Back in January, I was in Chicago visiting Bettinardi’s “Studio B” and got to see a sneak-preview of the new Mizuno line they were working on. The putters were unfinished. There were variations of the heads scattered all over Bob’s office. His right-hand-man Keith had CAD drawings marked up and piled by his monitor. Bob remarked at one point “I want this to just scream quality. That is what my market expects.”

Over the next several months, I’d visit Bob from time to time, and see several more variations of the new Mizuno line. Necks were shorter, bumpers shaped differently, sample grips were scrutinized. Last month we were sitting in his office, surrounded by putters and there were three heads on his desk. The BC1, BC2, and BC3. All perfectly finished.

Doug: “Are these the finished product?”

Bob: “Yes sir…those are the first 3.”

Doug: “Where do they go from here?”

Keith: “Now you get to tell us what YOU think.”

Keith then shafted, gripped, and shipped the first three finished BC series putters to Putter Talk for review.

Known the world over for the attention to detail, Bob Bettinardi doesn’t put out a product unless it adheres to VERY stringent QC standards. After he’s done, it goes to Mizuno HQ in Japan for further scrutiny. The BC Series putters are no exception. From the solid-ingot that each putter is produced from, to the tenth-gram that each head is weighed in at, no one can dispute the level of craftsmanship that goes into each and every putter that Bettinardi’s name goes on.

The Black Carbon putters are the first time a retail putter has had the Patented “Feel Impact Technology Face” (FIT Face) that Bettinardi developed earlier this year.

The F.I.T Faceâ„¢ milled area dramatically reduces the surface area of where the ball makes contact with the face and in turn delivers an extremely solid and soft feel to every putt.

After a putter has the Honey-Comb pattern milled into the face, it goes through another step that adds the ‘railroad’ tracks to the sweet spot. This “insert-less insert” is a small series of millings that change the auditory feedback the putter produces when striking a ball. The result is a very soft ‘feel’ that gets the ball rolling real fast.

Also new on the Black Carbon series is the black finish that is plated to the carbon steel. This finish doesn’t glare in the sun, and won’t rust. Best of both worlds? You bet. We found that the contrast that the black putter made against the white ball, and the lack of glare helped in concentration while putting. With a lot to think about when aligning a 6-footer to make your buddy buy lunch, the last thing you want to think about is squinting your eyes.

A solid block of 12L14 Carbon Steel is milled into a putter at the Bettinardi studio in Tinely park, just outside of Chicago. If you ever visit Studio B, you’ll be able to watch putters come off the line…and the ridiculous amount of scrap metal that follows.

Milling from 12L14 offers a great mix of hardness and mill-ability. The Black Carbon plating procedure isn’t thick enough to change the auditory dynamics of the putter, and offers protection against the elements.

Headcover / Grip:
The BC Series headcovers don’t use the standard AM&E headcover we’ve seen on Bettinardi putters in the past. This time, Mizuno designed a headcover that would allow them to do more than just draw a stitching pattern on a headcover that everyone else is using. The result is a very nice headcover that protects the head, and matches the Yellow-Black theme of the line.

I’ll say that it’s not my FAVORITE headcover of all time, but I’d expect that the next revision will be better. Not that there was anything specifically wrong with this one, it just was a little big in some places, and not big enough in others.

Notable features are that the individual headcovers are marked with the model numbers of the putters they hold. Pretty funny when all three putters initially shipped to me with BC3 headcovers.

The special “Honey-Comb” grip extends the Yellow/Black theme of the package. The attention to detail shows.

At address, the three putters have their own characteristics. The BC1 looks like your standard Anser 2 style head, with an off-set neck that disappears into the shaft.

The BC2 is more of a traditional Blade with a generously thick flange that holds a thin flange line for alignment. If your head isn’t over the ball on the BC2, you’ll see the white paint-fill of the word “Bettinardi” on the back of the flange. This is distracting, but forces you to keep the putter back where it should be. (You need to have the putter a good 4″ forward to see it…which is a healthy press.)

Looking at the BC3 next to the other two putters shows that it is a very compact design. The BC3 is a interesting evolution of the standard “mallet putter” that a lot of companies push as an afterthought. A wide and deep back coupled with a double-bend shaft offers a clean look at address. The sightline pops out at you to help align the ball correctly at impact. The last mallet putter that I used on any consistent basis was a Zebra back in the 1990s. I could see this putter as a good replacement for that style head.

“Skip to the end” Overall:
There is a lot of competition in the “$300 Putter” marketplace these days. With an innovation like “FIT Face”, you really need to make sure that it’s done right the first time. You don’t get a second chance at something like this. If someone spends $300 on a putter and it doesn’t work, they won’t be back to buy “Round II” when you get it figured out.

Any of these putters would surpass even the most skeptical golfers expectations. With the testing that Bettinardi and Mizuno have been doing both in-house, and with their tour players over the last year, this design is VERY ready for prime-time. With each of the three heads available in several lengths and weights, there is bound to be a putter for every golfer in the Black Carbon series. The quality of the product and attention to detail offer a complete package that is well worth the price of admission. If the Mizuno/Bettinardi relationship is working out this well after only 18 months, the coming years are going to be very exciting in the high-end putter market.

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Company: Mizuno / Bob Bettinardi
MSRP: $299.00+
Length: 33″ to 35″
Loft: 4-deg
Lie: 71-deg
Head Weight: 330g 343g 355g
Swing Weight: D-4 to D-6
Material: 12L14 – Carbon Steel
Grip: Winn “Honeycomb” Custom
Head Cover: Mizuno
Manufacturing Type: 100% CNC Milled
Made In: USA