TPP REVIEW: Bettinardi Studio Stock 9

Today at The Putter Place we have a great piece of eye candy, but also an on-course play review to let you know if this putter is right for you.

The putter that we have in for review today is the 2012 Bettinardi Studio Stock 9.  For those of you who follow the offerings at the Bettinardi online store, you know that this putter was offered in a limited fashion in 2011.  I missed out on that batch of SS9’s so I was very excited to see the SS9 in this year’s Studio Stock line-up.  Here are the specs on the SS9 from the Bettinardi site:

The SS9 is a wide body heel-toe design that has a double bend shaft that promotes a slight quarter toe hang. This putter has had much success with both tour players and amateurs alike. The SS9 features Bettinardi’s patented tour F.I.T. face, which gives a soft, yet solid feel at impact.

Weight: 350G
Material: Soft Carbon Steel
Finish: Black Iris
Grip: Lime Winn
Headcover: Bettinardi Lime
Dexterity: Right-Handed/Left-Handed

Review:  Aesthetics

 

For those of you familiar with the Bettinardi JAM model (or the 2011 Studio Stock 8), the SS9 is about a JAM and a half.  As you can see from the photos, that back flange is much wider than the traditional JAM.  Although this putter does pack a bit more heft in the body, it still has a very sleek appearance overall.  In addition, the wide head is still able to come in at a very comfortable 350 grams by having the short spud neck coupled to the double bend shaft.

The obvious aesthetic feature that I have not mentioned yet is the amazing Black Iris finish.  When I saw the stock photos of these putters, I was a bit disappointed that Bettinardi had returned to a black finish after the awesome iridescent finish on the 2011 Studio Stocks.  The Black Iris finish has a ton of color integrated with the base black.  When you look at the head up close, you will see the rainbow hews.  As you twist the putter in the light, these hues shift in position and intensity all over the head.  It is a beautiful finish.  Perhaps the most amazing thing about the finish is that when you address the ball, the putter looks black.  Even with bright, overhead sun, the finish at address was very businesslike and not distracting in the slightest.  The white sight line pops out for aiming and you are set to let the ball roll.

I am a fan of Bettinardi’s headcovers, and the Studio Stock headcover lives up to the Bettinardi headcover reputation.  There are a whole lot of stitches in the headcover.  The motif is dominated by a lime green signature Bettinardi hex, with numerous small hexes patterned across the top.  The neoprene closure, another Bettinardi classic, does a great job of securing the putter in place without adding the chance to scratch the head with velcro or magnets.

The headcover, the grip, and the paint fill on the head are all a bright lime green.  I think that this color works great with the finish and having the shared color on the headcover, the grip, and the head really ties everything together into one nice visual package.  If you are not a fan of the green, the Black Iris finish would also go with about any DIY fill color that you can think of using.  Tiffany blue or bright orange would look awesome with the finish.

Review:  Play

There may be some of you reading this who are guilty of the same putter purchasing mistake that I have made in the past;  buying a putter based upon looks, only to find you can’t make a putt with it on the course.  Thank you eBay. 🙁

So I am happy to report that this great looking putter is a performer on the course.  To be fair, based upon the weight and the toe-hang, I had a fairly good idea that it would be.  I have already mentioned that the finish is very play friendly, with no glare to be found at address.  The overall effect of the wide flange visually is that it sits very square at address.  The double bend shaft almost removes itself from view when addressing the ball, allowing you to aim down the sight line right to the hole.  The mid-sized Studio Stock grip also has a very smooth, yet tacky texture.  Preparing to putt evokes nothing but comfort and confidence.

The term “soft” is frequently used to describe the feel of the ball off the face of a putter.  This putter definitely delivers a soft feeling at impact.  I am sure that this feel is occurs via a combination of the carbon steel and the Bettinardi FIT face construction.  The feel is smooth soft, not mushy soft.  The amazing thing about this soft feeling face is that there is still a great deal of feedback at impact.  The cavity on the SS9 is a little narrower than one you would find on a traditional shaped putter.  This smaller cavity really lets you know if you have hit the ball in the middle of the face, just off the middle, or well off-center toward the heel or toe.  The feedback reminds me a bit of the pure feeling that comes from hitting an iron on the sweet spot.  The wide flange and near face-balanced nature of the putter allows it to swing through impact with metronomic consistency.  It just wants to be square at impact.  If you are a SBST or slight arc putter, the SS9 is a stick that you need to check out.  Head over to the Bettinardi Online Store and check it out.