Pros: 100% milled, with a very soft feel at impact. The Hyper-Honeycomb face finish is stunning, and is a nice modern touch to these classic putters.
Cons: They’re expensive ($299), and only come in one head weight (353 grams for standard-length, 395 grams for counter-balanced).
Bottom Line: Even golfers who don’t know much about putters can appreciate the quality of Bettinardi’s BB Series putters.
Golfers not familiar with the Bettinardi brand should know that the Tinley, Ill.-based company has its roots in the defense industry, which according to Bettinardi’s Vice President of Sales and Market Sam Bettinardi was the impetus for the high-quality machining process its putters undergo. Each and every Bettinardi putter starts as a solid block of steel, and is 100 percent milled and assembled in Tinley Park. That gives the company extraordinary control over its manufacturing process, which has earned Bettinardi great praise from putter aficionados for its tight tolerances and attention to detail.
The 2014 BB Series technically includes five models: the BB1, BB1F, BB32, BB43 and BB55. This review will not include the high-MOI BB55 putter, however, which got its own review that can be viewed here.
Each of the BB Series putters has a head weight of 353 grams, and comes stock with a Pure Grip made custom for Bettinardi in either standard or midsize. Two counter-balanced models are also available: the BB1 CB and BB32 CB. They come stock at 38 inches with a 17-inch Winn grip made custom for Bettinardi that weighs 135 grams. The extra 42 grams that the 3 inches of length add to the total weight of the putter is balanced with an extra 42 grams of head weight, making each putter head 395 grams. The standard-length BB1 is available for righties and lefties, while the rest of the line is right-handed only.
The weight of each Bettinardi BB Series putter head is written on the sole.
The putters have Bettinardi’s Hyper-Honeycomb face, a milling pattern that debuted on the 2013 BB Series putters and produces larger-diameter honeycomb shapes than the original pattern. The faces and soles have a high-polished silver finish, while the top of the putters have a glare-free matte silver satin finish.
The standard-length putters sell for $299, while the counter-balanced models cost $349. They’re available from select retailers, as well as direct from http://www.bettinardi.com/
The BB1 is an Anser-style putter with a slightly longer-than-normal plumber’s neck. That gives the putter a one-half toe hang, making it more face-balanced than the 2013 BB1 putter (it had a shorter hosel and a three-quarter toe hang). The longer plumber’s neck also extends the angular portion of the neck farther from the top line, making it less noticeable at address.
According to Bettinardi, putter design trends are moving away from models with a lot of toe hang and more toward face-balanced models, which was the reason its neck was extended. It also provided ample space to showcase the milling process that shaped the 1-piece putter, as Bettinardi left the mill marks on its hosel intact as a subtle clue to the putter’s quality.
The BB1F is an elongated Anser-style putter with a flow neck that delivers a three-quarter toe hang. That’s the most toe hang of any putter in the line, making it a fit for golfers who have a lot of arc in their stroke.
Like the BB1, Bettinardi added style to the putter’s neck. Ridges are milled along its curvature, giving it a “wow” factor, especially for golfers who are not used to handling high-quality putters. More impressive is the way the long, skinny flow neck transitions into the top line of the putter at address. It’s one of the least prominent flow necks on the market, a real feather in Bettinardi’s cap for a golfer who is sensitive to the amount of neck that is visible at address.
The wider footprint of the BB1F and its wide-set bumpers also gives the putter more stability than golfer’s might expect from a flow-neck Anser-style putter.
The BB32 is easily my favorite putter in the BB Series. There’s an alignment story: the “rare flange design,” as Bettinardi calls it, extends the half moon-shaped flange to allow for a longer sight line, which makes the putter easier to aim. The putter’s bumpers also serve to shrink the size of the mallet. They angle inward toward the center of the flange, making the BB32 look smaller than it really is. That visual trick might be the reason the putter was much more stable than I thought it should have been.
With a one-quarter toe hang and a plumber’s neck, the BB32 also has the potential to draw curiosity from both blade-putter users who are looking to try something more robust, as well as mallet users who are looking for something more inspiring at address.
The BB32 CB, the counter-balanced version of the putter, aims to please the nervy crowd. It and the BB1 CB are a must-try for golfers who want to try a counter-balanced putter, but are not prepared to switch to a more radical-looking, high-MOI design like the BB55. Be aware, however, that compared to TaylorMade’s Daddy Long Legs, Odyssey’s Tank and Bettinardi’s B55 CB, the BB32 CB feels considerably heavier at address. I could speculate as to why, but it’s better to sample the putters yourself and make your own judgement. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t mind the heavier feel.
The BB43’s true center-shafted design places more of the putter’s mass directly behind the impact area. In iron design, that’s known to make a iron feel softer and more solid at impact, and the BB43 is no exception: it’s the softest-feeling putter in the line.
According to Bettinardi, the BB43 has garnered a cult following since the release of the original BB43 in 2001, which likely stems from its quirkiness. When viewing it from face-on, I swear I’m looking at a Bullseye. But in the playing position, the putter morphs into a center-shafted Anser-style putter. It’s also face-balanced, which should help golfers who have putting strokes that are more straight-back and straight-through.
Looks and feel
Golfers who are willing to spend $300 on a putter demand certain things. If they’re purists, simplicity — the strong point of the BB Series line — is high on their lists. At address, the non-glare silver satin finish on the top of the putter is all business. But the high-polished, Hyper-Honeycomb faces of the putters don’t just add artistic value to the putter — they add performance and durability.
According to Bettinardi, the Hyper-Honeycomb faces ensure a completely flat face surface, a claim that’s hard to dispute when viewing the flatness of the face from the side. The high-polished finish on the face and sole also add durability to those high impact areas. Any golfer who has ever bought a completely matte putter, only to watch the sole and face develop a shine from use over time know exactly what I’m talking about.
The samples we received had no flaws to either their paintfill or shaft band, and we appreciate the red, white and blue colorways that scream Made in the U.S.A. Another nice touch are the American-made Pure Grips, which are highly durable and continue with the Patriotic theme, as well as the red, white and blue leather headcover (check it out in the photo gallery at the bottom of the story).
The lone drawback of the BB Series is the inability to adjust the weight of the putter heads through moveable weights. According to Bettinardi, the company shies away from them because it feels that they can negatively affect sound and feel. It’s hard to argue that assertion, as each of the putters offers a soft, solid feel at impact.
Above: The BB32 and BB32 CB — which has a 42-gram heavier head — at address. Can you tell them apart?
We also understand the cost ineffectiveness of milling custom-weighted putter heads, although we know that Bettinardi could do it. The BB1 CB and BB32 CB putters are 42 grams heavier than the standard-length models, yet they hardly appear any larger than the lighter heads at address. According to Bettinardi, this is possible because each of the putters is 100 percent milled, which allows weight to be distributed evenly (and almost invisibly) across the entirety of the putter head.
Bettinardi is making an aggressive play to become the go-to premium putter maker in the U.S., signing online distribution deals with major retailers PGA SuperStore and 2nd Swing. It is also trying to garner more PGA Tour presence, signing Matt Kuchar and Brian Gay as brand ambassadors in 2013, and adding putter reps on the Web.com and Champions Tours. It’s a bold move for the extremely competitive and sometimes fickle putter market, but the quality and beauty of the BB Series line makes it hard to question the decision.
If you’re willing to spend $300 on a putter, congrats, you’re a real GolfWRXer. And no GolfWRXer would look down on you for spending that $300 on a Bettinardi.
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WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter
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.
WRX Spotlight: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter
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.
- More photos of the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter (and other Toulon Stroke Lab putters) in the forums.
WRX Spotlight Review: Miura MGP-NM1 Putter
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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