In early October, Ping released their new line of putters: the Karsten line.
Obviously named for the founder of Ping, Karsten Soleheim, this new line of putters has set the new high water mark for “affordable” putters coming in at just $89. Ping has taken their entire line of putters and made “a putter for golfers preferring the performance of a steel face with an insert feel”. Each putter is available off the rack in lengths of 33″, 34″, and 35″.
With this line, Ping has taken an elastomer insert and placed it behind the face rather than on it. This allows for a bit of a cushioned feel, but it completely avoids a major problem that can arise with insert putters: inconsistency. Think of the insert on this putter as a piece of lead tape in the cavity. It will change the sound and vibration of a putt, but it is still a steel face putter. Off center hits are still detectable, but they aren’t as punishing as they once were. The entire Karsten line gives a nice and solid click when you hit the ball.
Image courtesy of Golfwrx member Danpass
Each putter in this line: the Anser, Anser 2, B60, C67, Craz-E, Piper, and Zing is available in Ping’s color coded lies. As you can see in the table, these putters are now running a little heavier than they have in the past. The weight is constant through all lengths as well. Standing at 5’7″, it means a lot to me to be able to find a 33″ putter as well as a heavier weight without custom ordering.
I have previously owned an Odyssey White Hot XG #7 and the biggest problem was that the insert was very inconsistent. I would leave one putt three feet short and then the next would be two feet past. It wasn’t as noticeable on putts under 10 feet as it was on the longer ones. My Karsten B60 doesn’t have this problem at all. It is very consistent putting from all distances.
Ping has chosen their tumbled finish for this line which is much appreciated. My last putter was a Scotty Cameron Studio Design 1.5 and the finish was so shiny that at least once a round I would be blinded by glare from the sun. This doesn’t happen at all with the B60.
I chose the B60 over the other putters in the line due to its ease of alignment. The shape of the head along with the cavity and alignment line make it extremely easy to aim directly at the hole. Getting the correct line only depends on your read of the green and takes the guesswork out of lining up correctly.
The B60 I purchased came with a Winn grip that is colored silver and black with tiny k’s all over it (think Scotty Cameron Baby T). I am not really a fan of Winn grips as I usually use an Iomic grip, but I think this one will stay. I putt with a paintbrush grip, and the Winn grip is colored just perfectly for me to position my right hand in the same place at the bottom of the grip every time.
I will be completely honest, after rolling this putter for the last two weeks, I feel like a total idiot. It isn’t because I have been missing putts. Rather, it comes from the fact that I had spent $200 on my Scotty Cameron only to find that for $89 I could have a putter I loved just as much. I was able to sell my Scotty and purchase both my new putter and a golf bag.
While in the golf shop, I played around with the other putters in the line as well. The Anser is a very nice offering and it looks a little more rounded this time around than previous versions. The Craz-E was a little more tolerable to look at with the new black color scheme versus the blue that was used in the G5 line.
I can see the Karsten B60 staying in my bag for a long time. The Karsten line is a bit of a return to the orginal designs for each of these putter styles with new innovations. With a price point under $100 dollars, anyone in the market for a new putter needs to take a serious look. Actually, anyone with five extra minutes and a close pro shop should take a look. You might be surprised and see the light.