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Review: Bettinardi Inovai 3.0 Putters

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Pros: Bold alignment features. Aluminum F.I.T. Face creates a soft feel at impact. Great size and shape.

Cons: No adjustable weights.

Who it’s for: Anyone can use an Inovai 3.0. It will be preferred by golfers who like mallet putters, even more so by golfers in search of greater stroke stability.

The Review

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  • Weight: 358 grams
  • Material: 6061 Aluminum/303 Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Black Anodized/Hand Polished Stainless
  • Face Milling: F.I.T. (Feel Impact Technology) Face
  • Stock Lie/Loft: 71 degrees, 2 degrees
  • Stock Length Options: 33, 34, 35 inches
  • Stock Grip: Lamkin Deep-Etched Paddle, Lamkin Deep Etched Jumbo, SuperStroke options

The Inovai 3.0 is also available in center-shafted and counter-balanced ($349) models. 

Like most readers of GolfWRX, I change putters frequently. In fact, quite frequently. In my defense, however, I spent a great deal of time fiddling around with different shapes to determine if I am a “blade” or “mallet” guy.

Deep down, I’ve always wanted to be a blade guy – and why not? Blade putters look cool and next to flushing a forged 7-iron, there is no better feeling than holing a snaking 30-footer with a pure blade. Unfortunately for me, launch monitors, video playback, instructors and ultimately results have all steered me into mallet putters. Now that I know who I am, I can assure you that I have invested a great deal of time searching for the perfect mallet.

From Guerin Rife 2-Bar putters to TaylorMade Spiders to Scotty Cameron Futuras to recently an Odyssey #7, I am a purveyor of high-MOI putters because of their great stability and consistency. Throw in a soft feel at impact, and I am really hooked.

Based on these personal putter preferences, you can understand why my interest was especially piqued when I first saw Bettinardi’s new Inovai 3.0 (pronounced in-o-vai).

If Looks Could Kill

Inovai_3_address

Without even as much as holding the putter, it appeared to check all of the required boxes to make it in my bag. The first thing that sucked me in was the Inovai 3.0 stainless steel “wings,” which act as a mechanism to help move weight more rearward to create what the company calls the “perfect head weight.” For me, I just like the wings because it frames the ball and helps with alignment. But I’m not going to argue with “perfect” head weight, either.

Next, the body of the Inovai 3.0 is not too busy (like some high-MOI putters), nor is it too small, which in my mind defeats the purpose of a high performance mallet. In the words of the fictional character Goldilocks, the size of the Inovai 3.0 is “just right.”

Multi-Material Masterpiece

Inovai_3_side

If the shape of the Inovai 3.0 doesn’t draw you in, perhaps you will fall for the black anodized finish or the hand-polished 303 stainless steel weight bolted to the aluminum chassis. The concept of affixing a stainless steel section to a specific portion of the body is not a new concept for Bettinardi. The original Inovai also employs a hefty piece of steel to assist with weight and stability. This stainless steel back weight creates added density giving the user a solid, proportionately weighted weapon for the greens.

As seen on TOUR

Bettinardi refers to the Inovai 3.0’s shape shape as the “newest tour-proven shape.” If you don’t believe them, tune into Golf Channel and you will see many equipment companies with their interpretation of this shape. Everything about this shape just seems to work. Maybe the secret is out and this shape will soon overtake the unforgiving (yet beautiful) blade putters?

Inovai_3_face

What about the face? The Inovai 3.0 has a sleek, all-black face. Upon further inspection, the construction is Bettinardi’s proprietary F.I.T (Feel-Impact-Technology) face. According to the company, 55 percent of material is removed directly from the putter face during the milling process, creating the softest feel of any Bettinardi face finish. Typically, a soft, responsive feel is a mandate for those playing at the highest level. To no one’s surprise, the F.I.T. face is engineered for the golfers who have an “aggressive” putting style, and used by all of Bettinardi’s PGA Tour players.

Alignment, Alignment, Alignment

Perhaps one of the reasons that this shape continues to attract Tour players is because of its inherent alignment benefits. The stainless steel “wings” provide critical mass to stabilize the putter, but also double as an effective way to frame the ball at address. Look closely and you will also notice two subtle black lines on each wing. Throw in a half-inch, solid white line that stretches to the leading edge of the putter and you have an excellent chance of starting a putt on the desired line.

On the Green

Before I even struck a ball with the Inovai 3.0, I wanted to like it. I wanted to impart a smooth strike to the center of the ball and watch it roll end-over-end into the hole with precision and ease. After all, this is the shape I like to see at address. I dropped three balls on the green and alternated between 3-footers, 6-footers and 10-footers. As expected, the short putts dropped with ease as I was able to rely on the intuitive alignment features for added confidence. When employing a longer stroke, the ball rolled beautifully and reliably to the hole. Even on off-center strikes, the roll was consistent.

Inovai_3_grip_front

Not to be forgotten is the choice in grip. For the Inovai 3.0 putters, Bettinardi offers a traditional Lamkin paddle grip – a perfect choice to manage the weight of the head. For those seeking a thicker grip, a jumbo paddle grip is offered.

The Inovai 3.0 isn’t just flash or gimmick. The mix of milled aluminum and stainless steel gives, while providing the necessary size and mass to deliver a solid and reliable strike. The soft F.I.T. face provides incredible feedback and is a no-brainer for those who like a soft feel, as well as those who prefer completely milled putters

Overall, the iNOVAi 3.0 is worth a look if you are a purveyor of mallet putters or simply a frustrated blade guy. Personally speaking, the Inovai 3.0 has everything I am want and for that reason, is in the bag for the 2016 season.

Editor’s Note: Several GolfWRX Staff Members contributed to this review. 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. farmer

    Jan 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Great copy of the Odyssey no. 7!

  2. Fahgdat

    Jan 23, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Gawddamm, dem pudders are fugly or wot

  3. Matthew Bacon

    Jan 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Love my Queen Bee but just can’t get into these, they look cheap

    • Cyd2293

      Jan 22, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      I have had the chance to demo the 2016 Inovai 3.0, the 2016 BB1, and the BB1F.

      All 3 are superb putters with excellent feel.

      I am in the market for a new putter, current putter is a Bettinardi Hogan BB1 style putter, and Bettinardi is my first choice when I purchase.

      I want to the BB1F, sadly I think I am a better putter using a mallet and must consider the Inovai 3.0 model.

      I can’t go wrong with either of the Bettinardi offerings. Am I trying to talk myself into the Inovai 3.0 when I really want the BB1F. Or, am I trying to talk myself into the BB1F?

      As stated before the Inovai has terrific feel and when seen in person is a beautiful putter that is a joy to putt with.

      We will know tomorrow as I am off to make my purchase. If I ain’t snowed in.

      • Cyd2293

        Jan 24, 2016 at 9:45 pm

        Follow-up: I purchased the Inovai 3.0. Loving the putter so far in practice. Great feel, balls goes in the intended direction even when I miss the sweet spot which is more often than I hit it. It is actually a beautiful putter to look at especially when you are standing over a putt. Instills confidence!

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter

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Product:  T Squared TS-713i Standard Series Putter

About T Squared: T Squared Putters is a small putter manufacturer just south of Buffalo, New York. The company was founded by Tony Tuber who created his first prototype putters, after hours, in his father’s machine shop. Since then Tony and his father have been creating high-quality putters in the same facility that creates high precision instruments for the medical field. They pride themselves on creating the highest quality, most precise putter they can offer. They offer a few different head shapes from small traditional blades to high MOI mallets and even a custom program to get exactly what you want.

The Ts-713i Standard Series is based on the Ts-713, the first prototype that Tony created. It is a blade-style putter with a slightly longer flange and a unique face insert milled from 6061 aluminum. The body of the Ts713i is milled from a solid block of 303 stainless steel that is produced in the USA and has a Teflon backing between the body and face insert.

This Teflon backing helps give the putter a softer feel at impact and reduce any unwanted vibration. Details are what T Squared is all about and the neck of the putter shows off their milling expertise. The neck is similar to a plumbers neck, built with multiple pieces and offering some cool texture on the section bonded to the head. Another great detail is that all the silver markings on the putter are not filled with paint, they are milled into the head. T Squared finished the head in a sharp matte black and then milled all the markings on the putter for a unique, shiny silver look that really stands out. Ts-713i putters are built for customizing and have a ton of options that you can select if you would like to build something totally unique

On the green, the T Squared TS-713i really performs fantastic. I found the feel at impact very solid without any unwanted vibration. The impact produces a muted click and soft feel that I wasn’t expecting from this aluminum insert and thin face. The deep milling and Teflon coated back to the insert really work together to produce a great, responsive feel that I enjoyed. Deep milling usually makes me a little worried because it can soften the putter too much and lose that feel we all demand.

The TS-713i has no issues and transmits impact feel back to your hands with ease. Mishits are a little louder and harsh, but nothing even close to unpleasant. I have used putters that don’t feel as good on perfectly struck shots as the TS-713i feels on mishit putts. Distance and accuracy on those mishit putts are not as drastic as you would expect with a blade putter. I often just missed the cup by small margins when I struck a putt on the toe or heel of the TS-713i. There aren’t too many blade putters that have shown this level of forgiveness on the green for me.

The “T” alignment aid on the flange of the putter is large and easy to use. Not only do you get a straight line from the face to the back edge for alignment, but the back of the “T” also helps you square the putter up to your target. The Pure grip is not my thing, and it would be great for T Squared to offer a few more options, but that is an easy fix and a very minor criticism.

Overall, the T Squared TS-713i is a great putter from young Tony Tuber that exceeded my expectations. His attention to detail, precision milling, and take on a classic head shape offer golfers something different without sacrificing any performance. If you are looking for a great feeling putter that is made in the USA, you should take a look at T Squared and see what they can make for you.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

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Product: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Pitch: From Odyssey/Toulon: “The Odyssey Toulon San Diego Stroke Lab Putter is our take on on another classic putter. It’s an expertly crafted, premium milled blade, with our multi-material Stroke Lab Shaft, deep diamond milled cross hatch grooves, and a new Charcoal Smoke finish.”

Our take on the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Toulon is the line of all milled putters from Odyssey, originally started by club designer Sean Toulon and his sons. Toulon putters have always featured their Deep Diamond Mill face, adjustable sole weight, and brazed (instead of welded) necks. That combination has created a great putter line that has become popular on tour as well as us amateur players. For 2019, there are some new head shapes, Charcoal Smoke Finish, Deep Diamond Milling across the whole face, and the Stroke Lab putter shaft.

I got my hands on the Toulon San Diego, a more squared-off blade shape, for this review. The shape, milling, and finish on the San Diego are great and really show off what a high quality piece it is. The biggest change visually is the full Deep Diamond Mill face, making the view from address more uniform. The face used to have the milling only in the center of the face and to some that was a distracting look while others liked the way it framed the ball. The new finish also looks great. I always have liked darker finishes and this looks high end while still reducing glare in the brightest conditions.

The Stroke Lab shaft goes well with the finish on the San Diego and the head cover is a plush synthetic leather that feels like it will hold up for years of use.

On the green the San Diego SL has a crisp sound and feel. If you like a little more click to your putter, then the San Diego SL will be right what you are looking for. And don’t take that as a negative thing, that crisp feel gives great feedback on face contact. You know exactly where the putter face and ball met by the sound and feel. The Deep Diamond Mill gets the ball rolling quickly on line with very minimal hop and skid, providing very consistent and repeatable distance control.

This is blade, so shots off the toe to tend to stray from your intended line a bit, the face does seem like it wants to rotate open a bit. Heel strikes defiantly stay online better, but tend to lose more steam and net get the roll out you might expect. The simple alignment line on the flange of the putter is easy to align, even for a guy who has been using mallets for years.

Like I have said before, I think there is something to the Stroke Lab tech, the lighter shaft and weight in the butt of the shaft do affect tempo for me; I noticed a slight calming of my backstroke and stroke through the ball.

Overall, the San Diego is a great putter for those who like a little firmer feel and more audible click on their putter. It is very responsive and putts a great roll on the ball. This isn’t a cheap putter ($450) and the fit and finish let you know that you are getting what you paid for.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: Miura MGP-NM1 Putter

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Product: Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Pitch: Limited to 300 pieces, the Miura MGP-NM1 is Miura’s first 303 stainless steel putter. Its appearance is in keeping with the bolder designs of the Miura Giken family.

Our take on the Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Miura Giken has become the brand where Miura can push some limits and try out designs and technology not really fit for the standard Miura line. And if doing something new and different is what Miura Giken is about, then the MGP-NM1 fits like a glove. When most people think of Miura, they think forged carbon steel and traditional, old school shapes. The MGP-NM1 is a long ways from that, being milled from 303 stainless steel, having adjustable weights and milled stepped pockets in the sole.

If you love mill marks, then the MBG-NM1 will fulfill all our needs because the head is covered with them. I really liked the top line where the mill marks go front to back but then get much finer around the alignment line. If you look close the milling is still there, but just much finer. It works great along with the alignment lines on the “fangs.” The MGP-NM1 is a great size: large enough to give you confidence that a mishit will stay online, but not too big to be distracting. Like most putters with this (Odyssey No. 7)  shape, it frames the ball really well and looks great to my eye. The way the shaft goes into the head is for sure unique, it is straight from address but does drop down into the head.

I will get my one con on this putter out of the way early: the way the shaft goes into the head from address. I love the shape of the head, but the way the shaft enters the head makes it harder for me to line up. At address you can see the the top line of the putter on both sides of the shaft and for some that might be helpful, but it took me a long time to get comfortable with my alignment. Also, the head cover isn’t up to standard for a putter in this price range.

But the good of this putter really outweighs that bad. The putter  feels and sounds great, much like the Miura KM-009 reviewed previously. Feel is very solid with, to me, the perfect amount of click on impact. There might be just a slight bit of vibration on contact, but very minimal and will probably vary with the ball you play. Contact on the toe and heel really stay on target well; you can tell this mallet has a fairly high MOI. Like any responsive putter should do, this really provides good feedback on mishits. Toe and heel shots are not punished as much as you would think, the ball still rolls out well with minimal distance loss. That solid, soft Miura feel really does come through with this putter.

Overall, I think the Miura Giken MGP-NM1 is a really great way for a mallet user to put a Miura putter into the bag.

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