing to do with grinds, grooves or lie angles. Instead, it’s art and the canvas is steel. This new medium allows players to express their individuality by customizing the back of their already custom wedges with initials and phrases, to colorful pictures and designs that would make Mona Lisa blush.
Jonathan Wall, PGA Tour Equipment Insider, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making a wedge come to life while introducing us to some of the club builders – turned artists – in his latest piece.
According to Wall, the earliest roots of club stamping beyond simple initials dates all the way back to 2012, where Titleist Tour representative Aaron Dill was working with Rickie Fowler, before his Cobra days. Tired of the norm and after discussing their favorite songs and movies quotes, they decided to stamp Carly Rae Jepsen’s pop hit, “Call Me Maybe.” From there, it took off. Now, there’s been everything from Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston’s meat wedges, to mustaches and beyond.
“We’re playing a game we love,” says Rickie Fowler. “We might as well have some fun and get crazy with the stamping on the clubs. It’s a great way to show your personality and what you’re like off the course.”
The process is more difficult than you think. The thing is, these are generally all done by hand. The only necessary tools needed are the metal stamps, a three-pound mallet and a whole lot of patience. The final step is adding in the paint.
“Everyone thinks the process is easy,” says Ben Schomin, a Cobra-Puma Tour representative . “It takes a lot of time and practice to get to the point where you’re confident in knowing that you just spent 45 minutes or an hour grinding a wedge and getting it exactly perfect, and if you mess up one of those stamps, it’s not going to look good. It’s a lot of trial and error, messing it up and getting mad. It can definitely be tedious.”
“It can sometimes take an hour or longer for the bigger projects, but it’s worth it to see the player’s reaction when I hand it to them,” Dill added.
Now, players even use them as good luck charms, because – you know – golf!