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Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1 Putter: Editor Review

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Pros: Very stable during the stroke, and unbelievably good looking at address. The F.I.T. Face feels soft, and the Pewter PVD finish is both beautiful and durable.

Cons: With arm lock putters, length is flexible. But golfers will need to make sure they custom fit the loft to putt their best.

Bottom Line: Users will gain a lot of confidence knowing that this putter was developed specifically for the arm lock putting style by the PGA Tour’s best arm lock putter, Matt Kuchar. At $375, it’s not cheap. But it’s a “must-have” for golfers who want the highest-quality arm lock putter.

Overview

Bettinardi’s Kuchar Model 1 putter was designed by … you guessed it, Bob Bettinardi and Matt Kuchar. According to Sam Bettinardi, vice president of sales and marketing at Bettinardi Golf, Kuchar started working with prototypes of the putter at the 2012 BMW Championship in September. He experimented with 15 different variations before deciding on what became the Model 1, which is the same model he used in victories at the 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the 2013 Memorial Tournament.

The Kuchar Model 1 is a face-balanced blade putter with a wide body. According to Bettinardi, the wider body adds to the putter’s heel/toe weighting, which makes the putter more stable during the stroke. It also has Bettinardi’s F.I.T. Face (Feel Impact Technology), a milling process that removes 55 percent of the face material for a softer feel at impact.

The entire putter is 100 percent milled from soft carbon steel at Bettinardi’s headquarters in Tinely Park, Ill., and has a Pewter PVD finish. It’s available in two different versions — arm lock and standard.

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Above: The F.I.T. face of the Kuchar Model 1 putter is milled over Bettinardi’s Honeycomb finish to create a soft, solid feel at impact.

The Kuchar-style, or arm lock putter has a 2.5 shaft offset and 7 degrees of loft that Bettinardi says is necessary to “keep the ball from diving into the ground.” It’s sold with a standard length of 42 inches, a lie of 71 degree and a head weight of 400 grams.

The standard model (not reviewed) measures 35 inches, and has a 350-gram head with 3 degrees of loft. Like the arm lock, it has a 71-degree lie angle and costs $375.

That’s legal?

Arm lock putting isn’t for everyone. For a right-handed golfer, an arm lock putter is anchored on the left forearm, so golfers who use their right hand/wrist/arm to dominate their stroke will likely struggle with the putting style. But for golfers who dominate the stroke with their leading side, the arm lock putter makes sense. It’s also a natural for golfers who are reeling from the decision by golf’s ruling bodies to ban putters that are anchored to the chest and midsection in 2016.

The new rule, 14-1b, states that a golfer must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.” Yes, technically the arm lock putting style anchors the putter grip against a golfer’s lead forearm, but the USGA doesn’t view it that way.

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The reason for the loophole has to do with the fact that a golfer’s forearm is not a fixed axis point like a golfer’s midsection or chest. So even though the grip is “anchored” against the forearm, the forearm remains mobile, unlike the belly and long-putting methods that have static anchor points.

Performance

As a long-putter user who is trying to find a way to get a jump on the anchor ban, I was curious to test the Kuchar Model 1 arm lock. I did so against a short putter on a SAM PuttLab, and during several rounds on the course.

On SAM, I noticed that the path of the putter face was much more square-to-square than with my short putter, and it remained square for a longer period of time before and after impact. That resulted in much more directional consistency. On the course, the security of the arm-lock style eased my tension over short putts, and the stroke felt much more stable and repeatable.

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To get the best results from a Kuchar Model 1 arm lock, the sole needs to rest reasonably flat on the ground at address. 

My biggest problem with the Kuchar Model 1 was getting the putter to sit correctly at address. The lie angle was fine, but when I played the ball in the middle of my stance the putter had too little loft. That meant the back flange of the putter was raised too far off the ground. When I played the ball more forward in my stance, which added loft and lowered the back flange, my shoulders opened to the target and I had a tendency to pull my putts.

The solution for me was adding 2 degrees more loft to the putter. That gave the putter enough loft for me to play the ball in the center of my stance, and allowed me to use the same setup and mechanics as I would with a short putter. But because the arm-lock style stabilized the grip and positioned my hands much farther in front of the ball, my wrists stayed solid and my stroke had a straighter path with less face rotation.

Tips from Kuchar

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According to Kuchar, the arm lock putting style works best when (right-handed) golfers dominate the stroke with their left arms. The best way to practice this, he says, is to take the right hand off the putter and hit putts with the left arm only.

Since Kuchar is 6-foot 4-inches tall, he uses a Model 1 arm lock that is 44.75 inches. That gives him what he considers to be the ideal length, with the grip resting about 2 inches below the crook of his elbow. While length isn’t as critical as loft or lie in the arm-lock style, golfers might want to look at adjusting the putter’s length based on their body type.

Kuchar also recommends a ball position that is in the center of the stance, which I found to be the most natural way to use the putter as well. Don’t be surprised, however, if a centered ball position requires a loft adjustment. Everyone’s arm length and posture are a little different, so the 7 degrees of loft and 71 degree lie angle that works perfectly for Kuchar may or may not work for you.

Looks and Feel

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The strangest part of the Kuchar Model 1 arm lock putter is the 2.5 shaft offset, which Bettinardi says works with the added loft of the putter to launch the ball correctly at impact. While it’s a shock to the system at first, the offset looks a lot more natural once the putter is soled.

Once golfers get used to the offset, they’ll enjoy the putter’s clean, classic shape. They’ll probably also enjoy its Pewter PVD finish, which has hints of blue that blend beautifully with the blue paint fill on the sole and on the face. That theme is carried over on the grey 19-inch belly putter grip with blue letters, and on the head cover as well, which is white and blue.

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Both the sole of the putter and head cover have designs that include Matt Kuchar’s signature. While most golfers will think it’s cool to play a club that receives an endorsement from one of the best golfers in the world, I can’t imagine that tour players or aspiring tour players who may be competing against Kuchar are wild about it.

They might change their tune (or switch head covers and buy lead tape) when they try the putter, however, because it’s one of the best-feeling 100 percent milled putters I’ve ever tested. Unlike other manufacturers, Bettinardi is not claiming that its F.I.T. Face does anything to enhance performance. But it certainly provides the soft, solid feel that the company says it does.

The Takeaway

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Golfers will know pretty quickly if arm lock putters are right for them. All it takes is a few strokes on a practice putting green to find out if they’re on to something or not.

If they’re willing to give arm lock putting a try, they can’t go wrong with Bettinardi’s Kuchar Model 1, which is the most premium arm lock putter on the market. If they want a slightly different look, they can also try Bettinardi’s Kuchar Model 2 arm lock, which has the same specs but has a wider, rounder pear shape with a longer sightline that’s a little easier to aim.

If you buy one, don’t forget to spend the extra time and money to have the putter fit to you. It will enhance the consistency of your setup, alignment, stroke and ball roll. Most importantly, it will give you the confidence and peace of mind to hole more putts. Isn’t that why you decided to try the arm-lock style in the first place?

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Tim Larson

    Jan 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Just had my pro tweak my Scotty kombi belly and so far so good. I love the sight line on head as it is my guide for direction. I love the belly style but need to be legal soon. This armlock will help us who have “wristy” tendencies I also like the upright stance as I’ve had lower back surgery. Just grab it and bend a little at a time and good luck!

  2. Brad B

    Dec 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    How does one go about adjusting the loft / lie?

  3. Blaise

    Jul 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Just picked this putter up in the Arm Lock model. Big betti fan since I live about 10 minutes from his shop. With the added weight to the head and the way this style locks your wrists really helps stabilize the stroke. I now have a hard time missing from 10 feet and in. I don’t think this method will ever be illegal because although it is balanced against your forearm, the butt of the putter doesn’t have a set pivot point like the belly or long style putters.

  4. Steve

    Jun 7, 2013 at 10:17 am

    This putter is a rip off of the Yes! Donna that Kutchar used in 2012 and at the 2012 Ryder Cup….

    • KCCO

      Jun 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Just my opinion, but Ill take a Betti over a Yes! Any day of the week, just my opinion…..and i wasnt around to see evolution of blade putter, but i believe everyone stole Karstens work when looking at most blade style putters these days…if I’m wrong correct me, really just a guess….

      good artists copy, great artists steal-Picasso

    • Brad B

      Dec 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      No, it’s not.

      First, the Donna was not an arm lock.

      Second, the offset with the Kuchar is much more significant.

      Third, the Donna is not an arm lock putter.

      Fourth, the Donna is hardly “original.”

  5. Richard Kennedy

    Jun 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Does anyone know how to measure for these putters?

    • John

      Jun 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      According to the article, Kuchar’s comes two inches below his elbow. If you simply take a twelve inch ruler and slide it between your top hand and the putter with the ruler against your forearm, you can measure how long you would have to extend your current putter. I would go with a shaft extension and new (long) grip first to experiment with it before spending big. The head weight of Kuchar’s model is 400g. If you want to beef yours up to this weight, just add some lead tape to the back.

      • Justin

        Jun 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        50g of lead tape?

        • John

          Jun 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm

          Yes, depending on the type of tape you buy. It’s not going to look pretty but it’s an inexpensive experiment to see how it feels.

  6. anthony

    Jun 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I found this great “How-To” video for the ‘Kuchar Grip & Stroke’ on a golf site.

    It’s demonstrated by Ernie Rose, Director of Instruction at Windsong Farm Golf Club.

    Does anyone else out there have any good demo videos for the Kuchar grip?

  7. Brent

    Jun 5, 2013 at 7:32 am

    When will these arm lock putters be available for lefties?

  8. Brian

    Jun 5, 2013 at 2:17 am

    I think the USGA’s goal is to ban the anchoring of the “butt-end” of the putter, not the shaft. This style will still be legal.

    This is obviously working well for Kuchar but I would think most golfers would have a tendency to cut across the putt using this style. Seems like it would be difficult to consistently stroke it down the line. Just my 2-cents.

    • Curt

      Jun 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Your right arm would have more of a tendency to cut across than your left arm given the connection points to the body.

  9. Alan

    Jun 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Very cool article. I wish there was some sort of 5 minute video that showed Bob and Kuch when they started out with this idea and how it evolved over time. Obviously the Arm Lock works, 2 tour wins in 2013 is nothing to joke about.

  10. shawn

    Jun 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    These will be illegal by 2017… It is still anchoring!

    • CoryKorea

      Jun 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      USGA/R&A specifically sited that arm-locking will not be illegal. I think every major company will have an arm-lock putter out by next season.

      • Ryan

        Dec 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        I agree every company will be releasing putters this style ASAP

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Equipment

Callaway launches Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X irons and hybrids

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With its new line of Rogue irons — consisting of Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X models — Callaway continues its search to answer a conundrum that’s plagued game-improvement irons for years; how do you make an iron that produces great ball speed without sacrificing sound and feel. The dilemma is that in order to increase ball speeds, engineers must make the faces of the irons thinner. The problem is, the thinner they make the faces, the more vibration is caused at impact, creating a longer-lasting, higher-pitched sound. Very few golfers want that off-putting, clicky sound, but they do want the ball speed and distance.

So, that’s why companies are experimenting with different materials and injections between the faces of game-improvement irons and their bodies. That buffer creates a dampening effect to reduce vibration, while still allowing faces to be constructed thinner to raise COR (coefficient of restitution, a measure of energy transfer) and ball speed. Companies such as PXG irons use TPE injections, and TaylorMade uses SpeedFoam in its new P-790 irons; Callaway says those constructions either constrict speed, or they don’t have a profound enough effect on vibrations.

For its Rogue irons that are made from 17-4 stainless steel, Callaway is using what it calls urethane microspheres, which are essentially little balls of urethane that it combines together, in the cavities of its irons. The difference between these spheres and other foams and materials on the market, according to Callaway, is that the material is porous. Callaway says the microspheres work to dampen sound without negatively effecting ball speed.

A look at the inside of a Rogue iron, via Callaway’s photography

The inner material in the cavity works in tandem with familiar technologies from previous iron releases such as Apex, Epic and Steelhead XR. Callaway says it has improved upon its VFT (variable face thickness) and Face Cup technologies, focusing on thinning out portions of the face where golfers tend to miss shots — low on the face, on the heel and on the toe. Each of the Rogue irons also uses Internal Standing Wave by way of Tungsten-infused weights that help control the center of gravity (CG) in the club heads; that means centering the overall weight between the scoring lines, and controlling where the CG is placed vertically throughout a given set (re: higher on the short irons for more control and spin, and lower on the long irons for more height).

For the consumer, all of this means getting performance-driven irons at a lower price compared to the Epic and Epic Pro irons. Each of the irons will be available for pre-sale on January 19, and come to retail on February 9. Read on for more info on each of the specific irons, and the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids that introduce Callaway’s Jailbreak technology into hybrids for the first time.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

Rogue irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway’s Rogue irons are the standard model in this line of irons, equipped with all of the technologies described above. According to Callaway, these are essentially Steelhead XR replacements, but have more compact shapes. In the Steelhead XR irons, Callaway used a wider profile in order to center CG between the scoring lines, but due to the inclusion of the Tungsten-infused weights in the Rogue irons, it was able to shape the irons more similar to XR and X-Hot irons of the past — more preferable shapes for GI irons, according to Callaway.

Stock shafts include True Temper’s XP105 steel shaft, and Aldila’s Synergy graphite shaft.

Rogue Pro irons ($999.99)

The Rogue Pro irons, as you may expect, have a more compact shape, thinner toplines and thinner soles than their standard-model-counterparts. Therefore, the Pro design will yield more control that better players will prefer, but they are still packed with all of the performance-enhancing technologies of the Rogue irons. They also have a chrome plating that better players may be drawn to.

Rogue X irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway described the Rogue X irons to me as “bomber irons.” They have lofts that are 3-to-4 degrees stronger than the standard Rogue irons, and they have longer lengths and lighter overall weights, but according to Callaway, they will still launch in the same window iron-for-iron (re: a 7-iron will launch like a 7-iron). Despite cranking down the lofts, they have bigger profiles, wider soles and more offset; those designs work to drag CG rearward, which helps to increase launch.

Combine that design with the Rogue’s VFT, Face Cups, Internal Standing Wave and urethane microspheres, and the result is an iron that’s “all about distance,” according to Callaway.

Rogue and Rogue X hybrids ($249.99 apiece)

As noted previously, the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids include Callaway’s Jailbreak technology. Like Callaway’s Rogue fairway woods, they use stainless steel bars behind the face instead of the titanium bars that are used in the Rogue drivers. Also, like all of the other Callaway clubs that use Jailbreak, the idea of the design is that two parallel bars inside the club head connect the sole with crown help to add strength to the body at impact, allowing the faces to be constructed thinner, thus, create more ball speed across the face. The Rogue and Rogue X hybrids also have Callaway’s familiar Face Cup technology.

The standard Rogue goes up to a 6-hybrid, while the oversized, Rogue X “super hybrid” goes up to an 8-hybrid. Similar to the Rogue X irons, the Rogue X hybrids have an oversized construction, a lighter overall weight, and longer lengths. The goal with these Rogue X hybrids is to create higher launching, more forgiving and longer hybrid options for golfers who need help getting the ball in the air.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

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Equipment

First Look: Precision Pro NX7 Shot laser rangefinder, made for golfers and hunters

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Precision Pro’s new NX7 Shot is useful whether you’re hunting birds or birdies.

In just over 3 years, Precision Pro has become a player in the laser rangefinder market, quickly developing a reputation for products with maximum features at a price that’s lower than comparable offerings from competitors. Precision Pro came out with its NX7 Pro in 2017, and is following up that offering with the new NX7 Shot, which is designed to hit the two biggest markets for laser rangefinders: golfers and hunters. That’s probably why the company put a camouflage design on the water-resistant and shockproof body of the NX7 Shot.

Inside, the rangefinder has target acquisition that is meant to stabilize even when shaky hands or windy conditions are in play. The NX7 Shot also has an effective scanning distance of 400 yards, which is more than adequate range for golfers not named Dustin Johnson. Other features of the NX7 Shot include is its Scanning Mode, which allows the user to pick up multiple targets in one motion, and its Last Priority Mode, which lets the user acquire a target through tree branches and cover.

The NX7 Shot also comes with a 2-year warranty and free battery replacement for the life of the product. Regarding the warranty, Precision Pro Co-founder Jonah Mytro says “it’s something that nobody else in the industry is doing” and it “shows that we value our customers and that we want them to keep using our products for life.”

It’s designed to be legal for competitions that allow rangefinders, and is listed at $249 with free shipping when ordered from the Precision Pro website.

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Snell adds MTB Black and MTB Red to lineup, thanks in part to GolfWRX forum feedback

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Snell Golf entered the market in 2015 when Dean Snell, co-creator of the Titleist Pro V1 and TaylorMade Penta, decided to sell premium golf balls direct to consumer at a fraction of the standard premium golf ball price. With massive year-over-year growth, the company’s offerings have been well received by the golfing public.

Snell is expanding its MTB line with the release of the MTB Black and MTB Red models. The company indicates the Black and Red models leveraged customer feedback to expand an already successful line.

“Through evaluation of customer feedback, we are able to go through the design and testing process with a clear understanding of what the customer wants to see and feel in their Golf Ball. Pair our expertise and experience with customer suggestion and the result is a ‘Tour Like Experience’ with extra cash in your wallet for a round at the bar,” says Snell Golf founder, Dean Snell.

We asked Snell about the feedback process, and he had some interesting (and flattering) things to say.

“One of the biggest parts of the feedback came from the forums at GolfWRX. I check it weekly for sure, sometimes every other day. There’s one [thread] that started when we started and it’s still going…the information, with people playing and testing, I typically read that.

“And then I get a lot of emails. I read them all, and then I make a big chart, and I fill it in…”high spin,” “low spin,” etc. Then I read and mark the boxes with what people are saying, and when a box fills up, that’s a voice…So there were three big voices from consumers, and that led to these balls.”

Snell said when he worked at Titleist and TaylorMade, tour pro feedback was paramount. Now that he’s offering a direct-to-consumer product, however, the consumers are his “tour players.”

This is a different approach [working with consumers] and asking, “What do you want?” You can’t satisfy everything, but when you hear a strong voice over and over, that’s what we take into consideration.

MTB Black

  • 3-piece thermocast urethane cover golf ball with a 360 dimple pattern
  • Seven percent lower compression core than the original MTB
  • Softer core lowers spin with the driver

Snell says: “Driver spin: anytime you can lower it, it’s going to make the ball better. We keep the same performance [as MTB]…it’ll just be a touch longer.”

MTB Red

  • 4-piece thermocast urethane cover golf ball with a 338 dimple pattern
  • Dual Feel Technology: Provides a firmer, more responsive feel on driver and long irons shorts, while continuing a very soft feel on short irons and around the green with more spin as well
  • Available in Optic Yellow in addition to White

Snell says: “The MTB Red became a four-piece ball. We had to add an inside layer–an inner mantle–to add spin to approach shots. You control the spin rates through the set with the layers of the ball. Getting that fourth layer in there really works for the approach shot control and spin. Otherwise, to add spin, you’d have to raise the core [compression], but when you do that, you make the driver shorter. And the “yellow tour ball” market isn’t big, but the voice in our group was loud.”

Both golf balls will be offered at a retail price of $31.99 per dozen, and are also available in a Value Pack of 6 dozen for $163.99 ($27.33 per dozen).

New models are available at SnellGolf.com for pre-order. Shipments are scheduled for February.

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