Bettinardi Set Its Sights on 2020
So who is looking forward to 2020? Do you see great things happening next year? Will everything be out of sight, or will continued myopic haze cause things to remain impenetrably blurry. Still, I envision all of us focusing upon charting better perspectives in 2020, but remember, sometimes it is when we explore the blurred lines at the peripheral that we truly catch sight of the overlooked and obscured. Remember, In absentia lucis, Tenebrae vincunt.
Now you may be thinking, “What does any of that paragraph have to due with the fact that I have seven new Bettinardi putters to show you today?” No much really, but I wanted to have some fun with the 2020=20/20 thing before of all of the other hacks try to somehow tie in the 2020 year with the optometric scoring of perfect 20/20 vision. When Ryan Seacrest plays that triteness on New Year’s Eve, remember your pal Dave warned you that it was coming.
Moving on… The important thing to take from all of that is that Bettinardi has seven new putters coming in 2020! Bettinardi continues its two-year release cadence, letting the 2019 Studio Stock and 2019 Queen B lines in the putter corral for another year while refreshing the BB and iNOVAi lines.
At risk of being accused of saying what I say every year around this time, I love new putter releases. I love to see which styles make the cut when the new models are released, and how mainstay models get refreshed. Today, we will see how the windy city wizards at The Hive strike a balance between maintaining their classics’ classicalness and instilling new freshness.
And so, without further ado, or veiled vision verbiage, let’s take a look at what Bettinardi is bringing in 2020.
The Foundation: The Bettinardi BB Line
When you look at the BB Series, I believe the key focus is bringing back classics but with advancements in our milling techniques/Tour feedback etc. every putter has been perfected to have the perfectly milled radiuses, tighter lines, and the Super-Fly Mill Face was slightly smoother, less aggressive for a more responsive feel. The Tour players were requesting this a lot. The new Glacier Black is much more traditional — no hint of lime in the finish and is super clean, true black appearance. Looks great on the greens.
Of the four rotating lines of Bettinardi putters (BB, Studio Stock, iNOVAi, and Queen B), the BB line is typically the most conservative. That’s not a knock. What I mean is that, while sometimes Bettinardi may get a little wacky with the BBs, and go lime green and matte satin shaft, the BB line with its traditional shapes and aesthetics typically has the most mainstream appeal.
With the 2020 BB line, I see Bettinardi returning to the traditional even more so than they have in recent incarnations. In 2016, Bettinardi brought us the aforementioned lime green paint and brushed nickel shafts. In 2018, the aesthetics mellowed (yellowed?) a bit, but the BB56 was anything but a traditional mallet shape.
In 2020, Bettinardi has taken a back to basics approach. The finish is a simple but gorgeous matte black. The at-play paint fill is all white, with additional reds and blues only making an appearance on the sole of the putters.
The model selection is classic Bettinardi. The four models, the BB1, BB1F, BB8-Wide, and BB45 are not in any way outlandish. Bettinardi has kept the BB’s palatable to the mainstream. Sure, the BB8-Wide and the new BB45 push the geometric boundaries a bit, but expanding the flange on a BB8 and reworking a classic round mallet shape is a far cry from making something that looks like a spaceship, spider, or Batman weapon.
All in all, I can easily see all four of these shapes being hits with the golfing public, especially since they offer a range of toes hangs that should fit everyone from the straight-throughs to the swingers.
Let’s take a look at the 2020 BB specs and individual models.
Specifications: Bettinardi 2020 BB Line
- Material: Soft Carbon Steel
- Finish: Glacier Black
- Face: Super-Fly Mill
- Loft: 3°
- Lie: 70°
- Weight: 350g
- Grip: Lamkin Sink Fit (Standard or Jumbo)
- Dexterity: Right, with Left-handed BB1 models available
- MSRP: $300
Bettinardi 2020 BB1
BB1 – back to its roots! Neck is pushed back for a traditional blade setup now. From the shoulders, muscles, bumpers, tighter lines and more refined.. the overall headshape is a tad thinner as well giving it that blade appearance.
With the BB1, you get Bettinardi’s interpretation of the classic heel-toe weighted blade. If you are new to Bettinardi, the BB1 is the one that you can pick up, and have it feel instantly familiar. Now I know that some of you will take a break from yelling at clouds to tell me that it’s just a copy of an Anser or a Newport, but the fact is, it’s not. While I’ll not argue a shared ancestry with those other putters, the BB1 is not an Anser, a Newport, or any other putter. It is its own thing. Roll them side-by-side and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Or, just type angry in the comments below. Your life is yours to live.
Bettinardi 2020 BB1F
The BB-1 Flow has a thinner topline – really setting up well looking down. The ridged milling on the flow is beautiful as well.
After missing the model cut in 2018, the BB1-Flow returns in 2020. Should the traditional plumbers neck on the standard BB1 not provide enough arc, the ridged flow neck on this little should evoke nothing but genuine gated gratitude.
I love the look of the flow necks, and this one is an excellent version of the style. It reminds me of the neck on my beloved QB10, though the neck on the BB1-F sits a little more to the rear of the putter and thus produces the deepest of toe hang.
For my stroke, this proved to be a bit too much hang to handle as I dance a bit closer to moderate hang. Should you be looking for the big swing though, the BB1-F should provide more arc than Tony Stark’s chest reactor.
Bettinardi 2020 BB8-Wide
The BB8-Wide, sleek through the shoulders and bumpers, low profile, wider flange for added confidence.
Hey there. Do you remember a few months back when you were sad that you missed out on the BB8-Wide Armageddon Limited Edition putter? I know I promised not to bring that up again, but I just wanted to let you know that Bettinardi is releasing a retail version of the BB8-Wide. Sure, it lacks the custom military aesthetics of the Armageddon, and the finish is a bit darker, but this new version costs a bunch less and isn’t sold out.
I know that there are some folks out there that don’t think that putter design makes a difference, often crowing that a good golfer can roll in putts with everything. Maybe so, but what about the golfers who can’t do that, and need a putter that matches his or her individual stroke? Pros use different putters. Amateurs need options as well.
Why am I soapboxing in the middle of talking about the BB8-Wide? Frankly because after rolling all of them, I was shocked to see that the BB8-W, and all other BB models, all have head weights of 350 grams. The BB8-W seems to play heavier than the other models. It’s not that this is good or bad. I bring it up is that it feels different. While all are 350g, that 350g lives in different places and evokes different feels. Different folks need different feels, and so, different putters can make a difference.
Bettinardi 2020 BB45
BB45 – all-new compact mallet… great contoured headshape that is truly face balanced.
I thought that the BB45 looked like a new head shape. I checked my memory, the Internets, and the Bettinardi registry – no BB45 anywhere. So as Bettinardi has confirmed above, all of you rounded mallet lovers get the one truly new head in the mix.
Full disclosure, the real reason that I was unsure about the BB45 being new is that I dislike round mallets, and so I tend to ignore them. Typically the rounders and I don’t get along. That said, the BB45 is stupid easy to putt with. I had Bettinardi set up this no-hang mallet with the jumbo version of the new Lamkin Sink Fit grip, and in this configuration, the BB45 was a delight. Of all of the putters rolled, this was the most point and shoot of the batch for me.
Again, the putter matters, and I’d strongly suggest that you ignore previous biases and roll everything. You’d have thought that my adoration of the 2019 QB10 would have taught me to be open to roundness.
Grip Interlude: Lamkin Sink Fit
Before we get to the iNOVAi putters, I want to spend a moment discussing the switch from Lamkin Deep Etched grips to the Lamkin Sink Fit as the stock offering. I have a standard Deep Etch on my QB10, and although it’s teal and not a more palatable purple, I kept the teal one on there out of love for the feel and shape of that grip. Maybe that love should now be loved.
The Sink Fit grip has a softer feel and way smoother texture. I like it a bunch. When you compare the jumbo version, the Sink Fit shines. I always found the Deep Etched jumbo just too wide across the front to fit my hands comfortably. The Sink Fit jumbo does not have that issue at all. It fits so much better, as a result of some internal conformational sorcery that I have yet to decipher. I really should cut one of these in half to see just exactly what Lamkin is doing to create the magic. Regardless, Bettinardi made the right move with the switch.
Bettinardi 2020 iNOVAi 6.0 Line
Why did we switch colors? We did a lot of testing on the Aluminum body with finishes and colorways and this one really looks great on the greens, and especially outside with handling glare etc. RJB really felt it was important to do something different. After all, iNOVAi stainds for Innovation, and Bob likes to continue to innovate!
The big deal is, of course, with the new iNOVAi line is that they are now blue! Kidding. The blue is indeed new and cool, but it’s not the big thing that changed, but it is a departure from the previous five generations of black and silver. The big thing about the iNOVAi is the new necks.
I’ll start the neck discussion out by asking you a question. Does having three different neck options make it a putter line, or a just a putter with three different neck options? I want to say line because changing the neck changes the putter, but I can see the other side as well. Anyway, key point number two about the sixth version of the iNOVAi is that it comes in three neck configurations, crescent, spud, and center, though lefties only get the crescent in their oft-neglected corner of the corral.
The beauty of three necks is that it means three toe hangs. You’ll get face-balanced with the center neck, slight hang with the spud, and moderate hang with the crescent. I love that we are in a place where mallets not only have hang, but variable hang. We have come a long way from the days of all mallets being face balanced. But neck options are not the big thing about the iNOVAi 6.0.
Take a look at this photo and see if you can figure out the BIG change.
If you answered that Bettinardi swapped the positions of the stainless steel and aluminum, then you are correct! Before the 6.0, iNOVAi putters featured milled aluminum faces with the MOI-boosting stainless steel living rearward. So now we have the stainless up front and the aluminum in the rear. I was so surprised by this that I needed to double-check the engraving. Sure enough, 303 in the front; 6061 in the back.
What in the name of weight forward is going on here?
Tour staff and other top golfers preferred the solid feeling you receive from metal like stainless and carbon steel, and wanted something more responsive as well versus aluminum which comes off too soft and sometimes ‘tingy’ for touring pros. Reversing the bi-metal construction from the previous generations, with the 303 Stainless Steel face imparted an amazing feel for the players and guys like Haotong Li and Eddie Pepperell, who put the putter into play immediately. Using 303SS also allowed us unique neck options like our crescent neck/spud/center shaft, which are all one-piece milled. MOI numbers had minimal change from our testing, hence coining this model ‘MOI with Feel’!
So there you have it straight from Bettinardi. Tour players wanted more when the aluminum face could deliver, both with sound and necks. Crazy that MOI wouldn’t change much with material swapping.
Let me see if I can give you some insight into what this iNOVAi feels like on the course as opposed to previous versions, or other weight-back-and-wide mallets out there. Let’s say, hypothetically, that someone typing this article played several rounds this summer with a purple version of a popular flow-neck mallet that rhymes with Snyder. With that putter, one can feel the rear weights as it moves through the stroke. To me, it feels like the putt is pushed from the weighted back of the putter.
With the iNOVAi 6.0, the rear-weighted feeling is not there during the stroke. The more I thought about it, and rolled putters with the crescent neck version, the more I realized that it feels like you are rolling a blade, not a mallet. There is plenty of mallet at address, but the back end bulk isn’t there during the swing.
The materials flip may be the thing that allows Bettinardi to get blade players to think mallet. Plenty of companies have messed with the necks but kept the high MOI design. Maybe we are looking at the trend of the future.
Since the iNOVAi models are so similar in playability, save toe-hang stuff, I don’t have any real individual model notes for you, but here are some glamor shots of the individual putters to fight off/embrace the blues.
Specifications: Bettinardi 2020 iNOVAi 6.0 Line
- Material: 303 Stainless Steel/6061 Aluminum
- Finish: Platinum/Cobalt Blue
- Face: F.I.T.
- Loft: 2°
- Lie: 70°
- Weight: 358g
- Neck Options: 3 (crescent, spud, and center)
- Grip: Lamkin Sink Fit (Standard or Jumbo)
- Dexterity: Right, with Left-handed Crescent models available
- MSRP: $400
Bettinardi iNOVAi 6.0 crescent
Bettinardi iNOVAi 6.0 spud
Bettinardi iNOVAi 6.0 center
2020 Looks Good For Bettinardi
All in all, I’d say that this is a solid release for Bettinardi. The BB line has classics as well as some newness, and the material flip with the iNOVAi may be just the thing that helps them make a mark on the mallet map.
So what do you think? Has Bettinardi nailed it this time? Which model is your favorite? What about that material swap with the iNOVAi? Did you Google In absentia lucis, Tenebrae vincunt?
The best news of the day is that if you see one of these that you like, pre-orders begin today at Bettinardi.com and at a Bettinardi dealer near you! The new lines will begin shipping on January 19th.
Bettinardi golf prides itself on extraordinary craftsmanship. Our commitment to the highest quality control, zero defects, and 100% American ingenuity continue to be part of Bettinardi’s brand heritage. As always it’s our wish that you enjoy the 2020 Bettinardi product line and hope it exceeds all expectations.
Robert Bettinardi & Sam Bettinardi