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The Club Report: Bettinardi 2014 BB Line-Up and The UK

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It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know that song is referencing the winter holiday season, but for me, the holidays really only add a modicum of excitement to my December days. Sure it’s nice to see friends and family, and to hear daily what my kids want from Santa. Who doesn’t look forward to that? But if the visions of sugarplums don’t stoke my December fire, then what does?

New putters, of course!

While fruit-themed hallucinations are cool, what gets me through the longest nights of the year is knowing that next season’s new putters are just around the bend. Sure we get lots of new other golf clubs too, but new flatsticks are always at the top of my interest list. New lines, new models, new alignment aids, new materials, and even new grips all fire up my anticipation for the coming golf year. My putter-philia knows no bounds.

While many companies try to hide their putters until as close to the January PGA show as possible, one of my favorite putter makers, Bettinardi Golf, regularly treats the putter lover to a new model feast every December. We get to see the BB’s, the SS’s, the Queen B’s, and the Sig’s that we will acquire, or pine for in the coming year.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather look at the pictures of Bettinardi putters than a Christmas cards showing photos of  random cousins whom I’ve never met in person. Sorry cousin Zeke.

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 47

 

New Putters & New Plan

This year, Bettinardi has done something a bit different. They have introduced new models to an existing line. We will see those new BB’s in a bit, but they have also changed their release cycle. When you get the chance to look at the whole 2014 Bettinardi catalog, you will see that while the BB line has been revamped, the Studio Stock and Queen B lines have not.

Bettinardi has decided to move to a two-year cycle on their putter lines. That means that the 2013 Studio Stocks and Queen B models are around for another go in 2014. The only difference in those lines is the change of the grips to orange or white Pure Grips, respectively.

While this move will surely totally bum out people waiting for new Studio Stocks and Queen B putters, ultimately I think that the golf consumer community as a whole will welcome the change, as many have expressed dismay at the frequency of golf equipment releases.

Now we know what to expect, and when. Who knows, maybe this will give the designers at Bettinardi an extra year of R&D for each line and the new models that release will be that much better.

You may still be annoyed that there are fewer Bettinardi putters to drool over under the new system. Don’t worry; there are lots of new metal marvels to covet. In addition to these five BB models, in 2014 Bettinardi will also release counterbalanced versions of the BB1, BB32, and BB55, plus two amazing new Signature Series putters. Check back in January for the full story on the counterbalanced models and we will explore the Sigs soon after that.

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 27

Why these BB’s?

Those of us who follow Bettinardi annual releases know that while the BB1 is pretty much a lock to be there, the other heads rotate in and out. Curious about this, I asked Bettinardi’s VP of Sales/Marketing, Sam Bettinardi, to provide some insight on the model selection process.

 

How do you choose which models to include in a given line each year?

The process in which we choose our new models is an extensive one, coupled with input from PGA Tour players and also being able to offer our customers a wide variety of models. Our PGA Tour rep attends every event throughout the year and is able to work with these guys to find out what styles and head models are popular to them. In 2013 we found that a lot of players were looking for putters with a slightly lower profile, making the golf ball appear to float above the topline slightly.

We made the adjustments into our line and can be seen with the Studio Stock 14.  This year we noticed a considerable amount of players counterbalancing their putters in an effort to try alternative putting styles. So for 2014 we are adding 3 of our popular BB Series putters to the line in the BB1, BB32, and BB55 all available at 395 grams, a 17 inch grip, and a standard 38 inches in length.When we focus on the Bettinardi consumer, we want to be able to provide as much variety as possible throughout our different lines of putters.

Our BB Series contains 5 different and unique models that offer something to everyone with our Satin Silver finish and Hyper-Honeycomb face. The Studio Stock Series is a richer putter featuring our patented Hextagonal F.I.T. (Feel Impact Technology) Face and Corona Black PVD. The Queen B Models are an elegant pair of putters for those looking for a little heavier head weight at 360grams, the Micro-Honeycomb face, and the plush Cashmere Bronze finish that accompanies it.

Finally the Kuchar Models, which were released in May after Bettinardi Golf signed a multi-year deal with Matt Kuchar, can provide the consumer a putter that contains direct input from one of the top ten golfers in the world. We teamed up with Kuchar to release his arm lock style putter in two head styles and also in standard length.

 

So I guess it’s not just a random number generator picking the models. Who knew? OK, enough rambling, lets check out the new 2014 BB’s!

 2014 Bettinardi BB Series 46

Specifications 2014 Bettinardi BB Line

Material: Mild Carbon Steel / 6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum (BB55)
Finish:  Silver Satin / Champagne Bronze Anodized (BB55)
Head Weight: 353g / 358g (BB55)
Grip: Blue Pure Grip Standard or Midsized
Headcover: BB Series Red/White/Blue
Left Handed Models: BB1 & BB55

 

BB1

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 07

Crafted for those who expect a timeless design, the BB1 embodies the tradition of a classic heel toe weighted blade. The soft bumpers and definitive muscles make this the time-honored Bettinardi putter. This BB Series staple has an elongated neck with light mill marks displaying the craftsmanship that goes into making every Bettinardi. The Hyper-Honeycomb face on all BB Series Models is essential, recognized worldwide as our trademark in putting feel, and superior look.

When I first looked at the photos of the 2014 BB1 I got a little excited. OK maybe a lot excited. You see, I am a sucker for long neck, face-balanced blades. Then I looked at the BB1 a little closer, and realized that the neck was a little shorter, and a little closer to the heel than it would be if it was face balanced. Sure enough, 1/2 toe hang. For most of you, this BB1 will be right in your heel-toe weighted blade wheel house. Remember these are carbon steel as well. Super soft feel. Seriously, the carbon steel feels amazing. The 2014 BB1 does feel different from the 2013 version, and I think it is an improvement. The perennial BB model delivers again.

Toe Hang: 1/2 (4:30)
Stroke Fit: Slight Arc

FIT_FOR_STROKE-1-Slight

 

BB1F

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 16

The BB1F includes a neck that is ridge-milled and fades right into the head of the putter itself; allowing for a conventional smoothed out stroke. The appearance at address of this highly desired model is pure, flowing down to the shaft, while keeping your focus on the ball without any distractions. The slightly displaced Bettinardi text to the right side of the pocket gives all the BB Series putters a striking designer appeal.

Are flow necks good for the average golfer? It seems like I remember a flow neck putter winning our 2013 Most Wanted Blade competition. The Bettinardi Sig 5, also with a flow neck, scored very well in that competition as well. If you wanted a Bettinardi flow neck blade, but couldn’t come up with the coin for the Sig 5, this BB1F is the answer. The mill lines on the neck look very sweet in person as well.

Toe Hang: 3/4 (5:00-5:30)
Stroke Fit: Strong Arc

FIT_FOR_STROKE_strong

 

BB32

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 62

Mallet aficionados look out! The BB32 is your answer to a traditional looking, plumber’s neck mallet. The long sight line and rare flange design is what makes this putter a confidence builder to your golf game. Looking down at the topline gives you the gratification and assurance you demand while holding this handsome mallet.

“Traditional looking plumber’s neck mallet.” Love that sentence. How many plumber’s neck mallets do you see in your shop’s putter area. Not many. The BB32 does have the classic round mallet head, but that neck, as opposed to a double bend shaft, provides the 2014 BB32 with a bit of toe hang not usually found in the head. I think that there will be a market for this one. Players who like the mallet look, but need the arc stroke to be accurate should gravitate to the BB32.

Toe Hang: 1/4 (4:00)
Stroke Fit: Slight Arc

FIT_FOR_STROKE-1-Slight

 

BB43

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 36

A Bettinardi tradition stemming back to the Millennium Series, the BB43 comes out of the vault to strum the Bettinardi chord of precision, performance, and excellence. This true center shafted and perfectly face-balanced putter is also proudly emblazoned with Made in the USA on the sole. You can feel the confidence flowing through your hands with this lustrous heel toe weighted design.

This is one of the best things about the annual announcements from Bettinardi. We get to see which models will be taken from the vault. Bettinardi is usually good for one center-shaft somewhere in the line-up. Often times though, those offerings are mallets. The BB43 hits once for nostalgia, and then again because it is a center-shafted blade. This putter also shows some of Bettinardi’s flair for aesthetics. The back bumper has some cool mill lines that add a bit of texture to the head.

Toe Hang: Face Balanced (3:00)
Stroke Fit: Straight

FIT_FOR_STROKE-1-straight

 

BB55

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 43

Brand new to the 2014 line, the BB55 is a truly one of a kind, ultra-forgiving MOI mallet milled from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. The distinctive rear weight plugs move discretionary weight to the extreme back of the putter head allowing for a more stable stroke. The smooth rolling side panels, including the cut out in the middle of the body, and the triple vertical sightlines, help focus all of your attention on the target at hand. In addition to the Hyper-Honeycomb face, we milled over the face again adding our F.I.T. (Feel Impact Technology) face, which delivers an even softer feel, and stronger feedback on those rare miss-hits. The finishing touch is assembled with a fly-milled, red anodized insert. Advance your confidence with this impeccably engineered work of art, designed by Bettinardi and the finest team of American craftsmen.

I’m willing to bet that you didn’t even notice the other four putters in the 2014 BB line. How could you not immediately look at the BB55 and go “what is that”? Many of you looked at the BB55 and immediately dismissed it because of its looks. If there is anything that you should have learned from our putter tests its that aesthetics don’t make putts. Don’t let yourself rush to judgement. There have been other recent milled aluminum putters that people harshly judged before rolling them. Bruce Sizemore’s SuperStroke Fatso? Awesome putter. Cameron Futura X? Awesome Putter. Ping Nome? Awesome putter. All three of those are aluminum.

The BB55 doesn’t look like anything else out there today, and that’s fantastic. It may not win beauty contests, but this putter rolls the ball. Seriously rolls the ball. The aluminum feels soft and supple. Once again, stealthy weighting removes any lightness that one may expect from an aluminum head. I think that my play preference leans slightly toward the BB1, but the BB55 is right there. It sets up square (really? square you say?), and then it just floats back and through. This putter is serious business. Oh, if you are wondering about the 395g weight shown in the photo above, that is for the counterbalanced version of the BB55. Standard length weight will be 358g.

Toe Hang: Face Balanced (3:00)
Stroke Fit: Straight

FIT_FOR_STROKE-1-straight

 

Milled in the USA and now available in the UK!

bettinardi_uk_website_logo

In addition to showing off these new models, I have a bit of news that will make some readers very happy. Bettinardi Golf is expanding into the UK! Gone are the days where our European friends must sit idly by and wish that they could buy these Made in the USA beauties. Starting December 20th, you can check out the UK version of Bettinardi’s website at www.bettinardi.co.ukNow you can see all of the available putters and other Bettinardi gear that will be sold in the UK as well as the USA. You can get Bettinardi golf bags (want one), divot tools and ball markers (got one, need more), and milled belt buckles (I can’t express how much I want a Union Jack buckle). If that’s not enough love for the new UK market, Bettinardi is launching the BB line on December 20th in the UK, a few weeks before the USA launch on January 15th. Not sure if this will be the plan in years to come, but for the initial launch, I think it is a nice nod to the new customers.

Anyway, seriously cool Bettinardi stuff has just jumped the Atlantic. But why expand into the UK? Let’s again ask Sam Bettinardi for some answers.

Why is this the right time for Bettinardi to expand into the UK market?

Now is the perfect time to expand into the UK because we feel that this market is ready for Bettinardi. Over the past year we have experienced tremendous demand for our putters from the UK and they haven’t had any place to buy from.  By catering direct to these golfers, we can fill a need for people looking to putt with the best, and still have that boutique, customer service oriented experience.

Who are your largest competitors in the UK market?

Right now we are not concerned with any competitors in the UK market. We are solely focused on delivering Bettinardi putters to the people who always demanded them, but couldn’t buy local or didn’t want to pay the high shipping cost of having it sent from America.

What kind of production/shipping obstacles do you need to take into account when opening a market in another country?

The main production and shipping obstacles was being able to deliver our putters and milled belt buckles to golfers in the UK with the same shipping expectations as if they were buying from a UK golf company.

Will this move ultimately lead to more European Tour players playing Bettinardi putters?

Eventually we would like to have a presence on the European Tour, but right now we are focused on the consumer overseas, while also building our brand and garnering victories on the PGA Tour.

2014 Bettinardi BB Series 14

Classic, Interesting, and Wait What’s That?

The 2014 Bettinardi BB line is a line that will fit the needs of a wide range of golfers. Golfers can pick from a face-balanced blade, a large face-balanced mallet, a slight-hang mallet, a medium-hang blade, or a deep-hanging blade. The Silver Satin finish is beautiful and the master craftsmanship is exactly what we have come to expect from Bettinardi. We see classics, tweaks on classics, and then, of course, the BB55.

I am sure that you are still trying to wrap your brain around the BB55. Aesthetics aside, the one question that you should be asking is how does it perform? Well that answer will be coming in the next few months, as the BB55 is one of the putters competing in the 2014 MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Mallet competition. We will be revealing the other competitors soon, like Tony has done with the competing drivers. Like you, I am very interested to see how the BB55 does vs. the rest of the 2014 field.

Regardless, we putter lovers now have a solid line of putters to look forward to in 2014 and also an avenue for folk in the UK to grab up some Bettinardi putters and gear. The versatility of design, combined with Bettinardi’s reputation of precision, should bring joy to golfers, both here and across the pond.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy December 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

Wow, this entire line is fantastic and I am really looking forward to trying the BB55 counterbalance. Everything about these putters are so clean!

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ms1195 December 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Is it just me or is the Bettinardi stamp on the back of the putter off-center? I suppose it could be the camera angle, but it looks like the word ends very near the right edge.

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Dave Wolfe December 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

It is off center, by design.
Their description is in the text under the BB1F

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DB December 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I think the off-center logo looks pretty cool.

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Michael December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Bettinardi’s strength is always milling. Their head designs are meh.

BB32 is the most interesting one. A mallet with PN.

2014 line is just too close to 2013, IMO.

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Dave Wolfe December 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Milling is excellent, but outside of the BB1 I am not sure what you are seeing comparing the 2013 to the 2014 lines. They seem very different to me…
Here is the 2013 line:
http://www.bettinardi.com/product/bb_series

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Shane G December 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm

The 2014 isn’t even close to the 2013. Bettinardi will always have the BB1 it’s a staple and then they added the flow neck. Last year it was a heel shafted mallet and with 3/4 toe hang this year a PN mallet. New center shafted blade, new MOI, counterbalance options. I really like the finish this year too.

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Davy G. December 21, 2013 at 7:05 am

Sure Bettis are nice…but just can’t move my needle for some reason until BB0 is released en masse.

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Rickles December 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Are they going to offer the bb55 with a center shaft? All their other big mallets come in both heel and center shafted.

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Dave Wolfe December 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I did not see a center-shafted version yet. Both the standard and counterbalanced BB55′s are heel shafted.

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Rickles December 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

Boo! I guess no putter will ever kick my Bettinardi Big Ben Center shafted out of my bag. I thought this putter with a center shaft and the counter balancing might be able to do it.

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