A Quick 18 With… Putter Designer Tom Slighter

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Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by! We debuted our “A Quick 18 With…” section last year and have decided to really put a push on getting more industry interviews for our readers. Our first “A Quick 18 With…” of 2006 is with putter guru Tom Slighter.

Tom Slighter makes some of the best putters on the market yet the majority of golfers are unfamiliar with him. He is the President and Founder of Slighter Golf… a company based in Snohomish, Washington. His website is filled with lots of great information and pictures. If you’re in the market for a putter or want to refinish an old one… I highly suggest you talk to Tom Slighter. Let’s tee off with the President and Founder of Slighter Golf… Tom Slighter!

1. What is your handicap?

I believe you need to golf to have a handicap. I have been so busy with my
putter business I haven’t had a chance to golf but a few times a year. Used to
sport a handicap of around 7-9.

2. What’s in your bag?

1993 Mizuno Grads (3-6), Mizuno MP-14 (7-PW), Callaway Steel Head Plus w/steel shaft 3-5 wood, Callaway Big Bertha VFT Hawkeye 9.5 w/Fujikura shaft, Cleveland 691 RTG 52 and Cleveland 485 RTG 56. Slighter Bellevue putter.

3. If you could pick any foursome in the world to golf with who would it be?

My father, Doug Hamilton, Sheldon Howard, Neil Howard, and Greg Bishop

4. What is your favorite course?

Golf Club at Newcastle (Seattle WA)

5. Who is your favorite player of all time?

Tiger Woods

6. What is your favorite band or musical artist?

Rod Stewart

7. Favorite Movie?

Cool Runnings

8. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one item with you what would it be?

Photo of my family

9. What is your favorite sport other than golf?

Football

10. Who is your dream date?

Bonnie Slighter (wife)

11. Who has been the most influential person in your career?

My Father: Dr. Rev. Alfred R. Slighter

12. If you had to pick one person to make a 20 foot putt to win you $1,000,000 who would it be?

Sheldon Howard

13. Who is your favorite actor/actress?

Marisa Tomei

14. First off can you tell us a little bit about Slighter Golf and what inspired you to become a custom putter maker?

I started refinishing putters in 2000 as a hobby. I used ebay as a selling base and received numerous requests for refinishing work. After working on hundreds of putters I decided to design my own putter. I spent a year of prototyping a design and sold my first putter the” Seattle” on ebay in September 2002. I never thought it would sell, but it did. I then developed the “ Tacoma”, “Bellevue”, etc. I continue to develop my skills on the mill and love to design putters. I have only touched the surface of what I would like to see develop with Slighter Golf putters. Putters have grown to be a true passion of mine, but my customers will always be the driving factor behind Slighter Golf.

15. There are a number of different putter styles available at Slighter Golf. Some of these are very traditional looking but some like The Needle are more creative. Where do you get the ideas for different putter designs?

I wanted to develop a MOI putter and was at a loss with all the designs out on the market. I wanted something different and after working on the design for quite some time, my machinist, Dean simply said, “let’s make it look like the Space Needle”. Hence, “The Needle”. My customers have been a large factor with helping come up with designs. The requests I receive to manipulate a current putter have turned into “new” models. I have a lot more designs up my sleeve, just not enough time in a day.

16. We’ve all been witness to the trend in high-MOI putters yet many of the world’s top players do not use these designs. Do you think the high-MOI trend is going to continue to grow or do you see something new on the horizon?

I believe the MOI putters will have a place, but it is exactly what you indicated; a trend. The traditional putter is just down right solid and will always have a place. It is not so likely to be subject to the trend. Kind of like a lot of things in life, putting can be just as simple as getting back to the basics.

17. Would you ever consider designing putters for a larger golf company, like Scotty Cameron with Titleist?

Absolutely.

18. Do you have any tips or advice to help golfers when they are looking for a new putter?

Choose a putter that appeals to you at address, provides confidence, has the proper weight, length, and grip. The only thing you should be thinking about when standing over a 3’ putt is how good it feels to pick the ball up out of the cup.

A huge thanks to Tom Slighter and all the folks at Slighter Golf. I’d imagine Tom is getting pretty busy right now and we really appreciate him taking the time to do this! Have a great day and we’ll talk to you real soon.

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