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Tinkering time

Eben Harrell

For serious golfers, golf is not a sport. Nor is it a game.

It’s a craft, the relentless pursuit of unattainable perfection. Good golfers are essentially craftsmen, forever tinkering at their trade.

In this regard, equipment is given the utmost attention. Golfers have always bent, borrowed and banged their clubs in an attempt to gain an edge. The most famous example is multiple major winner Gene Sarazen, who in 1930 spent an afternoon in his basement grinding his “mashie” and emerged with the fist modern sand wedge, forever altering the game.

Aspen’s equipment-minded golfers now have their first high-street haven: Stefan Kaelin golf shop on Durant Avenue. There, golf pro Rich Lee has set up Aspen’s only in-town pro shop, complete with a full line of clubs, clothes and equipment.

Lee runs a full-fitting system that includes a computer swing analysis that can determine club speed, club path and proper lie angle and loft for your clubs.

Yesterday I stopped in for a quick re-gripping of two wedges, but ended up staying for nearly an hour just talking golf with Lee. As we talked, two local pros and two scratch amateurs stopped in to get some work done on their clubs.

This got me thinking. Amateurs spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment each year, without any attempt to improve their old set. Most good golfers know better.

Not happy with your driver? Try inserting a new shaft instead of buying a whole new club. Hooking the ball? Try thicker grips. Once you get into tinkering with your equipment, you’ll be shocked at how much money and strokes you can save.

And if you start feeling guilty about how much time you spend at Stefan Kaelin tinkering on your clubs, away from your husband or wife, there’s always the full range of clothes and gifts on the racks.

Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is


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