Just call him the 'Golf Club Doctor'

‘HOW’S YOUR GRIP?’ – Art Dell (right) demonstrates his golf club regripping technique for customer Mark DeRubies. (Photo by John Sheridan)

Area golfers whose clubs have worn or slippery grips often look to Art Dell at Airport Greens Golf Course in Willoughby Hills to remedy the problem. You could call him a "golf club doctor."

Art, a Euclid resident and 1970 graduate of Euclid High, has been replacing old golf grips for about 20 years. He handles a variety of other club repairs as well, including re-shafting and “loft and lie” adjustments.

“Tall people need shafts that are more upright,” he explains, “while shorter people need clubs that sit a little flatter. If people are hitting the ball too high, they might need a loft adjustment. You can de-loft a club a couple of degrees and hit the ball lower.”

Art does quite a bit of re-gripping. He offers a wide variety of grips to replace older grips that may have become too slippery—or that just don’t feel right any longer.

(Having heard that Art does good work for a reasonable price, earlier this year, I had him install thicker Golf Pride grips with a bit of built-in tackiness on a set of old irons for $6.95 per club. Result: I no longer have the feeling that my golf clubs might twist in my hands when I swing at the golf ball.)

Before getting into the golf club business, Art was an RTA bus driver for about 30 years. He now works out of a small white building near the Airport Greens driving range. He calls his business Custom Fit Golf. It is a part-time business for him, so if you plan to stop, in it is best to call in advance to determine when he’ll be available. He can be reached at (440) 944-5279 or (440) 477-1939.

Art also gives golf lessons. “I’ve been building clubs for 20 years and giving golf instructions for seven years,” he notes. “I’m not a PGA professional, but I consider myself a pro.” He’s learned the art and science of teaching golf by visiting “the best golf teachers in the world, to see how they give lessons. For me, it is a continuing education process.”

One of the experts he’s taken lessons from is Bob Toski, a well-known instructor who works with PGA tour pros. But his main mentor, he says, has been Ben Doyle, who is regarded as the first authorized Golfing Machine instructor. The reference is to a book by that title, written by Homer Kelly, an engineer.

“Ben Doyle now has almost a cult following among the PGA tour pros,” Dell notes. “Players like Johnny Miller, Bernard Langer and Tom Watson have gone to Doyle. He’s the golf instructor’s golf instructor.”

Dell first hooked up with Doyle in Carmel, Calif., in 1993. He’s been back to see him five times since.

If you give him a chance, Art will talk your ear off about a variety of golf-related topics, including the history of Airport Greens, located at 28980 White Road in Willoughby Hills, right next to the Cuyahoga County airport. It’s the course where golfers often get close-up views of airplanes taking off and landing—and where they might hear the roar of a Lear Jet engine as they’re trying to line up a putt.

For the record: Art points out that Gary LaConte now operates the Airport Greens course these days. He’s the grandson of Pat LaConte, a well-known area golf pro who ran the Lost Nation course as far back as the 1950s, as well as several other area courses. The LaConte family built the Airport Greens golf course and driving range about 18 years ago. When Pat retired, his son Rich LaConte kept the golf course going.

Art Dell has been a Euclid resident for nearly 50 years. If you’d like to know more about his golf club re-gripping and repair services, you can contact him at (440) 944-5279 or (440) 477-1939.

John Sheridan

Retired journalist. From 1963 to 1972, wrote for and edited the Euclid News-Journal, predecessor to the Sun-Journal. From 1972 to 2000, I was a writer and editor for Industry Week magazine. Also have worked for the Plain Dealer as a part-time sportswriter, covering high school sports. And I was a contributor to the previous Euclid Observer. I have lived in Euclid for almost my entire life. I am a graduate of St. Joseph High School and John Carroll University.

Read More on Sports
Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 7:08 PM, 07.09.2011