I have been writing my blog for nearly a year now and am amazed at how many people contact me about the stories I write and the businesses I am involved with.
One such person was Pierre Ocenac who liked a post I put out regarding Wiseman cases due to the fact they were made from carbon fibre and he was working with the same material when making his putters. We spoke on the phone and arranged for me to travel to Biarritz to see his range of putters and understand the story behind the business.
Pierre can trace his family roots back to 1420 AD with the family always being known for their carpentry skills. His ancestors built the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Pierre is an engineer by trade working for many years with Airbus, the aeroplane manufacturer, where he was Chief Engineer for Projects with over 600 people working for him. So, when it came to putters who better than to design something different based on his knowledge of physics and mathematics.
Pierre is married to Celine who was a very successful Lingerie designer with the high-end French Lingerie brand LEJABY and is now the custodian of the Pierre Ocenac brand working with leather and cashmere to provide a beautiful finish to the grip and the putter cover along with marketing and packaging.
They work together in a lovely workshop just outside of Biarritz and have been on a journey for nearly 4 years to perfect a putter that is made out of luxury materials: exclusive rare woods, and precious metal, with a special housel that is made from carbon fibre and shafts, made especially for them by Oban and Deramax a Japanese high tech manufacturer. Pierre and Celine will launch their first putters in July and I really admire the hard work, dedication and commitment they have put into making something that is very special and bespoke which reminded me of a Bugatti car.
They took me through a 36-stage process to ensure they had exactly the right measurements and bio-dynamic information to build my putter which took around 45 minutes. We then went through the types of wood available. The reason why Pierre wanted to use wood for his putters is that wood is one of the materials that participate in his international patent on head construction to provide zero vibration which makes for a perfect pure impact for a true roll.
Pierre’s mentor Jean Garaialde is one of France’s all-time great players who would regularly compete against Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in their prime. Jean has helped Pierre consistently through the process and is delighted with the end result.
The process starts with hand-drawn sketches, then the sketch is translated and processed by CAD with the very latest engineering software. Then the long process of validating the design and performance and then the CNC milling machine takes over. Each putter piece is CNC milled. Quality control then kicks in and the 52 pieces are assembled by hand. Finally, the sports racing grip is hand sown providing a truly luxury product.
There are a number of different types of precious wood to choose from such as Macassar Ebony, Kingwood, Tigerwood, Amaranth and Gabon Black Ebony. There is an area within the workshop which has different wood samples allowing the customer to see a huge selection. Once you choose the type and colour of the wood you then decide on which head model you like.
I chose the Dragon 1.0 in Ebony and was shown the technology that transforms a block of wood into an elegant finely sculpted putter head. Then a luxurious satin finish with exceptional softness is applied with a solid black ebony face. Each putter head design is limited to just 250 and a solid silver plate engraved with your name or initials or logo. My putter will have my website logo and the number 66 engraved on the plate. All in all, it takes 30 hours to make one putter and I will receive mine in 6 weeks’ time which adds to the excitement and the overall service.
The putter headcover is also a piece of art, innovation and technology made from a perfect blend of cashmere and perforated leather. Cashmere is used as it has natural absorption properties and regulates humidity thus continuing to look after your putter for many years to come.
Whilst over dinner the three of us discussed whether this was a luxury product or a golf product and like a Bugatti, we decided it is a luxury product but performs the task it is designed for with a first-class performance based on the engineering expertise and the research and development that has gone into getting every detail perfect for each customer. Like a Bugatti due to the quality and expertise the putter is not cheap starting at $3,000 but for those who can afford it great value for money.
I had never been to Biarritz before and I loved the town it had a real elegance and the opportunity to take a small trip to the South of France to have a putter especially designed and made for you by Pierre and Celine whilst also playing a little golf at one of the many golf courses in the area should be on many peoples wish list.
I for one will be back and I truly believe that my putting will improve thanks to my new bespoke Pierre Ocenac Putter!
Until next time