Tonight, I sat down with Bob Bettinardi to ask your questions over dinner and drinks. We’ve spent the last 8 hours talking about Putters, Golf, and general life experiences. Nothing was off limits as you’ll see below.

Q: Do you think you’ll eventually allow any real customization of putter heads at the client’s request?  For example: different neck styles, choice of finishes and stamps, etc. etc.

A: Eventually, yes. There is a fine line though between having a customizable line, and having too many options where it takes the focus off of what we’re good at. If we are spending all of our time on modifying putters for people, it is hard to have time to concentrate on developing new designs.

Q: To what extent do you foresee release of limited edition putters to decrease given your busy schedule with Mizuno?

A: We don’t release “Limited” putters on a set schedule. We do them when an idea warrants it. Take for example the 3/4 we just released. That was just something we decided to do because the idea was good. It’s things like that we can do to keep things exciting. It isn’t exciting if the limited edition is expected.

Q: Do you have plans for a BB8 or BB1 style putter in the Black Carbon series?  Both?

A: We are going to be expanding the BC series for sure. I’ll tell you that there are a lot of head designs that we are looking at.

Q: Is the C Series still being produced or is all new production now the BC series?

A: Still in production. It’s actually still quite popular and selling well in the UK.

Q: Are there any plans for a Mizuno OTR DASS putter?

A: Absolutely. I can’t tell you when, but I’ll tell you that it is something we’re working on.

Q: What was the thinking behind making the 34 inch BC models 343 grams and the 33 inch models 355 grams?  (In other words, many other manufacturers have done 34/340 and 33/350–why the difference?)

A: Honestly, we were trying to keep the swing-weight around D-4 D-5 and that is what it took to get it there.

Q: What is planned for 2008 and beyond with regard to limited releases through Studio B?

A: Studio B and our distributors is where you’ll be able to get this info. We are real happy with the direction things are going right now, so we’ll stick with it.

Q: Is there a line in the works that will feature adjustable weighting?

A: Not right now. We’re always thinking of ways to improve our existing line though.

Q: Is any work being done to offer a head cover that does not feature velcro as the means to secure it to the putter?

A: Yes, but I can’t get into specifics yet. I really loved a headcover we did in the early days. It was a leather glove that had a snap-button on the bottom. That was a very cool cover.

Q: What does Bob foresee as the next major innovation in putting?

A: Come talk to me in person. I’m not sure I want it posted here. (Laughs) Honestly though, those are the kind of things that we guard closely. If I say one thing here, and then it doesn’t work, you’ll all be looking for it wondering what happened. I would rather experiment in our lab and studio, then show you what works.

Q: What is the most significant thing that Bob has learned about his craft in the last year, and how did it affect/change him and his team?

A: Great question. Honestly, our economy isn’t all that great right now. We’re living in a Global Economy, and it’s rewarding for me to be able to come up with a great design, offer it to the consumer at a good price point, and know that all the manufacturing is happening right here in my shop…in the USA…outside of Chicago. So learning how to compete in this economy, support my staff of workers, and still produce a great product is a constant learning process. It’s not always easy, but it’s the right thing to do if you ask me.

Q: I have a Black pearl BB1… i believe its the only one of its kind.. was it made for someone special perhaps? or just a test run?.. also, will the finish be available on future putters?

A: (Laughs) Yeah, that was made for me as an experiment. We’re always playing with finishes. That one took us a while to get “just right” but I think we nailed it. I let the guy you got it from take it out of my office VERY reluctantly.

Q: What is the story behind the honeycomb milled Scotty Camerons?

A: Oh boy. Well, here’s the short version of that story. Back in 96, 97, I was milling putters for a lot of people. I play around from time to time with different milling techniques, and that was just a “What do you think about this” piece. Scotty’s putters were all being milled and finished in my shop at that time, so it was only natural that I would send an idea like that out. I didn’t have a line of my own, and thought it was pretty cool. I sent a few off to the various guys I was milling for…Scotty was one of them. I heard back from a few people that they loved the look, loved the fact that it was a completely flat face, and in the end, I decided to keep it for myself. I’d sent that putter off and the next time I saw it was when it hit eBay last year. What Scotty did with it, I can’t tell you. I guess it made it out, but I can’t speak to the circumstances of how it got out into the wild.

Q: How much do you think pay for play influences PGA Tour players’ decisions to play a certain brand of putter?

A: It absolutely influences the players. These guys get paid to golf for a living, why wouldn’t they take advantage of that.

Q: the new 3/4 that you have out there… is it a one time addition? or will we be seeing more in the future?

A: I think you’ll see variations of that style at some point. That’s about all I can say right now though.

Q: Also a follow up question.  If there was no pay for play, what would the manufacturer breakdown by usage be in his opinion?

A: Another great question. Honestly, I think you’d see a lot of old Ping Anser putters. They were so revolutionary, and the current crop of pros grew up playing that putter. Pros are creatures of habit, and when they start getting in a funk, they revert back to what they know. You saw that last year with Ells…Woods did it a number of years ago, borrowing Omera’s old Ping putter. The other side of that is I think you’d see a lot more innovation. Guys using things that you and I may think look funny, but that works.

Q: I don’t know if this is an option at the studio B, but when I send my putter in can I have a stamp added? I’m deciding whether to sell or refinish my Bb16H in black. If I send it for a refinish I was hoping for a “bee” stamp towards the toe.

A: We don’t offer stamping as any kind of option right now. We may in the future, but we’re a pretty technical shop. We like to mill things. (Laughs)

Thanks to Bob for taking the time to talk with!