In a business driven by narratives, Bettinardi Golf is strong in its distinctions: innovators, craftsmen, artists. Of course, winning helps, too.
Bettinardi has cemented itself among putter-maker elites with unique designs that have been validated by the best golfers in the world in the form of major championship wins and dozens of other PGA Tour victories. With its recent releases, as well as through its custom putters, Bettinardi has also flexed its artistic muscles.
Maybe just as important to the company’s steady growth in the golf equipment industry over the past two decades, however, is something as simple as where Bettinardi putters are made. Bob Bettinardi’s office is 25 feet from his manufacturing floor. His son Sam’s office, located on the other side of the building, is a few feet closer.
Spend the day at the company’s Tinley Park, Illinois, headquarters with the Bettinardi’s and you’ll know what it’s like to be fully committed to something. Yes, both father and son share a special passion for the game of golf. What became clear, however, was that the stick-and-ball game is an outlet for an even stronger passion. The Bettinardis are obsessive about quality.
Remarkable attention to detail is the running theme around Bettinardi HQ, whether the company is making a retail putter or a completely custom model. Both are produced with the same CNC milling machines and engraving tools, and undergo the same multiple-point, model-specific inspections. And if golfers do decide to go the completely custom route, they can trust that their putter will be made by the same people who make putters for Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples, Brian Gay and Jim Herman.
Learn more about Bettinardi Golf in the photos below.
Two putters, one block of steel
These two Bettinardi Studio Stock #6 putters were milled from a block of mild carbon steel that looked just like the one underneath them.
It was Bob Bettinardi’s belief when he started his putter business in the early 1990s that the CNC milling procedures he was using to create products for the Department of Defense, as well as the telecommunication and the medical industry, would create putters that were superior to what was available at the time. Now, CNC milling is standard procedure for premium putters.
Bettinardi’s CNC milling and engraving processes lead to putters with extremely tight tolerances, which is why every Bettinardi lists its putter head weights to the gram. For reference, a gram is approximately the weight of one paper clip.
The Tour Stock BB Zero pictured above weighs exactly 351.5 grams, falling within the company’s 2-gram tolerance.
The Manufacturing Floor
This photo shows roughly one-quarter of Bettinardi’s manufacturing floor. No other facility produces Bettinardi putters, giving the company complete over its manufacturing and assembly. The only step the company outsources is plating, which is done in California, making Bettinardi putter heads 100 percent made-in-the-U.S.A products.
A Do-Anything Custom Department
Let’s say you shot a duck on a family hunting trip with a 20-gauge shotgun.
Let’s also say it was a special duck wearing what’s called a “duck band,” trackers that support waterfowl conservation efforts. Wanting to remember the moment, you had the idea to send the tag to Bettinardi and have it used in a putter design. Maybe the tag could fill the cavity of a custom BB8 DASS (Double Age Stainless Steel) putter, you thought?
The Bettinardi Custom Team could design a putter to perfectly accomodate the tag, and add your name as well as the gun you used to bring down the bird… and yes, the Bettinardi Custom Team actually did this.
Seriously, Bettinardi will do almost anything
Here’s a putter Bettinardi was designing for a multiple-time PGA Tour winner, who requested a welded-neck putter in the style shown on the CAD screen. Bettinardi doesn’t currently make such a putter shape, so it had to design one from scratch.
Recent mallets from Bettinardi, including the Inovai 3.0 shown above, are created from two pieces: steel and aluminum. Since steel (right) is much heavier than aluminum (left), the steel is used to position weight in the back of the putter to improve moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a putter’s forgiveness.
Each of the pieces is 100 percent milled, and then secured together with specially design screws.
How much heavier steel is than aluminum
These blocks are different sizes, but they weigh the same amount. Can you guess which one is aluminum and which one is steel?
Engraving the BB Series
See that green stuff in the cavity of the BB Series putter on the right? It’s necessary to cool down the metal during the engraving process.
If you’re been holding out for an adjustable weight putter from Bettinardi, you might finally be able to pull the trigger on such a model in 2016. Here’s a prototype I spotted at HQ with Bettinardi’s F.I.T. Face, which is the softest-feeling of the company’s three face-milling patterns. The other two patterns, FlyMill and HoneyComb, offer slightly firmer feels, with HoneyComb being the firmest.
Matt Kuchar’s next putter?
Speaking of prototypes, here’s an Inovai 3.0 Arm Lock that was designed for Matt Kuchar.
- Bettinardi launches new BB Series, unveils Inovai 3.0
- Bettinardi releases 10 new putters for 2015
- 10 awesome photos from Bettinardi’s 2015 Summer Social