Tom Slighter Putter Company.

Sleepless in Seattle
Thankfully, nothing about Tom Slighter or his putters has anything to do with the chick flick “Sleepless in Seattle” except for the fact that Tom Slighter keeps a crazy schedule with little sleep.  On a couple of the emails I sent him to set things up, I noticed an odd time, 5:00 AM Central Time (meaning 3:00 AM Pacific Time).  Sure enough he was up and at it working with customers on putters via email.
I’d been emailing Tom back and forth for months now about a special putter project.  They always came in early in the morning.  Over those many emails Tom has been extremely helpful and friendly even during all my pestering.  It just so happened that while I was on a little vacation out in Seattle, I thought it would be fun to stop in and see Tom Slighter and his putters.

I was in for quite a treat.  Tom Slighter and Bonnie (his wife) welcomed my wife and I into their home.  It was a beautiful setting just north of Seattle.  We were invited in just like old friends.  As we sat down in their living room, we just struck up a conversation about golf, putters and life.  It was really interesting to learn about Tom’s craft and his life.   His alarm goes off at 2:20 AM each day.  He gets up and takes care of putter emails from his downstairs office.  His other morning ritual takes him to the gym at 4:30 AM for a pretty extensive workout (by the look of things).  I guess I had just assumed that putters paid all the bills, but to my surprise he has a full time job with State Farm that fills his weekday.  Most of his putter work is done on Saturday and Sunday.  He does all the hand stamping and custom work in his shop.  (Which is just his 3-car garage).  He does hire a shop do the milling and basic shaping during the week.

He was more than willing to open up the shop and show all the different tools and machines that allow him to craft his masterpieces.  He had a couple of mills, multiple grinding wheels, a stamping station, welding area, some heat treatment machines and other desks and drawers to do whatever else the customer asked for.

Tom started in the putter industry doing refinishing.  He was really the only guy out there willing to take your beat-up putter and make it look new again.  His work is amazing when you see the junk he gets and the way it is returned like new.  As time went on he realized he could make his own putters too, thus the creation of his various lines whose names are taken from the suburbs of Seattle.

He is humble and honest.  Tom hasn’t promoted his product all over the Internet, he is not a regular on any discussion board or website.  The work speaks for itself.  He refuses to badmouth any other putter maker or golf company, even if he had reason to.  Tom talked about retiring in a few years from his day job and looks forward to spend more time with his putter company, that is weekday time only.  He also hopes to have a little more time to enjoy his new motorcycle, as long as he can keep it upright.

Will you see a Slighter Putter on tour?  Maybe someday, but it won’t be Tom out there spending his time flying all over the country to promote his product.  The Japrechaun (Tom is Japanese/Irish and had a bobble-head made enjoying his heritage) enjoys staying at home with his family.   But it does sound like he has some really cool stuff in the hopper, stuff that could be seen on tour someday, so check out his website and keep on the lookout for new stuff.

Tom is truly sleepless in Seattle, but when you see his putters you see his relentless pursuit of getting it just right.  His high-energy personality is really fun to be around.  Our visit and seeing his creativity in action confirmed my conviction that I certainly had the right person for my custom putter project.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.  So if you’re in the market for a custom putter, check out a Slighter Putter.

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