Putters are the roots and heritage of PING Golf. While the Arizona-based golf equipment manufacturer has grown immensely since their founding in 1959 and expanded heavily into a multitude of golf market segments, putters have remained as their foundation. One only needs to witness the expansive PING vault where gold putters are deposited to commemorate significant victories by players using the company’s flat sticks to understand how they have shaped the putter industry.
Today, PING takes that to another level with the introduction of the new Putting Lab Design (PLD) program that allows retail golfers to access clubs and experiences once only reserved for the very fortunate few, including some of the best golfers in the world.
“The PLD program allows us to bring golfers more of what we do best – design and build the highest-performing custom putters in the game,” said PING President John K. Solheim. “It offers nearly endless possibilities. Golfers can craft their own custom design through PLD Custom, choose the proven performance of a PLD Milled model or add to their putter collection by acquiring a PLD Limited. It gives golfers a chance to play what the pros play and own a piece of PING history.”
Created in 2016, the PLD program has been an effort by PING to take the inspiration of their gold putter vault, match it with leading edge thinking, and provide the best options possible for the top players in the world.
“From 2016 to now, we’ve been fully focused on having one of our designers working directly with Tour, pinpointing players, using our engineering principles on what is the right thing to do from a putter design standpoint, and then designing up those putters and working with them to see them get to the full performance,” PING Director of Product Design Ryan Stokke shared last week.
There have been a number of PLD putters in the past that were one of a kind and commercialized, but until now, no PING program brought the full weight of the program to a consumer level. Until now.
The new initiative is multi-platformed, allowing a golfer to experience PLD in three different ways – PLD Milled, PLD Custom, and PLD Limited.
Likely the most common way that every day golfers will get involved with the PING PLD program will be PLD Milled putters that will be made available through PING retailers who are dedicated to fitting and providing a top level retail experience.
To kick off the program there will be four putters as part of the PLD milled Line, all models that have ben well-accepted on tour, both in the past and more recently. Each is forged from 303 stainless steel and the faces are milled with deep patterns to provide the level of softness preferred by better players.
Providing the highest level of nostalgia will be the PLD Anser and PLD Anser 2 models, with their familiar appearance, but taken up a notch. Filling out the line will be the DS72 that has grabbed plenty of attention with use on tour by Viktor Hovland, and the very popular Prime Tyne 4.
PING says each model requires more than four hours of milling to precisely craft the shape, giving it the premium look expected of clubs in this class.
“The PLD Milled is an exciting addition to our putter line,” said John K. Solheim. “We’ve identified a couple of our most popular models from the past and some newer designs that have attracted a lot of attention in the last couple of years. We’ve given the new putters a very clean, premium look to emphasize the precision process they undergo before they are ready for play. As we collaborate on new designs with our engineers and tour staff through the PLD program, we’ll add new models to bring golfers the latest in tour-proven performance on the putting green.”
The PLD Milled model putters will retail for around (CDN) $600 are are now available for pre-order. Many Canadians will also be appreciative of the fact that each model is available in both right and left hand.
PLD Milled Model Specifications
Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel, for Slight Arc stroke, 350g head, Matte Black finish, PING black graphite shaft, Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°, Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°
Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel, for Slight Arc stroke, 350g head, Satin finish, Chrome stepless steel shaft, Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°, Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°
Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel, for Straight Stroke, 365g head, Satin finish, Chrome stepless steel shaft, Lie Angle: 20° +/- 2°, Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°
Prime Tyne 4
Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel head, Aerospace grade, machined aluminum hosel, for Strong Arc strokes, 360g head, Matte Black finish, Matte-black stepless steel shaft, Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°, Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°
As the PLD program ramps up to the Custom level with a program allows golfers to schedule time with a PING Master Fitter to start the process of creating a one-of-a-kind putter just for them, built by the custom PING Wrx team. The appointment can be done virtually or golfers can take the ultimate step of a visit to the PING Putting Lab in Arizona. There they can get access to the full range of technology and tools at PING’s disposal, including their 45 foot long putting table that uses a 70 ton, perfectly flat slab of granite, as its base.
As part of the initiative, golfers will have access to more than a head design and material choices made to the optimal length, loft, lie, and grip types. Putters can be adapted with tungsten weighting, face milling, finish, alignment aids, engraving and paint fill. They will then be built completely within the U.S. by the PING team.
As expected, to take part in this project, golfers will require a deposit to schedule an appointment, with additional product costs subject to design intricacies.
The PLD Custom putter program launches in the U.S. on March 21 with Canadian availability in the next few months. Appointments can be booked at pingpld.com/schedule-pld-fitting
Avid golfers take to unique products in an extraordinary way. The final aspect of PLD agenda is a limited collection of putters targeted at those who like to accumulate a library of equipment. These will be models released a few times a year, played by the best of the PING professionals, consisting of putters built to a single set of specifications and serialized
The first of these models will be available on March 21 and will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Anser patent issued on that very same day in 1967. No other putter design can claim to have changed golf in a greater way.
“A lot of time has passed since the invention of the Anser putter,” said John A. Solheim, PING’s Chairman & CEO and the youngest son of Karsten Solheim, who designed the putter as an “answer” to the putters available at the time. “We think it’s important to remind the golf industry and some of the younger golfers that the iconic design they see with other brands’ name on it was created by Karsten in his garage in the mid-1960s. I was fortunate to be at his side building the first Ansers, and continued to do so for many years. It’s time Karsten gets the credit he deserves for inventing the Anser putter.”
The Anser Patent 55, which has been fully machined from bronze, will run (USD) $790 and only be available through the pingpld.com website (not the PING Canada website).
Subsequent Anser Patent 55 models will have releases later this year: Anser Patent 55 (stainless steel; satin finish) June 13, Anser Patent 55 (carbon steel, patina finish) September 26, and Anser Patent 55 (stainless steel, special finish) December 12.
Players Championship Debut
As a way to showcase the PING PLD program, those paying attention to the Players Championship this will note that PING staff players will be carrying (or at least their caddies will) a PLD-branded staff bag and headwear customized with the PLD logo. The special bags will be autographed by the player and then be donated or auctioned off to benefit charities.
“Several of our highest-ranked players in the world rely on a PLD custom putter that was designed in collaboration with our engineering team,” said Solheim. “We chose this week to introduce the PLD program at one of the game’s most important events and shine a spotlight on our success. Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson are just a few players who put their trust in a PLD model, each custom designed and built to their specific needs, but all engineered to win championships.”
To find out more about the program, visit the PING PLD website.