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2019 Official Forum Member Review-Bettinardi Arm Lock Putter

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On 4/15/2019 at 2:02 PM, downlowkey said:

Play it or Trade it? (18 out of 20 points)

I truly believe it would benefit every single beginner to hit their first putts with an Armlock. The motions it promotes _and_ prevents, pay dividends. I ran into @PokeForeLyfe at the course on Memorial Day and asked him to roll a few. Like most, his initial impression was "Looks closed, setup feels strange". Half a dozen 20 footers later he starts rolling one great putt after another, then cuts me open with the all important question, "Are you going to game it?". I took a deep breath, swallowed a lump in my throat and replied "Yeah, I think so". He stopped mid-stroke, stood up, looked me in the eye and said "With the way I've seen you putt, that's kinda hard to believe". I gotta tell you guys, it's hard for me to believe too. But I'm diving into the deep end on this one. I don't think the Armlock offers the magic to go low despite an off ball striking day, that my M5K occasionally produced. But on the other end of the spectrum, I think it's a reliable workhorse that will fundamentally improve my stats on the bad days when the hole suddenly appears to be the size of a thimble. This was a HUGE decision for me.

 

I've read through your great review 3 times - it's so well written and presented I didn't want to miss anything. You were already a very skilled putter before this experiment. And I heard your struggle with whether to replace your current putter even while in the midst of writing your final review. I must say I'm impressed with your "HUGE decision" to embrace the change. You make me feel like I need a new armlock putter for myself. Change can be good.

Of course, almost every MGS review I read has a tendency to make me yearn to try something new!

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I still can not believe how much I love this putter, it completely transformed the weakest club in my bag into the strongest. That NEVER happens by just making an equipment change. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't consider an armlock putter. It's still unfathomable to me how awesome this club is. 

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Fantastic detail. I’ve had to read through a few times but I do have a few questions for testers...

There seems to be a common perception that it sets up closed. How did you guys adjust for that? Did you move your ball position closer to the middle of your stance?
- How did that then affect loft since it’s only a 2* head?

What kind of putting strokes do you have?
- would this fit a wide spectrum between strong arc and slight arc?

Looking back to your selection day and subsequent days following, would you change your length of putter and to that, how did you best decide what length?

Thanks guys


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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4 hours ago, bens197 said:

Fantastic detail. I’ve had to read through a few times but I do have a few questions for testers...

There seems to be a common perception that it sets up closed. How did you guys adjust for that? Did you move your ball position closer to the middle of your stance?
- How did that then affect loft since it’s only a 2* head?

What kind of putting strokes do you have?
- would this fit a wide spectrum between strong arc and slight arc?

Looking back to your selection day and subsequent days following, would you change your length of putter and to that, how did you best decide what length?

Thanks guys emoji4.png


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

Great questions! 

To be honest, I didn't really adjust for it looking closed. It bothered me for a couple of putts, but then I pretty much just ignored it. Although, I suppose that could be why I was subconsciously aiming to the right, but I'm not really sure. 

I do believe in the beginning of this thread, I said I had to move the ball way back in my stance, but as this test has progressed, I've found myself doing that less and less. I'd say I set up with the ball about 2 inches farther foward from the middle, with a little forward press. (I have a really wide putting stance, so 2 inches isn't as much for me as it is for someone with a narrower stance.)  

I ordered mine at 6* loft and I believe stock is 5*, so Bettinardi has allowed for some of that forward press in the head. That said, if you have a lot of forward press with the ball back in your stance the loft will cause problems. I've not encountered any issues with where I play the ball.

My stroke is firmly in the slight arc category so the 1/4 toe hang of this putter is perfect for me. I absolutely think it would be fine for a SBST stroke, but I'd expect some difficulties with a strong arc stroke. I will say though, a fitting for an armlock is imperative, since the change in grip can change your stroke properties as well. Just because you are a strong arc putter with a conventional putter, does not mean you will be with an armlock putter. 

I'm happy with the length I ordered, and it was honestly an educated guess, which it NOT what I recommend. Basically, I measured my elbow to floor length, and went from there. That said, my only gripe about the length, was MAKE THE GRIP LONGER!! I know the same armlock effect is achieved by ending the grip 3 inches below the elbow crook, but I'd have felt more comfortable if I could have had the shaft all the way up my arm until just below my elbow crook. If I were to do that my bottom hand would be gripping the metal shaft, which I'm not gonna do. I mean, it worked out fine, but it still would have made me more comfortable with the grip itself. 

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Great questions! 
To be honest, I didn't really adjust for it looking closed. It bothered me for a couple of putts, but then I pretty much just ignored it. Although, I suppose that could be why I was subconsciously aiming to the right, but I'm not really sure. 
I do believe in the beginning of this thread, I said I had to move the ball way back in my stance, but as this test has progressed, I've found myself doing that less and less. I'd say I set up with the ball about 2 inches farther foward from the middle, with a little forward press. (I have a really wide putting stance, so 2 inches isn't as much for me as it is for someone with a narrower stance.)  
I ordered mine at 6* loft and I believe stock is 5*, so Bettinardi has allowed for some of that forward press in the head. That said, if you have a lot of forward press with the ball back in your stance the loft will cause problems. I've not encountered any issues with where I play the ball.
My stroke is firmly in the slight arc category so the 1/4 toe hang of this putter is perfect for me. I absolutely think it would be fine for a SBST stroke, but I'd expect some difficulties with a strong arc stroke. I will say though, a fitting for an armlock is imperative, since the change in grip can change your stroke properties as well. Just because you are a strong arc putter with a conventional putter, does not mean you will be with an armlock putter. 
I'm happy with the length I ordered, and it was honestly an educated guess, which it NOT what I recommend. Basically, I measured my elbow to floor length, and went from there. That said, my only gripe about the length, was MAKE THE GRIP LONGER!! I know the same armlock effect is achieved by ending the grip 3 inches below the elbow crook, but I'd have felt more comfortable if I could have had the shaft all the way up my arm until just below my elbow crook. If I were to do that my bottom hand would be gripping the metal shaft, which I'm not gonna do. I mean, it worked out fine, but it still would have made me more comfortable with the grip itself. 


I misspoke about the loft. Glad to see it didn’t affect you. I like the logic behind these and as you mention, the grip length just seems odd. I had looked at a lot of folks demo’ing these online and photos lent themselves to the idea that most of the lower hands finished at or below the grip. Just seemed silly.

I don’t know if I can drop this sort of $ now but who knows. Thanks for following up
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bens197 said:

 


I misspoke about the loft. Glad to see it didn’t affect you. I like the logic behind these and as you mention, the grip length just seems odd. I had looked at a lot of folks demo’ing these online and photos lent themselves to the idea that most of the lower hands finished at or below the grip. Just seemed silly.

I don’t know if I can drop this sort of $ now but who knows. Thanks for following upemoji4.png

 

If I were building one from scratch, I'd probably put this grip on it:

https://www.jumbomax.com/jmx-jumboflat-17-putter-grip/

It is 2" longer than the Betti grip and having the flat portion against the forearm instead of a rounded grip makes the most sense to me. 

Edited by GB13

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If I were building one from scratch, I'd probably put this grip on it:
https://www.jumbomax.com/jmx-jumboflat-17-putter-grip/
It is 2" longer than the Betti grip and having the flat portion against the forearm instead of a rounded grip makes the most sense to me. 


Since it’s almost all about feel this one looks like the way to go.

Thanks for all the good info, I really am curious about these and who knows...maybe in my impulsivity it’ll get the best of me!

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On 6/9/2019 at 4:49 AM, bens197 said:

Fantastic detail. I’ve had to read through a few times but I do have a few questions for testers...

There seems to be a common perception that it sets up closed. How did you guys adjust for that? Did you move your ball position closer to the middle of your stance?
- How did that then affect loft since it’s only a 2* head?

What kind of putting strokes do you have?
- would this fit a wide spectrum between strong arc and slight arc?

Looking back to your selection day and subsequent days following, would you change your length of putter and to that, how did you best decide what length?

To me, this head sets up dead nuts square. I think the open/closed perceptions have more to do with unfitted Armlock putters forcing most people into adjusted setup positions. Essentially, everyone has an ideal eye position that allows them to best see the line. For me, the ideal is a smidge inside the line and a couple inches behind the ball. I made clear to my Club Champion fitter that maintaining the same eye position that I've employed for the past 20 years was priority #1. My relatively forward ball position is subsequently the reason I selected 3* of loft (the rest of the group is 5 - 7 degrees).

I personally don't think Armlock is a good look for Team Strong Arc (not sure it's even possible). I have a very slight arc with this setup and am loving the path consistency.

23 hours ago, GB13 said:

I'm happy with the length I ordered, and it was honestly an educated guess, which it NOT what I recommend. Basically, I measured my elbow to floor length, and went from there. That said, my only gripe about the length, was MAKE THE GRIP LONGER!! I know the same armlock effect is achieved by ending the grip 3 inches below the elbow crook, but I'd have felt more comfortable if I could have had the shaft all the way up my arm until just below my elbow crook. If I were to do that my bottom hand would be gripping the metal shaft, which I'm not gonna do. I mean, it worked out fine, but it still would have made me more comfortable with the grip itself. 

22 hours ago, bens197 said:

I misspoke about the loft. Glad to see it didn’t affect you. I like the logic behind these and as you mention, the grip length just seems odd. I had looked at a lot of folks demo’ing these online and photos lent themselves to the idea that most of the lower hands finished at or below the grip. Just seemed silly.

I actually would have preferred my setup to be ~38.5" (inch and a half shorter) but since we were encouraged to submit specs within Bettinardi's standard fitting options, I went with the closest available length. Now that the official review is wrapped up, I'll be blowing off the 15" deep-etched cord (hopefully intact) and trimming the shaft. My reasoning behind this adjustment is partly the grip profile where my hands meet. But I also would like to move the balance point closer to the head. Based on testing, I am of the opinion that moving the upper anchor point closer to my elbow adversely affects feel for pace.

Because it's a Lamkin specialty product, I haven't been able to find full spec info on this Armlock grip (standard deep-etched cord is 85 grams). And I personally would be leery about installing a longer and potentially heavier grip because it may move the balance point further away from the head. As it stands, the balance point on my SS38 is eleven inches from the center of the face (only 13.5" below my bottom hand).

1940730197_BalanceBeam.thumb.jpg.08dfc64ea60f26f47e639c4e324f1d3d.jpg

I could discuss the nuances of this putting style all day so please reach out if my comments above are unclear _or_ you have additional questions about fitting/setup.

FWIW - I ran into @PokeForeLyfe at the course again yesterday, and after having rolled my setup the first time, he pulled the trigger on an SS28 Armlock. I'll encourage him to chime in here after he's had some time to adjust.

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Finally posted my Stage 2 sorry for the delay I hope its worth the wait.

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Getting caught up on this thread. Looks like I may have to track down and roll some of these arm locks. I would love to have something that would help me have a more repeatable stroke.

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I have a confession. I really wanted to test this putter.....and after reading all the comments I pulled the trigger on one. I figure....worst case scenario....if it doesn’t work out.....I can sell it for relatively close to what I bought it for.......

Lets see if it can kick my gamer out!

 

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10 hours ago, joen said:

I have a confession. I really wanted to test this putter.....and after reading all the comments I pulled the trigger on one. I figure....worst case scenario....if it doesn’t work out.....I can sell it for relatively close to what I bought it for.......

Lets see if it can kick my gamer out!

 

You won't be disappointed!! Hope it works out for ya! 

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If you guys had to provide a general quick guide to fitting yourself what would it be? Like WTF = 35” get 42”. If you prefer standard putter at 70 degree lie angle order 75. Etc...

 

EDIT: WTF = wrist to floor haha

 

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5 hours ago, Wedgie said:

If you guys had to provide a general quick guide to fitting yourself what would it be? Like WTF = 35” get 42”. If you prefer standard putter at 70 degree lie angle order 75. Etc...

 

EDIT: WTF = wrist to floor haha

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

I ordered mine based on my elbow to floor. I believe the ETF is much more important than WTF strictly because you want the armlock to hit in the right spot. Ideally 2" below the elbow. My ETF is 43", therefore I ordered a 41" putter. Is it the preferred method to determine length? No, but it worked perfectly for me. So if I had to make a simple formula it would be ETF -2". 

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I ordered mine based on my elbow to floor. I believe the ETF is much more important than WTF strictly because you want the armlock to hit in the right spot. Ideally 2" below the elbow. My ETF is 43", therefore I ordered a 41" putter. Is it the preferred method to determine length? No, but it worked perfectly for me. So if I had to make a simple formula it would be ETF -2". 


Thanks, I got my hands on one of these today. It looked like it was a return. It seemed really long and I felt like I was a mile away from the ball. Also felt like it weighed a ton but it has me curious.


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30 minutes ago, Wedgie said:

 


Thanks, I got my hands on one of these today. It looked like it was a return. It seemed really long and I felt like I was a mile away from the ball. Also felt like it weighed a ton but it has me curious.


Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

 

Ya, they feel really weird at first. First 1000 putts with mine were the most awkward strokes I've ever made. The weight is helpful once you get used to it. 

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Thanks to all the testers for the fine reviews - pushed me off the fence to finally buy an armlock.  I went with one much less classic than a Bettinardi but far easier for me to set up to.  Only have 18 holes in with it and still am playing with setup and stroke.  That said, it clearly will benefit my putting over time.

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16 hours ago, Wedgie said:

If you guys had to provide a general quick guide to fitting yourself what would it be? Like WTF = 35” get 42”. If you prefer standard putter at 70 degree lie angle order 75. Etc...

 

 

The way I measured mine was to take my gamer and set up, then measure the distance from the end of the putter grip to 2" below my elbow.

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I just pulled the trigger on a like new Bettinardi Arm Lock for under $200.  Picking it up today and they will make the needed adjustments for me at the shop when I arrive.  So I guess the biggest thing is 2 inches under the elbow for length, get the lie angle right and then adjust loft accordingly?  

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