ORLANDO, Fla. -- A year ago, Stephen Boccieri left the PGA Merchandise Show with a crazy idea. He was going to try and get Jack Nicklaus to endorse his new product, the Secret Grip.
Boccieri, CEO and president of Boccieri Golf, is best known as the inventor of the Heavy Putter, which debuted in 2003. The Secret Grip continues with the "heavy" theme. Boccieri added a 17-gram tungsten cap to the end of the grip, making it 40 percent heavier than an average grip.
Boccieri said the extra weight in the grip, called back weighting, quiets the hands and gives golfers more control over their shots. Thus, the idea behind the grip was not to increase distance, but to improve accuracy and control.
After several months of working his contacts in the golf industry, Boccieri was able to get the Secret Grip into the paws of the Golden Bear. After trying out the grips at the Memorial Tournament last May, Boccieri said Nicklaus was "intrigued" and wanted the grips on the rest of his clubs.
By September, the 18-time major champion signed on as a spokesperson for the Secret Grip. Boccieri couldn't believe it.
"It's the pinnacle of my career," Boccieri said. "For him to be associated with me is my greatest thrill."
While Boccieri makes a full line of clubs, he knows it's hard to compete with the TaylorMades and Titleists of the world. But Boccieri sees the Secret Grip as a great way to get golfers in the door and into the rest of his products. (It's a strategy that worked well for Apple when it debuted the iPod.)
In the video below, Nicklaus talks about why he back-weighted his clubs when he was on Tour: (Photo: Courtesy of Boccieri Golf)