- Bettinardi Hexperimental is a new prototype putter debuting at BMW Championship
- High MOI mallet is an evolution of the Baby Ben that Jim Furyk used to win the 2003 U.S. Open
- Features Bettinardi’s current iNOVAi design scheme
I’ve got something special for you to check out today: a Bettinardi Hexperimental prototype putter making its debut this week at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields CC.
Typically, a prototype putter release might slip through without much fanfare. Putter freaks will always gush over prototypes, but everyday golfers may not even realize what they are looking at.
This Bettinardi Hexperimental High MOI mallet is a little different because it likely looks familiar to many of you. In fact, I bet some of you have already identified its major-winning ancestor.
When Jim and Baby Ben Won the U.S. Open
I don’t know that there is a better putter fairy tale than what happened at Olympia Fields CC at the 2003 U.S. Open. Right before the event, Jim Furyk found out that his putter was non-conforming. Luckily, Jim or someone in Jim’s camp realized Bettinardi was located about a half-hour away. After some quick trials and fitting at Bettinardi HQ, Furyk dropped a Baby Ben mallet in his bag that week.
And, wouldn’t you know it, he won the tournament.
Now we roll the tape forward 17 years and we see this new Bettinardi Hexperimental prototype putter making its debut at Olympia Fields CC during the BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. While I hardly expect a repeat of the 2003 magic, I definitely see why Bettinardi would view Olympia Fields as something special.
If Baby Ben were going to show off his kid, this would be the perfect place to do it.
Bettinardi Hexperimental – Historic Shape with Modern Materials
Prototype putters, by design, are experimental (hexperimental?), and this new high MOI mallet is no different. It may look like Baby Ben, but quite a bit has changed since that original 2003 design.
While Baby Ben was all aluminum, the Bettinardi Hexperimental High MOI prototype putter is aluminum and stainless steel. This design mirrors the new 2019 Bettinardi iNOVAi 6.0 set-up, where the face is made from stainless steel. Aluminum brings up the rear. The seam in the photo above is the site of material transition. The stainless steel front allows Bettinardi more freedom of design, especially when it comes to neck configuration and face milling. The slant neck on this prototype putter would not have been possible with full aluminum construction.
Hole, Not Holes
When you look at the Bettinardi Hexperimental High MOI prototype putter from the side, you see another design shift. Where the original Baby Ben had holes through the midsection, this putter has but one. This pushes the weight to the front and the rear. With the front being heavier stainless steel, this repositioning of weight actually should make the mallet play a little more blade-like. This is especially true once you add in the flow neck as opposed to a more mallet-traditional spud neck.
This hole in the side reminded me of another mallet, Odyssey’s 2-Ball. I’m not going to go nuts and say that this putter is a 2-Ball copy, but perhaps this internal emptiness will impart some 2-Ball putting prowess.
So You Want a Bettinardi Hexperimental Prototype
For the putter aficionado, Tour prototype putters are collection unicorns. Prototype putters often represent ideas that putter makers are running by Tour players as experiments. They want the feedback from the best players during the design process. Tour players can have them but not the common golfer.
Fret not. It will likely be possible to grab one of these mallets. The first place to keep an eye on is the Bettinardi Hive. Every week or so, they roll out one-off and prototype putters. A few months back, they made available some tri-sole putters that were previously Tour-only releases. I bet we will see some of these mallets in The Hive soon.
Bettinardi also runs a Black Friday release featuring unique putters as well as blacked-out versions of their current retail releases. That may be another place to hunt for the Bettinardi Hexperimental.
Find out more at Bettinardi.com