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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.

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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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3, 4), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 54-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea
Grip: Super Stroke 1.0 SGP

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

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

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Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

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

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