CORAL SPRINGS – Four decades of established success is almost unheard of in any business, but to reach that milestone in the highly competitive golf industry, especially in the Sunshine State, is as rare as a bald eagle sighting. Enter Putter Around Club Repair, Inc., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. And to think that it all started with a gesture from Richard Conragan’s father designed to yield a much different result. “My father had done very well in business, he was in men’s hairstyling and barber schools,” recalled Conragan while highlighting his business’s newest location at The Country Club of Coral Springs. “I had just played the mini-tour, I had been playing for five years and went to Tour School twice. After the second year of not making it, poverty set in, and I had to get a job.
“I started the business with $12,000 and he used to tell people he put me in business figuring I would go out of business, teach me a lesson and then I was going to go back working for him. Unbeknownst to him, I grinded it out and we ended up making it up to 40 years now.” Not just making it but advancing to the point of being recognized as a top 100 club fitter by Golf Digest, having done so for 14 consecutive years. Conragan counts World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez among his more notable clients and works with everyone from the youngest up-and-coming youth golfers to touring professionals, crediting their personalized focus to detail and unmatched product knowledge as the biggest selling points.
Putter Around Club Repair traces its beginnings to the first location in Tamarac inside a small building off of State Road 7 and Commercial Boulevard, described by Conragan as a “shoe cobbler’s kind of thing.” He sometimes worked through the night and even slept behind the counter with the lights on, garnering the attention of passing police patrols who in turn helped generate more business after seeing his dedication. Over the years, the operation expanded to a second location in Tamarac, one in Coconut Creek and then one in Delray Beach in 1991 followed by another location in West Palm Beach that is no longer there. His son-in-law, Brian Thomas, now runs the Boynton Beach location under a separate but linked entity called Putter Around, Inc., and Conragan and his longtime manager and partner Tom Patterson run the Tamarac location and the one in Coral Springs.
“We never sell anything that we don’t believe will help an individual and we treat our customers the same way that we would want to be treated,” Conragan said. “We work very hard at staying on top of all the latest technology with shafts and machines, so it’s worked out very well that way. “Everyone wants to think of golf as an exact science and it’s far from it. There’s one word that plays a big part in the game of golf and that is the word ‘feel,’ and it’s relative to each individual. In our fittings we make the individual part of it. We don’t dictate what they should hit, and we work with every manufacturer.”
This June will mark two years for Conragan and Patterson at The Country Club of Coral Springs and club owner Bernie Moyle has been pleased with what they bring to the course while also being supportive. It’s one of over 80 golf courses Conragan services between Miami and Boca Raton and their bread and butter remains club repair, but they also utilize the latest technology for club fittings both with their outdoor launch monitor and their indoor putting station with Science In Motion technology.
There’s no trade secret behind the company’s success other than good, old fashioned attention to detail that yields loyal customers from far and wide. His mantra is, “I don’t believe that with every transaction you make a profit, I believe that with every transaction you try to make a loyal customer.”