Stuart Goldstein of New Jersey has taken being
an AmateurGolf.com "Player Staff"
member (a group of 100 golf equipment
enthusiasts who help us review and evaluate
new products) to the next level. Stuart has
been speaking to some of the golf industry's
top executives and we know you'll find these
brief conversations to be fun and insightful.
In this edition Stuart speaks to Sam
Bettinardi, of Chicago putter designer and
manufacturer Bettinardi Golf.
Q: Give us a little insight on how
Bettinardi Golf got started.
A: My father, Robert Bettinardi, first got the
idea to start making putters in the early
90’s after walking into a golf store in
cold December in Chicago. He saw an ad on
the wall for a putter that was milled on an old
Bridgeport milling machine and wondered why
they were still using this technology, when at
the time he owned a machine shop with CNC
machines (computer numerical control). He
called the person in the ad to talk about his
capabilities with new technology and they
collaborated to make putters from 1993-1997.
We started Bettinardi in 1998 and the rest is
Q: How important is it that your
products are made in the USA?
A: Very important to us. To be able to sit at
my desk and look out a window onto our shop
floor is very cool. It continues to remind me of
our high quality control standards, and the
fact that I can walk 20 feet away and pick up
a putter and check out all aspects of
manufacturing. Not many golf companies make
their products in the USA, and we will continue
to be different in that regard.
Q: As VP of Sales and Marketing what
is your typical day like?
A: A typical day includes talking to our
domestic sales team, skyping with our
international distributors, making changes to
our website and posting on social media, and
also trying to learn about the manufacturing
process as much as I can. Milling a putter start
to finish is a lengthy and time consuming
You played golf collegiately. Did you ever
think of taking your game to the next level?
I definitely did think of playing professionally,
but I wa
s honest with myself and real
ized that I was never going to make a career
out of my golf game, and had a better future
in business. As the PGA Tour slogan goes,
these guys are good!
Q: Matt Kuchar uses a Bettinardi arm
lock putter. How did that design come about
and was Matt influential in its design and
Matt has a long history with our company
back to 2002 when he won his first PGA event
with our putter. Matt knew what our
machining capabilities were and to
create the arm lock putter to his specific
standards was a fun project for us.
We must have sent him over 20 prototypes in
2012 until in January of 2013 he finally made
the switch to the one he liked.
Q: How has the USGA’s ban of
anchored putting changed your product
profiles? Do you agree with the ban?
A: The ban has helped our product
profiles because the #6 golfer in the world,
Matt Kuchar, is a Bettinardi brand advocate.
He is on our putting staff and uses the arm
lock putter which is the best alternative to the
anchored putting stroke. We engineered his
putter to contain 7 degrees of loft in the
face, and a 2.5 shaft offset, which
now known as the Kuchar Signature Models. I
think the ban definitely has merit after the
resurgence of players putting well and winning
majors with the belly/long. Do I think it was an
unfair competitive advantage, not
necessarily. You still need to get the
ball in the hole.
Q: How important is it for a golfer
to get fit for a putter and what are some of
the important specs that need to get
customized: lie angle, swing weight, look?
Most golfers want to gain distance off the tee
because its’ sexy to hit it long.
However 40-50% of your strokes in a round
come from the putting green, so getting fit is
critically important. Hitting a little white ball
into a 4.25 inch diameter hole takes precision,
and getting fit will help dial you in to be more
precise, and in return, lower your scores.
Q: Every now and then you see a
story where a PGA pro picks up a putter off
the rack at a local retail shop and wins a
tournament. Is that just a matter of
something looking good to the eye?
We believe putting is all about confidence. So
if a player decides he has no confidence in his
current gamer, and picks something up off the
rack and makes the first three putts, then he
may now have found the right tool to give him
confidence in his putting, and in return will
carry throughout the rest of his game.
Q: Putters are a growing piece of
your business. Tell us about the rest of your
businesses and how milled putters integrate
with those businesses.
We also manufacture a variety of different
parts that includes pieces for hydraulic
companies, medical devices, and the defense
industry. Milled putters are not the most high-
tolerance parts to manufacture, but because
we machine everything under IS09000:20
08 standards, it has to be made the same
way start to finish. Every putter goes through
a variety of different tests and inspections
before it reaches the finished stage. I guess
you could call it overkill, but that is what we
pride ourselves on.
Q: You must see a lot of golfers , of
all abilities, come through your shop. What is
one tip all golfers should use to sink more
d a putter that suits your game, and stick
with it! I am a victim of switching putters to
whatever the flavor of the month is. I think
this does not help your game in the long-term,
and would be best to stick with the same
putter and grind it out.
Q: What is it like working for your
father, who is so highly respected in the
industry, as well as having your name on the
door and your products?
A: I know that working with my dad
is a dream job. It has been amazing the last 2
years to see our business grow the way it
has, and also sell and promote something you
care so much about, because our name is on
it. We want the Bettinardi brand to keep its
strong image and we know it will if we keep up
with the current formula.
Q: Do you see yourself expanding into
other areas of the bag like wedges or irons?
We just released a wedge line overseas about
1 month ago, stay tuned for wedges
in the States!
Q: Every putter manufacturer has a
“Anser” type model in their line.
What makes this style of putter so popular
and 20 years from now will putter styles be
that much different that today’s
A: When someone thinks of a
putter they think of an anser style (BB1)
putter. [Karsten] Solheim was a pioneer in the
use of perimeter weighting which resulted in
higher moment of inertia (MOI) clubheads
which resulted in less clubhead twisting on off
center hits. This model continues to be our
best seller and seems to remain what people
expect out of every putter company. 20 years
from now I think this will still remain a strong
staple to every putter brand, however we will
see more experimentation with different
materials, weighting such as
and head shapes. We are working on a game
changing design right now, something no one
has seen before so we will let you decide how
different it really is.
Q: What is the difference between
working with a tour pro and your average
A: The tour pro understands his
stroke a lot more in depth than the amateur.
The pro knows exactly why he putts a certain
way, and is looking for minute adjustments.
The amateur is looking for that magic wand
that will make him the envy of all his friends,
and is more moldable to what the fitter thinks
is best for his game.
Who wins in a putting contest-you or your
A: Right now, I win because I am
very confident with my arm lock putter. In the
past, my dad would win every time because he
is a great putter, not someone you want to
play as an 8 handicap!