Bettinardi Golf changes the face of putters

A favourite of golf pros, the counterbalance putter is worth giving a shot.

by Dennis Begin
Matt Kuchar's Putter: Model 2-Halfmoon face.
Matt Kuchar's Putter: Model 2-Halfmoon face. — Photo courtesy Bettinardi Golf

On January 1, 2016, the USGA/R&A/PGA Tours and every major golfing organization, banned the belly putter. Well, sort of. Other names for this type of putter is a long or anchored putter, distinguished by having a shaft of 39 to 44 inches. Regular putters are 33 to 34 inches long. The longer putter was viewed as unfair because the butt end of the grip was buried into the chest or stomach area, making it easier to swing the club like a pendulum. This took the wrist out of play, providing a smooth back/forward swing path, which is especially suited for mallet putters. PGA Pros such as Colin Montgomerie, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Bernhard Langer and Adam Scott have won tournaments using the belly putter. Belly putters can still be used in tournaments, but they cannot be anchored to the body. The hands have to swing freely as when using regular putters, making it very difficult to use a belly putter. The question remained, what was going to take the place of belly putters?

Counterbalance (CB)

It took a small company, Bettinardi Golf from Chicago, to come up with an answer. Throughout 2016 and into 2017, the counterbalance putter has been used by various touring pros such as Bo Van Pelt, Heath Slocan, Tim Clark and Matt Kuchar. Counterbalance (CB) means that the weight in the grip is balanced with an equal amount of weight in the club head. A counterbalance putter is longer than a regular club length, being 38 to 40 inches for men and has a 17 inch grip. The large grip is necessary for chocking up when putting. Embedded in the butt of the grip is an extra 42 grams of weight, with an extra 42 grams of weight in the club head. As a result, the club balances closer to the hands. Bettinardi Golf has produced three models, the B-55, B-32 and B-1, in both a blade or mallet putter. Golfers believe that the club swings easier and squares quicker, producing a smooth roll. Counterbalancing offers many of the benefits of anchored style putters and is approved by all major golfing organizations. The other company manufacturing counterbalance putters is Odyssey.

Bettinardi BB1 Blade Putter.
Bettinardi BB1 Blade Putter. — Photo courtesy Bettinardi Golf

Matt Kuchar Models

Counterbalance putters also allows for innovative methods to grip the club. Matt Kuchar, along with Bettinardi, developed the Kuchar line of putters, called Arm 1 Lock and 2HM Arm Lock Putters. The putting technique involves resting the club shaft against the forearm, keeping the wrist from breaking down as the putter swings from the shoulders. The putter needs to be fitted to the individual due to its extra weight, length of shaft and a seven degree loft on the clubface.

Bettinardi is known for its high end putters and wedges, with their clubs priced at between $350.00 to $400.00 US. Their motto seems appropriate, “…precision, performance and excellence.” In the late 1990’s, Robert Bettinardi felt the way club heads were milled produced poorly constructed putters. His solution was to mill the entire club head from a single block of stainless steel. On the face of the club, using Feel Impact Technology [FIT], the micro-honeycomb design gives the club a soft but firm feel. The counterbalance putter delivers better tempo, stability and consistency.

Bettinardi Mallet Putter BB55.
Bettinardi Mallet Putter BB55. — Photo courtesy Bettinardi Golf

The objective of putting is to put a 1.68 inch round ball into a 4 1/4 inch round hole. It sounds easy, but all golfers know it is not. Golfers such as Jesper Parnevik, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples and Edoardo Molinari have all had success using Bettinardi putters.

If it is good enough for the pros, you may want to give the counterbalance putter a try.

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