By Dave Wolfe

Bettinardi understands the current golf market.

Before you bemoan the fact that a company that makes putters costing $300 and above can’t possibly get the current market, let me explain my reasons.

Two years ago, Bettinardi moved to a two-year release cycle, and they have held to that plan. Sure, we get a surprise SS6 added to the Studio Stock line this year, but the BB line lasted the whole two-year cycle without change. Product longevity is a growing part of the golf market, consumers viewing rapid releases as costly and tiresome.

Secondly, while there will likely always be a BB1 in the line-up, Bettinardi does a great job of rotating the other models, including both old favorites, and new ideas. The BB8 will definitely be a welcome return for many, and the BB40 will catch the eye of those looking for a new mallet.

The final thing that I think Bettinardi gets is the need for the new, to really look new. Compare the 2014 BB line and this new 2016 one, you see that the new models are different and that’s not a trivial thing.

Think about it this way. Can you tell immediately the difference between a 2014 and a 2015 Honda Civic?

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These new putters look novel, and that evokes consumer excitement. I’m no exception. When I opened the box of putters, I didn’t know anything about the new line. Once I started checking them out, the newness overwhelmed me. So much so that my wife came into the room to ask who I was talking to. I guess I was saying things like “Check out that green!” out loud. Didn’t even realize that I was that excited…

New putters should be exciting. They should make the putter-loving golfer want to try them out immediately. While I can’t help you with that right now, I can share with you a little more info about whats coming new in 2016.

General Specs: BB Line

  • Models: 4 (BB1, BB1F, BB8, & BB40)
  • Head weight: 350g
  • Face Milling: Honeycomb
  • Finish: Midnight Black
  • Shaft: Brush Nickel
  • Price: $300

Going with a bright green and silver palate for the new BB line is a bold move. Some will love the look, while others will immediately be put off. Personally, I think that it works and makes the new putters visually distinct.

Bettinardi has returned to Lamkin for its stock grips. The deep-etched grip has great hand feel, but the color will be what is most prominent. Personally, I like it; both color and texture. The green and silver pair well together.

The matte silver shaft was a shock when I opened the box. I was expecting your standard-issue chrome. These step-less shafts remind me a ton of the KBS C-Taper iron shaft. That’s probably your best visual reference until you can see the new BB line in person.

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The Midnight Black finish on the heads is amazing. It’s black (duh), but you should also notice a multitude of additional subtle hues. Do not for a second think that this is another just paint it black and call it new plan.

This is a standout finish.

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The silver and green headcovers do go a little space age aesthetically, but that bold cover will definitely become a talking piece for your bag. Sadly, they close with velcro rather than Bettinardi’s greatest-thing-in-headcover-history neoprene closure. I have quite a few putters with velcro scratches in the finish, and zero with neoprene scratches.

There is probably a sound reason for the switch to velcro, but it saddens me.

Enough about the accessories, let’s get to the putters!


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Crafted for those who expect a timeless design, the BB1 embodies the tradition of a classic heel toe weighted blade now with a Midnight Black Finish and Brush Nickel Shaft. The soft bumpers and definitive muscles make this the time-honored Bettinardi putter. This BB series staple has a neck with light mill marks displaying the craftsmanship that goes into making every Bettinardi. The Hyper-Honeycomb face on all BB Series models is recognized worldwide as our trademark in putting and superior look.
  • Toe Hang: 1/4
  • Left-handed models available
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Slight Arc

Here is your fiscal workhorse. Though I am not privy to Bettinardi’s sales numbers, I bet that this one will be the top seller. There is a simple reason that there is a BB1 in every release. Golfers want the BB1.

It’s a classic anser-style head, playing exactly like you think that it should. It is a little more rounded than the BB8, and visually a little stockier tail to toe as well.

It’s also definitely different than the 2014 BB1.

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Obviously there are color difference, but there are geometry differences as well. While some are subtle, there is no hiding that the 2016 BB1 has a more traditional (aka shorter) neck. This changes the feel of the putter during the stroke, promoting a bit more toe hang in the new BB1. I’m not going to make a blanket statement about which neck length is better, that’s a personal preference thing.

What I will say though is that this comparison really shows that these are not just the same putters from a couple of years ago with a new paint scheme. They are new putters.


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The BB1F includes a neck that is ridge-milled and fades right into the head of the putter itself; allowing for a conventional smoothed out stroke. The appearance at address of this highly desired model is pure, flowing down to the shaft, while keeping our focus on the ball without any distractions. The slightly displaced Bettinardi text to the right side of the pocket gives all the BB Series putters a striking designer appeal.
  • Toe Hang: 1/2
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Strong Arc

Is there an official name for this neck style? I always say “flow neck” but I’m not totally sure when or where I picked up that term. Regardless, the neck change in the BB1F will definitely promote more of an arcing stroke.

I appreciate the little aesthetic touches that Bettinardi adds to their putters, like ridges on the neck of the BB1F. Maybe the ridges add some stiffness to the neck or something else performance-wise. Could be. Could also be that they just look cool there. Regardless, it’s nice to see the attention to detail.


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The BB8 has a two tiered heal and toe weighted cavity back design that has been squared off. Combine this sharp look with a plumber’s neck and you have one of the all-time classic putters ever made. The BB8 has our patented Honeycomb face to ensure the flattest surface possible!
  • Toe Hang: 1/4-1/2
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Slight Arc

It’s been a release cycle or two since we have seen a BB8. It’s the blockier of the blades. Yes, it’s still an anser-variant, but that variation is significant. For some, the overall squareness in design really helps when aligning the putter to the target line.

The different cavity size, shape, and depth when compared to the BB1 results in a different feel at impact. It is just a touch longer than the BB1, but to me, it looks significantly longer from address. Here are a couple of side-by-side shots of the BB1 AND BB8.

These two blades definitely share some genes, but there is still enough variation that there will likely be two separate preference factions.


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The BB40 is a traditional mallet that is perimeter weighted which creates a larger sweet spot. With a classic shape and extended sight line for easier alignment, this remarkable putter generates confidence at address. The BB40 mallet is the perfect compliment to the classic blade putters in the 2016 BB Series line.
  • Toe Hang: Face Balanced
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Straight

The BB40 may have a classic shape, but there is plenty new with this little mallet as well. At address, you can see that it is not quite symmetrical, yet doesn’t quite share the big-toed beast characteristics of heel-shafted half mallets. What really stands out though is how thin the top line is. Many mallets of this ilk tend to be thick right behind the face. The BB40 is thinner, and there is a true cavity as well.

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For me, this translates to a mallet with some pop off the face. Now this may be real, or just my perception, but the BB40 seems to deliver a crisper impact than similar thicker-faced mallets. It’s an interesting take on the classic round, compact mallet.

Though the BB40 is undeniably round, it is actually very visually square at address. With the exception of the back edge, you have a nice little square box to line up behind the ball. For me, this promoted easy squaring of the putter to target.

Studio Stock 6

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This timeless heel shaped flange design is featured in our softest carbon steel material. This not only produces great feel but classic beauty and unbeatable performance. The Studio Stock Model 6 has our Super Fly-Mill face which gives clear and distinct feedback at impact.
  • Head weight: 358g
  • Toe Hang: Full
  • Face Milling: Fly-Mill
  • Finish: Olympic Bronze
  • Shaft: Classic Steel
  • Price: $400
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Strong Arc

Some of you jumped right here when I mentioned that there was a new SS6 in the intro. This classic head shape has a devoted following. I know that there are a couple of you out there that have extensive collections of this classic 8802 shape. Raise you hand if you are in the 20+ class.

Do I really need to get into a description of this putter? It looks amazing, both in form and finish. It’s expensive, but some of you who love this head have already emailed Bettinardi dealers about ordering it. This one is going to fit a smaller niche market than the BB1 will, but that market will clamor for this putter, eventually loving it when it arrives in the bag.

iNOVAi 3.0

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The Inovai 3.0 is Bettinardi’s latest innovational masterpiece. This unique design is made up of both aluminum and stainless steel. The aluminum is utilized in the face to create our softest feeling putter yet and the stainless steel back weight creates the density needed for perfect head weight. This rare 1/4 toe hang MOI mallet has extreme perimeter weighting which promotes a stable stroke and larger sweet spot.
  • Head weight: 358g
  • Face Milling: F.I.T. Face
  • Finish: Black Anodized/Hand Polished Stainless
  • Shaft: Classic Steel
  • Toe Hang: Face Balanced-ish
  • Left-handed models available
  • Fit-for-Stroke: Straight (-ish)
  • Price: $300

Now some of you are likely reading through today’s putter-love-fest and thinking that I am just a Bettinardi shill. That I’ll fawn over whatever Bob throws in front of me. I love a good bit of what the company puts out, but definitely not all of it.

Case in point last year’s iNOVAi.

I like the high MOI idea behind the previous iNOVAi a bunch, but I just couldn’t get past the giant silver moon at address. I’m not a fan of anything that draws my eyes away from the face at address. That piece of metal on last year’s iNOVAi was eye-magnetic. I had a similar issue with the BB54.

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This time though, I am all-in on the iNOVAi 3.0. The multi-material nature of the putter is far more seamless in design. Nothing added obtrusively to the back flange. The fact that is has just a touch of toe hang, like 1/8 to 1/16 or so, should open the 3.0 to some slight arc players as well as the more SBST folk.

We are still looking at an aluminum forward-steel rearward design, but this time it all fits together. Weight is pushed rearward and to the edges, boosting stability. I’ve raved about the feel of aluminum before (Bettinardi BB55, Superstroke FATSO, Cameron Futura X, & etc.), and the iNOVAi is definitely another name to add to that feels great list.

Let me put it this way. Of the six models, this is the one that went in the test bag first.

Again, Bettinardi Gets It

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A new line needs to look new. It needs to generate a sense of wonder, and maybe the hope that this year you will find that special putter. If a new release doesn’t pop that way, it will be ignored and flop.

This release from Bettinardi pops. It represents a great balance of holding on to old traditions/successes and then infusing them with newness. The BB line is outstanding, and if I didn’t know better, I’d have said that they were the new, more expensive, Studio Stock lines. They look that good.

As a final point, let’s address that age old concern of price. Bettinardi makes a premium product that carries with it a premium price. Nobody should mistake these for economy items. However, compared to the main competitor, whose prices are rumored to be rising above the current $350 neighborhood this next season, paying only $300 for one of these seems downright thrifty.