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Zebra Putter Project

Discussion in 'All Things Golf' started by BarnacleBob, Apr 8, 2016.



  1. BarnacleBob

    BarnacleBob GIM Founding Member & Mod. Founding Member Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    We were playing in Huntsville, Ala. about 3 yrs. ago at a small golf course. The Pro-Shop had several bins of old used clubs priced from $1 to $10. Being the prudent miser I am (some folks just call me a downright cheap skate) I went scounging thru the bins where I discovered a very unique but olde rusted faced Zebra putter. The uniqueness & oddity of the putter face compelled me to give it a try.... I did & I liked it! Five dollars was tendered and I now possessed the putter.

    The oddity sat forgotten & undisturbed ever since until about 4 days ago. It was rediscovered and once again it was pulled out of the forgotten club bags & dusted off for a retrial. Once again I liked it, but didnt know why, other than it putted straight and it possessed a two-speed face. I presumed since my putting tactics have changed that the high & low, long & short speeds would aid me with my struggle @ "lag putting."

    The face on the putter is angled about 10/15 degrees, longer speedier lag putts require the shaft to be leaned forward, while short putts are slow & evenly controlled by the angled face.

    Below is an image of the Zebra putter disassembled after the head was painted. The rusted face was etched with acid to remove the rust & pits that had developed then buffed first with a cutting compound then finshed with a high speed polishing compound.

    20160407_102545.jpg

    The head is hollow, to the right is a foam filler, to the left is the two-piece head assemble that attaches to the head using 4 small machine screws and a 1/4" bolt assembly. Below is an image of the face assemble.

    20160407_083212.jpg

    I suspect this putter may have been a test fabrication as the casting was rather rough. The face plate that attaches to the chrome sole has been modified by several different methods. The attaching hole has been elongated to close the face at address, which required some adjustments via grinding to the attachment arm.

    20160407_082845.jpg

    Above image is the face plate and sole.

    Whoever performed the modifications to close the face used body putty to fill the gaps that were created. I used epoxy...

    Once the putter head was reassembled, it was time to replace the alighment marks.... I opted to only install one mark rather than the traditional "Zebra" markings. I didnt have any black paint so I used some of the wifes nail polish to paint the mark.

    20160408_100852.jpg

    The face restoration was very satisfactory compared with the condition it began as.... a great amount of care was employed to keep the mill marks evenly across the face when it was being cut with compound.

    The putter shaft had been previously been modified by bending which fits my stroke very well.... a small amount of the chrome was lost around the bottom of the shaft during the bend process.

    Next I turned my attention to the olde dried out "rock hard" grip.

    The installed grip is a Golf Pride"Jumbo" that appeared to need replacing, however the grip, even being rock hard, the size & weight just felt good. Being the ever prudent & impatient investor I decided to attempt to rejuvenate the dirty olde hardened grip....

    Using dish soap, a scrub brush and hot water the grip was scrubbed six times. The first 4 scrubs resulted in a nastly blackness forming on the scub brush and in the lathered dish soap which tapered off with the final two scrubbings. The grip began to immediately soften with each successive scrubbing.... After the sixth scrubbing, the grip was fully rejuvenated, it looks and almost feels like a new one.

    20160408_100933.jpg

    Unfortunately I didnt record the poor condition of this club prior to rejuvenation... if you had seen it, you wouldnt believe its the same $5 club. The cost of rejuvenation was a few coats of surplus flat white rattle-can paint that had been purchased for a previous project and $2 for expoxy glue....

    The paint came out really nice considering how rough the casting was... this was due to the curing process that was used... I could have placed a real slick smooth finish on it using a sandable primer, yet I decided to leave it in its original suspected cast "prototype" condition.

    All in all the project was a great success, and now I have a very unique fully customized "prototype" putter like no other in existence...

    Dont ever overlook the cheapo bins... every once in a while a "diamond in the rough" is just sitting there waiting for you... In my case it took three years to rediscover the forgotten jewel.
     
  2. BarnacleBob

    BarnacleBob GIM Founding Member & Mod. Founding Member Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    The are several reasons I think the Zebra was ahead of its time. Since they are a bargain bucket afterthought these days, you might not think so.

    1) Premium Price: When the Ram Zebra came out in the 1970's it was one of the first mass market putters to be sold at a premium price, an unheard of $70! This was when the big sellers like the bulleye and ping were in the $30 to $35 range.

    2) Adjustable weights. The originals had a removable sole which allowed the golfer to change the weight by adding or removing metal "washers".

    3) Major Alignment feature. the stripes were well above and beyond the dot, line or nothing that was typical for alignment aids at that time.

    4) Face Balanced. Not invented by Ram, but marketed as a perfomance feature, which was new at that time.

    When you look around the putter market today, you can see all 4 of these "influences" and the Zebra was the first big seller to have all four of them. Note however that the Zebra never became a classic like the Anser, 8802, Bullseye or even the Two-Ball.

    http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/396123-was-the-ram-zebra-ahead-of-its-time/
     
  3. RTHRBGLFN

    RTHRBGLFN New Member

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    Nice work, now go make some putts.
     
    BarnacleBob likes this.

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