An Introduction to Gene Nead Putter Designs
At MyGolfSpy I show you guys a lot of products that are prototypes before they hit the market…and while I enjoy getting to see them as much as you do…I am often disappointed with their lack of creativity. And most of them are from the major OEM’s which doesn’t excite me as much as a smaller guy trying to make it in the industry. I have always liked the underdog and David vs. Goliath story. I love to see the ingenious technology that the smaller guys come up with in their garages…you can just feel the passion oozing out of them.
Well about a year ago I ran across some putters that really made me stop and say WOW…I felt whoever this guy was that made this putter really had tremendous creativity and an eye for design…and not the crazy kind where a company just makes a huge mallet and throws some wild graphics on it. But one that had all the major components needed to become a success…creativity, style, a classic feel and yet still had an artistic value and functionality. Which there is lack of in today’s designs. But these putters were different. They had all of those characteristics in my opinion.
A Little Background About The Man Behind The Designs
I spent the next few months following his designs and checking back from time to time to see how they were developing. And the hits just kept coming…every time I saw a new design I was even more impressed. So I decided to give the guy a call a few months ago and just have a chat with the man behind the designs. And it wasn’t long before I realized this guy was different…he didn’t come from the golf industry so he didn’t have all the typical cockiness that some designers have about their designs…he was a down-to-earth super nice guy that had some great ideas and concepts floating around in his head about how he thought a putter should look and feel.
The mans name is Gene Nead (www.neadcustomputters.com) and he has a great story about how he got started in the business. I think you guys will enjoy this. He actually has been a major player in the Nascar industry for the last 18 years where he was the Head Crew Chief for guys like Micheal Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte and that just names a few. All you have to do is Google the man and you can see all he has achieved. So it is safe to say that fabricating parts was something he became quite the expert at…he had actually been doing it since he was a young kid. Which really came in handy when he decided to start making putters. A lot of work goes into to keeping the metal straight in those cars during an entire season.
Began Making Putters At Age 12!
He actually began making his own putters back in the 70’s at the young age of 12! He saw what was out there and he thought he had his own ideas for what a putter should look like…even at the age of 12. Well Gene took some time off from golf…actually about 20 years while he was in the Nascar industry and wouldn’t begin making putters again until around 1995. Most of the putters he made were just for friends at the time…his designs did not start to catch own until he started posting a couple pictures of them on a popular putter forum www.puttertalk.com. After some of the members of the forum caught a glimpse of some of these classy flatsticks he almost immediately started getting inquiries from golfers asking them to make them one.
And since this time Gene Nead (www.neadcustomputters.com) hasn’t stopped making putters and also has not stopped coming up with unique designs. We recently had a “Putter Quiz” where we wanted to talk about how most of the putter designers out there copy other popular designs…it has become part of the business…don’t ask me why it caught on but it did. Well up to this point Gene is just the opposite…the man comes up with one unique design after another…every time adding his own touch to every piece he cuts. You can instantly tell when you see a Gene Nead putter. Below are some pictures of some of his works including one he recently sent to me. We also sat down and had a talk with us and answered some questions for the MGS readers. ENJOY!
Q. How long have you been designing putters?
For myself since I was about 12 yrs old, I learned how to weld and do machine work at a very early age in my fathers race car shop and started
Playing golf at about age 11, I think I built my fist putter at about age 12, but I never really built any for anyone outside my family until about
10 years ago, and they were just for friends. It has only really been a year or so that I started building and selling putters to the public.
Q. How long does it take for you to make a handmade putter from scratch?
Depends on what style, The SAP09 that I make I can build faster on a rotary table by hand than I can do on a CNC machine, so those only take
A few hours, but I have built handmade putters that I have spent 8 or 10 hours on.
Q. How long does it take if I order a putter to receive it generally?
Generally we work on a 3 week build time, but there are some designs that we keep heads in stock and hand stamp and put necks on and
are ready to go pretty quick. I like to build the heads in minimum runs of about 10, so we continually build some styles every day.
Q. Can a reader send you a design they have for you to make…basically if they can dream it up can you make it for them?
Yes, we have built many one off designs that people have sent us a design and we go from there. So yes if the can dream it we can build it.
Q. How did you learn about putter design? Did you have any mentors that taught you the ropes or helped along the way?
A lot of it was trial and error, but threw my racing career I have met a lot of people from the golfing world who have helped with our putters and made improvements.
Q. In your opinion who are some of your favorite putter designers out there right now?
I am for the most part sort of into old school type putter makers, I think there are quite a few really good small guys who build really nice stuff, I really like
Mills, Tad Moore, Lamont Mann (MannKrafted) Tom Slighter I think these guys all do a great job of designing and building original putters. There are really
just not a lot of people out there that can actually design and build their putters with their own hands let alone come up with original designs.
Q. What is your favorite putter model you have made so far?
My favorite putter that I have built would be a Left handed one off design that I built for a friend in Canada, I love everything about it, the shape and finish.
It is built out of two pieces and welded together, I am not left handed and the thing felt really good. (Pictures Below…look for the lefty model)
Q. In a couple sentences put into words what you and your putters are all about?
I feel like I am just a guy who enjoys the game of golf, like most people I wish I was a scratch golfer…but I am not, but I love to play and would do so every day
If time would permit. I feel like my putters are about quality, originality and value, I feel that Nead Custom Putters builds extraordinary putters for a very fare price.
Q. What plans do you have for Nead putters in the near future?
We are working hard on a retail putter line; we hope to have 3 retail type putters including a mallet that can be sold in pro shops and golf stores early this year.
We will always build custom and one off putters for anyone that wants them, but feel like we like to really get our name out there we need to build a very high quality
Retail line as well.
Q. What is your ultimate goal for Nead Putters?
For someone to win the Masters with one of our putters 😉
P.S. – For more info on Gene Nead putters or if you would like him to make you your own design you can check him out here: NEAD PUTTERS