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For its 50th Anniversary, Ping is recreating the original Anser putters

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In 1966, Karsten Solheim invented the Ping Anser putter, which has became so popular that when golfers see an imitator — and there’s a lot of them — they’re often dubbed “Anser-style.” Fifty years later, Ping has gone to great lengths to create a limited-edition line of Anser putters that are as much like the originals as possible.

The limited-edition putters are made from the original Anser molds, using the original parts and metals, and created in the same foundry that produced the first Anser putters. So for golf history buffs, this release is something special.

Making the story better is that Karsten’s son and current Ping CEO John Solheim will have his hands on every single putter released. Ping plans on releasing 1,550 right-handed versions, and 150 left-handed models. Solheim is grinding the soles of each putter, just as he used to do with the original Ansers in his father’s garage.

Ping_Limited_Edition_Anser_2016_Address

The putters will have the original Ping grips, which Tiger Woods has since made famous, and the shafts are made by True Temper, with the same step pattern as the originals.

What’s “modernized” about the new putters are the toe and heel bumpers, which used to be shaped by hand using sandpaper. The 2016 versions had that shaping already built into the molds.

Ping_Limited_Edition_Anser_2016_sole

Speaking of those molds, there’s either a “K,” which stands for Karsten, or an “A,” which stands for “Allan,” John’s brother, engraved on the hosel of the putters, which indicate which of the two original molds were used to cast each putter. According to John Solheim, the putters produced by the different molds will not be identical because the Karsten, or “K” mold, had the radius on its heel slightly nicked. So the heel on the “K” putters have what John calls the “slope side.”

Ping_Limited_Edition_Anser_2016_hosel

While the putters are made from the same high-strength, manganese-bronze metal, the hosels are applied with epoxy, while the originals were not. Without the epoxy, the original Anser putters sometimes cracked at the hosel, according to Solheim.

You will also notice inserts in the toe and heel, which are tungsten weights used to bring the heads “up to weight.” The putter heads weigh 350 grams, which is significantly heavier than the originals, but standard these days.

Ping_Limited_Edition_Anser_2016_face

The putters have no release date at this point, but sometime before the 51st Anniversary would be a safe bet. Remember, John Solheim is grinding each of the putters, which he says takes roughly 4-5 minutes each. There is no set price, either, but according to Solheim, “They won’t be cheap.”

See what WRXers are saying about the putters in our forum. 

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. cgasucks

    Jun 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    If Mr. Solheim himself is going to grind the putters like his dad did you know its not gonna be cheap…

  2. MisawaGol4

    Jun 16, 2016 at 6:23 am

    So these are exactly like the originals, same metal, same molds, and from the same garage. Minus the fact that now they have added weight plugs and the hosels are attached differently, but John Solheim will be guaranteed to have touched these for at least 4 whole minutes! Who can put a price tag on that? Apparently Ping can. There is a reason the originals value will increase and these will start high but never really amount to much. I never buy a limited or collectors edition of anything. You are guaranteed that they will be anything but that.

  3. jimmy snodgrass

    Jun 15, 2016 at 11:04 am

    maybe i should’nt give my secrets away but i could never afford pro shop prices for clubs or clothing, i play golf at public courses because of the mostly private club restrictions on attire. i wear golf polo shirts, with whatever nice club logo i know, have a dozen masters shirts, several congressionals, and even a bob hope chrysler classic, most of them bought for 2 to 3 dollars. i wear levi’s , not holed up because they fit me best. i had a fairly nice, pleated pair of pants with the pockets cut down the sides, hopped into a golf cart, and lost most of the items in my pockets, because, when sitting, the pockets were parallel, coins and a swiss army knife were lost somewhere on the course, and i still have 2 pairs of leather footjoy classics with steel spikes, in great shape, just waiting for the day when they are re-allowed.

  4. Anser 4

    Jun 15, 2016 at 12:58 am

    If this came in Anser 4 I would be over it like a rash.

  5. Weekend Duffer

    Jun 14, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    You can buy the actual originals for $35 on eBay, yet they will likely charge $350 for the remake.

    • Joey

      Jun 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Less than that. You can get Zings and My Days for around $10 bucks (shipping not included).

    • Joe Duffer

      Jun 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Wrong… a nice original Scottsdale Anser will still bring north of $1000

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Equipment

Golf club history: woods and irons

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If you’re going to play golf, you’re going to need some clubs. The game dates back to the 1400s in Scotland, so naturally, golf club history does too. We’ve come a long way from wooden clubs and feather-filled balls. For the sake of this piece were going to stick with the modern evolution of the game’s equipment starting off with the invention of the steel shaft in the early 1900s.

Some of the first steel shafts came from a fishing rod producer in Britain by the name of Apollo and we’re developed in the early 1920s. The shafts were much more consistent than the wooden shafts they were attempting to replace but they were still considered inconsistent by many players. Steel shaft also didn’t catch on until a number of years after their conception because until 1924 the USGA considered them nonconforming equipment. It took 5 more years for the R&A to make them legal in 1929.

It was that same year in 1929 when True Temper advanced the steel shaft and developed the process to taper shafts down or create “steps”—something we are all familiar with now. These steps could be moved around the shaft and change the flex which created more options for golfers to find the right equipment and be fit.

Since that time, the biggest steps (no pun intended) we have seen taken in steel shafts have come from stronger, lighter materials to create more flex and bend profile options for golfers.

If you are curious about graphite shafts, check out my piece “The real firsts of the golf industry” for the history behind their development as well as some other technological firsts.

Here’s a broad survey of recent golf club history.

Golf club history: woods

best driver 2020

Now to the “big stick.” The term “driver” comes from the idea that the longest club was meant to be driven as far as possible from the teeing area and hence the name stuck. The club heads were made of persimmon, because of the strong dense nature of the wood. To get these wooden heads to where they needed to be for weight, they would be fitted internally with lead weights.

The video below profiles one of the last persimmon wood manufacturers in the world.

With persimmon becoming more expensive and golf growing in popularity, many manufactures shifted from using solid persimmon to laminate—that change also made the clubs more durable, and also a change in golf club history. Those companies included Wilson, Spalding, MacGregor, even Ping with the introduction of the Karsten driver and woods.

As technology continued to move forward, other companies used various materials like graphite composites to make woods, and as much as they worked well for increasing durability they never quite caught on.

The next jump came in 1979 when Gary Adams had an idea to make wood a thing of the past. He took out a $24,000 loan against his house to found TaylorMade Golf. The first product to market was a 12-degree metal driver; the very first of it’s kind in golf club history.

Since then, metal wood technology has continued to move forward leaps and bounds; shifting from steel to titanium, and titanium to multi-material heads featuring aerodynamic designs built for speed. The rules of golf have limited size and spring-like effect of drivers but manufacturers continue to innovate and make drivers faster and more forgiving.

golf club history: Irons

Until Karsten Solheim and Ping arrived on the scene (see Greatest Ping irons of all time), iron design remained mostly the same—thin, forged blades that weren’t very forgiving. It’s not to say that everything was exactly the same, quite the contrary, but from an evolution standpoint, these were just baby steps.

To see the blade evolution here are a couple of great reads:

Then, just like with putters, Karsten Solheim designed an iron that would help reduce the severity of shots hit away from the sweet spot and the modern cavity back was born: the Ping 69. It was then only a few years later in 1982 that the most popular iron of all time, the Ping Eye 2, was set free into the world and this is where iron technology went from baby steps to full-blown Olympic sprinting.

Cavity back irons make the game more enjoyable and easier because their design reduces the severity of mishit shots and get the ball in the air easier, something that benefits all level of golfers, even professionals. Just like drivers, over the last decade, we have seen the introduction of faster, longer more forgiving multi-material designs enter the market. As CAD design and manufacturing techniques go well beyond was would have been imaginable only a decade ago.

Golf club history: beyond cavity backs

New 2020 PXG Gen 3 Irons

The next leap forward was thin-faced irons so fast they needed to be reinforced with polymer materials to prevent them from caving in. The idea wasn’t new, with the introduction of clubs like the PXG 0311 or Taylormade P790, but they perfected the ability to build ultra-thin faced irons that not only performed but felt good too. The title of the first thin or slot-soled irons belongs to Wilson golf and their Reflex irons.

Conclusion

Technology will continue to push the boundaries of design, and golfers will benefit from these breakthroughs. The question of “how much further can we really go?” is up to engineers and advancements in materials and manufacturing, but however far it is, we should be excited about what they will think of next!

 

 

 

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The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now (Summer 2020 edition)

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The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now (Summer 2020 edition)

What are the most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now? From time to time, we like to get out of our little bubble of OEM releases and what’s being played on tour to look at what golf consumers are buying on one of the largest online retail marketplaces: Amazon.

Here are the best-selling golf clubs on Amazon as of July 2020.

1. Callaway Golf Men’s Strata Complete


The best-selling golf club on Amazon is actually a collection of clubs: a starter set from Callaway’s Strata line. 

From the listing: “The Strata 12 piece set is designed for maximum performance right out of the box; The set includes: driver, 3 Wood, 5 Hybrid, 6 to 9 Iron, PW, Putter, stand bag and 2 head covers.

Price: $249.99.

Buy here.

2. Pinemeadow Wedge

The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now pinemeadow wedge.jpg

A decent-looking wedge for under 30 bucks…plus, it comes in 68 degrees!  

From the listing: “Built standard with high quality Pinemeadow steel from Apollo(R), a 125 gram shaft with a low to mid kick point for the same $19.95 value, perfect for the beginning to average golfer.”

Price: $29.19

Buy here.

3. Wilson Harmonized Wedge

Tidy-looking wedge with a sole grind that affords you some versatility for under $40. 

From the listing: “Blade shape with modified bounce angles for dead stop spin and versatility from the sand, rough, or fairway”

Price: $36.94

Buy here.

4. PreciseGolf Co. Precise X7 Junior

The top-selling junior set on Amazon, here. 

From the listing: “Right handed, designed for age 9-12, Boys, junior set includes: 15 driver, 22 Hybrid, #6/7 iron (1 piece), #9/P iron (1 piece), putter, 2 head covers and stand bag (rain Hood included)”

Price: $128.67

Buy here.

5. Callaway Women’s Strata Complete Golf Set

Just like the men’s version, Callaway’s Women Strata golf set is the most popular golf set in its category on Amazon

From the listing: “The Strata Plus Women’s Package Set is designed with distance and forgiveness technologies for women who want to easily hit accurate shots that go a long way. The complete set includes: Driver, 5 Wood, 5 hybrid, 6-9 Iron, Pitching Wedge & Sand Wedge, Stand Bag and 3 Headcovers.”

Price: $249.99 – $499.99

Buy here.

6. Pinemeadow Excel EGI Hybrids

Replace any of your irons with Pinemeadow’s Excel EGI hybrids

From the listing: “3 Hybrid/19°, 4 Hybrid/22°, 5 Hybrid/25°, 6 Hybrid/28°, 7 Hybrid/32°, 8 Hybrid/36°, 9 Hybrid/40° & PW Hybrid/45°. More and more players are trading in their traditional irons and replacing them with hybrids. The EGI hybrids allow you to do this for every iron in your bag. Join the movement and expect an improvement in your game”

Price: $43.26 – $69.63

Buy here.

7. PGX Offset Golf Driver

An affordable driver option with plenty of offset designed to help players hit more fairways

From the listing: “Offset anti-slice Technology. 460Cc clubhead. Headcover included ; The matte black finish and white and green gives the driver a clean and sleek look.  The offset of the driver helps you square the ball at impact.”

Price: $49.31 – $119.20

Buy here.

8. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Black Driver, Black

TMs RBZ black driver is a great option for those looking for greater launch off the tee and comes in a sleek satin black finish

From the listing: “A large, 460cc Titanium head with an adjustable loft sleeve allows for optimized launch and trajectory. Ultralite Titanium core strategically positions mass for higher launch and trajectory control. Premium matrix White tie 55 shaft for maximum distance and smooth feel. Legendary speed pocket performance for high launch and low spin, resulting in more distance. New satin black finish with elegant detailing to improve alignment”

Price: $199.99

Buy here.

9. Square Strike Wedge

The extra wide sole of the Square Strike Wedge aims to do away with fat shots. The wedge is fully legal for tournament play and costs under $100

From the listing: “The Square Strike Wedge pitching wedge has an extra-wide sole and beveled leading edge prevent digging; No more chunked pitch and chip shots reduces wasted strokes; Heavy, solid feel promotes greater confidence vs thin-faced wedges that dig and rotate; Less rotation with the Square Strike Wedge golf wedge for men and women makes clean contact easier and much more consistent”

Price: $99.00

Buy here.

10. Wilson Golf Profile JGI Junior Set

The perfect set for kids learning the game, with each club in the set offering lots of forgiveness

From the listing: “Engineered with Super Game Improvement technology to enhance new Junior golfer experience. Weight is positioned very low in this oversized junior driver to help launch the ball for a better ball flight off the tee”

Price: $127.88 – $325.99

Buy here.

11. Pinemeadow Golf PGX SL Putter

One of the best-reviewed putters on Amazon. A great plumbers neck option for those on a budget

From the listing: “Perfect Balance. Alignment Tool. Headcover Included”

Price: $42.49

Buy here.

12. Cleveland Golf Men’s RTX 4 Wedge

Cleveland’s RTX 4 Wedge remains a very popular option amongst golfers and comes in several different finishes (Black Satin, Tour Satin, Raw)

From the listing: “4th Generation Rotex Face Technology with our sharpest Tour Zip Grooves yet, the most aggressive face milling we’ve developed, and even more precise laser milling, Rotex 4 generates more spin.”

Price: $99.99

Buy here.

13. Acstar Two Way Junior Golf Putter

A junior putter designed with both right and left-handers in mind

From the listing: “Zinc alloy putter head + 100% carbon putter shaft + anti-slip rubber putter grip construction, shaft flex: regular. Two way putter–Perfect for any golfer,whether you are right-handed, left-handed,advanced or a beginner, this double way putter performs at a high level ”

Price: $28.99

Buy here.

14. C3i Wedge

Featuring a wide auto-glide sole, the high-loft C3i wedge is a popular option for golfers looking for an effective wedge under $100

From the listing: “The C3i lob wedge is extra-wide. Its auto-glide sole cuts through the sand without skipping or digging; This sand wedge is a high loft golf club for men and women that gets the ball up easily to clear the lip and stop it quickly on the green; 12 degrees of bounce make sand wedge for men and women perfect for any type of sand, fluffy to firm; Get out in one more often and reduce wasted strokes; Makes bunker play a breeze with this sand wedge golf club.”

Price: $99.00

Buy here.

15. Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Putter, Black

The evergreen Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Putter remains one of the best-selling putters on Amazon

From the listing: “Designed to meet the meticulous performance demands of the world’s best golfers. Re-engineered White hot insert generates improved sound, feel and overall performance. Laser milling insert cutting process achieves tight tolerances for consistent performance.”

Price: $109.99 – $299.99

Buy here.

16. Wilson Golf Women’s Ultra Package Set

Designed for women picking up the sport, Wilson offers a complete set for just $219.99

From the listing: “Super game improvement design focuses on generating more distance for beginner golfers. Designed for Women’s swing speeds with low center of gravity for improved launch characteristics.”

Price: $219.99

Buy here.

17. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Rescue, Black

TM’s RBZ Rescue is a massively popular club amongst golfers and it comfortably cracks the top-20 list on Amazon

From the listing: “Legendary speed pocket for high launch and increased carry distance. New satin black finish with elegant detailing to improve alignment. Shallow profile and improved sole geometry for optimized turf interaction.”

Price: $129.99

Buy here.

18. Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men’s Complete Golf Set

The super game improvement characteristics of this set from Wilson makes it one of the most popular sets on Amazon for teenage golfers

From the listing: “Designed for Teen swing characteristics to produce maximum distance and a rewarding experience for beginners. Large 460cc Driver Engineered with Super Game Improvement technology to enhance new golfer experience
Deep, perimeter weighted 431 stainless steel irons with very low center of gravity for improved accuracy and distance.”

Price: $319.95 – $349.99

Buy here.

19. Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Individual Iron

Loaded with technology designed to take your iron play to the next level, Callaway’s Mavrik iron cracks the top-20 list

From the listing: “With MAVRIK, we’re using Artificial Intelligence for the first time in an iron. Ball speed is further enhanced by our 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases at impact. We’ve created a sophisticated face architecture that’s unique to every loft, so we can create a significant boost in ball speed and increased spin robustness off of every iron.”

Price: $128.58

Buy here.

20. Wilson Golf Ultra Plus Package Set

Another Wilson golf set that has proved popular amongst buyers and offers an entire set including a 360cc forged titanium driver for under $300

From the listing: “Includes 9 clubs: Driver, 3 Wood, 5 Hybrid, 6-PW, Putter. Oversize 460cc forged titanium composite driver features advanced weight distribution to create an enormous sweet spot. Unique driver head design provides stability and improved launch conditions at impact for straighter ball flight for greater distance.”

Price: $299.99

Buy here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about accuracy vs distance with the driver

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether accuracy or distance off the tee is more important. WRXer ‘ShortSticks’ poses the scenario:

“Driver A (Accuracy): Hits most fairways and is a very straight hitter just not as long. Usually 10 to 15 yards shorter than Driver B, but not in near as much trouble. Not very workable, but can be coaxed into a slight fade or draw.

Driver B (Distance): Is long but can be wild off the tee. Can hit to places you have never been, but can also put you in some bad spots that make recovery more difficult. Is workable, but at times can get away from you.”

And our members are having their say on which element of the game is more important these days.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • juststeve: “I would say in general, as long as you can hit in play, longer is better. Keeping it in play means no O.B, no water balls, no balls deep in the woods and having an unobstructed next shot from a reasonable lie.”
  • mattavery727: “For me definitely driver A. I have 118 SS, and sure I can try to step on it and carry it over 300, but I also find trouble way too often. If I take a smooth swing and give up 15-20 but still in a fairway I like my chances at hitting the green or being close. My 7 goes 185 so as long as I am 185 in or less I have a pretty short club in my hand.”
  • gambit: “10-15 yards I’ll take driver A for accuracy. 30 yards and I’ll take my chances of going in the rough and bunkers.”
  • Tasals: “For 10 yards? Driver A. IIRC the tour average is ~30 yards for the benefit of being wild compared to be straight. So a gap wadge from 120 in the rough has equivalent distance from hole stats as a fairway shot from 150. Then you start seeing the major benefits when you hit a fairway or get a first cut lie, the proximity to the hole decreases pretty rapidly. The longer players over a season make more birdies than the shorter hitters, they make more bogeys, but the long guys tend to place better, and win more tournaments as well when they can get away with a few bad shots. I just don’t think the 10 yards is enough of an advantage.”

Entire Thread: “Accuracy vs Distance with the driver”

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