Think you've seen it all? Think again.
(Written By: GolfSpy Zinger) In a time where golf clubs have become much like commodities...and choosing between brands is more like picking which type of 2% milk you like better...there is one small brand in Minnesota that stands out from the crowd. If we're talking about milk again, this would be the one that was hand-milked, by hand-picked cows, by hand picked milking craftsmen. And oh yeah...personalized for each individual in your family for the exact nutrition break-down each child and family member needed. And I almost forgot when you ordered that milk you would actually talk to the owner.
An Experience You Might Never Have Again
I'm talking about James Patrick Wedges. No, I am no longer talking about milk. I am now talking about an experience I feel every golfer should get the opportunity of having once in their golf career. And that is owning a JP Wedge. That's because when you buy one of his wedges you are not only buying one of the finest looking hunks of metal you will ever see but more importantly you are buying an experience you might never have again.
Thats because these types of people, these products, this business model is becoming extinct, you might even call it a dinosaur. And I can promise you ones like these won't be around forever. So if you ever wanted to have something in your bag that was truly special, something you would have the rest of your life, then I highly recommend giving James Patrick a call.
Beyond Tour Level Treatment For Every Customer
If you have been to any PGA Tour event and looked closely into the bags of touring professionals, you’ll find a significant amount of customization as well as personalization. This is especially apparent in the scoring clubs, the wedges. Among touring professionals you’ll find varied loft configurations, finishes, grinds, bounce angle, swing weight, stampings, paint-fill, and so on. A great deal of time, effort and energy goes into the design of these critical components of a players arsenal.
The game plan with the wedges can change for tour players depending on the turf, bunkering, rough, or countless other factors they encounter on a weekly basis. Aside from limited finish, loft, bounce, and grind options, tour level customization is not readily available from most of the major equipment manufactures for the average consumer.
Plus A Little Extra. Actually, A Lot Extra!
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, James Patrick Golf provides the same tour level personalization and customization offered to the best players in the world plus a little extra. Actually, a lot extra. In fact, the wedges produced by James Patrick Golf look as though they belong in a museum of modern art. JP wedges are arguably some of the most beautiful pieces of golf equipment produced that eloquently combine science and art. James Patrick Harrington, the owner/founder of James Patrick Golf built his business around three foundational principals.
Harrington explains, “James Patrick Golf is a foundation of Quality, Performance, and Aesthetics ...always in that order. You cannot achieve the ultimate in performance if the quality isn't there from the beginning. If you start with Quality, you then can build ultimate performance into it. As an artist, Aesthetics are the icing on the cake. I want you to have something in your hands that is a functional piece of Art. Quality first, followed by Performance, and then finally polished with Aesthetics.”
How It All Got Started
Harrington started his professional career while attending the Professional Golf Management program at Arizona State University. He began perfecting his craft working in custom club-making studio’s in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he started by modifying existing manufacture’s product:
“I started out creating my own twist on a household name brand and then stamping my signature on it, ‘JP.’ It started with some heel and toe relief allowing the wedge to become more versatile. When material was ground from the wedge, it lost weight. I needed to replace that weight and rather that using tip weights in the hosel of the wedge or lead tape on the back tungsten was inlaid into the carbon steel. Tungsten is about twice as heavy as carbon steel which brought the weight back behind the ball. This process also allows the manipulation the center of gravity (CG) while giving it an aesthetic appeal.”
Mission: Create The Finest Forged Wedge In Golf.
Harrington set out on a journey to design and create his own line of custom wedges establishing a home base in Minneapolis. His mission was simple, to create the finest forged wedges in the game. In January, 2010, the first JP branded wedge hit the grind wheel and JP Wedges were born. Harrington begins with what he describes as “the finest forgings in the world” from the Kyoei Forging House in Ichikawa, Japan. The JP Kyoei wedge blanks arrive heavy which provide the perfect canvas for Harrington to create a custom wedge tailored to the individual customer as a functional piece of art.
In an effort to maximize versatility around the greens, Harrington grinds a significant amount of steel from the heel and toe area’s of the wedge. JP Wedges incorporate a “thinned out” hosel as well to penetrate thick rough and heavy sand. To compensate for the loss of head weight as a result of the aggressive grind, Harrington inlays tungsten into the toe area of the wedge. This process gets the wedge to the desired weight while moving the CG toward the center of the club-face which also reduces vibration.
Other wedge companies manufacture their heads with the center of gravity located toward the heel which Harrington believes is less than optimal. This process yields a perfectly balanced wedge with the most efficient energy transfer into the ball at impact for more consistent shotmaking.
Virtually Limitless Possibilities
Another signature of Harrington’s wedge designs are the unique finishes, stamping, and paint-fill. The finishes of the wedges are offered in a raw or plated finish. Raw finishes, susceptible to oxidation through moisture will develop a patina over time. The use of carbon steel permits Harrington to apply unique finishing techniques adding to the aesthetic appeal. For the player who does not prefer their wedge to tarnish or rust over time, JP wedges are offered in plated finishes such as chrome.
“JP wedges can be blackened through a black oxide or bluing treatment and torched using heat. A torching also creates unique colors from a toasted bronze, purple, blue, to graphite in color. These treatments are not as durable as a Plating and do wear through use. Torched finishes add a nice appearance to your wedge as it ages into a vintage look through the oxidation process.”
To further personalization, Harrington offers the art of custom hand-stamping on the wedge providing the customer with the ability to own a wedge with positive meaning specific to them. Harrington will hand-stamp a player’s initials, names of their children, use paint-fill from your Alma Mater, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Built: One Wedge At A Time
Harrington estimates the duration to design and complete one wedge can take up to eight hours. This process is void of a large scale factory or assembly line process. Each wedge is handmade, one at a time, by one individual. This attention to detail comes at a premium as his custom wedges start at $299. However, this level of customization and personalized service cannot be found at your local golf retailer. A phone call to James Patrick Golf means you’ll be discussing your custom wedge design with the man that will be doing all of the work. At the same time, you’ll feel like the most important customer he’s had all year.