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16 years and hundreds of clubs later…

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 30th, 2013

Roger Fodness looks on as he teaches Flandreau senior Mitchel Foster how to make a golf club as part of Foster’s senior project.

A lot of teachers find work during the summer months to help supplement their incomes and a lot of the time to help combat boredom. Roger Fodness, a retired Social Studies teacher at Flandreau Public Schools, bought his golf club manufacturing equipment, now known as Dakota Divots, in 1997 for both of the those reasons above.

Fodness and his wife Robin bought “literally thousands” of shafts, metal wood and iron heads, shop equipment including shaft saws, sanders, drills, grinders and drying racks, in the spring of 1997. Since then, Roger has been building clubs in his spare time, a craft that he was quick to master.

“It didn’t take long to learn to build clubs. Parts of the process were learned over time through a lot of repetition, but within a month, I could build a set in about an hour,” Fodness recalled. A full set includes four metal woods and eight irons.

He built all sorts of clubs during his 16 years of club making, from woods and typical irons (three to nine irons), to wedges and 1 irons. Some of which they sold on eBay but most of their sales happened through word of mouth.

His sets served as replacements to peoples aging partial sets as well as clubs for people just starting out to women and juniors clubs.

Even though his clubs are referred to as knockoffs or copies of the so called “brand name” clubs, they are made from the same materials and work just as well.

“Believe it or not, the first set of clubs I built and sold were left-handed, but I accidentally boxed up a right-handed set by mistake. The golfer came back and exchanged them, and then he got a hole-in-one on his first round,” Fodness said about the first clubs he ever built.

But after a decade and a half and hundreds of golf clubs later, Fodness and his wife, who spend their winters in Arizona now, are looking to sell Dakota Divots. The business, which is located in the old power station on S. Wind Street, still hold thousands of components and machinery to build hundreds of sets. The couple are openly taking calls about the business and look forward to passing along their hobby to somebody new.

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