Colorado AvidGolfer | August 2013
seeing this Japanese man, a pilot, come into the store,” Grady recalls. “He was stationed in Hawaii, and we became friends and he explained to me the value of the clubs I was selling for a couple of dollars. I hate to think of how many got away.” But there were many more that didn’t. Using knowledge gleaned from his pilot friend, reading books on the history of golf and putters, and leveraging his relationships with local PGA Professionals and vendors, Grady bought and bartered his way to a staggering collection. Plus, after the store started selling new merchandise, his contacts in the golf and sporting goods worlds grew exponentially, connecting him to people who, knowing his passion, would add to his cache either because they liked him or, on occasion, needed the money. Some of them needed the mojo. During the 1990s, a number of players in The International sought him out, having heard he owned a bunch of Designed by Cleveland Classics with the original leather grip. “Those guys had an orgasm when they saw it,” Grady jokes. At least one winner of the event convinced Grady to make a trade. The Designed By is one of the models featured in Dalton R. Daves’ 1996 Putters
of Distinction: A Guide to Classic Putters. “I have 90 percent of the putters in this book,” Grady says, thumbing through his dog-eared edition. The innumerable treasures in his trove include an original Wilson putter designed by Arnold Palmer; a number of 8802s from 1965; a low-number, limited edition Ray Cook Blue Goose; pre-Acushnet John Reuter Bulls Eyes; early Bobby Grace Classics; dozens of MacGregor pro models—“not the crappy retail ones”— from the days of Tommy Armour and Jack Nicklaus; and numerous Scotty Cameron editions, like those he made for Mizuno and the prototypes for Tiger Woods. “I respect and appreciate Scotty but feel like Scotty designs for his cult of collectors now,” Grady says. “Both he and I have moved on.” Moving through the collection, he points out curios like the Coors ceramic putters from the 1980s, the limited edition Michael Jordan Golf Wilson 8802, and even the Odyssey hockey-stick putter from Happy Gilmore. Grady takes particular pride in his PING compilation, which comprises myriad Ansers stamped with different city names (Redwood City, Phoenix, Scottsdale), ZIP codes, coloradoavidgo lf e r.c o m
P H O T O G R A P H BY P e t e r L o c k l e y / R i c h Clar k s o n & A s s o c i at e s
EROME GRADY’s putter collection spills from his home office into the double-railed hallway outside it, the club shafts forming balusters of steel, hickory and bamboo. At the opposite end of the hall hangs a complete Scotty Cameron wood-framed seven-putter Black Rack from 1995 and an eight-putter Copper Rack from 1996. All 15 models are there—along with their head covers. The 63-year-old retired founder and president of Colorado Ski & Golf—which he started in 1983 with $2,000 and used equipment and sold for $12 million 11 years later—has in his possession approximately 1,200 putters, “but I haven’t bought one in at least 10 years,” he says. “I have no room.” What he does have is a love for flatsticks of every variety. Grady’s putter passion doesn’t stem from playing golf; he doesn’t. The one-time Marquette University basketball player “won’t do things I’m not good at, and that includes golfing and skiing.” Rather, his passion owes to his early days selling used golf and ski equipment at Colorado Ski & Golf. “People were buying a lot of Wilson 8002s and George Low Sportsmans, and I’d keep
THE GRADY BUNCH: Shafts lead to the home office.