I got the PM that everyone on GolfWRX wants to see in there inbox, “PING Anser Driver Feedback and Testing” from HipCheck (Rob). I think it took me about 20-seconds to send a reply e-mail confirming I was still interested. I’ve never been selected for testing clubs before. Needless to say I was pretty pumped. So a big thanks to Ping and GolfWRX.
Mike from Ping called and we discussed schedules. He told me he wanted to arrange a private fitting for me and Jim (Gunner22) and they ended up holding it at the Clinton Country Club in CT. Jim was in full-swing by the time I arrived. I quickly introduced myself to the two product specialist Jeff and Patrick, while trying not to disturb Jim as he was unleashing some drives down range.
Patrick told me, “The range is yours, loosen-up then we can start getting you dialed in.” Patrick left me by myself for a few moments as I tried to make some spastic lunging type moves at the ball with a wedge to loosen up. After a few minutes of wedges and 7-irons, Patrick and I began to talk about my current set-up and what I like and dis-like in a driver. I currently play a 9.5* Cleveland 310TL with a 45.25” NVentix Nunchuk shaft. So as you can probably guess, I like a heavy feeling driver with low-spin high-launch, like just about everyone else. I was fit for my current set-up and I’m very happy with it. The 310TL tends to sit open quite a bit which I like. My natural shot is a draw and but I try to hit the ball straight or fade it slightly if possible for control. The shot that haunts me is the big snap hook. Nothing makes you want to throw-up on a tee-box more than trying to hit a fade on a dogleg right only to hit a low line-drive to 3rd base.
I hit some shots with my current driver and was hitting the ball pretty well. Patrick grabbed the launch monitor and iPad. This was pretty cool; I’ve never seen iPads integrated with launch monitors. I’ve always seen LMs attached to laptops or desktops in fitting studios. I hit a bunch of balls and we came back with number around 11.5* launch, 3000ish, and 167mph BS. The LM was giving me a carry of 279 and totaling in the 290s. I wish I was 6’4” with a huge swing arch, but I’m lying when I tell people I’m 5’10”. Patrick said, “Nothing wrong with that” on a few drives. Then he said, “OK, I know we can do better.”
Let’s take a minute to talk about how the club looks. I’m sure Deerslayer would give this his seal of approval for the finish (http://www.golfwrx.c... murdered ping
This is the first thing I thought of:
It’s a mean looking club. It’s probably the nicest looking finish and head on the market right now.
Matte black, nice looking shape, it’s 460cc but doesn’t look too big or too small.
I don’t know how they did it but the hosel is hidden. I know there are some other drivers on the market with adjustable hosel that dominates your view when you look down. This lightweight aluminum hosel sleeve is aesthetically a success, you don’t even notice it.
After talking for a bit, Patrick went back to the van and put together their heaviest stock shaft (Diamana ‘Ahina 70) with a 9.5* head. We started off testing in the neutral setting. The neutral setting looks like it sits slightly open to me, definitely not closed at all.
OK, full disclosure here, I don’t have any Ping clubs in the bag at the moment but I have owned them in the past. I’m somewhat of a non-hoe with my drivers. I tend to try a bunch of drivers but I don’t change drivers unless I find something significantly better. I got fit for my current driver last year and the driver I had before that I had for almost 4-years. The first drive I hit with the Anser was one of those “wow” shots; high, straight, long; not a bad combination. I believe the first shot was 13.7*, 2600, and 174 for a carry of 304. I went on to hit a bunch of more drives with the 9.5* and ‘Ahina. Everything went fairly straight and my dispersion was much better than my current gamer. Out of about 20+ balls there wasn’t a single snap-hook. I had a few slight draws and I was able to turn a couple over when I wanted to. I thing that I really liked about the Anser was that I was able to hit a cut fairly easily. I’m terrible at describing the sound of a driver. What is better than a forgiving driver that you can manipulate if you try? It’s a louder more metallic sound than my current driver. It’s not extremely muted or extremely tinny to me though. I couldn’t argue with the averages – 169-170mph, 2600-2700rpm, 12.6* - carry average of 289 and totals over 300. Nothing like picking up 10-yards of carry in under an hour, this was all with the stiff ‘Ahina.
Patrick next put together something completely different, the 9.5* head and the lightest shaft in the stock offerings the Phenom 50. That didn’t go so well. I hit a few balls; snap-hook, block, snap-hook,…… The Phenom wasn’t a good fit. It was way too light compared to what I was used too. I didn’t have a good sense of where the club was during the swing and the head felt very loose/torquey through the impact area for me. I did swing this club slightly faster but that was about it. There was no reason to look at numbers with this combo. The Blur was pretty much the same story for me. The last shaft I hit was the TCF800D. I was surprised. It was a little light feeling but launched higher than the ‘Ahina ball speeds were similar but the launch and spin were higher. My misses were definitely bigger with the TCF 800D, Mr. Snappy made an appearance or two.
Patrick went over and stole the ‘Ahina X from Jeff and Jim. Based on swingspeed I have traditionally been told to play and X. My clubfitter knows me better than that though. I swing differently with a X than a stiff. I really feel that I have to work extra hard when swinging an X which leads to Mr. Snappy interrupting my round. I swing just as fast with a stiff but it’s much smoother. I hit the ‘Ahina X with the 9.5* in the neutral setting. Again the first ball was awesome; high, dead- straight, and long out of the back of the range. I didn’t have a complaint about that at all. After a bunch of balls we figured out what the problem with this combo was going to be – spin. I always fight drivers being too high spin. I think you are going to find that the Anser is a low-spin monster. I was not spinning the ‘Ahina X and the 9.5* head enough. My spin numbers with the X were about 2200 on average, but there were some really low numbers that were coming up also, 1700-1900. The X was only launching slightly lower, it had a little better dispersion, and the same ballspeed. The spin on shots that weren’t perfect would produce some knuckleballs. The 1700rpm, 169-170BS, 12*, were brining my carry yardages back to around 275. We went back and forth between the X and Stiff ‘Ahina and it became pretty obvious that the stiff was a better fit, numbers don’t lie.
Admittedly, after hitting balls for well over an hour I was getting tired. Patrick and I started playing around with the settings. I was really surprised how much of a difference a half degree made. I didn’t know what Patrick changed the setting to but I had a good idea after hitting the first few balls. He upped the loft to 10* which closed the face slightly and it was a higher flight but also more left. We went back in the other direction 9* and I left a bunch of balls out to the right. I began to compensate and started hitting them straight. I was pretty spent by this time so we decided I could play around with the setting when I got my club. We established it would probably be neutral or 9* (open setting), the 10* (closed setting) was most uncontrolled set-up.
Patrick brought over the Anser hybrid and 3-wood and I took a few swipes with those. They are both really nice (Hey, Patrick, Jeff, Mike – if you are willing to let me demo those let me know. I don’t think it would be a problem fitting those into my bag. Hint, hint, wink, wink.) Jeff finished with Jim’s fitting and we all talked about the whole Ping fitting process and some fitting horror stories. Patrick and Jeff are extremely knowledgeable and I really enjoyed discussing clubs with them. Thanks to everyone involved in this. I’m getting ready to put the Anser through some on-course testing in Florida soon. I’ll try to answer any question people have.
Edited by floycota, 14 October 2012 - 08:13 AM.