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PING Nome Putter Review
The PING Nome was released in early April after it exploded onto the scene when Hunter Mahan dismantled the field at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. It then gained even more praise a few weeks later when he putted his way to an impressive victory at the Shell Houston Open. Needless to say, the hype and demand have been through the roof with the success the Nome has seen in the past couple of months, so let’s take a look at this new release from PING.
Tungsten Weighted Sole – a lightweight frame made of high-grade aluminum features tungsten sole weighting that optimizes the CG (Center of Gravity) and creates a high MOI (Moment of Inertia).
Alignment Bar, Sightline – A black alignment bar with white contrasting sight line make it easy to aim and align this mallet-style, precision milled head to improve accuracy.
Fit For Stroke – The Nome 355 Putter is available in 3 different shaft bends to fit YOUR putting stroke, whether it’s Straight, Slight Arc, or Strong Arc.
Looks -Ping really made an effort to ensure that this putter is easy on the eyes. Its smoother lines are a vast improvementover the Sydney (released in 2011) and the Alignment Bar is absolutely perfect without being overbearing. Feel – PING also nailed it in the feel department. The C805-aluminum design feels soft yetresponsive, everything we’re looking for in a putter. For those that prefer a non-insert designlike me, this could be an option for you… Fitting – Having the option to choose from 3 shaft bend designs, best fit for your stroke is invaluable, something no other company can offer. Typically, all face-balanced putters are designed to promote a SBST (Straight Back, Straight Through) putting stroke, but PING has changed all that, giving the mallet option to players with varying stroke types…
Weighting – For me, a face-balanced mallet needs to have some “heft” to it. I would attribute the lighter feel to the Midsize WINN AVS grip (a very, very nicegrip). Despite how great the grip felt, I was surprised to notice that the heavy grip took away from the heavier feel of the putter head. Obviously, this is something that can be easily remedied with a lighter-weight grip of your choice to give the club head a little more of a heavy feel.
For a player that is interested and/or tends to gravitate towards a face-balanced putter, I really think that you should give the PING Nome a long, hard look. When I’m looking for a Mallet-design, I’m looking for something that can give me the forgiveness and confidence I need on putts inside of 10 feet. In my testing, if I mishit a putt, I found that I was still able to consistently start the putt on my intended line, which is a huge benefit. In terms of the alignment aid, I couldn’t ask for a better design. As you can see in the pictures, the long, white sightline makes lining up short putts a breeze. In the 4 rounds I played with the Nome, I didn’t miss those short, pressure-filled putts. That, in combination with the exceptional balance and high MOI catapulted this putter to the top of my wish list.
While I don’t always use a mallet, when the pressure is on,nothing is more forgiving than a face-balanced, high MOI mallet. I’ll definitely be giving the Nome a chance to stay in my bag…
We’ve all seen the photos and by now, I’m sure many of you have seen it in person. In my opinion, if you’re a “mallet guy”, it is one great looking putter. With all the wacky-looking mallets on the market today, it was nice to see a simple but functional design with the Nome. The biggest hit for me, other than the incredible balance, is the alignment bar. As someone who has always utilized a line on my ball when putting, PING has hit a home run. When I’m looking for a putter, I’m always looking for something that will give me confidence in my intended line and the Nome delivers. The white line contrasts perfectly off of the black bar and creates an impressive blend of good lucks and functionality. For those that liked the performance of the PING Sydney last year, you’ll be even more impressed with the Nome. I was impressed with the Sydney in 2011, but I couldn’t bring myself to game it based on the looks. With the Nome, you get the same performance packed in a great looking and improved design.
Like I said earlier, if you’re in the market for a mallet-style putter, you’re usually looking for two things, face-balanced and high MOI. With this putter, you’re getting the total package. As part of my initial testing, I took the Nome out to my club’s practice green and dropped 10 balls at about 4 feet. For me, if I can get these in the hole, the putter has passed the first test. As we all know, those pesky 4 footers in a tournament, your club championship, or even your Saturday skins game are what can make or break your round. So, for me, if I can get comfortable sinking the short ones, I know I’m on the right track. The next order of business is to stretch out the length to the 25-30 foot range to see how well I can control speed and get putts on-line when I’m not as close to the hole as I’d like. This portion of the review is typically where an insert putter (for me) loses my confidence. With the Nome however, the feel off the putter face was consistent and I was regularly hitting my desired line. After getting a feel for the speed, I was definitely intrigued by the putter.
**One note I wanted to mention. Since I happen to fit into the “Straight” stroke category, PING designed this model with a fairly noticeable amount of ‘forward press’. For example, when I sole the putter, the grip is much, much farther in front of my hands than I would typically be comfortable with. Initially, this took a few hours to get used to, but once I was comfortable, I started to really benefit from the concept of ensuring that your hands remain in front of the putter head as you make your stroke. I did a little research and visited my local retailer and noticed that the “Slight Arc” and “Strong Arc” did not feature this same hand positioning as the “Straight” model, so that maybe something to pay attention to when you’re looking into the Nome. **
THE BOTTOM LINE
The PING Nome will be in my bag (if they let me!) I tend to play on fast, undulating greens in the Spring, Summer, and early Fall. With the unmatched balance and exceptional alignment aid built into the Nome, I haven’t found a putter design that has given me a more confidence on the putts that matter. If you’re a mallet fan and even if you aren’t, please take the time to demo this putter, you may be surprised at how well this putter performs.
For years, I was putting with toe-weighted blades (nothing wrong with that), but only after I spent a few bucks on the iPING cradle did I realize that I was better off with a face-balanced mallet design. I think that it’s critical to your success on the greens to take the time to either get fit at your local retailer or invest in the iPING App and Cradle to get a better idea of where your putting stroke stands. After analyzing your stroke and pin-pointing your weaknesses, give the PING Nome a shot. I think you’ll be extremely impressed with the forgiveness, alignment aid, and feel. In my opinion, it’s the best all-around mallet putter released in 2012 and trust me, I’ve tried them all…