McClure's kit gives both sides an edge

MALLET MAN: Mike McClure is a golf croquet player from Nelson who makes mallets.
MALLET MAN: Mike McClure is a golf croquet player from Nelson who makes mallets.

Despite being one of three major mallet makers in the country, it seemed Mike McClure's customers had a better idea of how to use his products than he did while competing in Feilding this weekend.

While he had "taken a thrashing" on the golf croquet lawn to start the Duncan Dixon tournament on Thursday and yesterday, his form came right and his steel Terminator mallets were working for him and his opponents.

"My place is safe," he said.

"They need me to make them look good."

As far as he knew he was the only one in the country making aluminium mallets on a large scale and had the idea after playing with another brand.

"Initially, I played with a Puckett, then I got a different one of those and at the time he was bringing out a metal one and I thought `he's on the right track there'," McClure said.

The 64-year-old from Nelson started doing it on a mass scale with his 2000sqm workshop at home, with sales now in the three-figure mark and he exports a lot overseas.

The other two main mallet makers in the country are Ray Puckett (Auckland) and George Wood (Hawke's Bay) who make mainly wooden ones, as opposed to McClure's aluminium mallets.

"A lot of time and precision goes into the mallet work," McClure said.

"By then I was starting to tinker away myself and arrived at what I perceived to be the best weights and the best means of producing."

He said while a lot of makers stuck to wood mallets, he felt that his steel ones gave players a technical advantage.

Making the steel heads was an intricate job, especially getting the weight right.

He got sucked into the sport by his wife 12 years ago and has been playing ever since for the Richmond club in Nelson.

"The next thing you know you're a club member, next thing you know you're on the committee, next thing you know you're the groundsman," he said.

Playing under a handicap of 1, McClure has been to the world championships in Cape Town in South Africa in 2009 but didn't do very well and said he had made the other players look good.

He has previously competed at the Egyptian open played nationally.

Manawatu Standard