With its new iN series putters, PING Golf puts a final exclamation point on its 50th anniversary year.
Indeed, five decades after Karsten Solheim crafted his first PING putter in 1959, the new PING iN putters ($139) aim to continue the Solheim family’s tradition of innovation.
Do the iN putters hit the mark, or do they go wide of the target? Below is PutterZone.com’s PING iN ZB2 putter review.
With its new iN putters, PING dives head first into the MOI game.
MOI, or moment of inertia, is a measurement of a putter head’s weight properties. A putter with high MOI is more resistant to twisting and turning upon impact, resulting in added forgiveness on miss-hits.
MOI is increased when weight is moved away from the putter head’s center of gravity during the design process. So with the iN putters—even the blades—PING literally cuts holes right through the center region, so that more of the total head weight of the putter is redistributed to the perimeters. Voila, heightened MOI.
The other distinguishing attribute of the iN putters is a new “Nano Nickel” insert. This insert is comprised of soft, lightweight polymer plated with Nano Nickel technology to mimic the firmer properties of steel. Such composition allows PING to move even more weight away from the center of gravity while maintaining a more classic metal feel.
The head weight of the iN ZB2 model is 340 grams, and the stock lie angle is 71 degrees. The lie angle, however, can be adjusted per PING’s online fitting program.
The View from PutterZone.com
I won’t lie—seeing two large voids in the flange of a blade putter was a bit startling at first, if only because I’ve never seen anything like it. On certain mallets, yes. But not on a slim blade like the ZB2.
But cheers to PING for recognizing the edginess of the look and exercising admirable restraint in the remainder of the design. Indeed, at setup, you see no markings or flourishes, not even sightline. And you don’t need one, because the spine between the two cutouts acts as a natural sightline.
The result is a rather clean and calm putter at address, even with the cutouts. The markings on the sole are understated, and the rest of the putter remains unmarked except for a simple black PING logo in the cavity. In this era of excessive design flourishes, the ZB2 keeps it classy.
It helps that the ZB2 design is inherently sleek and balanced, too. The ZB2 echoes the shape of the ZB model in PING’s Redwood line, and it borrows from the classic T.P. Mills softail design that I’ve always found attractive.
One might fear that the cutouts would make the putter feel or sound tinny or otherwise insubstantial, but that is definitely not the case. The feel of the ZB2 is, in fact, rather thick and beefy. There’s an underlying softness in the hands, but it’s far from spongy. The audio feedback is similarly sturdy.
In fact, the feel of the PING iN ZB2 strikes me as similar to PING’s iWi Series insert putters, although the iWi putters used a steel insert as opposed to the new Nano Nickel insert.
As far as the MOI-elevating cutouts keeping errant strikes on line, it’s hard for me to make any definitive declarations. I’d like to say it’s because my stroke is just full of awesomeness and that I never miss the sweet spot, but it’s really because we’re talking about something that is best measured in a laboratory. I will say that the iN ZB2 putter feels plenty poised, and seems to play heavier than its 340 gram head weight.
The grip and included head cover are nothing too special (they rarely are on any putter at this price point). The red and black color scheme, however, is pretty sharp, and an improvement over the pale yellow and black of the preceding iWi series putters.
The Bottom Line
Kudos to PING for going out on a limb instead of playing it safe amid the twilight of its 50th anniversary year. With its dual cutouts and space-age insert, the iN ZB2 packs considerable features into a $139 putter. At the same time, the ZB2 manages to maintain a sleek, classic look that matches its sturdy performance. Some traditionalists will balk at the cutouts, but others will take comfort in their promise of enhanced stability.