Golf club maker and persimmon restoration expert Neil Gascoigne

Neil Gascoigne’s journey to becoming an accredited club maker started just three years ago. The six-handicapper has now set up his own business, based at Backworth Golf Club, servicing the needs of golfers from around Europe. Within just six months he has established himself as a skilled club maker. North East Golf sat down with Neil to talk about his passion for golf and why he decided to set up his unique business.

Neil’s career in club making was born out of an experiment he tried three years ago. He said: “I had an idea to have all my clubs made totally different to the standard set up.”

Using his kitchen as a workshop he set about making all his clubs the same length and lie angle while maintaining their lofts. Neil continued: “I thought that I was pretty good with a wedge and a seven iron but I was rubbish with a three iron. It made the clubs much easier to hit but I was giving up too much distance.

“That’s what got me started.”

In the summer of 2011 Neil was made redundant – having worked as a quantity surveyor in the building trade for a number of years – and was at a cross roads in his career. “I didn’t particularly want to go back to what I was doing. I wasn’t enjoying it.

“I was already working on clubs – doing some persimmon restoration and working on a few sets of older blades. My house was a mess because I was doing it. So I looked into getting a space to set up a workshop.

“It all came from the need for something better to do, something I enjoy.”

Neil’s passion for golf is evident as soon as you sit down and start talking – whether it’s about club making or swing mechanics. His knowledge of the greats, in particular Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino is very impressive. His passion for golf clubs is evident when you take a look at some of his finished projects. The attention to detail in his persimmon work is exceptional. It’s certainly worth a visit just to see the quality of his work.

Neil moved to his new workshop, in the grounds of Backworth Golf Club, in September last year and is already building a reputation in the area.

He continued: “There are two sides to the business. There’s the work coming from students of John Erickson, which is coming in from across Europe. There’s also the standard work – the re-grips, the shaft changes. This is what the average golfer is coming in for and where I want to build my reputation in the local area.

Take a look at what Neil says about John Erickson’s method here.

“For me it’s all about giving people a service where they know that their clubs are perfectly matched to each other. That’s looking at shaft length and frequency to make sure they set up and feel the same. I also look at: lofts, lies, swing weight and dead weight – all of these have to be matched to each other, with the correct progression to ensure your clubs feel right all the way through the bag.”

This kind of attention to detail is normally reserved for tour professional but Neil thinks this level of accuracy can benefit handicap golfers as well.

“The key is knowing that your whole bag is set up in a progression. In some cases: single clubs can be way out or a set could be a real mix of measurements. This certainly won’t help you hit the ball consistently.”

Neil’s real speciality is in persimmon work. He said: “I don’t think there’s anyone doing this kind of work in the UK at the moment.” The main focus of this is altering the lie angle of the club. Take a look at how it’s done in the guide below.

We start by removing the old shaft

      The hardest part of this is taking out the shaft pin (which goes through the metal shaft and into the wood).

You can then apply heat inside the shaft (which is another tricky thing to do) to break down the epoxy which is holding the shaft inside the head

Then you’re able to remove the head

Then you fill in the old hole with a mixture of epoxy and sawdust

Then you can start rebuilding the club with its new lie angle.

This is done by drilling a new hole in the head and re-gluing the shaft

I’ll then rebuild the neck of the club with epoxy and sawdust

I’ll shape that with sanding

Finally the whole thing is sanded and either varnished or painted

The whole process takes about a week and costs around £100 (all prices are subject to agreement prior to work commencing)

You can get in touch with Neil on:

Neil Gascoigne
Mobile: 07828451961
Email: ngascoigne@gmail.com
 
and he’s based at:
The Old Hut
Backworth Miners’ Welfare
Station Rd
Backworth
NE27 0AQ
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About Dean Bailey
I'm currently in my third year at Sunderland University, studying Sports Journalism. I'm interested in a wide variety of sports but golf is my passion. (I follow Newcastle United FC, Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle Eagles, Whitley Warriors and Leeds Rhinos.) I currently play at Backworth Golf Club, with a handicap of 11. Follow me on Twitter: @deanbailey92 & @northeastgolf Or get in touch through email: deanbailey92@hotmail.co.uk

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