Disrupting an Indus-tree…
Let us begin where this always begins, in anguish, on a golf course.
It was a lovely early summer day in Vegas. Birds were chirping on the golf course, and I was there, at the Revere Golf Club, flustered by another three-putt. I had hit a perfect drive on 16, funneled it from left to right well over three hundred with the summer fairways. Yet, as I prepared for my second shot, 174 yards to a back pin, I found this nagging thought running roughshod through my lower membrane. “Get it close, we don’t want a three-putt,” I said to myself silently. Sure enough, I hit my 7 iron with a fearful effort and faded the approach ￼just enough to leave me 62 feet over two humps and a small mountain for my eagle. And that, my friends, is where my Bradley Putter Experience began.
“Golf always wins, until you beat it.” – Ryan Hardenbrook (post birdie chip in)
The idea that clubs can help a player become better at their game is not new to me.
However, with the advancements in technology and fitting components, getting someone to assist you in the quest for that Excalibur club has become more accessible than ever. Players like me who think that “feel” or “forgiveness” can be had to some extent, by acquiring new clubs, have tons of options. From the Scotty Cameron Gallery to any professional with SAM Putt Lab, the search for better performance is almost as easy as click, click, submit.
As a 5.2 handicap I knew that if I could eliminate the three putts from my rounds, I could drastically improve the consistency of my scores. So, I sat down with my iPad and did what all golf club nerds do, googled it.
As I searched through the pages filled with different custom putter companies, I racked my brain for answers on what I was trying to find. I knew I wanted something unique as the desire to go practice needed to be there (I’m a firm believer that if you enjoy your clubs, you are much more apt to find time to practice with them). Additionally, I knew feel was paramount. I had never gotten along with insert putters because the feel was too soft. But, when I tried milled mallets, the feeling always came back dead and lacking feedback.
As I tried to capture the feelings I was searching for; my phone lit up with a notification.
BryanGolf, someone I follow on Instagram, had posted something new. Naturally, I had to see what he was showcasing. As I pulled up the post, I was surprised by what I saw, a putter made of wood that was unlike anything I had seen before. I read his post and found that the company was called Bradley Putters, Google took care of the rest.
Not only was I blown away by the uniqueness of these putters, but everything I could read on GolfWRX, THP, and MyGolfSpy made these putters sound as if they had the “feel” I wanted. Soft yet solid, giving you the ability to be more aggressive and know that the density of the putter would assist in measuring your speed. I had to try one, but these were custom putters and not something you could find at a store. Unwilling to commit whole-hog I headed to the toy store for golf ho’s, eBay.
After days of searching and waiting, I found my first Bradley Putter.
A blue, Box Elder Widowmaker, that was slightly upright and a touch heavy. I pounced and brought it home! As I had searched for these putters and information around them, I discovered how firmly they believe in custom fitting. I also found that a Bradley Putter, which is a work of art really, is not cheap. So, for the price, I paid I was feeling quite happy. It arrived a few days later, and I made my maiden voyage to the golf course and it blew me away!
From the feeling I got looking down at it to the sound it made off the putter, its presence and performance shook me. I took it straight out to play nine holes at Revere’s Concord course and was surprised at the level to which it performed. It needed no warm-up period. It had no soft spots and certainly no twisting. I felt I could start it on line, with pace, and not be long.
What drew me in was the look.
However, what kept it in the bag was the performance. The only thing I didn’t trust was the fit of it for myself. I wondered what it would be like to start with my block of wood. Then walk through the process with them. I began to stalk the Instagram page for auctions of wood blocks. After weeks of losing to other excited Bradley enthusiasts, I won.
The great thing about Brad and his company is their desperate desire to see others become as emotional about their putting life as they are. They want other golfers to LOVE to putt and to get excited when they make putts. They recognize that custom putters are destined for a wall like trophies, and they don’t want that for their work. As a result, their attention to detail, and the purchasing experience excites you.
It affords the real opportunity to visualize a better putting life for yourself each time you play. This aspect of their process is such a difference maker as you look to purchase your custom clubs. Finding people that love the game, and want you to enjoy it as well, might be the single greatest differentiator when choosing your custom club partner.
Back to my new wood block.
It was stunning. It had, what could only be described, as the eye of Saron in the middle. I could visualize a slightly smaller toe hanging widowmaker in it. I knew almost immediately that it would be perfect. But, I was still nervous about a plethora of things. Let me take a moment to share some of the fears of having a custom putter made.
What if I don’t like it?
Having something built to what you think you want with your hard-earned money is a much more horrifying experience than one would think. The lingering fear that if you don’t like it, you’re stuck with it, continually rattles in your mind. Allow me to help you move past this; NO CUSTOM putter company wants that to happen. I’m not aware of a putter artisan out there that doesn’t stand behind getting it right for you as the customer first. It does them no good for you to hate the product, and even worse, never play with it. So, don’t allow this to be a roadblock on your way to your dream putter.
It takes time.
Building your next rainmaker takes time. Specifically, with Bradley, it was about five weeks. In general, though, that is consistent with most custom putter companies. These artisans have the difficult job of helping you narrow down the thoughts and feelings; you have surrounding the putter. Then turning those into actual specs to be used to craft your new weapon. Know that the finite information you can bring to the process, the faster the production will go.
It doesn’t hold its value.
If this is your first thought, then you may not be ready for a custom putter. However, the reality is, at some point due to circumstances or curiosity you may decide to move on to another putter. Or you may feel confident over your putt knowing your valuable magic wand is at your side. Because of that, the concern over resale value always comes up.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I started with a second-hand Bradley putter myself, and it wasn’t cheap. As someone who buys and sells professionally on eBay, I can say that the value for your Bradley putter will remain close to 90% at a minimum. Furthermore, in most cases, it will be more valuable later than when you first had it handmade.
Now that we have navigated the most common concerns let’s talk about the technology Bradley Putters utilize in their pieces.
When I first began my investigation of this company I was blown away by the thought and R&D that went into the putters. The combination of modern computer analysis with handcrafted wood shaping blew me away. Imagine, Michelangelo, having access to a CAD device before making the statue of David. Yeah, they’re that cool.
I am an irrational believer in the impact of technology on the golf game. For putters, there are two key areas where you can deliver game-changing technology.
- Face design, loft, and texture.
- CG Placement, Toe Flow, and MOI.
The more these two areas are maximized in relation to the person holding the putter, the more effective the putter becomes. This is why it’s CRITICAL that you experience a putter fitting. The process will anser (see what I did there) a multitude of the concerns and questions you have about how and why you deliver the putter the way you do. Once complete, you will better understand how to shop for yourself and minimize the risky elements of your putting game. All while maximizing the aspects you deliver well.
Bradley understands this approach in spades.
They feel so strongly that they even created a complete fitting studio in Grants Pass, OR. The studio is there to ensure that, if possible, all putters go into the right (or left) hands. And, with the correct specs.
They start each putter by hardening and strengthening each block of wood. This process of “stabilization” allows them to ensure that each piece will withstand the rigors of generations of use in addition to firming up the feel. After that, they analyze the true density of the putter. They do the density testing to ensure that they position the weight to maximize the best harmonic vibration (feel), and the most stability (MOI), possible. If the putter has significant natural holes, or the customer desires a specific color to compliment the wood, they can add a unique acrylic and colorful material as needed.
Allow me to further elaborate on the technical advantages.
The MOI, in particular, has blown me away. As a connoisseur of fine putters, I feel pretty confident in my ability to deliver precise loft with good pace. That said, knowing that the putter will further eliminate unnecessary twisting by leveraging computer analyzed weighting and vibration research, provides even more confidence when standing over that 4-footer.
Perhaps as equally impressive is the feel. I only know how to describe it the Merriam-Webster way:
Clean /klēn/ : unadulterated, pure, smooth
Whether you’re standing over a three-footer or lagging to secure a skin, the sound and tactility of this putter are second to none. Much like an insert putter, the Bradley creates confidence to strike the putt aggressively and ensure it reaches the hole. However, like a GSS(German stainless steel) putter, the sound provides strong feedback on short putts thus ensuring a smooth and even stroke.
The lengths that they pursue to achieve this feel is surpassed only by their outstanding hand craftsmanship and attention to detail. The smooth and voluptuous lines of the widowmaker, in particular, elicit a sense of excitement while standing over your putt. The way the sun chases the hand softened edges allows the eye to be drawn strictly to the face and the ball.
Nothing superfluous but everything that might excite you, this seems to be the Bradley way.
The company’s use of Trello only adds to the white glove experience. The ability to see your putter in each stage, and enjoy the process, provides a strong sense of ownership to each detail. It also allows you to add clarifying points and direction to ensure that your putter is uniquely your own. Each stage brings new thoughts, and if there is any advice I can give, it’s to overcommunicate what you want.
With the emphasis on delivering the ultimate boutique experience, the craftsmen, want a few things to be accomplished above all others. They want you to have a putter you love, a putter you trust, and a putter that will have you winning.
One of the more unique aspects of the Bradley experience is the different ways you can acquire your putter.
With a custom built putter starting in the $500 range, and completed wands from $385-$500, finding the right putter for you is within reach. Perhaps an even cooler option is to purchase the blocks as they go to auction. This can allow you the opportunity to not only get exactly what you want from a shape perspective. It also affords you a chance to get the custom experience for a potentially even better price.
With that said, if the block is beautiful, it can command a much higher price. Another alternative is to work with Brad to send a unique piece of wood from your own family collection. From baseball bats and basketball floors to stadium seats and backyard trees. The Bradley team will stop at nothing to make sure your putter inspires confidence and trust.
From the hand stitched and Bradley designed leather headcovers, to the matching ball markers and divot tools. The Bradley Putter experience will focus on delivering the most impactful and confidence inspiring products possible. Whether you are looking to create, a family heirloom or a match play money maker. The folks at Bradley will stop at nothing to help you achieve your perfect putter. Or in my case, perfect putter’sssssssss.
Bradley Putters is on fire socially
Be sure to give them a follow on Instagram. It is a highly active account with a ton of content. The feed is updated constantly and blocks that are available on the website auction get listed on the page. Be sure to turn on post notifications if you don’t want to miss out on a block!
To kick off your Bradly Experience, or just to check out some very unique putters, head on over to their website.