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Founded in 1998 by Robert Bettinardi, the family run Bettinardi brand has seen incredible growth in recent years both in terms of sales and tour presence, with the likes of Matt Kuchar, Francesco Molinari, Hao Tong Li, Fred Couples and Jim Herman all putting these high-quality putters into play.
The brand introduced five new putters for the 2018 season, including a brand new BB series collection and the innovative iNOVAi 5.0 selection. I recently got my hands on three of these new models and put them to the test.
The new BB Series, which has been part of the Bettinardi line-up since its creation in 1999, features a striking new look and innovative technology that encompasses the Bettinardi drive for perfection on every model.
Finished in a durable ‘stealth’ Matte Black colourway, the four new BB models feature the distinctive Bettinardi branding in eye-catching electric yellow, with the same colour used in the exclusive deep-etched Lamkin corded grip.
I got my hands on the classic heel-to-toe weighted BB1 blade and the BB56 mallet.
The BB1 has been updated with a soft Carbon Steel head to complement its indented neck that flows into the steel shaft. It looks fantastic down behind the ball and is exactly what I like to see from a classic blade design, with its rounded edges and simple sightline and detailing.
The new Super-Fly Mill Face milling featured on all BB models combines with the soft carbon steel to offer a softer and more responsive feel at impact when compared to previous Bettinardi blades, while also delivering consistency in both feel and speed.
The BB56 has a very unique design and appearance down at address. The main body of the clubhead is made from incredibly lightweight 6061 Aluminium, while the topline features a stainless steel weight. This innovative design serves to raise the CG of the putter in order to produce quicker and more consistent roll, even on miss hits.
Although high-MOI mallets tend not to suit my eye, the BB56’s long alignment aid helped inspire me with confidence on the greens. It makes it incredible easy to set up its large head square to your intended target line.
The feel is a bit harsher than the BB1, with a slightly clickier sound at impact. Off the face however, it provides fantastic roll and I found controlling my speed very easy with this model.
I’m also a big fan of the electric yellow detailing featured on both putters. It helps give the BB series more of a flashy look when compared to most other premium putters on the market today.
Following on from the successful 3.0 model, the new iNOVAi 5.0 connects a 303 Stainless Steel piece in the rear of the putter, to the 6061 Military Grade Aluminium front section to create a full circle offering more resistance to twisting and turning. The result is extreme stability throughout the putting stroke.
Although this is a high-MOI mallet style putter, the overall size has been kept to a relatively compact and manageable level. It sits nicely down at address, with a topline alignment aid on the aluminium section and two lines on the brushed Stainless Steel. The contrast in the two materials used in its construction also help with your alignment.
Bettinardi’s patented F.I.T (Feel Impact Technology) Face eliminates the need for an insert thanks to the Bettinardi milling process. The face milling gives the high-MOI mallet a soft feel at impact and gets the ball rolling nicely. Although the performance was impressive with the iNOVAi, I couldn’t help but lean more towards the BB models. This was partly down the feel at impact, but mainly due to the more premium aesthetics the BB series boasts.
RRP: £279 (BB Series); £279 (iNOVAi 5.0)
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