Putter Tested: Bettinardi BB53 Center Shafted Belly Putter
(WRITTEN BY: GolfSpy Matt) – Even among golfers who aren’t devoted gearheads, the honeycomb milling makes a putter instantly recognizable as a Bettinardi. It’s a merging of beauty and function that few putter makers can match.
The Bettinardi BB53 Center Shafted Belly putter is based on Bettinardi’s popular “half-moon mallet” headshape. This style was seen in last year’s line as the Studio Stock 7 in a traditional length with a double-bend shaft. This year, the putter has moved to the BB line as a belly putter with both center-shafted and double-bend options. According to Bettinardi, the half-moon mallet shape offers “maximum perimeter weighting for ultimate playability.”
The BB53 offers a single sight line to aid in alignment and weighs in at a hefty 395 grams. In both the center-shafted and double-bend options, it is a face-balanced putter which will favor a straight-back, straight-through putting stroke. Bettinardi does offer customization on the BB Series allowing the customer to adjust the length between 41” and 48” (31” to 37” for a standard length putter), 1* to 5* of loft, and a lie angle between 68* and 74*.
- Soft carbon steel
- 395 grams
- Face balanced
- No Offset (Double-bend option features Full-shaft offset)
- Silver Mercury Finish
- 3* Loft
- 71* Lie Angle
- Winn 21 Inch grip
BALL USED: Titleist Pro V1
Many factors come together to give a putter its feel: the construction of the putter, the face material, and even the shaft and grip. The Bettinardi BB Series putters are milled from “Soft Carbon Steel” and then given a low-maintenance, plated finish. The other element that plays a key factor in the feel is the aforementioned honeycomb face milling. Bob Bettinardi believes that this milling pattern creates the flattest possible surface, which should provide the truest roll. It also provides the putter with a unique feel. I’ve used a number of different Bettinardi putters, and I tend to find that there is a similarity to the way they feel because of the way that the honeycomb milling strikes the ball.
The Bettinardi BB53 provides a very soft feel with a slight, crisp “click” at impact. The feel, in my opinion, fits right in the middle of our scale, though don’t let that lead you to believe that the feel is “Average.” Many of our testers felt that this putter offered a perfect blend of soft feel and crisp feedback.
The Bettinardi BB53’s half-moon shape walks the line between traditional mallets and some of the space-age shapes that we see from some OEMs. Given that it is a Bettinardi, it is unsurprising that it walks that line with ease: every one of our testers commented on how unique and attractive the putter was.
The finish on this putter is a dark black plating which should require minimal maintenance. The dark finish sets up a nice contrast with the ball and offers minimal glare in the sun.
The BB Series putters come with a red Winn grip and a white Bettinardi headcover that proudly touts its status as a product “Made in the USA.”
When talking about the looks of the putter, the real headliner is the honeycomb milling. As I mentioned at the outset, every golfer with even a passing interest in clubs will recognize this putter as a Bettinardi. I have even shown it people who don’t golf who are taken aback by the precision and beauty of the face.
SET-UP & ALIGNMENT
All of the BB Series putters come with a single sight line. Being a proponent of putters without alignment aids, I would prefer more options, but I know that I am in the minority. In addition to the sight line, the putter features a semi-circular cutout that could aid with alignment in a way similar to the Odyssey 2-Ball. Overall, most of our testers found the BB53 to be easy to line up.
Performance testing was done by 7 golfers. The testers were given the putter and asked to hit putts of all lengths (3 to 20 feet). They were then asked to rate the putter from 1-10 in each of the following categories:
- Distance Control = 8.6
- Accuracy = 8.6
- Sound & Feel = 9.9
- Appearance = 9.7
- Alignment = 9.4
- OVERALL = 92.40
FIT FOR STROKE™
Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.
The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.
This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters
“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.
The Bettinardi BB53 is a: STRAIGHT
There’s no doubt that the Bettinardi BB53 was a hit with our testers. They loved the headshape, the looks, and the feel. I actually believe that the overall score would have been even higher for a non-belly putter in the BB Series. You can see that the distance and accuracy scores were lower than the others, which I would attribute to a putter that didn’t fit all of our testers and our testers’ lack of experience with belly putters. In spite of that, the group was very enthusiastic about the putter.
Bettinardi has done an excellent job with this year’s BB Series putters, and the line offers something for everyone: from belly putters to standard length putters that will fit every stroke. Best of all, the BB Series putters are available for $280 which is actually below that oft-targeted $300 price point.
WHAT BETTINARDI BB SERIES MODEL FITS YOU BEST?
Strong arc = Bettinardi BB1F
Straight = Bettinardi BB35
Strong arc = Bettinardi BB5
Slight arc = Bettinardi BB8
Straight = Bettinardi BB53 (Center shafted and heel shafted/double bend)