Last week was really only the tip of the iceberg (which I'd happily trade for the ongoing heat). The K15 and Faith Series certainly looked to be great options for players looking for something in the game improvement arena, but this week we shift gears and see the newest in PING's offerings for low- to mid-handicap players.
After taking a look at all of these new products, it's quite obvious that PING's commitment to all players is taken quite seriously, as there are multiple options even for players that fall into the same category. Going by their release of a forged iron to the U.S. market, it's also obvious that PING is listening to what players want. With that said, we've got a lot to cover this week, so let's get started!
Forged Anser Irons
At the very end of last weeks column, I mentioned PING's first forged irons in 40 years (though NOT their first ever forged iron), and now here they are. Though common knowledge says that the Anser name has always been reserved for their putters, somehow here it seems appropriate. Maybe that's because the last forged iron PING made was also named Anser. If you keep up with the international market, you may already know that the forged Anser has actually been available in Japan since earlier this year. Though U.S. version is identical in appearance, there is one small difference - lofts across the set are a single degree weaker in the U.S. models.
The club head combines a forged 8620 steel body with a tungsten sole bar, providing superior feel as well as a moderate degree of forgiveness. To further promote both feel and forgiveness, the Anser iron incorporates a hollow sole cavity, which allows the center of gravity to be moved low and deep. This in turn helps achieve a higher launch. There is also a progressive reduction of offset and head size from the long irons up through the scoring irons.
The new Anser® iron is very exciting for us. We've pushed the forging process to a new level and created performance not previously associated with a forged club. It's a beautiful golf club that has created a lot of interest from golfers around the world.John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO
The Anser iron set starts with a 21° 3 Iron, and tops out with a 46° PW. They come outfitted with the Royal Precision Project X shafts, in your choice of 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 flexes. The suggested retail price is $190 per club, which brings the price of the set up to $1520.
The successor to PING's S57 is the new S56 irons, which were proudly on display recently at The Open Championship in the bag of champion Loius Oosthuizen. One really cannot ask for more for promotion of a product that hasn't even hit the market yet.
We couldn't have dreamed of a better story leading up to this product introduction. Tour validation for new product is important to its success. When it's used to win a major before it's officially introduced, it has a tremendous impact.John Solheim
Like the previous generation S57, the S56 maintains a blade-style appearance and is designed with the better player in mind. The cast steel body is mated with tungsten sole weights, which helps promote ideal shot trajectory for each iron in the set. To make things a little clearer, what this means is that the CG is optimized on a per-iron basis so that the long irons have a naturally higher launch, while the short irons produce a more controlled, penetrating ball flight. In the long irons, PING's patent-pending Stabilizing Bar is narrower, while in the short irons, the larger bar works to favor control over distance.
The S56 Irons are available in the increasingly rare 2 iron up through a 47° pitching wedge. There are three shaft options to choose from, including the steel True Temper Dynamic Gold, the steel KBS Tour, and PING's own graphite TFC 149i, each of which is available in the standard array of flex options. MSRP is set at $127.50 for the steel shafted models, while the graphite shafts bring the price up to $155 per iron.
Tour S Wedges
We may as well be doing a Louis Oosthuizen WITB at this point, as PING's new Tour-S Wedges were also in the bag for his monumental Open Championship victory. The machined face and grooves were designed to enhance spin and provide a great deal of versatility around the greens and in situations where a short, controlled shot is required.
Perimeter weighting is provided by a Custom Tuning Port which angles towards the back surface in order to provide forgiveness. Cast from soft 8620 steel, the Rustique model (which naturally tarnishes and develops rust over time) also offers exceptional feel. If the rust inducing finish isn't your thing, don't worry. There is also a brushed silver chrome finish which ditches the 8620 steel in favor of 17-4 stainless steel.
Though both finishes come in a number of lofts, there are quite a few more in the brushed silver chrome which starts at 47° and goes up to a 64°. The Rustique finish is available in 52°, 56°, and 60°. The Tour-S wedges share the same shaft options as the S56 irons, and have a suggested retail price of $130 per steel-shafted club, and $157.50 for graphite-shafted models.
EYE2 XG Wedges
Also new to PING's stable is a new twist on the one club that was pretty much the root of all PGA Tour controversy a few months back - the Ping EYE2 wedge. The new EYE2 XG simply takes the older design of the EYE2 and updates them with new, conforming grooves. They're just as forgiving and versatile as ever, though luckily you don't have to scour eBay, or pay hundreds of dollars for the new XG.
In order to reduce glare, the EYE2 XG is coated in a satin finish, so that you can concentrate at the shot at hand, and not on how to keep the glare out of your eyes. Both a sand wedge and lob wedge are available, and come with either True Temper Dynamic Gold steel, KBS Tour steel, or PING TFC 149i graphite shafts. MSRP is $130 per steel-shafted wedge, and $157.50 per graphite shafted wedge.
Scottsdale Series Putters
Rounding out the newest PING has to offer is the new Scottsdale Series putters. All models in the Scottsdale series make use of a thermoplastic elastomer face insert with a face applique, which, according to PING, results in exceptional feel and distance control. Helping in the forgiveness department is extreme perimeter weighting, which will help the player roll the ball true to intended line. To guide you along that line is alignment aids and sight lines embedded into each model.
All models are finshed in a dark charcoal PVD finsh and feature a polished sole, resulting in a sleek, confidence-inspiring appearance. The Scottsdale Series is composed of 14 different models, including: Anser 22, B60, Craz-E Too, Half Pipe, Hohum, Pickemup, Pickemup B, Pickemup L, Tomcat, Wolverine, Wolverine C, Wolverine H, Y Worry, and ZB. Depending on the model, the Scottsdale putters will run you between $140-$180.