Ping Karsten TR putters

Some large, high-MOI putters look like a potato masher on a stick, but for golfers who have trouble with distance control on the green, high-MOI putters can be helpful. Balls hit almost anywhere on the face roll nearly the same distance.

The trouble is that some players just can't get past the looks.

Last season Ping released the Scottsdale TR line of putters and said the classic-looking heads enhanced distance control thanks to a new multi-depth grooved face insert. Now the company is releasing the Karsten TR putters to build on their success.

The key to the performance of the Ping Karsten TR putters ("TR" stands for True Roll) is the grooved face. After studying the effects of grooves on putts, Ping discovered that deeper grooves slow down putts more than shallow grooves. Armed with that knowledge, Ping designed the face of the Karsten TR putters to have grooves that are deeper in the sweet spot and shallower near the heel and toe areas. Theoretically, this creates a hitting surface that rolls the ball to about the same distance on well-struck putts and those that slightly miss the sweet spot.

"It's a patented technology and something that we're extremely proud of," said Marty Jertson, Ping's director of product development. "We put a lot of work into optimizing the performance of [the grooved face], and it's something that I wouldn't be surprised to see us carry in all of our putter lines in the future. We can deliver more forgiveness without having to create higher inertia putters, so you can have a blade-style, low-MOI putter that gives you a high effective inertia. It's something that's really cool and something that we’ve been working on for a long time. We've finally done it."

The groove-depth profile has not been changed; the only difference between the grooved faces in the Karsten TR and last season's Scottsdale TR putters is the older putters featured an insert that housed the grooves. The new Karsten TR putters have grooves milled directly into the 17-4 stainless steel heads.

"Inherently, there are some players out there who from a feel, look and performance standpoint aren't looking for an insert putter," Jertson said. "So to bring this technology to five of our most popular models, and deliver it without an insert, is something that we're really excited about."

Aside from milling the grooves into the putters, there are two other subtle differences between the Karsten TR and Scottsdale TR putters.

Ping gave the Karsten TR putters an elastomer badge behind the hitting surface. According to the company, the badge dampens vibration, enhances sound and improves feel.

While the Scottsdale TR putters had a black PVD finish, the Karsten TR putters have a golden finish.

"It's the same type of finish application that we use to make our drivers their sort of black, shiny color," Jertson said. "We use that same process, but we've chosen a different substrate alloy that we deposit onto the club that gives it that sort of modern-heritage, coppery look."

Each of the five Karsten TR putters will cost $162 when they arrive in pro shops in February, and all five have a colored shaft band that indicates which type of stroke the putter was optimized for. The green band on the Anser 2, B60 and Pal denote that they are ideal for players with a slight-arc putting stroke. The blue band indicates that the Anser 5 is for players with a straight stroke, and the red band indicates that the Zing should be a good option for golfers with a strong-arced putting stroke.

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