Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today, we take a take Ping's Nome putter for a spin around the course.
Testers -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.4
Target Golf Audience -- All Players
Golf manufactures usually have to pay for pre-launch buzz -- sending out press releases, dropping sneek-peek photos and making mentions on social media before a product launch.
Ping likely would've done the same thing for the Nome, a stick that, for all intents and purposes, was going to be a big part of their putter line for 2012. But instead of doing the pre-launch work in-house, Hunter Mahan did all the legwork for Ping (what a nice guy) when he used the putter to win the the Accenture Match Play.
Mahan's putting performance suddenly had weekend golfers clamoring for a putter that hadn't even hit the market. That, friends, is the kind of pre-launch buzz you want if you're a manufacturer. Only this time around, Ping didn't even have to pay for the publicity.
Since the Nome's coming out party, the putter has received rave reviews from other Ping staffers — including Lee Westwood. There's no question the putter works for tour players ... but what about the casual golfer?
Here's our review on one of the most talked about flatsticks on the market.
There's a lot to like about the Nome, but the reason this putter sticks out from the rest of the pack is the black alignment bar -- also known as the Optigraphic alignment system -- on the top. The bar pops against the "nano nickel" satin-finish and allows you to zero-in on the white alignment line when you're standing over a putt.
It might not seem like that big of a deal, but the alignment line on this putter is one of the best I've ever seen. It's a simple design, but for some reason I found myself having no trouble lining up putts on the course, making those tricky 7- to 10-footers a lot easier.
Another nice touch is the fact that the Nome is built for pretty much every stroke style imaginable. You happen to have a strong putting arc? The Nome has a shaft with a bend that fits your game. Forget trying to compromise your stroke for the putter, this stick has a shaft that compliments your game and allows you to keep the stroke changes to a minimum.
Also, the Nome comes in a standard 355-gram model, but if you're one of those golfers that happens to roll a belly putter, don't worry, Ping has you covered with a 405-gram version that comes with a USGA-approved adjustable shaft.
I've never been a mallet guy, but there was something about this putter that drew me from the get-go. I keep harping on the Optigraphic alignment system, but when you go from missing key short putts to banging everything home, you start to wonder why you didn't make the switch sooner.
The putter's high-grade aluminum frame would give you the impression that the ball would rocket off the face, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. Every putt I struck with the Nome felt incredibly soft coming off the face.
However, when I did mis-hit a putt, you could tell the difference between a perfect roll and one that was just a little off. If you're a good player, you know you need that kind of feedback to groove your putting stroke.
Ping has produced some fantastic putters over the years, but the Nome has to rank right up there as one of the best in the company's history. Yes, it really is that good. While it certainly has an interesting look, it flat-out gets the job done on the course with one of the best alignment aids we've ever seen. If you're in the market for a mallet putter, you'd be crazy not to put the Nome at the top of your list.