Ping staff players Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson used last week's World Challenge to debut a handful of new company products, including the G25 driver and fairway woods (Mahan and Watson) and a new Scottsdale TR putter (Mahan). Mahan was hitting a G25 Driver (9.5 degrees) as well as a 15-degree G25 fairway wood.
Watson was playing a G25 Driver with his signature pink crown and graphics (8.5 degrees) and a 16.5-degree G25 fairway wood. Full details aren't out yet on the driver, but it features the same adjustable hosel found on the company's Ping Anser, introduced this summer. PING says this is their largest-profile, most forgiving head design. According to PING, "Golfers can optimize launch conditions for maximum distance through a lightweight, aerodynamic adjustable-hosel design using Trajectory TuningTechnology. With a PING wrench, golfers can add or subtract one-half degree of loft to the 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° heads. The adjustable-hosel design maintains the same outer diameter and mass of PING’s fixed hosels." The G25 is scheduled to be available in mid-February.
Some info on the irons. From PING
A multi-material cavity badge further enhances sound and feel. The progressive sole widths provide higher-launching, more-forgiving long irons, and short irons with added playability and control. A sleeker design featuring thinner top lines and moderate offset offers a look that will appeal to a wide variety of golfers looking for a high-launching, extremely forgiving game-improvement model. The attractive new dark, non-glare matte finish eliminates reflections and helps the golfer focus.
The new Scottsdale TR putter. the TR stands for True Roll, features Ping's first grooved insert. Ping engineers designed the insert with grooves that have variable depths across the width of the insert. The grooves are deeper in the center of the insert and become shallower towards the heel and toe. This pattern is designed to counteract the typical ballspeed loss on off-center hits by, in effect, reducing the ball velocity through the deeper grooves in the center of the face.
Distance control typically is only applied to how a player hits their irons. Everyone wants to hit his or her driver as far as possible, for example. Tiger Woods has often said he wants to consistently be pin high with his approach shots to give himself a chance a to shoot his lowest score. Distance is important from tee to green, but perhaps even more so on the putting surfaces. After all in order to make a putt a player has to marry speed and line in order for the ball to be accepted by the hole. Leave it to PING to come up with a new technology that improves a player’s speed and distance control with a putter. The Phoenix, AZ-based Company has created a face insert called TR, which stands for True Roll. The insert is a part of the new Scottsdale putter line that will be available at retail starting in February.
The company, which knows a few things when it comes to grooves, underwent an extensive research project with respect to putters. “It was a broad approach where we studied grooves and different inserts to determine the relationship between launch angle and spin rates in a putter,” explained Marty Jertson, Sr. Design Engineer at PING. “On longer putts, say from 30 feet, there is a higher statistical area of misses on the putter face than from 10 feet,” he said. “We found that deeper grooves, placed in the sweet spot of the putter face slow the speed of the ball when it starts rolling. Typically players find the middle of the putter face on shorter putts and begin to miss either on the heel or toe when faced with longer distances. By shallowing out the groove depth towards the heel and toe it speeds up mishits relative to the center hits,” he explained. Leaving yourself a 3 or 4-foot putt for par can get old rather quickly. The TR technology is intended to reduce that annoying distance players can be faced with too many times over the course of a round. “On a 25 foot putt, our testing showed a half inch mishit towards either the heel or toe using the TR technology produced basically the same ball speed versus a center hit,” Jertson said. In drivers, moment of inertia (MOI) has been the common ally to help stability at impact with off center hits. Putters have incorporated MOI, especially in mallet style models over the years, to help create stability on off center impact. However, energy is lost and ball speed is influenced. The TR insert in the Scottsdale line provides game improvement technology and helps players of all handicaps control their distance on the greens. PING said the Scottsdale TR insert has 47% more consistent ball velocity in its 9 test positions used on the putter face.
The Scottsdale TR putter line will debut in February in 12 models, including three new designs: Grayhawk, Tatum and Carefree, which is a long putter. The MSRP on the traditional models will be $162.50, while the mallet versions will be $192.50. The belly/long putters will have an MSRP of $235 each. PING is offering adjustability in length on its standard putters, from 31” to 38”. There will be a slight upcharge of $35 if consumers want this feature. All Scottsdale TR putters fall within PING’s “Fit for Stroke” models.