Grace’s resignation comes right on the heels of MacGregor’s launch of a new line of Bobby Grace DCT putters (pictured here).
“We appreciate the work and dedication Bobby gave to the company since it acquired Bobby Grace Putters in 2003 and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said CEO and President Michael Setola.
According to the company, “MacGregor Golf retains ownership of all trademarks and other rights associated with Bobby Grace Putters and the name Bobby Grace…MacGregor will continue to further expand its putter line featuring the category leading DCT technology and feature it in an expanded marketing initiative starting in the Fall of 2008.”
Bobby Grace first made a splash in 1994 with his “Fat Lady Swings” putter, a mallet that he hand-milled in his garage. This distinctive putter helped Nick Price win the 1994 PGA Championship by a record six shots. Grace’s smaller putter, “The Pip-Squeak,” was used by Annika Sorenstam to win her first seven professional events.
Grace’s continued success in club design eventually led to the sale of his company and a position with MacGregor Golf as vice president of putter research and development.
In an earlier review of the first generation of Bobby Grace DCT putters, PutterZone.com noted that change was afoot at MacGregor Golf, including an executive restructuring that resulted in Greg “The Shark” Norman being named chairman of the board in October.
In that context, perhaps Grace’s resignation isn’t so stunning after all. Change inevitably invites more change, and sometimes a fresh start is best for all involved. Grace is now a free agent while MacGregor starts anew with its putter program, which hasn’t been the smoothest operation lately (and for reasons that were most likely out of Grace’s control).
It’s understandable that MacGregor would retain its rights to the Bobby Grace name for the time being, considering the company’s current inventory of Grace-designed putters, but PutterZone.com believes that MacGregor should make a clean break with the Grace name moving forward. After all, those who care about designer names will know Bobby Grace is no longer with MacGregor, while those who don’t care about designer names still won’t care. Maybe it’s time for Greg Norman to put his name on a putter, because he’s proven to have the Midas touch on many fronts, from wine to apparel to golf course design.
One thing is for sure—Bobby Grace put MacGregor putters back on the map, and it will be fun to see where they both go from here.