I remember seeing my first Bettinardi putter back in the noughties and I marvelled at the honeycomb milling pattern on the face.
You may wonder why a putter would not have a smooth face, but the honeycomb pattern is a result of the milling process created by founder Bob Bettinardi to get the face as flat as possible. As we now know, putters with face grooves and milling patterns enhance feel and get the ball rolling correctly and that is what the BB Series delivers.
There are currently five models in the range and I reviewed two of the most popular to see what they offer.
Bettinardi BB1 Putter Review
The Bettinardi BB1 is a classic Anser style putter that most will recognise straight away. The brushed Satin Silver finish on the back of the head goes with the shinier Hyper-Honeycomb face and the looks justify the premium price tag.
The BB1 has a relatively long hosel for a mid arc offset putter, but that and the 71° lie angle does give a very clear sight line of the ball at address.
There are a choice of lengths and grips and the regular sized red grip on the BB1 was a little on the small side, so you may want to consider changing it unless you like to get your hands right around the shaft.
As a classic all metal putter, milled from mild carbon steel, the feel from the face is excellent and gives a high level of feedback.
It is not as forgiving on off centre strikes as some putters, but it is not meant to be. This is a precision putting tool for those who like to hear and feel everything that the club is doing when it impacts the ball.
The roll from the milled face with 3° of loft is very good and if you are a putter connoisseur, then this or one of the other BB1F, BB32 or BB43 carbon steel heads will be the ones to go for.
Bettinardi BB55 Putter Review
At the other end of the scale we have the Bettinardi BB55 which is a high MOI mallet and the first word that comes to mind is 'big'.
The almost square head is 10.4cm wide by 9.7cm deep and you only truly realise the size when you put it down behind the ball.
Setting up at address can take some getting used to as you have to get the sole of the leading edge of the putter flat on the ground so that it lies correctly. If you stand too far away then the face wants to fall back and open and in some ways that is a good checkpoint.
There are two white lines on the leading edge of the putter that frame the ball and behind that is a long sight line in white against the Champagne Bronze Anodized finish.
I do like long sight lines and some may like the subtlety of this colour scheme, but the white line can be hard to make out and maybe colouring it blue or red would make it stand out more and give an alternative look.
Unlike the other BB series models, the BB55 is made from 6061 aircraft grade aluminium. The 358g head feels relatively light for its size and the weight plugs in each of the rear corners are there to provide the stability on off centre hits.
The Hyper-Honeycomb face is there, but the hitting area of the putter uses Bettinardi's Feel Impact Technology (FIT) design that mills grooves into the face to make the feel softer because with less of the face making contact with the ball
With all the weight at the back, the BB55 has a lower loft of just 2° and I found it really got the ball rolling very well, especially on long putts.
The BB55 came with the optional mid-size Pure grip which has a flat front and a triangular design and is much bigger than the standard version and certainly suits this style of putter very well.
The BB55 was surprisingly easy to wield and from long range it was particularly good for distance control, even on off-centre hits.
The aluminium construction combined with the two cut out holes in the head did promote a 'toink' sound that was in sharp contrast to the classic solid sound from the mild carbon steel BB1.
Any concerns over that are outweighed by the forgiveness and stability of the oversized BB55 head, which is also at the opposite end of the scale from the BB1.
Maybe for some the sound, the look of the FIT face milling, the sole graphics on the BB55 and even the overall shape might put them off. However, put all that to one side and try it because this is primarily a high MOI putter designed to do a specific job and the performance and forgiveness is right up there.
And just to make sure you get noticed, the BB55 comes with a lovely leather head cover that leaves very little doubt where Bettinardi putters come from.
Normally in a range of putters, the design principles remain the same throughout, but as you can see here, with different head shapes and materials the results are very different.
What is consistent is the premium materials, high quality milling and attention to detail that Bettinardi has put into the BB Series. Whilst the BB55 breaks the mould a little, it is in the same vein. Which of these or the other BB series models you would go for will depend on what type of putter you are or need.
Either way, you will be rewarded with a high quality putter that will give you plenty of feel and feedback to help get the most out of your game on the greens.