My Father, Williiam Walter Scholz, was an active man. By far his passion was golf. In Erie, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, one can play golf only a few months out of the year. The climate is closer to Siberia than it is Malibu. But that’s OK, we made the most of it. Much of what I learned about hard-work and persistence came when my Father manufactured me, by hand, my first set of golf clubs. After he passed-away in 2006, I began to use his golf clubs which he also made by hand.
Most people do not realize that there is a robust group of golf-club making aficionados. They purchase component parts, usually there are three components to each club, then assemble the club using a combination of glues, precision cutting, and compassing in their home workshop.
My Father did this for myself, my Mother and Him, as well as a few extended family members because manufacturing golf clubs saves money, the best wedges can be purchased for a fraction of the cost even though they aren’t ‘designer’ brands, and, very importantly, the exact height of the club can be tailor-made.
This was helpful to me growing up because I was taller for my age group, and growing, so finding the right golf clubs was both expensive and challenging. I would have needed the ‘big and tall’ version for an appropriate set.
I grew up on the golf course. Glenwood Golf Course, a municipal course in Erie, Pennsylvania, was almost like a day-care for children of all ages during the summer. Children would get dropped off by their parents, play over and over again until their parents would pick them up. I did this and had the time of my life. But you can imagine the pride that I had in having a nice set of golf clubs, though unusual because they were not brand-named.
I can’t only imagine and speculate about why my Father chose to get into the hobbyist golf club making business. He was an electrician and he was very handy, but he never did much wood or craft working. One day he found out that his department, in the paper processing plant that he worked at, was to receive a raise. The raise would also include “back-pay,” so effectively my Father and his co-workers received about $6,000 in back-pay. This was in the early ‘90s so that was a significant amount of money. I can only guess that my Father wanted to save some money in making our family golf clubs because purchasing a brand-named set would have been cost-prohibitive. Golfing on Saturdays and Sundays, and some times on weekend evenings, was one of the things that my Family enjoyed doing most.
My home-made golf clubs taught me two things about life. The first is that sometimes you just have to do things yourself, even if the ‘knock-off’ doesn’t look as shiny as the brand-name. When I went golfing with my peers, they had never heard of the name or the logo that was on my golf clubs, but when they swung the clubs, they were impressed at how well they worked.
The second thing that I learned from my home-made golf clubs was a lesson about durability. Sometimes the things that you make with your own hands last the longest. To this day, I still use my Father’s homemade golf clubs, they work like they were brand new.
I’m grateful for my homemade golf clubs, but I’m more grateful for the lessons that they taught me.