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Entrepreneurs at NMSU?s Studio G bring new golf club design to the fore

A father-and-son team with an unusual design idea is partnering with Studio G at New Mexico State University?s Arrowhead Center to tighten their grip on a new golf industry niche.

Closeup of two men working
Tim Bowers, left, and his father, David Bowers, are working with Studio G at New Mexico State University?s Arrowhead Center to take their wooden putter grip design to market. (Submitted photo)
Logo for Woodie Grips
Woodie Grips are the only wooden putter grips approved by the United States Golf Association, and are patent-pending. (Submitted photo)

Their product ? Woodie Grips ? is a hand-crafted, solid pine putter grip. Creators Tim and David Bowers are taking a swing at expanding their business, which got its start in David?s backyard shed, to the next level with a crowdfunding campaign on RocketHub to help them prepare for growing demand.

Tim Bowers completed the Professional Golf Management program at NMSU in May 2014 with a bachelor?s in business and marketing. Tim learned to love golf at a young age with his father, David, who passed along his passion for the game.

Woodie Grips combines David?s decades of experience in carpentry and Tim?s study of club design and manufacturing. The project quickly outgrew the household space they were using.

?We didn?t get into this for the money,? David Bowers said. ?We were just in it for the satisfaction of developing our idea.?

While most putters have rubber grips, the unique solid-wood design of Woodie Grips creates a different feel for the golfer.

?The wood enhances the vibration and the feel that you get,? David explained. ?It transfers energy instead of dampening it, so you get a better feel of how hard you want to hit or push the ball, which gives you more consistency in your putting game.?

The founders brought their idea to Studio G, which helps NMSU students and recent graduates develop their business ideas. The incubator has provided the duo with guidance and access to design, testing and manufacturing ideas and resources. Arrowhead Center?s video production arm also created a promotional video for the crowdfunding website.

NMSU researchers conducted an analysis of the grips? vibrational characteristics and hand sensitivity compared with standard rubber grips, concluding that the wooden grips generated greater sensitivity in the hand, providing for more delicate and accurate putting.

?If we have a question, we have someone to turn to,? Tim Bowers said of Studio G?s staff and network of mentors. ?They?ve introduced us to experts who can provide guidance through the whole process.?

With Studio G?s support, Woodie Grips have become the only wooden putter grips approved by the United States Golf Association, and are patent-pending.

Tim Bowers said using a renewable material in the grips gives them the added satisfaction of creating a product that?s biodegradable. The RocketHub campaign will not only help the company expand, he said, it will help them restore those materials by planting trees.

Kramer Winingham, program manager of Studio G, said the fully developed product is something to be proud of.

?We?re excited to see this father-son team launch their Woodie Grips product line,? Winingham said. ?They came in to Studio G with a neat idea and we helped them develop the product and manufacturing relationships to create a business. It?s great to see a finished product and their crowdfunding campaign that just went live ? we wish them the best.?

The RocketHub crowdfunding campaign continues through Dec. 18, with a goal of raising $5,000 toward launching production and online ordering capabilities. For more information or to help fund the project, visit http://www.rockethub.com/projects/50946-woodie-grips-the-putting-revolution. For more information about Woodie Grips, visit http://www.woodiegrips.com.

Studio G and Arrowhead Center are supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration?s i6 Challenge grant. For more information about Arrowhead Center?s programs, visit http://arrowhead.nmsu.edu.