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Behind the scenes at Bettinardi Golf HQ

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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.

A Bettinardi BB Zero with a “Brook Trout” design and adjustable pocket weight that was sold at Bettinardi's 2015 Summer Social.

A Bettinardi BB Zero with a “Brook Trout” design and adjustable pocket weight that was sold at the company’s 2015 Summer Social.

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.

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Bettinardi Golf HQ is located 40 minutes south of Chicago in Tinley Park, Ill.

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.

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A custom Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1 putter that was made for Fred Couples. He’ll receive two other putters just like it in three different lengths for testing.

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

4047a8c30387d497b0cc93aff681957cThese 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.

Tighter Tolerances

3cf15d77efaa993e437fa16a2ca40c07Bettinardi’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

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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.

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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?

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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

c5af3ddb7a6101cd30e9dbad0ecd5e42Here’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.

Multi-piece Bettinardis

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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

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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

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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.

Prototype Alert

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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?

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Speaking of prototypes, here’s an Inovai 3.0 Arm Lock that was designed for Matt Kuchar.

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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.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Behind the scenes at Bettinardi Golf

  2. nunya

    Dec 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    That inovai arm lock should be retail.

  3. Chuck

    Dec 30, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Somebody explain to me what a BBO model is. I have seen it in all different shapes and styles

  4. don

    Dec 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Why do the comments keep disappearing?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Dec 30, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      The comments removed from this story were either personal attacks or purposely inflammatory posts that are not allowed by our rules and terms: http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

      • Poppa

        Dec 30, 2015 at 11:46 pm

        It’s against the rules to say that you should bring straight cash for a better deal? Lmao

      • shimmy

        Dec 31, 2015 at 12:55 am

        Do consumers not need to be made aware that Bettinardi Putters uses an illegitimate quote (about an inflammatory issue) from our first President to sell his headcovers? If Bettinardi is going to use ‘patriotism’ to sell goods then might they please be true patriots and use Washington’s words accurately? This is too important to let slide.

        • Unknown

          Dec 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

          Agree with you. Just make putters Bob. We don’t need to hear how you feel about issues.

  5. John Goss

    Dec 29, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Scotty used to be the best and has been eclipsed by Bettinardi classic styles and quality. Play the bb32 now and have never putter better. Keep up the great work!!

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pga tour

Andrew “Beef” Johnston WITB 2017

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2017 RSM Classic (11/14/17).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 70TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F3 (15 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 80TX

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H2 (19 Degrees)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 90HY TX

Driving Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 2 & 3 Iron (17 & 20 Degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Irons: Titleist 718 MB (3-9)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46-10F, 50-08F, 54-10S)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Super Rat I GSS Inlay
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Pistol

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Newport 2
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Cord Pistol

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Super Rat II GSS Inlay
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Cord Pistol

WITB Notes: Beef was testing a variety of putters ahead of The RSM Classic. We will update this post when his choice is confirmed. 

Related:

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

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Equipment

The hottest blade irons in golf right now

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As we’ve written before, the decision to put a new driver in the bag is usually obvious. Better numbers at testing, perceptibly longer distance, and as long as your bank account allows, you have your new gamer.

The iron switch, however, is a trickier beast. Comfort with the variety of shots one needs to hit is key. Confidence from one’s long irons through the higher lofts is critical. Thus, even the greatest enthusiasm for a new iron release isn’t always followed by a mass exodus to gaming said irons. This is doubly true at the professional level, where the tools are critical to a player’s livelihood.

That said, the combination of forum chatter, GolfWRX member enthusiasm, and what we’re spotting in our WITB photos from tour stops are a reliable indicator of the hottest irons in the game.

And judging by the response to our recent Instagram post, we’re confident that these four models are the hottest blade irons in golf right now.

Callaway Apex MB

Buzz built steadily for the Apex MB iron when we first spotted them in Tour players’ bags at the beginning of 2017. The irons are the product of direct feedback from the company’s Tour staffers, according to Luke Williams, Director of Product and Brand Management at Callaway. Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel, these irons have the shortest blade lengths, the thinnest soles and the smallest overall heads in the vast line of Callaway irons. They’re designed for maximum workability, and for tour-desired turf interaction.

Related: Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons

Mizuno MP-18

The pioneers of Grain-Flow Forging, Mizuno went back to its roots with the MP-18 iron model. A throwback to the great muscle backs in the company’s history, Mizuno was shooting for the look of an iron that could have been forged a century ago. Shorter blade length, cambered top line, sharp, compact wedges, all combined with the most minimal badging make the MP-18 an instant classic that set the GolfWRX forums afire.

Related: Mizuno brings the MP family closer together

TaylorMade P730

TMag’s P730, particularly in its prototype incarnations, made quite a splash on the PGA Tour. Building on the heritage of the TP-MB irons, P730 was developed in collaboration with the very best players in the world. The 1025 carbon steel irons irons feature a smaller profile and crisper lines than the MB series irons. The combination of the clean look and a deep rear groove have players drooling. Discussing working with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose to design the P730, TMag’s Senior Director of Irons, Tomo Bystedt said, “What these players need is a very low-inertia club that they can [manipulate] easily, almost like a surgeon’s scalpel.” Behold the scalpel.

Related: Taylormade expands forged offerings with P730 and P790

Titleist 718 MB

“For the purist there is no substitute for a one-piece, muscle back iron. The 718 MB is the modern choice for those desiring a traditional forged look and feel,” says Titleist in the 718 MB marketing materials.

It’s hard to argue with that statement from the “appearance of a classic forged iron” standpoint. Purists appreciate that the 718 MB maintains Titleist’s traditional lofts (the 6-iron is 31 degrees, the pitching-wedge is 47 degrees), thin top-line, minimal offset, and limited badging. In short, if it ain’t broke…

Related: Titleist’s 718 irons offer endless possibilities.

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Whats in the Bag

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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