I was lucky enough to meet Brad Converse, founder of The Bradley Putter Company, this January at the PGA show. Just months before Brad began making beautiful putters out of sustainably harvested Burl wood from Oregon. He founded the company in December, less than a month before the show, unaware of the wild ride immediately in store for him.
Brad spent the previous ten years as an engineer working as a military contractor. He found out in late 2016 that in order to keep his job he would need to move from Oregon to Virginia. He declined, feeling that his calling was to support the Southern Oregon community. On Black Friday, he had the idea to build a putter out of sustainably sourced Oregon Burl wood. A few days later he was testing out a couple prototypes, and the Bradley Putter Company was born.
Before I get to the review of the putter, many of you are probably wondering how the heck a wood putter could possibly compete with a Scotty Cameron “fine milled putter.” Well, Brad’s an engineer, and he engineered this putter. So trust me when I say you aren’t just getting a block of wood with a shaft.
What is burl wood and how does it become a putter?
Burl wood is a piece of wood where the grain has grown in a deformed manner. Typically burl wood is found on growths near the bottom of a tree, or even underground. The irregular grain is not only beautiful but harder than normal wood as well. Brad developed a patent pending process that stabilizes this extra sturdy wood, then adds weights engineered to be in the perfect spots to control MOI and optimize the CG. In layman’s terms, the putter feels better than a machine-milled metal putter and puts the sweet spot in the dead center of the face. Add it all up and you have a putter that looks like it belongs in an art gallery, but rolls like a heat-seeking missile at the center of the cup every time.
Ever since rolling a few putts with a couple of Brad’s prototype putters at the PGA show, I itched to get my hands on one and test it out on an actual putting green. We had several calls over the course of the winter about how we could work together, and we are excited to officially launch our partnership with a giveaway of one of Brad’s gorgeous putters.
He crafted a stunning Luna style putter out of Buckeye wood and I could not have been more excited to open it up last week and give it a roll. I immediately took it to the putting mat in my office and buried ten putts in a row.
Yes, the hype is real. It looks like a work of art, but I can instantly tell this thing wasn’t built to be gawked at, it’s an assassin’s weapon: Ready to bury putts and break your opponents’ hearts out on the course.
The second I took the putter out of the box and spun it around in my hands, I knew it was special. There’s nothing gimmicky about it. The wood is solid, and colors are stunning. The acrylic filling blends beautifully with the dyed burl wood and it’s impossible to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. The grain is gorgeous and the depth of color in the acrylic and slight sparkle are pleasing to the eye without being distracting. The sight line is simple and more than enough to line up your putts. The bottom of the club sports the Bradley logo in an understated (and super-cool) burned script.
Most importantly, at address, it looks deadly. I am used to looking down at a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 blade, and this couldn’t be more drastically different. I expected it to feel a little clunky, and quite possibly distracting. Boy, was I wrong. The profile, despite it being more of a mallet-style putter, is smaller than my Scotty. It’s sleek, and gives you confidence just looking down at it.
Believe it or not, the feel is what distinguishes the Bradley from other putters.
Obviously, you have never seen a putter that looks like a Bradley before. However, if you’re anything like me, novelty is irrelevant. I don’t want a putter that looks cool because it looks cool. I want a putter that gives me confidence, feels great and drains putts. Simple. If it looks cool, well that’s a nice little bonus. That all being said, I had fallen in love with the look of the Bradley and knew it felt nice after rolling some putts in my office, but I was nervous. I took it out to the practice green to really put it through the paces. To say I was not disappointed would be the understatement of the century.
I started with short putts, around 5 feet. The first thing I noticed was the weight of it. I am not sure exactly the weight of my Scotty, but this felt heavier. The smaller profile and high MOI of the Luna at 350 grams felt incredibly stable. My good strokes felt great. My bad strokes felt very good, but more importantly, they rolled very, very well.
I drained five out of my first six putts with it, then backed up a foot, and drained six straight. I experimented with speed. I drilled them in the back of the cup, and dribbled them in the front and the side. The feedback was excellent, and I felt like I could control the speed of each putt as if I had been putting with it for years. It felt very natural in my hands.
The one thing that Brad preaches on the website is the sweet spot. He claims that he has engineered these putters to stabilize the wood and put the sweet spot at the exact center of the face. Just as I was skeptical that this putter could be better than my Scotty, I had my doubts about this, too.
Again, I was wrong.
When you make a pure stroke and the ball rolls off of the middle of the sweet spot, it feels sensational. But that’s not the coolest part. My Scotty feels awesome pretty much all the time. The trouble is, I don’t hit great putts all the time. The milled face on the Scotty feels essentially perfect every time you hit a putt. As a decent golfer, though, I need feedback, and the Scotty doesn’t give me that. If I hit a bad putt, I want to feel it, not just see it snap off to the left and miss the hole.
The Bradley gives you that, but in a very gentle way. The off-center strikes still feel good, but they don’t feel perfect. That’s what I want, but I also want forgiveness, and that’s what the Bradley provides. A less-than-ideal strike feels less than ideal, but still rolls smooth and at the target.
I would equate it to my Titleist AP2 irons. They are forged cavity backs, so pure strikes feel amazing, and bad strikes definitely do not. But bad strikes still result in solid ball flight. I have NEVER experienced that with a putter before. It’s addicting.
The forgiveness was the most impressive part of the putter. The heavier head and the perfect face-balanced weighting join forces to make even the worst putts look decent. With my Scotty, bad strokes are amplified. My standard miss flips the toe of the putter closed and yanks everything left. If I am putting poorly and overcompensate, I will push putts to the right. Not with the Bradley. The face stays square even when your stroke is less than perfect.
I spent the next hour and a half walking around the putting green hitting every type of putt. Long, short, curling, straight. The putter feels almost intuitive. I found the sweet spot with more and more regularity. Everything seemed to be going in, and putts that didn’t almost always ended up right next to the hole.
The Final Word
These putters are game-changers. They look like a work of art, and they are deadly on the greens. They are as much a conversation piece as they are your new favorite club in the bag. I went from being a curious skeptic to being a diehard fan. Once I get one in my bag, I can’t imagine it ever coming out.
Head over to bradleyputters.com and you can completely customize your own putter. Brad and his team will build it for you within just a couple weeks to your exact specifications.
I couldn’t just keep this incredible putter to myself (though trust me, I wanted to). But we decided the world deserved a chance to use it too. SO! From now until June 14th you can ENTER TO WIN the Luna Putter by following this link.
I’ll be heartbroken to see it go, but excited for the winner to experience this game changer. Good luck!