Earlier this month, Jordan Spieth finally returned to his winning ways.
A final round of 66 gave him a two-stroke win over Charley Hoffman at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. The victory marked his 12th on the PGA Tour and first since capturing The Open in 2017, a span of over 1,000 days.
Pundits and fans remarked on how Spieth’s return to form was aided by strong iron play and better consistency off the tee. However, his win was largely carried by a phenomenal performance on the green, punctuated by an outstanding 11 one-putts in the final round alone.
As he has throughout his career, Spieth used his Scotty Cameron Circle T 009 to accomplish the feat. However, helping him on every single putt was a Michigan-based company, a partnership that has spanned his entire career including his three Major championships.
Topping that trusty putter? A SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0 grip. Spieth is one of the over 100 players on Tour currently utilized SuperStroke grips and serves as an official brand ambassador.
SuperStroke is seen in the bags of professionals and amateurs alike, growing into a powerhouse over the last decade. Helmed by CEO Dean Dingman, the company started in Warren before moving its headquarters to Wixom.
“We’re a proud Michigan company through and through,” Dingman said. “Not a lot of people realize that. We love calling Michigan home and representing this state with what we can offer.”
Originally from Farmington Hills, Dingman started his career in golf equipment with a company called Techniques which manufactured budget clubs. He then acquired a company called TigerShark in 1998 which created one of the first oversized putter grips to hit the market.
SuperStroke was launched in Wisconsin and only sold through infomercials. The original product was overweight and plastic-based but Dingman saw an opportunity and purchased the brand in 2008.
“With (TigerShark) we were in the second tier or pricing and still having to competing with the big manufacturers. We wanted to transition into a different business and really thought that concentrating on the grip side of things could lead somewhere,” Dingman explained. “We decided to purchase SuperStroke and essentially bail it out. It was almost defunct and had a bunch of inventory sitting around that wasn’t moving. But the concept itself was the most intriguing.”
The initial SuperStroke grip had a similar shape as the ones seen today, but the weight and materials were significantly different. Dingman and his team swapped out the plastic for a premium rubber and really worked on getting the weight correct.
“The concept itself was great but you would lose all of your clubhead feel,” Dingman remarked. “We made some changes and really liked the results.”
SuperStroke produces wider grips for a putter that do not taper. The design reduces the use of hand muscles during a putting stroke and allows for the user to more easily go back and forth in a single motion. Additionally, SuperStroke offers a grip that can ‘lock’ the wrist in to make a smooth approach.
Initial exposure came from KJ Choi winning a tournament using one of the old grips. Jason Dufner went to a playoff in the 2011 PGA Championship using a SuperStroke grip and then took home the 2013 PGA using the same putter. Phil Mickelson won the 2013 Open using a SuperStroke as well.
“It was funny because KJ Choi actually bought his grip off the infomercial but was embarrassed to use it in competition. He stayed in his hotel room and practiced with it for months and then finally brought it out and won,” Dingman said with a laugh. That was an ‘aha’ moment for us. Then Dufner in 2011 going into that playoff with Keegan Bradley that was like a five-hour informercial for us over the weekend and served as a huge moment for the product.”
That exposure paid off. In 2009, the company sold roughly 5000 grips. Now they sell over two million year over year.
Along with Spieth, Sergio Garcia also officially represents the brand. However, the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Colin Morikawa also currently utilize the grips.
“We’ve gotten excellent feedback from pros. Dufner told us early on that if he could make a half of a putt more per tournament, he’d make an extra $3 million in a season. It’s a huge deal,” Dingman remarked. “To be trusted to help their game means a lot to us. We don’t take it lightly.”
Dingman said that his company has relationships with almost every club manufacturer out there to offer SuperStroke as an option or upgrade. Currently, TaylorMade puts SuperStroke on every putter that leaves their factory.
SuperStroke has recently expanded their offerings, now offering normal sized grips for the rest of the clubs in a player’s game as well as a line of bags set to debut in the fall.
“The club grips are our fastest growing segments. Jordan (Spieth) and Sergio (Garcia) are currently use them and giving us great feedback,” Dingman explained. “There’s obviously a lot of competition there, but we’re making great in-roads and it is a segment we really want to focus on in the future. We just want to help a player’s game and we’re pleased to be trusted by so many.”
(written by Timothy Pontzer)
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