At first you might think the PING iWi putter has another one of those
odd-sounding names the company has been coming up with lately. After
all, what in the world is an "iWi?" Although some of PING's putters
have "normal" names (the PING Anser and Scottsdale Wolverine putters we
review elsewhere on this site are two examples), PING has also given us
putters with names like the "Craze-E," the "Wack-E" and even the "1/2
Craze-E." No one would blame you for thinking the name of the PING iWi
putter is part of the same trend.
But, the "iWi" in the name of this putter actually makes sense, as it stands for "Interchangeable Weight Inserts." Here's the scoop on this putter.
By now, we all know that many club manufacturers have adopted some form of moveable weight technology in their clubs. The trend began with drivers and then moved into fairway woods. Basically, by moving adjustable weights, the player is able to alter the club's center of gravity toward the heel or toe of the club. The intent is to make it easier to hit a draw (or combat a slice) or a fade (or stop a tendency to hook).
Well, now PING has gotten into the moveable weight thing with some of its putters. In theory, the Interchangeable Weight Inserts in this putter allow the golfer to customize his or her putter for their own, individual putting stroke.
A word of clarification is in order before I go deeper into this review. There are actual six different models of iWi putters: the ½ Craz-E, the Craz-E, the Anser, the D66, the B60, and the Zing. Although each model has a different style head, they all share some common features. Each one comes with two 12-gram stainless steel sole weights and a two-piece face insert consisting of 304 stainless steel backed by a layer of elastomer. An optional weight kit (sold separately for around $70) includes two 20-gram tungsten weights, two 28-gram tungsten weights, and a wrench for swapping out the weights. Nine different weight combinations are possible, so the customization options are pretty impressive.
The ½ Craz-E and Craz-E PING iWi putters are face-balanced models intended for use with straight-back-and-through putting strokes. The Anser, B60 and D66 PING iWi putters are mid-hang models designed for use with a slightly arcing putting stroke, and the Zing PING iWi putter is a toe-down model designed for a strongly arcing stroke. That pretty much covers the bases as far as types of putting strokes. Assuming you buy the optional weight kit, you can choose a "base" PING iWi putter that matches your personal putting style and then use the weights to optimize its weight distribution.
I tried the Anser model of the PING iWi putter. I would have preferred trying a mallet putter like the Craz-E or ½ Craz-E, but the blade-style Anser was the only model available.
I hit a number of putts using the stock weight configuration before making any changes with the optional weight kit. The balance was nice and the club's traditional appearance gave me confidence at address. Feel and sound at impact was probably the best I've ever experienced with a putter that has a face insert, although it didn't feel quite as "pure" as an all-metal face. My putts rolled straight, smooth and true ... well, as straight as my putts ever do.
Then I whipped out the adjustment wrench and fiddled around with the interchangeable weights to see whether I noticed any difference. Swapping the weights was easy and did result in some noticeable changes to the putter's balance and feel. And, if you're consistently missing your putts in one direction or the other, you can change the putter's heel/toe weighting to help you square the face at impact. I do have to admit that although it's nice to have such a high level of customizability, I thought the standard configuration was sweet enough, and maybe even the best setup for me. If I was buying this putter I think I'd skip the optional weight kit and use the money to buy some balls.
The Bottom Line: The PING iWi putter models and their Interchangeable Weight Inserts are marvels of modern putter design and technology. Optimizing the weight distribution for your stroke can enhance the putter's feel and just might make your putting more consistent.