The Rite of Spring

The Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1 is the quintessential limited-run putter. It is thematic, uniquely constructed and produced in limited quantities. Today, we are going to explore these unique features of the Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1. – the design elements that separate this Spring Classic from the stock 2020 Bettinardi putters.

Spring holds a powerful place in the human psyche. It is the season where we celebrate the conclusion of winter and the return of the life-giving warmth of the sun. Spring is the season of possibilities and optimism.

Capturing all of that sentiment on the limited canvas of a putter is a tall order. But before we get to that, let’s see why Bettinardi is calling a brand-new putter a “classic.”

Golf’s First-Ever One-Piece Milled Putter!

Introducing the latest Limited Run putter of 2020, the BB1.1 Spring Classic. A nod to Robert Bettinardi’s and golf’s first-ever, one-piece milled putter, Robert crafted the BB1.1 from Soft Carbon Steel and added a 303 Stainless Steel insert with flymill face milling for a super-soft, responsive feel at impact. Precision-milled to 355 grams, the refined head shape pays tribute to Robert’s original one-piece head, giving the new BB1.1 a constant neck alignment with his classic, setting up masterfully at address.

History is a funny thing. Oftentimes, the events of the past seem recent but then we realize that “recent” is actually years or even decades ago. It can be hard to remember when common things were not yet common. Take cellphones for example. While smartphones are pretty much ubiquitous these days, if you turn the clock back 20 years, “smart” meant your phones had an interchangeable faceplate and you could play Snake on it.

CNC-milled putters live in a similar have-always-been-here sphere and yet they have really only been in the golf arena since 1991.

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Yes, that 1991. Back when you were working on your Motownphilly harmonies and getting sexed up by Color Me Badd, Robert Bettinardi took his military metal milling machines and collaborated with golf industry giants of the age to produce the first one-piece milled putter. If you’ve wondered why Bettinardi Golf is a thing, that’s why Bettinardi golf is a thing.

There’s little doubt that Scotty Cameron remains the commercial king of the mills but I’ll bet some of you out there that don’t know that Bettinardi milled the Cameron putters in the ’90s, likely helping Scotty get to where he is today.

The Classic-ness

Pop quiz: Raise your hand if you know what golf event The Spring Classic is referencing? Granted, this year we will be calling the tournament The Autumnal Awesomeness, but The Spring Classic is an obvious reference to The Masters. Many companies use this we-shall-not speak-its-name marketing strategy (e.g., “The Big Game Sale!”) with big events. It’s a standard way to get your products into the event zeitgeist without paying big licensing fees. So, yes, Bettinardi is doing the same thing. However, Bettinardi is on slightly firmer ground than usual with the “Spring Classic” designation as it’s a legitimate tournament-winning design.

Check out putter A000676 in the Scotty Cameron Putter Registry. As you read the description there, you will find some crazy facts. Bernhard Langer used the pre-Titleist Classic 1 to win the 1993 Masters. Crazy, huh? Langer won with a standard-length putter! Sure, he had a crazy arm-lock thing happening but his putting was spectacular that week.

Scotty’s name may be on the putter but it was milled in Bettinardi’s shop. When you compare the neck of that Masters-winning Classic 1 to this current Spring Classic, you’ll see Bettinardi’s nod to that classic winner. It makes sense that Langer’s win would be something Bettinardi would choose to commemorate as it was arguably the win that really launched the careers of both Cameron and Bettinardi.

Milling the 1997 winner for a punk kid from Orange County didn’t hurt their prospects, either.

Obviously, marketing restrictions prevent this putter from being called a Masters commemorative release. However, that 1993 win is a moment worth celebrating for Bettinardi. That victory fueled the increasing presence of milled putters over the next three decades.

Specifications: Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1

  • Head: BB1.1
  • Material: Soft Carbon Steel Body/303 Stainless Insert
  • Face Milling: Flymill
  • Finish: Graphite Grey PVD/Tour Blast Insert
  • Grip: Perforated Gripmaster Leather
  • Weight: 355g
  • Pieces: 275
  • Price: $750
  • Release Date: May 28, 2020

Exploring the Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1

Completed in a durable Graphite Grey PVD finish and a Tour Blast 303 SS insert, the BB1.1 showcases our craftsmanship, with the flymill extending across the outer bumpers, intricately engraved azaleas along the sole, a fancy-script Hex B in the pocket, and “Bettinardi” along the inner neck. The BB1.1 was hand-painted in a sharp, classic green, white, and pink color scheme, and comes paired with a perforated leather Gripmaster grip, and premium Made in USA leather head cover.

Aesthetics

Now that we have our history lesson out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at the putter. Aesthetically, Bettinardi has taken a more understated approach this time around. This is not to say there aren’t elements that are visually interesting. In fact, there are all kinds of cool details, like the fly milling of the bumpers and milled azaleas on the sole. Both are a bit muted as we might expect from Bettinardi. The milling somewhat shallow and paint fills only one of the azaleas.

I like the subtle design path. And remember, this comes from an admitted lover of bold putters. The putter’s design and history allow it to quietly invoke the feeling of spring golf. Sometimes a whisper is better than a yell.

This Blade, Will Putt

The “gamer versus wall-hanger” question is also worth exploring for any limited-run, expensive putter.  Either way, you’ll need to be faster than the Langer-heads (Bernhard Bros?) when they release on May 28 at 10 a.m. CDT in The Hive. They are going to sell out fast.

Once in hand, then you can ask, “Should I game this?”

My answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” Sure, the putter is a limited-run collectible but don’t stash it away for the kid’s college fund. Be like Bernhard and collect checks with this BB1.1 in your bag.

After rolling a few putts in the garage and on the practice green, I knew this was a potential gamer for me. Sure, the help-make-putts-tech is more prevalent in other modern putters. However, the BB1.1 has amazing balance and putter personality. I love how it sets up at address with the laid-back bend in the neck. The stainless insert gives the ball the little bit of pop my stroke needs. The matte PVD finish wraps the package in a glare-proof grey business suit. It has all of the elements of a gamer, including a head cover that just pops.

My one criticism that limits the gamer potential a bit is the Gripmaster leather grip. It looks amazing but just misses a bit for me in the comfort category. While I like the tactile experience of the perforated leather, I find the geometry and firmness of Gripmaster grips to be a little off for me. If this is truly to become the summer gamer, I may need to swap the grip for a green Bettinardi deep etch or a BestGrips leather grip. YMMV on this as it’s purely my opinion but I want to give you my complete take on the putter.

Spring Into The Hive on 05.28.2020

As mentioned, the Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1 Limited Run putter will be available in The Hive on May 28 at 10 a.m. CDT. Yes, they are $750 and, yes, that is a significant expense. However, if you want one and have the means, don’t hesitate. As limited runs go, 275 pieces is not a lot. The demand for this one will likely be quite high.

The Bettinardi Spring Classic BB1.1 combines the history of the Langer Masters/first one-piece CNC-milled head with great spring visuals. I can definitely see this putter being a talking point in your bag, as well as a putter that makes some putts for you.