Published on January 15th, 2014 | by erics72
Review: 2014 Bettinardi BB Series Putters
Summary: These putters not only look great, they offer outstanding feel and performance across the spectrum of putting strokes.
The exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail of Bettinardi putters has been well documented since Robert J. Bettinardi founded the company in 1991. Always 100 percent made in the USA, Bettinardi partners are often referred to as works of art inasmuch as they are precision tools to use on the golf course. Milled from a solid-piece of carbon steel, Bettinardi’s one-piece construction and patented Hyper HoneyComb face milling have always resulted in the ideal balance of solid feel and softness with the flattest putter face in the industry.
2014 BB Series Overview
The 2014 BB Series line from Bettinardi certainly has much to offer. It not only gives you exactly what you’d expect from Bettinardi, with timeless designs to appeal to the traditionalists, it also offers forward-thinking designs that are sure to open the eyes of those looking for the next-big-thing.
Outside of the new models and offerings, which will be covered in more detail later, a main change for the 2014 is the satin silver finish, which creates a slightly softer look at address. The satin silver finish provides visual improvements, with mellow lines and more natural transitions; a slight but very appealing change. Another change is the stock grip on standard-length putters, which is now made by Pure Grip (available in Standard or Midsize). The Pure Grip offering has softer edges and a comfortable, tacky feel. Also for 2014, the headcover that comes with each putter pays homage to Bettinardi’s “Milled in the USA” pride, with a very attractive and tasteful red, white and blue color scheme, design to match the overall aesthetic of the entire putter. A small, yet much appreciated attention to detail.
Available models for the 2014 BB Series line include the classic BB1, the true center-shafted BB43, the BB32 mallet and the brand new BB55. The BB1, BB32 and BB55 are also available as counterbalanced models. The remainder of this review will focus on two distinctive aspects to the 2014 line: the counterbalance offerings and the new BB55.
BB-CB: BB32 Counterbalanced
With the onset of the ban on anchor putters, Bettinardi is releasing counterbalance models as another alternative, sure to appeal to those that either use an anchored putter currently or are looking for ways to become more consistent on the greens. Offered in the BB1, BB32 and BB55 models, the purpose of the counterbalance design is to put more weight into the grip of the putter while maintaining a higher overall putter weight. For these models, Bettinardi has added about 37 grams of weight to the putter head as well as extended the putter grip by three inches. The result is a heavier overall club that is balanced and stable for greater consistency.
Look, Feel & Performance
I was able to use the BB32-CB (counterbalance) model, a design I found very appealing. It is traditional in design yet also offers the alignment and stability benefits of a mallet. While the putter head design was impeccable, I was truly attracted to giving the counterbalance functionality a try. Having attempted anchored belly putters in the past, I was never truly able to get comfortable with them to capitalize on their advantages, and so I always reverted back to a standard-length putter.
When I first picked up the BB32-CB with the 17-inch red WINN grip, it was noticeably heavier. For my first few strokes I felt like I was fighting the putter and it wasn’t until I moved my hands higher on the grip, closer to my body, that I found the benefit of a counterbalanced putter. Once I found that comfortable balance point I could really let the putter do the work throughout the stroke. It felt stable, free flowing and easy. And the results were phenomenal! At one point I made 10 in a row from about 10-feet, a feat my putting stroke generally doesn’t allow for.
Brand new for 2014 is the BB55, a super-forgiving, high MOI (moment of inertia) mallet putter. The BB55 is milled from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum with weight plugs in the rear of the putter head, which moves the weight deep and back, allowing for a more stable stroke. The triple sight lines help frame the ball and focus on the desired target. Also for the BB55, and in addition to the Hyper HoneyComb face, Bettinardi milled over the face, adding their Feel Impact Technology (F.I.T) face to deliver an event softer feel.
Look, Feel & Performance
The new BB55 certainly is an attention getter. Make no mistake about it; this putter carries a large footprint and a non-traditional look. That said, with the smooth-rolling side panels, crescent-moon back and cut-out channels, the design of this putter softens the look without losing the ability to purely square it up to the target. Face balanced, this putter was easy to swing back and through, and the roll on the ball was beautifully end-over-end with very little skidding. What impressed me most about this putter was when I intentionally hit putts off the heel and toe. It was then that the high MOI shined, and the results were more made putts, even on the extreme heel and toe hits.
When looking at the BB55 and learning it was made from aircraft grade aluminum, I was a little fearful the putter would lose its feel – that impeccable balance of crispness and softness that I love in Bettinardi putters. Fear not, for this putter was as solid feeling as any others in the BB Series line! The F.I.T face provided a soft, responsive feel with immediate feedback. Overall the BB55 is an impressively radical design that’s sure to turn a few heads in 2014.
There is certainly much to be excited about within the 2014 BB Series line from Bettinardi, with something sure to appeal to all types of golfers. Above all, Bettinardi craftsmen hold true to their reputation for building high quality, beautiful putters that you can take pride in owning and playing. Couple that with a custom fitting at 2nd Swing’s Studio B location – one of only three Studio B’s in the country — and 2014 could be your best year yet on the greens.