Although 2012 Players champion Matt Kuchar already used a Bettinardi putter to win this season’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the five-time PGA Tour winner and the club designer made their partnership official with the release of a signature putter line.
The Matt Kucher Signature putters – the Model 1 and the Model 2 – will be available starting May 15 for $375.
The Model 1 is a heel-toe weighted, face-balanced blade with an extended back flange and single alignment line. It’s milled from carbon steel, and like other Bettinardi putters, features a honeycomb pattern on the face. However, the hitting area has a series of grooves designed to help enhance feel and get the ball rolling faster.
The Model 1 will be available in a 35-inch version (which can be trimmed to shorter lengths) with a 350-gram head as well as a “Kuchar Style” – a 42-inch version that has a 400-gram head.
The longer putter is designed to allow golfers to lock the upper portion of the grip against their lead forearm, as Kuchar does when he putts. This putting method is not considered anchoring by the USGA and R&A and would remain legal if the proposed anchored putting ban were to be enacted in 2016.
To compensate for the extreme forward press created by the arm-locking method, the extended-length Model 1 comes with 7 degrees of loft.
During a presentation, Kuchar said that to get a feel for the arm-lock method, golfers should try making a few putts using the same grip they’d use with their normal putter, but holding the club only with their lead hand.
“I try to make it as much of a natural stroke as I can,” he said. “I want to swing it as if the putter face is an extension of the back of my left palm.”
Kuchar said he plays the ball in the middle of his stance so his eyes stay directly over the ball and his body is centered. He said finding the perfect length isn’t as important with the arm-lock style because once the shaft is affixed to the upper portion of your forearm, stability is enhanced.
The biggest benefit to the method is that it takes away excessive movement in the wrists and makes the stroke reliant on the larger muscles in the shoulders, according to Kuchar. “I feel like if I can eliminate an extra moving part, that’s got to be helpful and make me more consistent,” he said.
The Model 2 also will be available in 35-inch and 42-inch versions, but it is a pear-shaped mallet. Because the curved back flange is larger than the Model 1’s, the white alignment line is slightly longer, but the face and materials used to make the head are identical.