Ping Cadence TR Putters – Pure Roll, Pure Play

Jul 21, 2015 by

Ping Cadence TR Putters – Pure Roll, Pure Play

Let’s play a word association game.  When I say “hot” you say “cold”  How about “Ping”?  Many of you will say “Driver”, “Bubba” or “Eye 2”.  The correct answer is “Putter”.  Ping has a history in modern putters from the beginning, and their latest offering, while technically advanced, still relies heavily on those old designs that have stood the test of time.  The Cadence TR line, new for 2015 offers an array of options in heavy and standard sizes, along with an aluminum insert allowing for precise weight tuning.  The TR is short for True Roll, Ping’s new groove system that helps normalize ball speeds across the face and increase MOI.  Ping allowed me to evaluate the entire fitting process and a selection of the Cadence TR line, so I was able to get the whole picture of performance.

nFlight Fitting System

The first step in the process was to be fit.  “Wow”, I thought, “Ping is going the extra mile here”.  When I asked where to find a local Ping fitter, I was introduced to nFlight, a virtual system that takes a player’s physical inputs, shot types and desired outcomes and recommends a set up based on these variables.  It’s as close to the real thing as many players need.  One caveat, the output is only as good as the honesty of the answers.  In playing around with my handicap and playing style, I could trick the system into thinking I was fit for an X-Flex G30 LS head in 8*…so if you’re a 22 handicap hellbent on S55s, skip nFlight and just buy them, General.

The beauty of the nFlight system is that it will build an entire bag for you, so my experience was not limited to putters.  However, in the putter space, nFlight offered a few options, which, given my penchant for change, seemed appropriate.  The inputs for the putter, again, do require honesty.  Knowing your stroke, putting stance, misses and where you need help will ensure that the system recommends an appropriate configuration.  nFlight is also free to use, so get a tape measure out and see what you fit into at http://www.ping.com/fitting/nFlightWeb.aspx.  The entire process will take about 20 minutes from start to finish.

The Putters

For this review, I evaluated 4 different offerings from the Cadence TR line – Ketsch, Shea Standard Weight, Shea Heavy and Anser counterbalanced.  One putter was an nFlight reccomendation (Ketsch), two were to contrast heavy/standard in a shape I have always loved (Shea) and the Anser was sent because it was the model I would likely have bought had I set out to pick up a new putter in a big box store.  All 4 are completely different tools for the same job, each with their own unique shapes and technology to guide the ball into the hole.  Three of the putters (both Shea models and the Anser) came with adjustable length shafts that enable the player to lengthen or shorten the shaft according to their specification.  The True Roll insert was present on all models, and is a small insert affixed to the face and feature variable-depth grooves, with the deepest in the center and shallow towards the end of the insert.  The idea here is a consistent roll and distance regardless of where the ball hits the face.  The grooves themselves are not new to Ping, but the idea of using them in an insert is unique to the Cadence line.  Rounding out the shared attributes of the Cadence are the flat black crowns, gloss black soles and stark white alignment lines, making the Cadence series one of the easiest putters to line up I’ve ever used.

Evaluation

Ping is blazing paths with their efforts to bring intimate custom fitting and performance feedback to the masses.  Along with the personalized fitting of nFlight Web, Ping also offers a unique tool to evaluate and gather feedback around performance in the iPing mobile app and accompanying cradle.  The cradle accepts your iOS device and clips to your putter shaft.  The companion app then cleverly utilizes the motion sensors in iOS devices to gather and store swing data in the app.  The result is nearly information overload for your putting performance.  The app also has some neat comparison features allowing you to compare your putting stroke with a Ping staffer.  The cradle and iPing app are great tools for the practice green and allow for instant feedback in critical areas of putting performance.  Even if you don’t play a Ping putter, the cradle is worth a look.

Performance

In order to establish a feel for each putter, I started with the practice green and the iPing setup.  Normally, I don’t evaluate gear in practice scenarios because it’s misleading, but I started here so that I could get a sense of each of the putter’s characteristics before putting them in play.  I hit fifty 5-footers with each model from the same spot and evaluated the data.  According to the app, I was most consistent with the Shea H, which was interesting, given that was a putter I would have selected on looks alone.  The Ketsch was not far off, and I had a pretty rough time with the Anser CB, given that it would be the putter I would have most likely purchased blind in a shop.  As we all know, practice rarely translates to the course in the duffer space, so off I went to play actual holes.

When time and course availability allowed, I played each putter in 4-8 hole stretches over the last few weeks.  I started with the worst performing (for me), the Anser CB and Shea Regular.  In my heart, I was biased.  I wanted the Anser CB to work badly because it scratched all my itches – classic blade design, adjustable length shaft and counterbalancing.  It’s a sexy package, just one that isn’t my type.  I struggled with aligning it, it was either too heavy or too light and overall it was just a poor match.  My performance was telling me what the data already had – it was just not meant to be.  The Shea Regular was wrong to a lesser degree and different reasons – it was too light.  The app told me my tempo was too fast and my swing plane was erratic.  What it continually translated to on the course were putts that sailed by the hole, and lots of low side misses, as I tried to compensate for the weight.  I played an aggregate 4 rounds each with these putters, and they just weren’t there.  Again, nFlight warned me, iPing warned me, but the heart wants what it wants, and in the end it changed my perception of putter fitting and the need to be honest with yourself about where you excel and fade on the green.

On the other end of the spectrum were the two putters both nFlight and iPing indicated would be the best fit – The Shea Heavy and the Ketsch.  Based on the iPing data, I expected this to be a dogfight.  The Shea H was a wonderful flat stick.  Heavy in the right places, excellent control, and coming from the Shea Regular, a stark contrast from a putter that looked identical.  The Shea H was not the first recommendation from nFlight, but had the evaluation stopped there, my bag would have been complete.  I’ll deviate here for a minute and discuss the grip.  Part of the reason I took so many practice putts was to acclimate myself back to a skinny grip – I’ve been a fat grip convert for about a year now.  Back in the skinny saddle, the Shea H would have felt awkward with a large grip. The sleek lines that flow from grip to shaft to neck were a calming combination and inspired confidence.  The Ketsch, on the other hand, was a tank.  Large bodied, bold sightline and a heavy head made it feel like the last prototype before retail production.  But, like a muscle car shot with a coat of primer, it blew the doors off any putter I’d handled in a long time.  For all the brawn, the Ketsch was as delicate as a surgical scalpel on the greens.  With three sightlines, the center shafted Ketsch was a breeze to align, and despite the weight and size, was dead simple to control.  In my time with the Ketsch, I found that I was able to control lag putts with more command, and that my thoughts shifted from distance control to actually reading the lines and trusting the roll.  It was a beautiful feeling, one that I had a lot of trouble parting with.  The Ketsch accomplishes what so many other models fall short of: eliminating stressful parts of the process.  Read the line, align the sight marks, trust the roll.  The results will speak for themselves.

What all four putters shared were the flat black finish the True Roll (TR) insert.  The flat black finish was a welcome feature that provided a true contrast to the putting surface, and given the finish, did not reflect sunlight into your face during high noon rounds.  The TR insert felt the same across all four putters, and gave off a clean click on impact, sending enough feedback to your hands to judge a good strike from a poor one.  In a market flooded with gimmicks, the Cadence TR line is no frills, no bells and all performance.

The Ping Cadence TR putters offer a wide variety for all types of putting styles.  Heavy head options, swing arc choices and adjustable-length shafts round out an extensive offering of flat sticks in the line.  Paired with iPing and nFlight Web Fitting, Ping has effectively bundled elements of a custom fitting for the masses.  I suggest you take full advantage for any Ping putter you select for your game.  For more information on the Ping Cadence TR line, visit the product site at http://www.ping.com/clubs/puttersdetail.aspx?id=18298.

 

 

 

 

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