Golf

Grand Strand resident having a close-out sale after a decade pitching golf invention

After more than a decade of producing and selling his golf invention, Walt Graves of Little River is ready to sell his remaining inventory and all but give up on his hope of having it go mainstream.

Graves, 74, created “Double Duty - The Divot Repair Putter” which has two prongs on the back of the putter head to repair ball marks on greens without having to bend over. The putter essentially has a ball mark tool built into the back of the head.

He has used it to protect a creaky back and thought it would be popular with older golfers, but sales never reflected his enthusiastic outlook.

Graves had 1,100 produced over the years and has 200 left in his garage that he is willing to part with for $20 each, with an additional $19.50 if shipping is required, though he can ship up to five in one box at that charge.

Graves will deliver putters up to 50 miles from Little River for free, as well. “I need to get rid of them. They’re sitting here and they’re not doing me any good,” Graves said.

Ten putters are left-handed and all putters are made of 431 stainless steel, have a 360-gram face-balanced head, 72-degree shaft angle, 3 degrees of face loft, standard putter grip and 36-inch shaft.

After four years of working on the putter and attempting to receive the USGA’s approval that it conforms to the Rules of Golf – which he did in the third attempt in 2009 – Graves first introduced the putter to consumers at the 2009 PGA Merchandise show. He returned to the show in 2010 and ’11.

He tried several things, including partnering with InventHelp out of Pittsburgh to put some on the market and having club maker Infiniti Golf outside Chicago manufacture hundreds of the putters, but he was never able to get the putter to appeal to the masses.

“Most of the big guys, if they do a new idea it has to come in-house,” Graves said. “I talked to a bunch of them and they liked the idea but they weren’t interested in making them.”

The Double Duty even did well with some raters. It was included in the 2011 GolfTest USA putter evaluation, in which a couple hundred golfers rated dozens of putters. On scale of 1-10, it averaged 8.5 to receive GolfTest's “Seal of Approval” and a three-star rating out of five stars, and it received a score of at least 8.3 in all categories: distance control, alignment, accuracy, forgiveness, sound, appearance, feel, design, recommend and overall.

Graves holds a patent on the putter and has a patent for a new head that he’s willing to sell or share with a manufacturer willing to produce them. Though it has cost him money and time, Graves said he’d do it again.

“It was worth it,” Graves said. “When I was playing a lot and would go buy a putter, I never would get a putter off the rack and hit it. If I picked up a putter and it felt good in my hand, that’s the one I would take. Every time I pick up one of my putters it feels as good or better as the one I just sold.

“If I had to do it all over again I’d do it again. I’d do some things different, but that’s the past. It just didn’t catch on.”

Graves can be reached at 843-399-4043 or graves.walter@yahoo.com.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin

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