Published on January 15th, 2014 | by 2nd Swing
2014 Bettinardi Putters – The Interview
The new lineup of precision-milled, made-in-the-USA, putters from Bettinardi Golf is now available. 2nd Swing Golf got a chance to talk with the company’s visionary founder, Bob Bettinardi, about what’s new for the 2014 season.
2S: Tell us about what you’ve come up with for 2014?
BB: The No. 1 thing that we changed for the BB Series was the finish – we want with a Satin Nickel or Satin Silver finish, which we haven’t done for quite awhile with any series. It’s a soft look and right away, the pros around here were saying, “Yes, I love the look of this.” It’s a different option than a lot of our other looks, which have a copper or metallic-gray finish, and it’s really cool. Within the BB Series you have the BB55, a high-MOI mallet milled from a single block of aircraft aluminum, and we were able to anodize the finish to almost exactly match that of our other mild carbon steel BB putters.
The other key to the series was developing a lineup that can cover the majority of golfers. We did a mallet, a center-shaft, a heel-toe blade, and then that high-MOI BB55.
2S: There are also three counterbalanced putters in the BB Series this year. What can you tell us about this new style?
BB: We feel like that’s going to be another way to putt in 2014; with the anchoring ban going into effect in two years, we know people are going to be looking for other ways to putt. Last year the arm-lock Matt Kuchars were a huge success for Bettinardi – Kuchar himself won three times using it – and now we’ve added the counterbalanced options. So now we think we’ve got all three ways to putt – arm-lock, counterbalanced, and conventional – covered with some beautiful putters. We’re not making more longs or bellies, and we’re way out front of this USGA regulation. Also, looking at our competition, the BB Series is at least $50 to $100 cheaper than our competitors.
2S: The Kuchar Series has been a huge success. Are you thinking about expanding the arm-lock offerings into other Series anytime soon?
BB: You won’t see them in BB, and you won’t see them in the Signature Series, but I will say that you may end up seeing a third Kuchar Series putter toward the middle of this year. Matt still games the Model 1, and look at last week, he put up another top-10 finish, so we won’t fix something that’s not broken, but we’re looking into it.
BB: Listen, it’s about doing it the right way. Everything we do here takes time, effort, quality control. I could design new putters every year, take them on Tour, work with players and churn something out. But because all of our putters are made here in Tinley Park, Ill., with such a precise milling process, it takes a lot of time to manufacture our products. It was okay to manufacture new lines every year when we were doing very small quantities, but since Bettinardi is growing every year and the quantities are increasing, it just makes sense to take two or three of the lines into the following year. For lines like the Queen B and Studio Stock, it’s now a two-year product cycle.
2S: What’s your method to picking which models you’ll work on each year?
BB: It’s a gut feeling. Being in the golf industry for as long as I have, and going out on Tour 12-15 times a year, I get a sense of what I think is going to be popular, what’s going to be thought of as a cool and great-looking putter.
2S: Are you getting more Tour players on staff this year?
BB: We’re really pleased to have Matt Kuchar, probably the most consistent player in the world, on our Tour staff, as well as Brian Gay. We also want to congratulate the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup champion, who used a Bettinardi putter. We’re going to have a lot more exposure on the Web.com Tour this year, among others.
2S: Last question. We were blown away by the Signature Series 7 putter in this new lineup. What can you say about it?
BB: It is the crown jewel of the line, there’s no doubt about it. We mill it down from a single billet of double-aged stainless steel. It’s a putter that’s near and dear to my heart; I made it for my father about 20 years ago, and he never switched away from it. It was in a cabinet in my office since he passed away eight years ago, and I decided to bring it back into commission. It’s face-balanced, with no hosel, just a double-bend shaft right into the head. It’s a very cool-looking putter, and it’s been in my own bag for a while now.