As you may already know, putter designer Robert J. Bettinardi has been at the forefront of putter technology and artistry for more than 15 years. Last year, he partnered with Mizuno Golf to launch a new line of putters as part of Mizuno’s stated goal to fill a hole in its product portfolio and ultimately earn a double-digit share of the premium putter market. Today we look at the A-01 Mizuno Bettinardi mallet putter, which the company bills as “milled perfection.”
According to Mizuno: “The A-Series is designed for the player that prefers the look and feel of a mallet style putter in their hands. The A-Series consists of two face balanced, Moment of Inertia, mallet-style putters milled from 6061T6 Aluminum. Each A-Series putter features a low, deep center of gravity and Bettinardi’s patented Honeycomb Face for consistent ball striking and the truest roll in the game.”
On its web site, Mizuno doesn’t have much to say about Mr. Bettinardi. This is like partnering with Steve Jobs to design a signature line of MP3 players—and then failing to talk about the genius of Steve Jobs in matters of consumer electronics. There’s an assumption that we all know who “Bettinardi” is, yet I personally know several casual (and upwardly mobile) golfers who don’t. Meantime, among those of us who do know about Mr. Bettinardi, most of us probably want to know more about this partnership than Mizuno Golf is telling us, right?
Thankfully, the marketing of these putters has improved with some recent print advertisements that do justice to the Bettinardi name while generating healthy competitive exposure.
The View from PutterZone.com
It’s always a good sign when you want to eat your putter. That’s how I feel about the A-01 model, with its tasty curves, gourmet honeycomb face and delicious matte black (officially “storm gray”) finish. The A-01 is definitely one of the sexier mallets on the market (as is the sister A-02 model). The head of this putter would look great in a box of chocolates. It not only stands out from the crowd, but it also stands out among the greater Bettinardi portfolio, which demonstrates the thought and care that went into designing the A-Series putters. Bettinardi’s patented Honeycomb Finish doesn’t just look pretty; it’s designed to ensure a perfectly flat face for consistently true contact. The double bend shaft only adds to the A-01’s allure. Regardless of the stated MOI, I wouldn’t say the sweet spot is terribly large on this putter, but that’s more of a knock on my stroke than the putter itself, because when the sweet spot is hit, it feels like a knife moving through butter. The black-on-black T-shaped alignment grooves are both elegant and effective. There’s a certain “complex simplicity” to the entire putter, which is the hallmark of a brilliant designer.
I’m not entirely thrilled with the bright blue and yellow motif of the grip and head cover, which seem a bit random when compared to the sleek darkness of the head (the good news is that you can always order a custom Bettinardi grip on the Bettinardi web site). The frosting on this delicacy is the word BETTINARDI stamped across the back of the putter head in contrasting white. It’s sort of like having PORSCHE on the back of your car. Mizuno sure got that part right. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for lots of bells and whistles, you might want to look at the Never Compromise Exchange Series or Heavy Putter, both of which are a tinkerer’s dream. But if you’re looking for pure elegance and artistry in your putter, you can’t go wrong with the Mizuno Bettinardi A-01 model. There are many ways to arrive at the same destination, which is the bottom of the cup. It’s like Bach v. Rachmaninov, one mathematic, the other emotional, but both beautiful and ultimately effective, depending on your own preferences and disposition. The pairing of Bettinardi and Mizuno has proven to be a formidable match, just as Mr. Bettinardi himself said in his exclusive Insider Interview with PutterZone.com. The Mizuno Bettinardi A-01 is an excellent choice for self-assured golfers who are looking for an extra edge, a precision instrument and a thing of beauty all rolled into a single putter.