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Golfspy Matt "Plays His Best" with PING


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PART 1: The

PING Fitting Process

 

 

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Regular MGS reader have seen, over the past few months, full investigations into the fitting process at Wilson Golf, Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and Club Champion. As I sat back and thought about this, it occurred to me that there was a glaring omission: PING. How can you talk about custom fitting and leave out the company that brought custom fitting to the masses? Never one to ignore such an oversight, I contacted PING to discuss the idea of a story about their fitting process.

 

 

 

 

 

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My initial idea was to do something similar to what Dave and Tim did with Callaway and Titleist: go to their headquarters for a fitting and some spy work. My contact at PING said (I'm paraphrasing), “We could give you a VIP fitting, but that's something that 99.9% of the golfers out there will never get the chance to experience. Why not write about the fitting process that's available to each and every golfer interested in PING?” Much as I wanted to see the Ping Putter Vault, I agreed that this was the better story.

 

 

 

 

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The Friday of the BMW Championship, I went to Zigfield Troy, a driving range and par 3 golf course in the Chicago suburbs. I was introduced to Mark, the resident PGA Professional, who would be conducting my fitting. A PING fitting starts with the player interview. Mark asked me what types of scores I usually shoot, my ball flight, the types of clubs I play now, among other things (you can see the long version of the PING fitting questionnaire here: http://www.ping.com/...estionnaire.pdf).

 

 

 

 

 

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The second step is a Static Fitting. Mark asked my height (6'1”) and took my wrist-to-floor measurement (35”, I think). My static measurements put me into a club that is either standard length or ¼” over, and a green dot (2.25* upright). That gave us our starting point.

 

 

 

 

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The third step is the Dynamic Swing Test. Mark started me off with a G20 iron, standard length, green dot. I hit a few shots off the lie board and we concluded that it was too upright for me. PING estimates that about 30% of golfers fit into the clubs that their static measurements dictate, but obviously I was not part of that group. We stepped down to a blue dot (.75* upright) and found that it was still too upright. When we tested a black dot (standard lie), the lie tape told us that we had found the right fit. At this point, Mark and I discussed the repercussions of choosing a club that was even flatter or shading towards my static measurements and going with a blue dot. Mark told me that it came down to what side I feared more: if I was more afraid of a miss to the left, we could go flatter, or more upright if I feared the right side. Ultimately we decided to stick with what the lie tape said and go with the black dot.

 

 

 

 

 

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The fourth step (and final, for today) step is the Ball Flight Analysis. To me (and I think club junkies will agree), this is the fun part: mixing and matching heads and shafts to find the best possible ball flight. To do this we employed Flight Scope and PING's nFLIGHT system. We started with the aforementioned G20 iron and PING's CFS shaft. The first thing that I noticed was that the G20 does not care if you hit it fat, thin, or flush, it's going to produce a high shot that goes a very consistent distance. While the ballflight was very good, my problem with this combination was that the shaft was a little too light. From earlier fittings, I have learned about the impact of shaft weight on the swing, and I know that I need a shaft in the 120 gram range. Mark noticed the inconsistency as well and switched me into a KBS Tour shaft, my normal iron shaft of choice. This created a marked improvement in the consistency of my swing. Though the numbers I produced with the G20 were good, the look and feel were quite different than what I'm used to. Mark switched the G20 head for the Anser, and I was instantly more comfortable. The numbers were every bit as good as the numbers I created with the G20, but in a club that gave me the look and feel that I prefer. After a very exhaustive process, the irons were set: Anser irons with KBS Tour

 

 

 

 

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From there, we moved to the driver. I currently play a 9.5* driver, so Mark started me out with the G20 driver, 9.5* in the TFC 169 Tour stiff shaft. What Mark and I both noticed immediately, both by seeing it with our eyes and from the nFLIGHT software, was that I was not spinning the ball enough. The spin deficit was so large that we changed both the head and shaft immediately: 10.5* with the TFC 169 non-Tour stiff. While this was a marked improvement, the spin was still a bit too low. Mark approached the next change cautiously, saying, “Well…we could try a 12* head.” Clearly Mark has fit many golfers who view low driver loft as a declaration of their manhood. I just smiled and told him, “I'll play anything that makes the ball go farther.” With the 12* head, my launch and spin numbers were consistently better and I picked up an average of 10 yards of carry. The best part of the driver fitting was the combination of seeing ballflight and getting launch monitor numbers. Most people are fit on launch monitors indoors, so they never get to see what ideal ballflight really looks like. Through the PING fitting, I was able to see the ballflight firsthand and have a monitor confirm that the ballflight that I just saw was ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

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With the driver and irons set, we went about filling in the rest of the bag. There were both the Tour-S and Anser wedges for me to try, and I immediately fell for the Ansers. I've always really liked the weight of PING wedges, and when that was combined with the forged feel of the Ansers, I knew I had found a winner.

 

 

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Finally, I was also fit into a G20 4 wood and a 20* G20 hybrid. Opting for the 4 wood instead of the 3 wood was another example of how important the fitting process is. Most golfers, myself included, instinctively grab a 3 wood as their longest off-the-deck club. I found, through the launch monitor fitting, that the 4 wood was not only easier to elevate, but it was actually longer than the 3 wood for me. The G20 hybrid was the final piece of the puzzle, and it was a natural fit to replace the 3 iron. The hybrid offered more distance and a more playable trajectory.

 

 

 

 

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Overall, my fitting with PING was not only fun but very informative. This was the first time I had been fit outdoors with a launch monitor, and I think it makes a huge difference. The confidence that I gained from this process was huge. I was also very impressed with PING's nFLIGHT software. It's extremely helpful for organizing the wealth of information that the launch monitor creates, making product recommendations, and helping the golfer to put together a set with appropriate distance gaps.

 

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be doing some in depth reviews of the new PING products that will be in my bag for the 2012 golf season. If everything goes well, I will even have some on-the-course experiences to write about. You can look for the next installment in about a week: a discussion of PING's new Anser Milled Putters and the iPING fitting software. Until then, please feel free to ask any questions about the PING fitting process or anything else that piqued your curiosity and I will do my best to give you the answers.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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Nice review on many levels. Funny you mentioned about a 12* driver. I play an old G5 and that is what I use. I went to Ping HQ here in Canada and lucky for me it is right around the corner so to speak. That is what they felt would be best for me. Many would be very wise to get their driver checked as a lot of the OEM companies routinely have lower…/higher stamped lofts, than actual lofts. Plenty of people would be surprised at what they are really playing.

 

Anyone close to the Canadian border (East coast) or those that live in the Ontario area that play or have a goal of playing Ping and that would include anyone who purchased their Pings used should go to the Canadian (Oakville) Ping HQ. The fitting is free and I've been a few times and you will get the Tour treatment.

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Nice review Matt. Sounds like a very cool setup. The Lineup from Ping this year is STELLAR!! I have almost convinced myself to put the G20 into play... Just waiting for the I20 to show up....

Driver - :taylormade-small:   Stealth 9° Graphite Design Tour AD XC Stiff
Fairway - Cannot find one worth a dang

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 16° & 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7 MKII  4-Pw Project X 6.0, std length  1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX 6 Tour Rack 50° 54° 58° Project X 6.0, std length 1° flat

Putters -  Ping PLD Custom Anser/Evnroll ER1V/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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Awesome fitting experience, I wish all companies would do that!!

Whats in the bag:

 

Titleist 910D2 10.5 Graphite Design Y7-S

Adams 1600 proto 14.5 Graphite Design AD DJ

Titleist 910F 17 Ust Tour Black

Titleist 910H 22 Diamana Kali

Adams Idea Pro A12 4-9 KBS C Taper

Titleist Vokey SM4 46 degree w/ DG Spinner

Mizuno MP R12 50-54-58 DG spinner

Ping Redwood ZB

Ball Nike 20XI-X

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  • SPY VIP

Fun experience. What are those shoes?

 

Muira and now PING! Someone send me to TN to see what Scratch and Don can build for me. I'll pay for my own tour department set, and do a write up. pleeeease?

 

Fairly certain Matt is wearing Kikkors.

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Fun experience. What are those shoes?

 

Muira and now PING! Someone send me to TN to see what Scratch and Don can build for me. I'll pay for my own tour department set, and do a write up. pleeeease?

 

They are Kikkors, as T correctly guessed. Sadly, after a full season, they are starting to lose their traction. This really isn't too sad, though...have you seen their 2012 line up!?!?! Also rocking a Bonobos polo, FWIW.

 

Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments. Hopefully the subsequent posts will prove helpful or at least interesting.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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Awesome fitting experience, I wish all companies would do that!!

 

Agreed. It's another instance of PING doing things differently than others, and, IMO, better than others. To my mind, if you're going to have people fitting golfers for your product, why not have a clear, step-by-step process that leads to consistently good results? Why not create easy-to-use, helpful software that makes sense of the launch monitor data? The cynical side of me says that companies don't do this because it does not directly benefit the bottom line. These are the things, however, that allow PING to enjoy a level of loyalty from their customers that few others OEMs enjoy.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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PART 2A: iPING Putter Fitting

 

 

 

I'm going to break this update into two pieces: one about the iPING putter fitting and another about PING's Anser Milled putters.

 

In my initial article about the PING fitting process, I did not discuss the part of the fitting that might have the biggest impact on your scorecard: the putter fitting. While many golfers understand the value of being fit for the driver or their irons, putter fitting is still shrouded in mystery. With the introduction of the iPING app, PING seeks to remove the mystery from putter fitting.

 

By this point, most of you probably have some familiarity with the iPING app as a training aid (if not, check out MyGolfSpy's review here: http://www.mygolfspy.com/iping-putter-app-review ). What you may not be aware of is the fact that it has a putter fitting component. The fitting is every bit as easy to use as the practice mode: simply hit 5 putts. The iPING app will record your strokes and fit you into one of three profiles: strong arc, slight arc, or straight, referring to your stroke path. From there, it will recommend certain putter models in the PING line that will fit your stroke. You can also take the fitting a step further by adding some static measurements to receive length and lie angle recommendations.

 

My putter fitting was actually conducted by my local PING rep well in advance of my day at Zigfield Troy. He was in my shop and used me as a guinea pig to show the others in the shop how iPING works. After hitting my five putts, iPING told me that I was on the high end of the “Slight Arc” group. This was not a surprise, as I have been on SAM before and seen the same results. What was very surprising was the length and lie recommendations. The iPING app recommended a 35” putter, 2* upright. I found this hard to believe as I have always preferred a shorter putter (33”-33.5”) and a flatter lie angle (69*-70*).

 

Reluctantly, I ordered my Anser putter at the recommended specs…and I am glad that I did. The iPING-recommended specs put me in an address position that 3 out of 3 PGA Professionals believe to be more fundamentally sound, and I feel like I am putting a firmer, more confident stroke on the ball. Though I have had only once chance to bring the new putter to the course, the results were very promising: no three-putts, and excellent distance control on long lag putts.

 

For those of you looking to buy a new putter, whether it is a PING or not, I would strongly recommend downloading the iPING app and using the fitting tool. Considering that the cradle only costs $30, there is really no excuse to go to the golf shop and just buy the first putter that feels good. Get fit and play your best!

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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PART 2B: The PING Anser Milled Putter

 

Hello, my name is Matt, and I am a putter addict.

 

While I love all golf equipment, no other club holds quite the same appeal for me as the flatstick. I'm not sure if it's the level of customization and craftsmanship involved, the endless variety of styles, finishes, and materials, or the importance to your scorecard, but ever since I started playing I have been obsessed with putters. For me it started with Scotty Cameron, which, being new to the game, I thought was the pinnacle of putters. From there, I made the jump to custom putters by boutique brands like Bettinardi and Byron Morgan, and I never thought I would ever play a production putter again. At least, that's what I thought until I saw the Anser Milled putter by PING. It was the look that first caught my eye: a very understated, fully milled putter with a satin nickel finish topped off with a stepless shaft and a slick (metaphorically speaking) grey cord grip. It was the feel, however, that made me decide to put one in the bag: it's among the softest feeling putters I've ever used. The cherry on top was a custom blue and white PING WRX paintfill* that pays homage to my alma mater, Duke University.

 

PING offers an Anser Milled putter for every stroke: the Anser, Anser 1, Anser 2, and Anser 3 for the slight arc, Anser 4 & 6 for the strong arc, and the Anser 5 for the straight back straight through player. The Anser Milled series retails for $299, and is a must-try for anyone looking to put a premium putter in the bag.

 

Enjoy the pictures!

 

 

 

*Any PING club (putter, wedge, iron) can receive a custom PING WRX paintfill for $8.50. This can be done for an existing PING club or as part of a new custom order.

 

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Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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knowing as much of a putter addict as you are, I'm VERY curious to see how long you game the anser for and how you feel about it after a few rounds.

 

It's funny: as much as I love putters, I am very loyal to gamers. The Bettinardi I've been using lasted two full seasons before the Anser took it's place. I will definitely keep you all posted on how it goes.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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The Anser saw it's first real round today and did admirably. Made a couple of birdies, a couple par saves, and all the easy stuff inside 5'. Still adjusting to the new set up and trying to figure out exactly what I'm trying to feel power the stroke. Thankfully this week has the promise of more golf, so I'll be able to figure that out.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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Matt, very nice work. Do you know what kind of launch monitor Ping uses? Regarding your putter fitting, have you ever had a SAM fitting? You might really find that enlightening.

 

At this location, it was a FlightScope. I also know that some of the PING reps were using Foresight monitors this summer.

 

I have been on a SAM machine once, and I loved it. I could have spent all day messing around on it. Maybe I should try to convince the people at SAM that their machine needs a review. :lol:

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part 3:

Ping Anser Irons

 

Anser Irons (3).JPG

 

The next part of my PING bag arrived the other day: my PING Anser Irons.

 

The first thing I did when they arrived was to give them a quick spec check. Frequent MGS readers probably saw the lengthy discussion of build quality on Golfspy T's Miura blog post (part 1 and part 2), and so I was a bit nervous as to whether or not my (compulsively detailed) build requests had been met. Well, much to my delight, the irons were perfect: length, lie, loft, swingweight, grip size...PING nailed every detail.

 

I've only had one range session with these irons so far, but the early results are very impressive. For such a good looking club, there's plenty of forgiveness, but not at the cost of workability. These irons make it easy to hit the ball high, low, or shape it left and right. For those that haven't hit them, they're also a stark departure from the feel of a standard cast PING iron: very soft with plenty of feedback.

 

After more than 6 years of searching, I think I've finally found the irons that will permanently dethrone my trusty MX-23's. Keep your eyes on this thread as we move into 2012 for info on how these perform.

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Anser Irons (7).JPG

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Nice sticks Matt. Like the grips a ton.

 

Thanks, the grips are...hmmm...I'd say they're "butter" but that's the opposite of what I mean. They're awesome, but they're hard and rough...so they're....huh...we golfers need a word for that.

 

One other thing that you can see in the address pics is how the set progressively changes shape. The long irons are more squared in the toe and leading edge, and the short irons are more rounded. It's a very gradual, natural change, but you can really see it when you jump between the 4I and the PW.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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Let the scoring begin!

 

May I ask how much for this set? Cost for the KBS upgrade?

 

I know a lot of people around that were also looking for a new set from PING, but where put down due to the higher price.

 

Those grips look familiar... I wonder who manufactures them for PING.

:cobra-small: SpeedZone 9* w/ Aldila Rogue Silver 60 S
:callaway-small: X2 Hot 3 Deep 14.5* w/ Aldila Tour Green 75 S
:taylormade-small: JetSpeed 5W 19* w/ Matrix Velox T 69 S OR :adams-small: Super LS 3H 19* w/ Kuro Kage Black 80 S
:mizuno-small: JPX919 Forged 4-PW w/ Modus3 105 S
:titelist-small: Vokey SM7 50/08F, 54/14F & 58/08M w/ Modus3 115 Wedge
:EVNROLL: ER1 34" w/ SuperStroke Fatso 2.0
MfleKCg.jpg Pro / 9dZCgaF.jpgH2NO Lite Cart Bag / :Clicgear: 3.0 / :918457628_PrecisionPro: NX7 Pro LRF

My reviews: MLA Putter // Titleist SM7 // PING i500 // PuttOUT

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