Ping to introduce adjustable belly putter

Ping will become the first major golf equipment manufacturer to introduce an adjustable-length belly putter. It will be called the Nome 405 Belly.

Using Ping's new Nome mallet putter for the first time, Hunter Mahan won the recent WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. That was big news.

Now there is bigger news: Ping is about to become the first major golf equipment manufacturer to introduce an adjustable-length belly putter. It will be called the Nome 405 Belly.

This adjustable putter is important because finding the proper length in a belly putter is crucial to feeling comfortable and making a confident stroke. With its telescoping shaft, the Nome 405 Belly can be adjusted between 37.5 inches and 46.5 inches. The length is locked in place with a wrench, making the putter conforming to U.S. Golf Association rules.

Adjustable belly putters such as the Nome 405 Belly are expected to make a long-term impact on the putter landscape.

"One of the most important fitting aspects of the belly putter is getting the length right for your stance and stroke," Ping CEO John Solheim said. "With adjustability in the Nome belly model, we've now given golfers the opportunity to experiment and fine tune the process of effectively matching the length of their belly putter to their game."

Nobody disagrees with Solheim's assessment of putter fitting. Many golf professionals and retailers are fitting their customers for putter length, lie and style. There is now a huge emphasis on getting the right putter in the hands of golfers.

The heads on Mahan's conventional length Nome and the Nome 405 Belly are identical except for weight: The head on the belly model is heavier. To reduce the overall weight of its belly putter, Ping is using a unique shaft that is a combination of graphite (underneath the grip) and steel (visible to the eye).

A machined stainless steel locking clamp, along with the wrench, controls the adjustability. As most golfers know, it is against the rules to change the adjustment on any club during a round of golf. Any change must be made before play begins.

The Nome is a mallet-style putter made of high-grade aluminum and dense tungsten sole weights. According to Mahan, the hallmark of the putter is its feel.

"It's a combination of proper weighting and materials that produces the incredible feel," Solheim explained. "The fully-machined, lightweight aluminum body allowed us to use tungsten weighting in the sole, which ideally positioned the center of gravity while increasing the MOI (resistance to twisting)."

The Nome 405 belly is available in Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc configurations. It will debut at this week's Shell Houston Open. It is expected to be available at retail the first week of May.

The conventional length Nome, similar to the one used by Mahan, will be in shops on April 1. The street price of the Nome will be $249.99 for the conventional version and $299.99 for the belly model.

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