SuperStroke exits putter business, focuses on grips
At the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show, SuperStroke introduced a full line of putter designs by Bruce Sizemore to compliment the company’s growing selection of putter grips.
SuperStroke added Sizemore in 2010, hoping that his putter and wedge designs could morph the brand from a putter grip company to a full-fledged short game specialty company. But that was before sales of SuperStroke grips grew from 5,000 in 2009 to a projection of 1 million in 2012.
“Right now, our biggest problem is that we can’t make grips fast enough,” said Dean Dingman, president of SuperStroke, which is based in Wixom, Mich.
For that reason, SuperStroke has decided to focus exclusively on the sale of putter grips. The decision means that SuperStroke will part ways with the putter business, as well as Sizemore, effective at the end of the year.
TigerShark, a company led by Dingman and his brother Darrin since 2000, acquired SuperStroke in 2009. Dingman said that the TigerShark product line, which included a full line of golf clubs as well as putters, would also cease production.
“Being a small company, all of our resources, all of our time, all of our energy needs to be put on grips,” Dingman said.
Dingman praised Sizemore’s attention to detail and the process he underwent when designing the company’s lineup of putters in 2012. He called him a putting expert, complimenting not only his knowledge of putters and putting mechanics, but also his rapport with golfers – everyone from high handicappers to tour players. But Dingman and Sizemore had different vision for the putter brand, and 2012 sales missed expectations by 40 percent.
Dingman said the sales goal that was set for SuperStroke putters wasn’t “super ambitious,” but he admitted that the success of SuperStroke putter grips stripped the putter brand of the energy and resources it needed to succeed.
“To build a successful putter brand, you need to have everything that goes with it – a tour presence, marketing, distributors,” Dingman said. “We just didn’t have the manpower.”
Sizemore emphasized that he felt no animosity in the split. He said he was happy with his putters from a design standpoint, saying they were “close to perfect.”
“That’s the cool part,” Sizemore said. “At every end is a beginning. I’ll come up with some good stuff. It will just take some time.”
Sizemore said plans to continue to design putters in his studio located in his hometown of Farmington Hills, Mich. He admitted that SuperStroke’s decision to exit the putter market caught him off guard, but he saw the complications that arose for SuperStroke by partnering with him.
In all likelihood, SuperStroke’s exit from the putter business will make its grips more appealing to OEMs that are interested in installing SuperStroke grips on their own putters.