CLUBS LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
BETTINARDI BB SERIES
TECH TALK: The 100-percent milled line features four traditional Anser-style shapes reworked by a designer with nearly two decades of experience. The BB1 (left) has slightly softer edges; the neck of the BB8 is closer to the heel to promote more toe hang; the BB25 has a slightly tapered body with a single flange; and the BB26 is center-shafted with zero offset.
(L) "The roll is absolutely tops. All the edges look very crisp."
(M) "Fine artwork. Maintenance-free finish is perfect." ... "For a smallish head, you don't have to hit it hard to get the ball going."
(H) "Distraction-free, but the feel was a bit hard for my taste."
HOT: This series is the black tuxedo of putters: classic, elegant, doesn't stand out because it's not supposed to. And like adding monogrammed cuff links or a patterned cummerbund, the customization department will personalize your putter with sight dots, lines or initials.
NOT: Stock offerings are limited: nothing but 34- and 35-inch shafts, and only the BB1 has a lefty version.
HEAVY PUTTER LITE-WEIGHT SERIES
TECH TALK: The name might suggest an abandonment of the company ethos, but this series is still about 25 percent heavier than a typical putter. A 375-gram head (including old-school shapes like 8802 and Bulls Eye) and a grip-weighted shaft make for a total weight of 600 grams, 30 percent lighter than the company's heaviest series. Still, the club's balance point is similar to the original's. The idea is to engage the body's larger muscles to produce a less-wristy, pendulum stroke.
(L) "Ratcheting down the weight was a good idea. I still feel its heft locking my hands in place."
(M) "I like retro styles. I haven't seen a new Bulls Eye in ages."
(H) "It's almost impossible to turn your right hand over and yank it."
HOT: A company that steps away from the herd to question preconceptions about specifications deserves credit. Even more credit is owed a company that seeks player feedback and isn't too stubborn to modify its central idea.
NOT: The look is acceptable, but it won't move your heart.
TECH TALK: The body is cast 17-4 stainless steel; the face insert is machined 304 stainless steel with an elastomer backing. Triangular weight ports in the heel and toe come standard with two 12-gram weights, but an optional kit with 20- and 28-gram weights allows for nine permutations in total head weight and toe hang. The degree of toe hang affects how the head rotates open and closed and can be fitted to match a golfer's stroke.
(H) "Solid feel throughout the face. A nice, clean 'pop' to it."
(M) "Just what I expect from Ping: a reliable performer that makes a great day-in, day-out putter."
(L) "Interesting concept. I guess I could see myself fiddling with the weights if my stroke went awry."
HOT: Interchangeable weights, eight shaft lengths and nine lie angles give golfers every chance to make this putter their own. That's a nice feeling to have standing over a 12-footer.
NOT: We've said it since day one: Charging an extra $70 for the weight kit feels unfair.