- PING adds three new putters to their PLD Milled putter line in 2023.
- All models feature a new matte-black finish.
- The line includes a new version of the Anser 2 as well as new Anser D and Oslo 4 models.
2023 Brings Three New PING PLD Putters
Just when you thought the 2023 new releases season was finished, PING unveils three new PLD Milled putters. Rather than announcing these back in January at the PGA Show, PING waited. Why? Well, think about how many putters and other golf products were unveiled in January. So many companies tossed new putter pebbles in our ponds of perception that newness ripples quickly became directionless waves.
All right, so maybe that imagery is a bit of an exaggeration but I’d be hard-pressed to recall every golf product, or even every putter, that released in January.
Since this is more of a line extension than a new line, it makes sense for PING to wait until the pond in calm again before tossing their new putter pebble. When the water is glassy, even the smallest of stones can make a perceivable impact.
What Was PLD Again?
That question is a great place to start. Maybe you have forgotten what PING’s PLD program is about or this is your first time hearing about the PLD putter program.
As you may know, Karsten Solheim originally had planned to name his now-iconic putter the Answer. Thing was, that was too many characters to fit on the bumper. His wife suggested dropping the “w” and thus the Anser was born.
As it turns out, PLD is a shortened form of the word plaid. PING’s designers followed Karsten’s Anser-naming protocol and dropped the vowels from the word plaid, truncating it to PLD. Though we’ve yet to get an official statement about the name from PING, most view the PLD name as a nod to the Solheim family’s Scottish heritage.
(That’s all a lie. The Solheim family tree has its roots in Norway and PLD stands for Putting Lab Design. And it’s not even April Fool’s Day yet.)
Last year, PING decided to make a statement in the milled putter market. Previously, the PLD program was accessible only to Tour pros. In 2022, PING opened it to the public. Not only did they offer the new PLD Milled putter line but they unveiled a Custom PLD program and released four limited-edition Patent 55 PLD Anser putters.
By the way, did anyone score one of the PLD Limited putters? I saved my pennies and tried to grab the copper one but, alas, that one eluded my efforts.
These new PLD putters continue the 2022 PLD plan. They are milled from forged 303 stainless steel billets. The putters feature Deep AMP (Aggressive Milling Pattern) faces and designs tuned for speed, looks, sound and feel. PING says each head takes four hours on the mill to complete. Remember that stat when you wonder why they are so expensive (MSRP $485).
All three of the new models feature a matte-black finish. The 2022 release featured both satin and black finishes. Perhaps customers gravitated to the black finish last year so PING chose darkness this year.
Fit For Stroke
One of the things I appreciate about PING in general is how their production process is engineering-driven. When PING changes something, there is likely a valid scientific reason for doing so. Their Fit For Stroke™ labeling is a prime example of this progression.
PING was a club-fitting trailblazer. How many of you know your PING dot color? About 10 years ago, the first incarnation of the iPING app allowed golfers to slap an iPhone on a putter and determine if they had a straight, slight arc or strong arc stroke. To help consumers find the right putter, PING added shaft labels to show which putter fit which stroke.
Subsequent eye-tracking research determined the shaft bands were drawing the eye away from the ball and putter head during the stroke. As a result, PING made the label smaller. Then they moved it up next to the bottom of the grip. With the 2023 PING PLD putters, the label now is on the plastic wrap covering the grip. Now customers can find the right putter for their stroke and that label will be long gone once they putt with said putter.
PING figured out how to keep the feature they wanted and how to remove the aspect of it that was a problem. To me, that is The Way for PING.
2023 PING PLD Anser 2
The matte-black head contrasts against the short, single white alignment line to draw the eye forward, eliminate distractions and make aiming easier. Differs from the classic Anser with its longer, slimmer profile that appeals to the eye and inspires confidence at address. Shares the Anser’s heel-toe weighting to provide stability and forgiveness.
How could we not start with Icon Jr.? While the Anser may have been the putter that started it all, the Anser 2 has made quite the impact on putter designs as well. I think about it this way. The Godfather won the Best Picture Oscar in 1973 and The Godfather 2 did the same in 1975. If you’ve never watched those films, or it has been a while, go watch them. They hold up very well, like both Anser model designs.
The matte-black 2023 PING PLD Anser 2 putter is naturally similar to the satin version of the putter released last year. Obviously, the finish is different but PING also changed the cavity design. PING has replaced the three colored bars representing the different stroke types with engraved Putting Lab Design text. While PING does have an engineering-first philosophy, I bet this was more of a cosmetic decision.
Maybe this was a way to let customers know what PLD stands for. As a bonus, I’d say that removing the three colors makes it look more attractive overall.
2023 PING PLD Anser D
A fresh take on the enduring Anser, the winningest putter of all time. Designed with tour pro input as a hybrid between the classic blade and a mid-mallet with its added forgiveness, single white alignment line contrasting against the matte-black head, and a deeper (“D”) profile. More mass in the head helps stabilize the stroke and assists in delivering more consistency.
Wide blades are definitely a thing these days. While PING gets the original design credit for many modern putters, I don’t know if they get credit for the wide Anser. There are a couple of older wide blades from other companies that come to mind but I’d have a tough time definitively saying who did it first. Maybe it was PING and I’m just having a mental lapse.
Regardless, this is the second such putter that PING released this season, the other being the Anser 2D in the “New” PING putter line. Seriously, how did they not come up with a line name for those putters? Missing name aside, the two putters give customers face options as the PLD Anser D is fully milled and the New PING Anser 2D has a PEBAX polymer insert.
The Anser D style is being used by Tony Finau. That reminds me … as The Masters is approaching, can someone please keep an eye on Tony? If he can play on both legs this year, his current game could get him the green jacket.
2023 PING PLD Oslo 4
A favored mallet shape of tour pros, the highly forgiving Oslo is equipped with an Anser 4-style hosel to make it a good fit for strong-arc stroke types. The full-length alignment line contrasts with the matte-black head to form an appealing address profile and draw the eye forward. Contoured ballasting cascades to a cavity floor with subtle etched lines that assist in confident aiming.
Named after a
Scottish Norwegian town, the Oslo rounds out the new putter releases. (Get it, rounds out. Nothing but gold material today.)
The Oslo 4 is an interesting little mallet. First, it is little. Sure, it towers over the Anser in the photo below but it is only 10 grams heavier than the Anser D (375 versus 365). The Anser is 355 grams, by the way. So while the Oslo does have some heft to it, its mass is well-tailored. Looking at it, and rolling balls with it, I’d have guessed it to be the 365-gram head. It’s a bit-little mallet.
I believe I say it every time PING releases a new mallet shape but the first rule of mallets is to ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION WHEN PING RELEASES A NEW MALLET. Sorry, had an episode there, but I’m not wrong.
Many of you know I am basing this assertion on the best mallet putter of time, the original PING Ketsch. That putter was so dominant in the Most Wanted tests. I think it made 98 percent of the putts from five feet and not much less than that from 10 and 20 feet.
The Ketsch didn’t have any marketing fanfare when it released. PING just let it float on out there on its own. It could have slipped unheralded though the cracks in the putter corral. That’s why all new PING mallets must be explored and scrutinized. We could miss the next Ketsch if we are not vigilant.
PING PLD Putter Family
With these additions, the PING PLD Milled putter line-up now consists of seven models. Like other 100-percent milled putters out there, these are not budget golf items. The MSRP is $485. As per status quo, fully milled putters are not for the meek of pocket. The price is likely due more to time cost than material cost. Remember, these take four hours each to mill. It’s not like PING has 10,000 CNC machines working in Phoenix to crank these out en masse.
If you are interested in one of these, or one of the previous PING PLD Milled putters, I would recommend finding a fitter to help. Naturally, I’d recommend that for any new putter purchase. Like I said, PING knows the value of fitting and has a link to local putter fitters right on their website. Just click this link and see if there is a certified PING fitter near you.
Find out more about the 2023 PING PLD putter line at pingpld.com