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In depth member review of Ping Ketsch putter

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I purchased a 35" slight arc 355 gram Ping Ketsch putter based largely on the stellar reviews found on MGS.   While I question some of the metrics used in the Most Wanted Mallet Testing, (For example, I don't think that the distance of a "miss" for a 4 or 5 foot putt has any statistical meaning or validity.   It should be ignored, because while a 12" miss may be 100% greater than a 6" miss, neither putt is in the cup and no one will miss the next stroke) what I saw in the MGS survey convinced me that the Ketsch and Ping's TR technology were worth a look.   So I set out to buy one.  

 

This proved difficult.  No local shop or club had a Ketsch on site to look at.   Few of the sales reps I spoke to had even heard of the club.   Finally I had to order one sight unseen from Golfsmith for about $195.   Fortunately, I knew my specs from my previous Odyssey Two Ball.   In short order the club arrived and I swapped in a SuperStroke 2.0 mid slim grip and began my testing.

 

I started with 240 putts from 3 distances (4 ft, 7 ft, and 15 ft) in a "round the clock" pattern around gently sloping holes, putting from 8 stations radiating in spokes around the hole.   I putted 8 putts per round with the Ping, then 8 with Odyssey, alternating the order and the starting position for each of 10 rounds, or 80 putts from each distance with each putter.

 

I won't bore you with the statistics and the measurements of my misses.   I did not count the miss distances from 4 ft, only the make percentages, but I did compute the miss distances and make percentages from 7 and 15 ft.   I found that the Ping was slightly better at make percentages from all distances, but only slightly better.   From 4 ft, the Ketsch's advantage was so slight that I felt it was within the margin of error.   If I repeated the test, the Odyssey could just as easily come out on top the next time.

 

However, the Ping was significantly better on all its miss distances and this was readily apparent to the naked eye even before any stats were computed.   It was extremely easy  to cosy a ball close to a hole for a perfunctory tap in.   I also never rolled a putt so far by the hole that I had a knee knocker coming back.

 

The most common miss with the Ping was short.   And if not outright short, it was a foot to one side or another, indicating that I had misjudged speed on a breaking putt that died below the hole.

 

After this test, I'd seen enough.  I sold the Odyssey and kept the Ping.  (Got $91 for it on ebay.)  I took the Ping out on the course and put it through its normal paces.

 

Instantly, I saw that it was very good at long lag putts.   I rarely left myself in three putt danger.   It was also superb at downhill sliders.   I was able to feel my way to ginger lags that didn't run out of control.   But I did not see any improvement on short putt makes or on makeable birdies.   And I found myself constantly coming up short.  

 

Over time, perhaps with over 500 putts hit, I noticed some common denominators.   In noticed that the TR grooves (which are quite sharp) really grab a ball.   So much so that they seem to smush into a cover, often with very little sound and super soft feel.   This seems to cause the ball to roll in tighter contact with the grass and make putts more susceptible to grain, break, surface imperfections, and blade height.   Short putts curve more, especially as they lose speed.   They also skid or slip less.   I was able to put the Ketsch on line fairly easily thanks to its alignment aids and I was able to make solid strokes only to find myself curling up short or to one side with little improvement in my score.

 

Armed with this info, I began to really focus on imaginary target holes behind the real hole.   This is a common trick to maintain putter pace, but I never did it with my Odyssey because too often I'd ram a putt 6 ft by if I did.   But with the Ketsch it worked like a charm.   My imaginary target spot now moves from 1 to 5 ft behind the hole depending on the length of the putt, and with slippery downhill sliders I simply "turn off" the imaginary target an focus on the hole.

 

The results were shocking.   With more pace, my putts held their lines, and it turned out that they were on good lines all along, thanks to the ease of aiming the Ketsch.   My 4 and 5 ft make percentage soared.   My make percentage on 10 to 20 footers also soared.   Long lags remained very good. 

 

Now the Ketsch is putter that the MGS survey touted   Now I understand what the fuss is about.

 

Bottom line with the Ketsch:   Feel is excellent, ease of aiming and ease of making a good stroke is excellent.   Pace is a problem and you'll have to force yourself to hit putts harder than you are used to, but once you dial it in, it's very easy to control pace.   Be prepared for putts to break more and skid less.   While I quibble over the MGS survey's stats, I have no complaint about their conclusion.   The Ketsch is a phenomenal putter.

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Great review. Thank you. This is putter I've been considering as well and I liked how you tested it against your Odyssey. I've had a pretty hard time walking in to a store and physically seeing one as well, which has been my biggest hold up with it.

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Very nice review mate, I'm really looking hard at this putter as I'm out for a new one at the moment, and really like the soft feel of the TR grooves that were in a karstan anser 5, just have the same problem as you and can't get my hands on one to try

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Very good review. I really like the looks of the PING mallets such as the Nome and Ketsch but I don't like the feel, or any of the TR Grooves for that matter. For me, they feel a little harsh and the mallets have a hollow feeling. But I don't doubt that they perform so if I really wanted to drop strokes then I would look closer and do more testing than a simple 5 putts on artificial turf in a golf shop.

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I have been circling the big box stores here in Houston for a lefty Ketsch. I have practiced with the RH and I agree that it feels a bit weak in the pace department. I thought with a head that big, the mass would send the ball well past the hole. 

 

Kudos for the review. I was waiting to see if anyone would post a review. This is what I needed to send me to find one online and buy it today.

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While watching the US Open, I was surprised to see that both Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen have both switched to the Ketsch. So I went to Ping's website and checked their entire staff list.  Given the dozens of  Ping putters they could choose from, a shockingly high number of their pro's have switched to the Ketsch, including Lingmerth, Calcavecchia, Munoz., Loar and others.

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I'm just catching up with some posts. This was a great writeup Mark. Hope you stick around.

 

Love this quote from your review:

 

 

 

I don't think that the distance of a "miss" for a 4 or 5 foot putt has any statistical meaning or validity.   It should be ignored, because while a 12" miss may be 100% greater than a 6" miss, neither putt is in the cup and no one will miss the next stroke.

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I'm starting to gel with the winner from last year, the method mc-01. I went from complaining numerous times about it in here about what a crappy putter I was, to what my partner now calls unbelievable.

 

I'm sure this ping will do the same thing for some, after a bit of getting used to, and make you a money putter

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I bought a Ping Ketsch a month ago and already sold it to a fellow lefty. I was disappointed that it didn't work out. I really wanted to make everything I looked at. At the end of the day, my current gamer made just as many putts as the Ketsch. Not to say this putter won't work for someone else, it just didn't work for my game. I never got use to the distance issue that Mark pointed out in the OP. You really do have to smash it and I just never got that in my head. Easy to line up, hard to get the distance just right. 

 

After reading the test, I was never this excited to try a piece of golf equipment. I'm glad I did give the Ketsch a test drive. I will continue to follow the test going forward and try whatever comes out on top. 

 

Do yourself a favor...try this putter out. It really is the easiest thing to line up. 

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To follow up what TX says... the distance issue does NOT go away. I'm going on two months with the Ketsch and if it get lazy and fail to go through my routine, I still come up short. I simply must pick out a fake hole behind the hole and putt to it. Otherwise I die weakly short and off line. This method is critical on 5-10 footers.

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I can understand what folks are saying about the distance issue.  I bought one 5 or 6 weeks ago and it took me about a week to get dialed in.  Two factors that I think helped me are that I got mine 1 inch longer than previous putters and I've found that I don't come up short when I completely finish the stroke (long follow through and hold it).

 

I would not recommend this model for pop-style putters.  I got the straight-fit stroke model and have been making more putts and leaving tap ins when I miss it.  I specifically got this putter for help with longer distance/slow greens putts and once I got the feel my lag putts (even 50+ footers) are way more accurate.  The sound/feel is not as pleasant as my Bettinardi but I'm making more putts, especially on slow greens.

 

They are hard to find in the store and rather than special order one in a non-standard loft I had mine bent 2* flat.  I just couldn't wait.

 

Thanks to MGS most wanted contest for making me aware of this putter and to Markb for his excellent review which helped me pull the trigger.

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I'm just catching up with some posts. This was a great writeup Mark. Hope you stick around.

 

Love this quote from your review:

 

 

hhhaa heemmm....I've missed em, oh...i've missed them

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I just noticed that Inbee Park has started bagging a Ketsch at the International Crown.   Widely regarded as one of the best putters in the LPGA, Inbee is NOT a Ping staffer.   This says something. I think.

 

BTW, I'm still using mine after 3 months and still loving it.   Last round it gave me 5 birdies and 3 lip-outs.   Still must focus on speed with every putt, though.  It hasn't become second nature.

 

As a side note, I hit some practice putts with the Ketsch and a Top Flite.   Ye gads, it was awful.   Those TR grooves do not like cheap one piece balls, stay away from them.   Felt like a ping pong ball.

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