I've been looking forward to writing this overview of PING putters for quite a while now. After all, PING has created some of golf's most hallowed putters - the fabled Anser® is just one example. Of course, they have also included the wacky - almost literally. But the PING Wack-E® (I'm not kidding, that really is its name) is actually a fine putter. And then there's the PING iWi putter. And the PING Nome putter.
Before I talk much more about these putters, I have to confess that when I play, I often use one. I own two putters, and I usually base my choice for any given round on my confidence level and whether I think the greens will be slow or fast that day. On slow-green days I normally use my old Odyssey Dual Force Rossie II mallet (it must be at least 15 years old by now, but hey, Faldo won the Masters with it in 1996). But on fast-green days - or when I need a confidence boost - I play the PING Scottsdale® Wolverine® putter I recently bought (I love this thing). So, before I start discussing any PING putters, I want to let you know that I'm somewhat favorably disposed toward them. As always, I'll do my best to keep my objectivity.
There are dozens of them on the market. Some of them (like the recently updated but still classic Anser® Milled) have traditional steel faces, while others (like my Wolverine®) incorporate high-tech face inserts. The company manufactures a wide range of stylish mallet designs (again, like my Wolverine®) as well as various semi-mallets and classic blade putters (the Anser® Milled, for example). Many Ping putters are heel-shafted, but others use a center-shaft placement. Some are toe-weighted, while others are face-balanced.
Five different lines of putters are currently being made, and most of these lines include multiple specific models. But all models feature PING's legendary quality, no matter which model you choose.
PING can even help you identify which particular models of their putters would be best for your own, personal putting stroke. The company's "Fit for Stroke" putter fitting concept is beginning to revolutionize how golfers choose their putters. There are three main types of putting strokes: straight back and straight through; a slight arc to the inside on the backstroke, then a through-stroke which passes slightly to the inside after impact with the ball; and a stronger arc, where the putter moves farther inside on both the backstroke and the through-stroke. Each PING putter now comes with a label on the shaft which identifies the particular type of putting stroke that's best suited to that putter.
For example, the seven different models in the PING Anser® Milled line are all blades and they all have a milled 303 stainless steel face, but they use different hosel designs that determine the balance of the putters. Fortunately, PING identifies which particular models of the Anser® Milled are suited for straight strokes, slight arcs and strong arcs, respectively.
The Karsten® 1959 line of PING putters includes 6 different models, including mallets, semi-mallets and classic blades like the Anser® 2 and the PING Zing®. Once again, there's a Karsten® 1959 putter that's appropriate for a straight stroke, slight arc or strong arc.
PING's line of ladies putters - called the Ping Faith® putters - includes three distinctly different head designs: the Craze-E®, the Wack-E® (both designed for a straight stroke) and the much more traditional Anser®, which works best with a slight arc.
It gets even more complicated if you're interested in PING's Scottsdale® line. Currently, there are 21 different models of Scottsdale® putters, and they have various head shapes, including blades and several different mallets and semi-mallets. In addition, some are face-balanced, some are mid-hang and some are toe-down. And once again, some are designed for straight strokes, while others work best with slight arcs or strong arcs. My Wolverine®, for example, is a face-balanced mallet designed for a straight putting stroke.
If you've been counting how many models of PING putters I've mentioned so far, you'll know that we're already up to 37. Thankfully, there's only one model in PING's SydneyTM line - a face- balanced mallet putter that's suited to a straight putting stroke.
That makes 38 different current models of PING putters. And dozens of earlier models can still be purchased at various golf club outlets. Naturally, I won't be reviewing all of them, but I'm excited about sharing my experiences with several PING putters in reviews on our website.