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Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Putters: Q & A With Bob Bettinardi
In the near future, once the USGA ban on anchored putting takes effect, could Matt Kuchar’s unique “arm lock” style of putting become the new standard for anchored-putting disciples? The 2nd Swing Golf Blog discusses that and more in a Q&A session with putter designer Bob Bettinardi, founder of Bettinardi Golf, which has just released the Matt Kuchar Signature Series putters.
2nd Swing: You’re in Florida at The Players Championship to announce the new line. Is anyone talking about the anchored putting ban?
Bob Bettinardi: I just talked to Keegan Bradley about five minutes ago on the putting green — we made him a putter about a month ago — and I asked him, “Keegan, what’s happening with the outlawing of the belly and anchoring?” He said, “It’s over,” meaning that the USGA ruling from a few months ago (banning anchored putting strokes in 2016) is going to prevail, and take effect on Tour, as well. So I believe that if you’re a PGA Tour player or a player that wants to play in high-end tournaments, or just want to follow the rules, and you cannot putt with a standard-length putter, you’re going to have to go to this Kuchar-style method of putting, the arm-lock style.
2S : What was it like working on this putter series with Matt Kuchar, one of the best putters in the world and a player at the forefront of this new putting style?
BB: When Matt Kuchar came up to me and said, “Hey, we should do a collaboration,” I was very excited. It was great working with Matt, first of all, because he’s an unbelievably nice guy. Secondly, Matt has, I think, transformed his whole game by using this arm-lock putting stroke. Using Matt’s inspiration, and also his specs, to create this line helped us to create something truly unique.
2S: What can you tell us about the Kuchar Series putters?
BB: Basically there are two models: the model that he’s using right now (the Model 1, a widened blade) and a mallet, so there’s something for everyone there. For each model, there are two styles to choose from. You can buy each one in the Kuchar-style, 42-inch length, or in the standard style – same putter head but with traditional, 33-, 34- and 35-inch lengths. So really, there are two models but four products.
2S: Besides length, what are the other differences between the Kuchar-style and standard putters?
BB: A big difference is loft. The Kuchar style has seven degrees of loft (due to the slight forward press the arm-lock style promotes), while the standard versions have just our normal three degrees of loft. The Kuchar-style putters are 400 grams, while the standard putters are 350 grams. The offset on the Kuchar-style is around 2.5 shafts, while the standard style has just one shaft of offset. The lie angle for each is 71 degrees, they all use our F.I.T. Face technology, and as always, as you guys know, Bettinardi controls their own metals. All of our models are made from very soft, proprietary carbon steel. This gives our putters a very nice feel and makes them perfect for fitting with, as well.
2S: Speaking of fitting, how can the average golfer determine which length is right for him or her?
BB: I’ve been asked that quite often. Here’s the answer: Kuchar puts the grip part of the putter in his forearm, so think of your forearm from your elbow down to your wrist – that’s six inches or more of length there. Kuchar has that grip right up to his elbow or just below, and he’s six-foot-four – his putter length is 44.75 inches. Our standard length, then, for our Kuchar-style putter is 42 inches long. At 2nd Swing Studio B, the same fitting principles as always apply: get the eye over the ball at the inside heel. Once we’ve got that down, we’re going to just line it up on the forearm, and if it feels comfortable there, just below the elbow, that’s what we’ll cut it at, and if it’s comfortable two inches below the elbow, then we’ll cut it there. But we’ll sell it at 42-inch standard.
2S: Any final thoughts?
BB: I recently talked to Mike Shannon — a renowned putting coach at Sea Island for Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and others — who said the same thing I’ve heard from others about Kuchar’s arm-lock stroke: “This is the new style of putting.”