GRANTS PASS—Bradley Converse wants the putters he makes at his Grants Pass shop to tell a story—the story of the customer and the story of creation.
Converse, who was born in Grants Pass and attended North Valley High School, launched his wooden putter company a year and a half ago.
In that time, Bradley Putters has been named "Best New Product" by PGA.com, has garnered over 22,000 followers on Instagram, and has created a putter out of one of Russell Wilson's Spring Training bats.
Yet more unique than the company's success is its process and product.
Everything starts at Oregon Burls in Merlin because in order to make wood putters, you need a wood supplier.
"Burls are extremely rare,” Converse said. “If you go out in the woods, you probably won't even see one. What happens is it creates a wild pattern in the wood. And when you spray it (with water), which is going to show what it looks like once it's polished, it’s absolutely gorgeous. We come here to create these blocks. We turn these blocks into the putter."
The process continues in downtown Grants Pass where a team of craftsmen weights, molds and polishes up to 30 putters a day.
“We started in Brad's garage and it was very different from where we're at now,” master craftsman Brett Lucas said. “The processes are getting dialed in, we have a really good understanding of where we're at."
"We do it the best," he continued. "So if somebody does try and do what we're doing or something similar to it, they're going to have a hard time getting past the fact that they're always going to be compared to Bradley Putters."
The final stop is to an actual course where Converse puts his putters to use—it’s at this point where his sales pitch is on full display.
"The performance of a Bradley putter, which is stabilized wood with multiple symmetrically placed internal weights, far outpaces any other putter," he said.
With the ability to work with any wood the customer desires—ranging from wine barrels to coffee tables—his putters also tell a story.
"Every putter we make is handmade, it's made with love, there's a story built into it,” he said. “That's what makes our putters unique, that's what makes them special, that's why people want a Bradley putter. Every time they go on a course, and someone asks about this putter, they're telling that story."
Bradley Putters range between $500 and $1,000—a high cost that Converse says is by design.
He stressed he doesn’t want his putters in every Dicks Sporting Goods across the country.
Instead, he wants to create the best experience possible in Grants Pass—one that includes the customer taking part in the creation from start to finish, perhaps even playing a round of golf on the store’s Trackman simulator—and sell to a worldwide audience.
“We’re trying to put Grants Pass on the map in the world of golf,” Converse said.
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