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10 awesome photos from Bettinardi’s Summer Social

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Bettinardi’s Summer Social, the company’s annual putter bonanza, was open to the public for the first time in 2015. Top collectors from around the country gathered at Bettinardi headquarters in Tinley Park, Ill., for the event that showcased the company’s finest collectible putters, as well as tour models and other one-offs. In addition to the rare putters, Bettinardi also created a variety of accessories including clothing, ball markers, divot tools, cigar trays, belt buckles, and head covers for the event.

Most guests arrived at Bettinardi HQ at 6 p.m. to meet the other collectors, chat about their favorite golf gear and fuel up with food and drink before the doors to Studio B opened at 7 p.m. They then began the mad dash to find the perfect putter (or in some cases putters) for their collections.

Nothing was off limits at the Summer Social, according to Sam Bettinardi, Bettinardi’s vice president of sales and marketing. Attendees were given free reign to wander the facility, and the company ran a night shift so guests could tour the manufacturing facility and see how products were created in Bettinardi’s recently renovated 40,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

Enjoy these 10 photos from the Summer Social, and learn more about Bettinardi’s Summer Social on the company’s website. 

The calm before the storm

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Bob Bettinardi gave a speech to attendees (and protected the entrance to Studio B) before the doors opened 7 p.m.

My collection needs a mallet!

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Nearly every item available for purchase at the Summer Social was a one-off prototype, including this mallet with an R&D sole engraving.

A very special BB Zero

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With a “Brook Trout” design and adjustable pocket weight. 

Holy Mother of (Pearl)

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Because why wouldn’t you want mother of pearl inserts on your putter… or a welded, custom-engraved neck for that matter. For the golfer who has everything, mother of pearl belt buckles, divot tools and ball makers were also available.

If you’re going to buy a rare putter…

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It better fit your stroke! Attendees of the Summer Social were able to get fit for their putters at no extra cost with purchase.

So much cooler than lead tape

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This variable-weight BB Zero putter allows golfers to adjust head weight through a pocket weight. And those snow stampings…

A BB6 with a twist

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Few custom tweaks are more eye-catching than a welded, twisty neck. This putter also has Bettinardi’s F.I.T. Face, a face-milling process that removes material from the face for an extremely soft feel without an insert.

Patchwork Head Covers

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Bettinardi’s new “patchworks” head covers sold out almost immediately. They combine different materials and designs for a truly one-off look. 

In case you weren’t hungry…

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Now you are. What’s a better snack on hot summer day than a Chicago-style dog and some Kool-Aid to wash it down? Representing Chicago proudly!

Holding down the R&D department

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When a belt buckle is so much more than a belt buckle. Only gear heads will understand.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Benny

    Jun 18, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I think its awesome they did this. Showing some true value to their fans and giving them access to all models. So many Pros play Betti’s and the amount of Tour wins shows they know what they are doing. Especially in a market ruled by SC. I would much rather have a handmade Betti or Machine dor 1/3 the price and make just as many if not more putts.

  2. Josh

    Jun 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for telling us about this AFTER it happened. I missed their facebook post about it even though I follow their page… Ah well. Keeping this in mind for next year.

  3. putter fanatic

    Jun 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Honest question here: did Bettinardi start the Summer Social before or after the Cameron ICC event which has become Pins and Playtime?

  4. ooffa

    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I commend Bettinardi for his genius. It takes skill, talent and hard work to market a very average putter for such an exorbitant price.

  5. Jeff

    Jun 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Those covers are absolutely sick! As a chicagoan who has relocated I would die to get any one of those covers. When do they go on sale?

  6. BOB

    Jun 15, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Free putter fitting wow so generous after selling $4 of metal for $2k

    • Toby

      Jun 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      You do realize you don’t have to buy the $2k (actually I don’t think any of them reached that price). You can just attend the event, socialize, etc.

      Just wondering what do you think should come free with a $2k putter? A happy ending 🙂

  7. Chris

    Jun 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    How do i go? I work at golfsmith lol

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Choi’s clubs. 

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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