Bettinardi’s Antidote to Poor Putting
Putting is hard, even for the pros. We’ve all watched brutal lip-outs on TV, and we've seen more than one tour pro wave a hand to the side when a putt breaks unexpectedly.
Even great putters miss.
Average golfers miss more. Amateur golfers face the added challenge of putting with something less than the smooth mechanics of a professional. Although many of us practice and practice, a consistently metronomic stroke is difficult to develop. As a result, we swing the putter inconsistently, and so maybe we should look to putter technology for help.
More than a few putter manufacturers have tried to improve roll by adding various types of grooves to the putter face. Yes! had their C-Grooves, Nike went with polymetal, PING corrects for distance mistakes with True Roll grooves, and the EVNROLL says its grooves correct for everything.
Regardless of design or company, face grooves are designed to help us roll the ball better.
Not a Groovy Antidote
With their new Antidote line, Bettinardi Golf has taken a different approach to improving roll. Rather than trying to enhance roll with the face, Bettinardi has instead altered the putter’s weight distribution.
“By using our Variable Weight System (VWS) Technology on the top half of the putter, we have raised the center of gravity which increases the consistency of this flush “end over end” rotation of the ball, and solid feeling at impact with our soft carbon steel putter material.”
While grooves operate by grabbing the surface of the ball and tugging it forward, the weights on the top of the Antidote raise the putter’s center of gravity, allowing it to promote more of a pushing-on-the-top-of-the-ball action. According to Bettinardi, this pushing action gets the ball rolling end over end more effectively. As you'd expect from Bettinardi, the Antidote faces are still milled for feel and texture, but as is the case with the Cleveland 2135 series, it's the higher CG (weighting) placement that is billed as the roll influencer.
Variable Weight System
Not only is Bettinardi giving you the Antidote, to poor roll, but they are also allowing you to control your own dosage. Included with your Antidote will be a weight kit with 5g (aluminum), 10g (stainless steel), and 15g (copper) weights, allowing you to set your head weight to 340g, 350g, or 360g. Though I’ve not had the chance to test this in person, changing of weight should not only adjust the swing characteristics of the putter but also potentially how much roll improvement is imparted. Unless I’m totally missing the concept, more weight above the center of gravity should equate to more roll boost.
Adding adjustable weights to a putter is not a new concept, but I'm hard-pressed to find another putter that has them on the top rather than the bottom. The closest thing I can find in recent memory is the Cameron Futura X. In that model, weights are positioned high and toward the back. That was an MOI story. So I suppose it's at least possible that Bettinardi was the first to incorporate both movable weights and a high CG into a putter design. Whether that makes for a true breakthrough will depend on the performance.
Does Better Roll = More Made Putts?
Perhaps missing from the conversation though is the question does promoting better forward roll improve accuracy? The assertion is repeated often enough, but it's tough to find any hard evidence that better/quicker roll translates to more putts made. I'm not going to say that Mr. Bettinardi is wrong when he says that "the most important aspect of lower Putts Per Round (PPR) is getting the ball rolling on the putting surface end over end as quickly as possible", I'd just like to see the supporting data.
Plenty of OEM's promote the faster time-to-roll equals better putting concept, but it's tough to pinpoint the actual studies that prove the benefit.
Hexperimental Antidote Models
Though there are only officially three Antidote head shapes, the actual model count on these is five. The Model 2 is also available in center-shafted and left-handed configurations. Bettinardi hasn't shared the toe hang details on these, but I’d assume the Model 2 is face-balanced and the Model 3 hangs at about 4:00. The Model 1’s neck could put it near face-balanced, or deeper than the Model 1 depending upon the bend. Based on the photos, I bet that it is the deep hanging, strong-arc Antidote model.
Let's address the elephant in the room, the profile of the Model 2. Without having one in hand, it's entirely possible that the putter is actually elephantine. It looks huge to me, like Borg Cube huge. It's not my favorite on the bunch.
Though I'm not a fan of the looks of the Model 2, I do know that made putts can make any putter pretty. I've no doubts that the profile and weight position of the Model 2 allow it to resist all but the strongest attempts to twist it off path. Toss the heavy weights into the Model 2 and you likely have enough MOI to swing stable in a cyclone.
Model 2 Center Shaft
Model 2 Left Handed
The Antidote is Available Today
The Antidote is available from Bettinardi beginning today, October 10th, with a MSRP of $550.00. Availability is limited to Bettinardi.com for these so you will need to purchase through the company's online store, or by giving them a call. Remember lefties, there is a Model 2 Antidote for those of you who putt from the wrong side of the ball.
Though we don't have specifics, Bettinardi is saying that these are a limited run, so if you are interested in one, speed may be prudent.
All in all, I’m curious as to how these roll, and would love to see them go head to head with some of the proven improvement-through-grooves putters. It would also be interesting to test how changing the weights on the putters affects roll and accuracy. Regardless, I like Bettinardi’s divergent thinking on this putter, and I hope that they have actually discovered the Antidote to poor putting.