Equipment aficionados would probably have noticed that the putter Matt Kuchar used to hole the winning putt for Team USA in the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne was a Bettinardi – a KM-1 Armlock model, to be exact.
Indeed, the tour presence of the boutique putter makers from Tinley Park in Illinois, just outside of Chicago, is impressive … especially when you consider that many players use them without being contracted.
Sam Bettinardi, the son of founder Robert and executive vice president of the company, noted that the big difference with Bettinardi Golf is that they make all their products themselves.
“Bettinardi Golf is all about quality and craftsmanship … we make all our products ourselves,” he said during a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur. “I can walk from here, where we’re sitting down, to the front door of this shop and watch all of our 35 CNC milling machines make our putters 20 hours a day. It’s really cool to be able to have everything under one roof. Nobody else does that.
“We have super-tight tolerances compared to the rest of the industry. It takes hours for us to just mill one head and then, of course, there’s polishing and the rest of the process. So if you look at a Bettinardi, I would hope that the consumer would be able to see the attention to detail and consistency versus some of the other products that are in the marketplace.”
Having joined the company in 2012 at age 23, Sam noted that learning the trade from his father, who started out milling putters for other brands like Scotty Cameron in the early 1990s before forming Bettinardi Golf in 1998, has been amazing.
“Learning from my dad is something I have to put into perspective sometimes because, even though he’s my father, he’s still the boss. And he has all the experience; he’s been milling putters since 1992 and he’s the first person in the golf industry to create a one-piece milled putter. He created the one-piece technology, he created a putter that Tiger Woods won his first Masters with, he created the honeycomb technology … he’s really added a lot to the putting category. I really want to learn as much as I possibly can from him,” noted the younger Bettinardi.
Having signed on MST Golf as regional distributor in February 2019, Bettinardi envisions growing their market share in this part of the world. “For us, a niche, family-owned brand, to work with such a powerhouse like MST Golf and have them distribute our products is a great step,” he noted.
“We’re sold in about 40 countries around the world and the Southeast Asian corner has never been super strong for us. Right now I would say Korea’s our number one Asian market, closely followed by Japan, then China and then – probably starting up around here. This was a great first year for MST to start up with us,” said Bettinardi, adding that their current sales breakdown is about 55 to 60 percent in America and the rest international.
Over the last few years, Bettinardi has moved away from a marketing role and now has a hand in putter design as well. The new Inovai 6.0 range, set to hit stores in Malaysia this month along with the 2020 BB Series, will be the first line that he played a major product development role in.
“I’d say the last two years I’ve been a lot more heavily involved in the design, versus when I started when it was a lot more social media, marketing and managing sales. Now it’s a lot more design and getting involved in the different production models, working with tour players, etc,” he shared.
And, of course, growing the brand in this part of the world …
For more information on Bettinardi Golf, log on to www.bettinardi.com