50 Words or Less
The Bettinardi BB1 is the staple of the 2016 BB putter line with a standard Anser design and some modern cosmetic appeal sure to make an impression.
The Bettinardi BB1 is always one of the most desired shapes in the new BB series. Though the rest of the lineup will usually rotate different head shapes, the BB1 is always in the mix. The 2016 version of the BB1 is really no different than previous BB1’s as far functionality and performance, but if you’re looking to make a bold and youthful statement with its appearance, then you’re in luck.
As I’ve stated in the other reviews for the 2016 BB putters, the Midnight Black PVD finish on the Bettinardi BB1 feels somewhat confused and stuck in the middle of an identity crisis. For my money, I’d rather see Bettinardi go with either a deeper, darker color or go all out with a standout rainbow/oil PVD effect. This PVD has shown blemishes fairly easily for us which is disappointing for a supposedly durable finish. I suppose it’s not dissimilar to owning a black car (which I also mistakenly bought this year).
The lime paint and grip are cool if you’re the right demographic, but I already envision the poor guy in a mid-life crisis wearing a flat bill and using one of these on the course. Of course, if you’re from the younger crowd, then I’m ok with this. Enjoy your youth! The BB1 is typically a classic putter with a classic shape, signature honeycomb face milling, and modest aesthetics, with a wide range of appeal. This 2016 version maintains the classic shape and cool face milling, but has certainly narrowed its audience in appearance alone.
Sound & Feel
When you hit the Bettinardi BB1 it has a very distinct and firm click to it in both sound and feel. The sound changes quite quickly as you get away from the sweet spot which I have always found to be somewhat small on the BB1. I’ve really liked a lot of the older BB1s, but ultimately could never play them for that very reason. The feel is very responsive and far from forgiving. You’ll know exactly where you hit every shot, but if you leave that sweet spot, expect to be rewarded with an unpleasant feel.
Referring back to the points about feel, the small sweet spot of the Bettinardi BB1 definitely directly affected the performance for me. I’ll happily go on record of saying that I think Bob Bettinardi and co. could mill literally anything in the world with the tightest tolerances. This is how we end up with cool signature face milling and consistently well-balanced putters, but if the sweet spot is extremely small, you still need to have a perfect and repeatable stroke to hit good putts. When you hit the BB1 well, the ball has a good roll, but you can expect to pay for your misses from a less than perfect stroke. Ultimately, the BB1 is a good performing Anser that is going to appeal more to the better putters than the wider masses.
My biggest issue with the Bettinardi BB1 is not in how well the putter works. It’s perfectly fine that we aren’t a good mix because that’s just golf. What I was less than impressed with was the departure from what Bettinardi has historically done well – making classic and good looking putters. I would equate it to bands saying they’re tired of playing the same old songs that their fans want to hear so they’re going to perform their new material. I’m sure plenty of loyalists will still buy the new BB1, and I’m more than fine with expressing a little character, but I just don’t feel like this is the best Bettinardi BB1 we’ve seen to date.