FIRST LOOK: Ping launches Tour-inspired Putting Lab Design (PLD) program

Ping's PLD Custom putter goes through the same Tour-vetted design process.

Ping

The Tour-designed Ping PLD putters currently found in the bags of Viktor Hovland and Tony Finau will soon be available for public consumption — along with a few other customized offerings. The launch of Ping’s new Putting Lab Design (PLD) program is designed to allow golfers the opportunity to go through a Tour-level fitting experience and build a precision-milled PLD that’s built to their exact specifications.

For the past several years, only the best players in the world were given the opportunity to use Ping’s custom program to solve their most vexing putter needs. Hovland, for example, was able to make a seamless putter transition after signing with Ping, thanks in large part to the equipment manufacturer’s ability to create a fully customized mallet that checked every box.

“I’ve gone through some counterbalance putters in the past that I played in school, so I really like that shape,” Hovland told GOLF.com. “When I decided to sign with Ping, I stayed in that same head style but made one adjustment. There’s a line on the putter, but we also put one on the [topline] as well so the two lines match up together at address. Other than that, it’s the same head shape because that’s what I’m comfortable with. The milled insert in that putter is something that I much prefer as well. Instead of the ball melting on the face, you can feel the ball a little bit and it improved my speed.”

Through the PLD program, recreational golfers will have three different avenues to choose from, including a full-on custom Tour experience.

“[The PLD program] offers nearly endless possibilities,” said Ping President John K. Solheim. “Golfers can craft their own custom design through PLD Custom, choose the proven performance of a PLD Milled model or add to their putter collection by acquiring a PLD Limited. It gives golfers a chance to play what the pros play and own a piece of PING history.”

PLD Custom

It’s possible to personalize your PLD putter.

Ping

The full Tour experience affords golfers the opportunity to schedule either a virtual or Ping Putting Lab fitting at the company’s headquarters — fittings can be scheduled at pingpld.com/schedule-pld-fitting/ — with one of the company’s master fitters.

Using the PLD iPing putting app and Quintic Ball Roll (at Ping headquarters), in indoor and outdoor settings, the golfer’s stroke and fitting data are analyzed to reveal the proper length, loft, lie and grip for their custom wand. From there, a putter model is eventually selected from 16 different head shapes and numerous neck options, including some that were initially available to only Tour pros.

Each putter can also be fully customized with tungsten weights, face milling, finishes, alignment aids, engravings and paint fill. Once the custom selections are made, the putter is then passed along to Ping’s Wrx master machinists and club builders to finalize the order.

The entire PLD Custom putter experience retails for $1,290 and includes a custom fitting, putter (stainless steel or carbon steel), finish, face milling, alignment lines, shaft, grip, engraving and paint fill. To secure a fitting appointment, a $200 non-refundable payment is required to participate. Any custom features beyond the stated offering are subject to additional costs.

The four-figure price tag might come as a shock to some, but considering golfers will have the opportunity to undergo an extensive Tour putter fitting at Ping HQ — if they so choose — the number likely won’t scare off gearheads.

PLD Milled

PLD Milled consists of four distinct head shapes that are fully machined from forged, 303 stainless steel.

Ping

Recognizing that not every golfer can spring for a $1,290 custom putter, PLD Milled ($485) fills an important spot in the new putter program.

Offered in four tour-inspired models (Anser, Anser 2, DS72, Prime Tyne 4), each head is fully machined from forged, 303 stainless steel and undergoes four hours of milling time before it comes off the production line.

“The PLD Milled is an exciting addition to our putter line,” said Solheim. “We’ve identified a couple of our most popular models from the past and some newer designs that have attracted a lot of attention in the last couple of years. We’ve given the new putters a very clean, premium look to emphasize the precision process they undergo before they are ready for play. As we collaborate on new designs with our engineers and tour staff through the PLD program, we’ll add new models to bring golfers the latest in tour-proven performance on the putting green.”

PLD Milled putter specs

Anser

Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel

Slight Arc

350g

Matte Black finish

PING black graphite shaft

Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°

Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Anser 2

Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel

Slight Arc

350g

Satin finish

Chrome stepless steel shaft

Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°

Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

DS72

Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel

Straight Stroke

365g

Satin finish

Chrome stepless steel shaft

Lie Angle: 20° +/- 2°

Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Prime Tyne 4

Precision-milled from forged, 303 stainless steel head

Aerospace grade, machined aluminum hosel

Strong Arc

360g

Matte Black finish

Matte-black stepless steel shaft

Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°

Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

PLD Limited

The first PLD Limited model will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Anser Patent.

Ping

Only a few special models will be offered up through the PLD Limited program. Geared for equipment collectors, each puter is serialized and built with no modifications.

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Anser patent that birthed the iconic putter design, Ping is rereleasing a fully machined Anser from bronze on March 21 — the same day the patent was granted — to kick off the limited offerings.

“A lot of time has passed since the invention of the Anser putter,” said John A. Solheim, Ping’s Chairman & CEO. “We think it’s important to remind the golf industry and some of the younger golfers that the iconic design they see with other brands’ name on it was created by Karsten in his garage in the mid-1960s. I was fortunate to be at his side building the first Ansers, and continued to do so for many years. It’s time Karsten gets the credit he deserves for inventing the Anser putter.”

The limited-edition Anser Patent 55 putter retails for $790 and features the original patent number machined in the cavity.

PLD on Tour

Ping’s PLD program (pingpld.com) is also being introduced this week on Tour at the Players Championship where staffers will carry a PLD-branded staff bag and wear headware with the new putter program’s logo. The staff bags will eventually be autographed and donated for a future auction.

“Several of our highest-ranked players in the world rely on a PLD custom putter that was designed in collaboration with our engineering team,” said Solheim. “We chose this week to introduce the PLD program at one of the game’s most important events and shine a spotlight on our success.”

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

jonathan wall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Photographer

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.