For the better part of 25 years, Scotty Cameron has set the standard by which every other putter maker is measured. He’s part craftsman, part politician, and 100% marketing opportunist.
His putters and accessories are responsible for an incomparable collectible market and he’s the reason we’re okay talking about putter prices in the five-digits (and $300 headcovers).
He is Scotty Cameron and this is a space he’s created. But he can’t last forever, and we believe we know who’s next in line.
No one is suggesting the Cameron empire is going to crumble overnight. There’s far too many fanatics and collectors for that to happen. The more likely scenario is a gradual transition where Scotty fades to the periphery and in his place stands Tyson Lamb.
Respect the Legend, Do Your Thing
Scotty is 53, Tyson is 27. Scotty has built an empire and Tyson is, by his own admission, trying to figure things out. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Tyson is intimidated by all of Scotty’s success.
While he readily admits a profound and deep “respect for all SC has done” and acknowledges Cameron’s model as the only one worth emulating, Tyson is anything but star-struck. In fact, (CAD technology notwithstanding) Tyson proclaims “Scotty wasn’t doing the caliber of work at 27 that I am now.”
Tell it Like it Is
In this over-commercialized world where every interview seems scripted and political correctness is valued more than honesty, it’s invigorating when Tyson tells you “Camerons are over-engineered and Bettinardi does way too much paintfill.” He goes on to say, “Scotty is smart, but he thinks the industry is stupid… he talks down to the consumer.”
His intent isn’t to slander the very names who make his livelihood possible, but rather Tyson can’t help but be anything other than brutally honest. Moreover, Tyson sees himself as a true artist and craftsman, not simply someone who “stamps dogs and smiley faces on putters.”
That’s something you need to know about Tyson. He’s brash and arrogant, and his putters are unlike anything on the market. Period.
It’s like my father used to say, “It’s not arrogant if you can back it up.”
Tyson backs it up. And then some.
Not Just Gamers, Collectibles Too
In high school Tyson would buy an off-the-rack Cameron Studio Stainless for $300, modify it and turn around and sell it for three to four times what he bought it for. “I just figured it out” is his only explanation as to how he got this good, this fast. It almost seems too easy, but this kid is Picasso with a milling machine.
Tyson doesn’t view himself solely as a putter maker. He does a large volume of custom work (signage, etc.) but if selling five custom pieces for $2,600 a pop through Jim Butler is any sort of harbinger, custom signs and metalwork is going to be taking a back seat for a bit. Or the next couple decades. Tyson is already establishing himself as a credible player in the high-end collectible market and he’s fitting into a self-defined “weird hole” with his custom pieces, which start at $1,000 and only go up from there.
This puts his price above a typical Bettinardi or Piretti, but well below the $1,700 price tag of a basic Circle T Cameron. Tyson is quick to note while “$1,000 is crazy for a putter”, he’s picking up more and more former Cameron clients because “I’ll do what Scotty won’t”. If you’re paying a premium for a handmade, custom putter you’d like to think the name on it is the same person who created it.
“Not made in China”
If you scan Tyson’s Instagram, you’ll see “Not Made in China” stampings, which is his way of giving a middle finger to the “B.S. of marketing and lack of connection between consumer and process.” It’s not that Tyson is some type of xenophobe, but he reacts with disdain when someone just plants his name on a product, giving the impression he actually created, designed, milled, stamped, polished and delivered the product. I think this is what Tyson means when he says “Piretti is just a face.” Bold? Yes. Accurate? That’s debatable.
Do you want one yet?
Don’t check in your local PGA Superstore, on Ebay, or any green grass account. Right now, you can DM Tyson through his Instagram account while he continues to build his official website. Call it purposeful exclusivity.
There’s no reason for Tyson to grow too quickly. He could make a bunch of prototypes, call in a couple favors and take his chances next to every other bag on the practice greens every week on the PGA Tour. He could catch lightning in a bottle or it could be a colossal waste of time and money. The more prudent approach, according to Lamb, is to solidify a strategy which will allow him maintain control over every step of the process and see how things go if he ramps up production to 15 or 20 putters a month.
If he’s as good as I think he is, it’s only a matter of time until a major OEM comes calling with the resources and reach to take Tyson Lamb from garage artisan to penthouse icon.
As for critics? Tyson doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about that noise or becoming the next “whomever.” He’s more concerned with refining his craft; petty critics claiming he doesn’t have the clout or name recognition to be “charging what he does” can kiss his ass. But excuse him if he doesn’t exactly take them seriously – he’s kind of busy becoming the best putter architect you just heard about.
Tyson Lamb Gallery
from MyGolfSpy http://www.mygolfspy.com/tyson-lamb-the-next-scotty-cameron/