- PING is bringing the PLD putter line to retail.
- The new retail PLD line features two mallets and two blades.
- The PLD retail putters arrive in shops March 31 with a MSRP of $485.
- PING is also launching a new PLD Custom program and PLD Limited putter releases.
2022 PING PLD Putters
The new 2022 PING PLD (Putting Lab Design) putter program takes PING in quite a few new directions this month. First, there will be a retail PLD putter line. This is a first, as all other PLD offerings were limited runs featuring unique heads and experimental finishes. It’s nice to see PING making milled putters for retail again. The 2018 Vault 2.0 line was PING’s last retail milled putter offering.
This new PING PLD retail line consists of four models representing classic designs and modern favorites. The putters are fully milled from 303 stainless steel and all feature faces with PING’s new Aggressive Milling Pattern, AMP for short.
Normally, PING returning to the milled marketplace would be enough to warrant exploration and discussion. The thing is, PING is bringing even more PLD heat this month. Being able to finally snag a PLD putter at your retail shop is an exciting development but there are two other PLD stories that may prove even more exciting.
Before we get to that, though, let’s dive deeper into the retail PING PLD putter line.
PING PLD Putters: Construction
Every new PING PLD putter is fully milled from 303 stainless steel. Milling is time consuming. Each head takes about four hours to mill. This construction time is the primary source of the admittedly stiff $485 price. Obviously, lots of machines must be used to make enough of these to supply retail shops. That “lots of machines” statement is probably a huge understatement in terms of infrastructure costs. I’d be curious to see how many milling machines must be operating at once to produce enough putters to supply the demand for a retail line.
PING never released the production numbers for their other limited-edition PLD putters. I’d bet we are looking at a tenfold increase in the number of PLD Prime Tyne 4s compared to the 2020 Limited Edition Prime Tyne 4. Maybe more than 10 times, even. More machines, and more machine time, will always elevate the cost of the putter.
PING PLD Putters: AMP Milling
When PING launches a new putter line, I look forward to seeing what they are doing to the face. We’ve had grooves, inserts and even smooth faces, like we saw with the 2020 Heppler putters. PING is once again getting groovy with the PLD putters.
As I mentioned, PING is calling their new face-milling design the Aggressive Milling Pattern. Essentially, the AMP face features deep-milled grooves. Deep-milling the face reduces the amount of metal on the putter face that contacts the ball at impact. The result is a softer feel. Deep-milling is one of the ways putter makers can soften up the feel of stainless steel.
Obviously, such grooves are not unique to PING. Deep-milled faces are as much of a putter design staple as the plumber’s neck. I’d not be surprised PING went deep-milled with the retail PLD putters in part to give the consumer what they want. Yes, the milling softens the face but the face will also look familiar to someone who likes milled putters.
PING PLD Anser
This new PING PLD Anser is likely my favorite retail Anser to date. I’m including in that statement all other off-the-rack “Anser” putters made by other putter makers. Yes, those putters have other names but we all know they at least started out as Ansers. Don’t get me wrong. Lots of putter makers have made excellent interpretations of the Anser. In my opinion, this putter just smashes the goal of combining modern mechanics with the classic Anser design.
Admittedly, PING has made some less than excellent Anser variants through the years. Looking at you, G5i. This PLD Anser is not one of the duds by any metric. It feels perfect at 350 grams and the visuals are free of anything silly like a sight line. The black finish holds a touch of gloss but not to the level of being too reflective of the sun.
If this was the only putter in the new PLD line, or a new limited-run offering, I’d congratulate PING on a job well done. The fact that we get three more putters in the line is pure bonus.
PING PLD Anser 2
Though perhaps not as iconic as the original Anser, the Anser 2 is no undiscovered gem of a design. This putter also can boast about decades of admiration and emulation. How many companies out there have similar Anser or Anser 2 options in their lines? One is smaller and rounded, the other longer and more squared off. Things may have started with the Anser but it’s tough to argue against the also-classic nature of the Anser 2.
Some of you prefer the longer, more squared-off profile of the Anser 2 to the Anser. Maybe that should be many of you. The Anser 2 look is possibly even more popular than the Anser design. As with the Anser, the PLD incarnation of the Anser 2 is a good one. I have a Vault Anser 2 that I had assumed would be the best milled Anser 2 that PING could make. I’ll not be getting rid of that putter any time soon but the PLD Anser 2 will probably move the Vault version from my gamer rotation to my putter collection.
PING PLD DS72
The PING PLD DS72 is modeled after Viktor Hovland’s current putter. Man, how solid is Viktor’s game right now? At 24, he’s made more money playing golf than I’ll likely make in my lifetime. As I write this, he just put up a Friday 66 at Bay Hill. He really seems like a likable guy as well as a heck of a player. He always has that great smile, even as he is slowly crushing the hopes of his competitors.
Admittedly, the PING PLD DS72 is not quite the same as Viktor’s putter. His is longer, has a different finish, and only 2.5 degrees of loft. That said, this DS72 is as close to Vicktor’s putter as you can get in a retail shop. The chrome finish works well, giving the DS72 vibrance without glare.
I like that people can play Vicktor’s putter model. He’s been quoted as saying he wanted to play an Anser after watching Tiger. How cool is it that now golfers want to play a DS72 after watching Viktor play?
PING PLD Prime Tyne 4
Those of you who missed the limited-edition Prime Tyne 4 need fret no more as the PLD Prime Tyne 4 should soon be in a shop near you at the end of the month. This Cameron Champ-inspired retail Tyne 4 model also comes with PGA TOUR validation and lets you game something like what a PING pro is playing.
The Prime Tyne 4 features the deepest toe hang of the cohort and would best fit players with a strong arcing putter stroke. Having had both the limited edition and this new retail version in hand, I’d say the retail version feels as good as the limited and should prove way easier to purchase.
PING PLD Custom Program
The four new retail PLD putters are solid milled putter offerings and they are not the thing that I’m most excited about in PING’s PLD release. Yes, I did just say that the PLD Anser could be the best retail Anser to date. I slipped “retail“ in there on purpose as PING is also offering another type of PLD putter. That would be the fully customized PLD putter. PING is opening up the previously PING-staffer-only PLD program to consumers.
Yes, PING did previously offer the custom PLD1 Anser program back in 2015. That program really took off and the custom options were mostly cosmetic. However, it seems that setback did give PING a whole bunch of information about what a successful custom program would look like. I’d say a successful custom putter program would look like the new PING PLD Custom Program.
The paradigm-shifting thing about the PING PLD Custom Program is that it starts with data collection. That’s not super shocking as this is PING that we are talking about. The custom process gives customers two options. First, you can go to PING’s headquarters in Arizona and work with a fitter to figure out your putting needs. I’ve been fitted for a putter there. It’s an amazing experience.
Custom Fitting Your Putter at Home
But what if you can’t get to Phoenix? Well, then PING will send you a welcome kit that includes an iPod Touch and a cradle that will attach the Touch to your putter. A version of PING’s iPING app will then record your stroke data and send it back to a fitter at PING.
From there, you meet with the fitter one-on-one in a virtual meeting space on your computer and you go over what type of putter will best fit your stroke. Once you nail down the putter, you can explore the options for aesthetic customization. I have just about completed the process and I’ll have a detailed report to share with you in a few weeks. Let’s just say there are lots of build options and having someone from PING tell you how your stroke meshes with the build options is eye-opening.
It’s not cheap. The fitting and putter will set you back $1,290. That price is the same should you choose to do the fitting in person or virtually. By the way, you will need to send back the iPod but you keep the cradle to use with your phone. It’s a hefty price for a putter but you will essentially have access to a level of customization previously available only to PING staffers and the putter you end up with should be perfectly matched with how you roll the rock.
PING PLD Limited Editions
We’ve reached the “one more thing” part of the PLD story. Should retail PLD putters and a PLD Custom Program not sate your putter appetite, perhaps PING PLD Limited will quell your putter pangs. PING is launching a series of limited-edition putters this year. No, not one putter, but a series of them. The first will be launching toward the end of this month, commemorating a significant putter milestone.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much info about the limited putters yet but that photo above is the first in the series, the Anser Patent 55. The 50th Anniversary Anser was a cool collectible. I expect more of the same from the PLD Limited putters.
PING PLD Sets the 2022 Milled Bar
The 2022 PING PLD line is the first fully milled putter line since 2018. On any other day, that would be story enough. Adding the PLD Custom Program and the PLD Limited putters to the discussion pushes the PING putter hype to a whole new space. The retail line is solid and, if you have the means, the PLD Custom line gets you Tour-level customization. While I normally think of PING as a company that makes clubs to be used on the course, having collectors competing to own the limited-edition putter versions is highly probable.
PING is flexing their putter-making muscles this year. Though likely not PING’s intention, it gives me a bit of a Forgot about Dre vibe. PING has been in the game a long time and all the cuddling a Cabbage Patch companies should remember that they are still a big dog in the corral.
The PING PLD retail putters will arrive in shops March 31. PLD Custom fitting appointments begin March 21 but you can book those appointments beginning today. Those spots are going to fill up quickly so get your appointment as soon as you can. My custom putter arrived yesterday and it’s amazing. I’ll give you the whole scoop on that soon.
Available for pre-order now.
Find out more at PINGPLD.com.