Bold Move PING
Normally, the name associated with a new line of putters is one of the least interesting things about that line. There have been some “out there” putter line names in the past, filled with selects, metals, X’s, and other terms of cognomen madness, none of which really moved my needle.
However, PING naming this line of new putters VAULT, made me take notice. You see, this is what I normally associate with PING and Vault…
That there is the Ping gold putter vault. Win a tournament with a PING putter, and you’ll get a gold plated copy of your putter and another one will be added to the vault. Win a major, and that putter will be solid gold.
That’s what the PING vault represents – winning. That’s why I view calling these putters Vault as a bold move. It’s like naming a baby Thor, or Oprah. That’s a whole lot of name to grow into for a tyke whose only accomplishment so far is the dirtying of pants.
With the name Vault, there will be some expectations…
PING Vault Putters
So what have PING’s engineers come up with this time that could make these putters gold vault worthy? Let’s hit a couple of design high notes before delving into the individual models.
Fully Milled Construction
The two blades, the Anser 2 and the Voss, are both milled from forged 303 stainless steel billets. The two new mallets, the Bergen and the Oslo, are milled from 6061 T-6 aluminum, with both featuring very Ketsch-like cast 17-4 stainless steel sole plates.
Similar to what they did with the Redwood line, PING is offering the Vault models in two finishes: platinum and slate. The slate finish is a nice darkish grey that fights the glare quite well in the sun. The platinum finish is far more reflective. Don’t be surprised if you keep your sunglasses on while you putt if the sun is directly overhead.
PING’s battle tested TR grooves are milled directly into the faces of the Vault putter. These grooves do look a little different though when compared to the long, horizontal grooves of previous models.
The plan is still the same though. The edges of the face are a touch hotter than the center, thus helping to minimize distance variation should you wander around the face. This way, inconsistent impact can lead to consistent roll distance.
PING Pistol PP62 Grip
This new grip is not really new putter tech, but I found it to be amazingly comfortable and wanted to make sure I point it out to you.
It’s reasonably soft, which I like, but what draws me to it is its contours and texture. It’s an ergonomic winner for me. The grip just seems to sit where it should in my hands, and I love the feel of the little indentations on my fingers and palms.
PING also added a UV coating to the grip so it should resist fading and remain snazzy.
PING VAULT Anser 2
What can one really say about the Anser 2 that has not been said before? It’s iconic. The long, square profile brings immediate comfort to many a golfers’ eye. I should just say “It’s an Anser 2!” <drops mic>
What I will say though is that this may be my favorite Anser 2, perhaps ever. The slate finish looks amazing. The balance is exceptional, and the feel of that skinny, grooved face is supple and smooth. I’m thinking that this is not another Anser 2, but rather it’s the Anser 2.
PING VAULT Voss
New to the PING model cohort is the other Vault blade, the Voss. I love that rather than just making the other blade be an Anser, PING rolled out something different.
The Voss is shorter heel to toe than the Anser 2, but that’s probably not what is going to catch your eye. I bet that will be these little guys.
Swoop those bumpers all the way down you little Voss you. Such a cool visual element. I love how these big curves actually aid the alignment process. The Voss sits even more square than the Anser 2.
The swoops and the little mill lines help me to see three stacked boxes at address, with the cavity being the middle box. This makes the Voss super easy to square up to the target.
Both the Anser 2 and the Voss have head weights of 350g.
PING VAULT Bergen
Okay PING, what’s going on here? It looks to me like this new Bergen may be related to another vault-worthy mallet that we know so well, The Ketsch.
I capitalized the “The” in the previous sentence because The Ketsch deserves that extra capital. The Bergen is indeed very Ketsch-like. Take a look at the two side by side.
Obviously there is a lot of similarity between these two, but you don’t really need to look that hard to see where they are different. The Ketsch has those two extra short sight lines, while the Bergen has only the central long line.
More interesting to me though is the removal of material from the edge of the Bergen compared to the Ketsch. I know it’s aluminum, and thus doesn’t effect perimeter weighting like it would if it was stainless, but moving material from the edges should influence MOI.
I’m super pumped to see a Bergen v. Ketsch showdown in next year’s Most Wanted Mallet competition.
PING VAULT Oslo
I’ve decided to exercise my right to do whatever I feel like and rename the Oslo. That’s right, this putter has not even been released yet and I am changing its name to the Nega-Bergen!
So maybe I did watch Scott Pilgrim again last night, but when you look, you’ll see that there is a lot of Scott/Nega-Scott interaction between the Oslo and the Bergen.
The Oslo has lots of material at the edges, where the Bergen has none. The Bergen has the large raised center ridge, where the Oslo has a deep central cavity. These two even have inverse finishes, and reverse sole plate combinations. Again, I’m now going with Nega-Bergen!
These two putters just scream test me head to head. Both are 365g, but that weight is obviously residing in different locations. Who will win, beef in the middle or beef at the borders?
Will the Vault Find the Vault?
I’ve got to say that the more I roll these, the less risky I see PING’s decision was to name them Vault. All four of these are pretty spectacular in terms of construction. The Voss is a great variation on the heel-toe weighted blade, and the Anser 2 just flat out performs for my slight arc-ing swing.
The fact that the mallets share some bones with The Ketsch should make any golfer take notice. While both of the mallets in for testing featured straight Fit-For-Stroke shafts, they can also be ordered in slight-arc configurations. Time, and testing, will tell if the Bergen or the Oslo can dethrone the Most Wanted Monarch, The Ketsch.
I am predicting a couple of lingering questions you likely have. First, Why Voss, Bergen, and Oslo? That one’s easy. Naming of these three comes as a homage to Norway, the home country of PING’s founder Karsten Solheim.
The other question that always comes up is, How much? The Vault putters will hit up your vault for $325.00, and while that’s no small lump of coin, that price does actually bring the Vault putters in below other fully milled offerings from Cameron and Odyssey. It’s an expensive stick, but very reasonable in its market segment.
Pre-orders of the Vault putters start today, with the first batch being available around August 25th.