In the world of golf equipment, and more specifically putters, few names are more revered than that of Bob Bettinardi. What started a couple of decades ago and took detours and different avenues along the way has all roads leading to the creation of the 2010 putter line. Months after returning as an independent boutique golf company, the 2010 line of putters from this master craftsman is set to make a triumphant return to the hands of golfers everywhere and re-establish the brand presence that Bettinardi Golf deserves. 2010 will see the company introduce the new Country Club (CC) Series in addition to its 2010 BB Series. For the purposes of this review we will cover a particular putter in the BB series for 2010 and we will be coming back soon for more reviews from this line, so stay tuned for that.
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Looks & First Impressions
When the box opened, a smile swept across my face that is not normally seen when opening a box for reviews. The BB32 is a face balanced mallet that has a classic pear shaped profile at address. It has a double bend shaft that seems to fit the eye perfectly for this putter at setup. The finish is done in a near black that the company calls their Black Nickel and the only word to describe it is elegant. The cavity reads “BETTINARDI” in white letters and coming straight back from the cavity is a single white alignment line. The sole of the putter has the “Milled in the USA slogan as well as the model number (in this case BB32) in a classic honeycomb.
The face features Bettinardi’s Feel Impact Technology (F.I.T.), which consists of milled notches in the putter face. These notches reduce the contact surface area by more than half for enhanced feel and responsiveness. The F.I.T is surrounded on the face with the honeycomb pattern that is now part of the Bettinardi calling card and adds a classic and elegant look that few can rival.
As with most of our club reviews THP took the BB32 from Bettinardi Golf out to a putting green to get the feedback from golfers of all skill levels and see what they like and didn’t like about the club for their game. We were able to have 14 golfers try out this putter and we asked them to fill out a score card based on Looks, Feel, Sound, and Performance when they were completed. Here are those results along with what we were hearing during the testing.
Looks – 14 out of 14 loved the looks of this putter. In fact not a single bad comment came based on looks alone and what we were hearing was quotes like “Best looking ever” and “Why aren’t more companies using this finish”.
Feel – 13 out of 14 marked this off as 10 out of 10 and the last person gave it a 9.5 out of 10. One of the best we have ever seen. Feel is very subjective and we do not ask for golfers to explain but most try to put it into words the best they can. What we heard is “SOFT”. Everybody thought this was one of the softest putters they had ever felt.
Sound – 11 out of 14 loved the sound however a couple of the testers felt as though it was slightly muted and not what they were used to.
Performance – 12 out of 14 felt as though the Bettinardi putter flat out made more putts than the current putter the testers were playing. We were hearing things such as “missing on the toe did nothing to the distance or feel” and “the look gives me extreme confidence at setup”.
After completing our range testing it was apparent that the Bettinardi BB32 was working for just about everybody that picked it up. There was one small complaint that a few of the testers did not care for the grip and that it felt a little rough compared to the softer style that they are used to. But overall the testers felt as though Bettinardi Golf had a winner on its hands with the BB32.
After the impressive showing at a local putting green I was eager to personally take the Bettinardi BB32 out on the course for further testing and to see what all the fuss was about. During the course of this testing I was able to put this putter to use for 6 rounds of golf and over 20 putting green sessions. What I came away with is what most are expecting. BETTINARDI IS BACK! He did not go away obviously, but the Bettinardi Golf brand name is apparently here to stay and the 2010 line appears to be one of his best ever.
Out on the course picking up this putter was quite easy for me. It is one of my favorite shapes and the finish is simply out of this world. One thing to note about the finish, one of the days on the putting green they had just laid down some sand and the brushing over it repeatedly I expected to see some of the finish come off. A simple wipe of the bottom with our towel and the putter looked brand new. After 3 weeks of use the putter still looks brand new and it is getting constant action on the course and range.
The feel of this putter is different than most we have tested over the course of 2009. Like I mentioned above, “feel” is a term often thrown around, but in reality it is purely subjective and in my opinion this putter has tremendous feel in 2 different ways. The first being that it feels amazingly soft at impact and with proper feedback and the second being that on mishits you still have an incredibly soft feeling. The miss off the toe side we expected to feel slightly harsher, but with the BB32 we still got the same velvety soft impact, yet different impact enough to tell us exactly what was going on from a feedback standpoint. When it comes to feel, few can produce the kind that this Bettinardi line appears to be creating.
The performance of the BB32 from Bettinardi Golf is nothing short of spectacular. We have yet to see the putter that puts the ball in the hole for you, but when you need performance, not all putters are created equally. The face of this putter puts out one of the best “true” rolls we have ever seen and couple that with all that we have spoken about already and it appears this one is a winner from all angles. In the practice rounds we have played with this one, the performance from a sheer roll stand point, is nothing short of spectacular. Say it is because of the face, the weighting, the confidence it gives, or anything else, but the realization came when we had lower putts per round than our average.
There was only one small complaint about the BB32 and it was the headcover. This is one of the finest putters we have come across, yet the headcover just flat out does not work. Getting it on and off turned out to be more of a chore than it was worth and instead we ended up using a small animal from Daphne’s Headcovers due to the ease of use.
When you combine strikingly good looks, the finest craftsmanship around, performance that is endless, and feel that could be the best out there you are obviously in for a special treat. Bettinardi is back and he is back in a big way. Bettinardi Golf will show the world that in 2010, not all putters are created equally. Retail price is around $275, which is actually less than many of the top milled putters out there, and we think that at that price it should be a top seller and on your short list if you are looking for a top notch premium putter. You can read more about the world of Bettinardi Golf at their website at www.bettinardi.com.
Till Next Time