Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ping Anser 2012 Driver - 5 years too late?

Okay so firstly I see that Ping have brought out or are in the process of releasing the new Ping Anser Driver which will replace the G20. This worries me slightly.

As I look at the driver I must admit the styling of the club is a vast improvement on anything they have released before. The dynamic looks and matt black paint finish make this a very aesthetically pleasing club... From beneath. The view from above though is the typical half moon ping shape we have seen since the G5 and its a Ping preference. This doesn't please my eye but it may be to your liking.

Ping are saying this is there tuneable driver but what does it really offer? It's very similar to the Sure fit system Titleist offer but much simpler as it offers variations in loft by 0.5 degrees. Increasing loft slightly sets the face open and decreasing the loft closes the face slightly. Now I ask can this simply be done by tweaking the ball position. Simple terms yes but this is so that ball position need not change. Can you adjust the shape? Nah... No weight heel / toe options like the Taylor Made offerings.

Basically they sell the ability to change loft and change shafts with four stock offerings; Fuji Blur, Diamana 'Ahina, Aldila Phenom, and a Ping offering. They state changing the loft will adjust the spin rate and launch angle but it's something Titleist and Taylor Made are doing well and they offer more options of customisation. Why would you choose the Ping?

I can't answer this as I cannot see the retail price being better than what you can pick an R11 or 910 D up for. 

Also Ping are still offering Webfit which amazes me. Yes in the 90's many followed the measuring of finger tips to ground, and hand size charts to engineer a perfectly custom fit set of clubs but now we know that this is all well and good but what we really need is optimised launch angles, spin rates, spin angles, and these 3 options of degree changes and a Webfit to earn a Jumbo grip are leaving the once Custom Fit Kings as a shadow thought.

Also a comparison on the chart Ping provide show the club to be Less forgiving, Lower trajectory, and Lower Spin compared to the G20 and all but the club head shape an i20 with a face lift and novelty hosel.

If I see this in a golfers bag I'm sorry but I will shake my head and once again think 'Who ever sold the golfer that club was on a commission drive by Ping.' because believe me they happen. (Sell 5 XXX driver's receive £XX or X dozen balls).

Mike B

Friday, 13 July 2012

Equipment Review: Callaway X-Forged MD Wedges.

Right where to start. Firstly I think these are exceptional wedges and I'll explain in a moment. One word though is SPIN... or more BACKSPIN!!!

Throughout review I will not 'score or rate' things that are down to personal preference unless I believe that it is a benefit or drawback of the club.

For quite some time I have played Callaway wedges from the original wedges that appeared around 2001 designed by Roger Cleveland. They were weighty, small heads, forged and great feel. Since then I became loyal although the product I believe became progressivley worse with newer versions appearing. At the time I carried the 48, 52, 56, and 60 and my short game was very very solid. The vintage effect was very nice too.


The weight of these wedges in the hand felt heavier than the main competitor 'Vokey Spin Milled' (Non Competition version). They have a nice swing weight and are equipped generally with a midsize grip which helps the weight feel more balanced believe this or not. A grip can make huge differences to the weighting through the swing.

All in all, weight wise the head was heavy enough for it to dominate medium rough and not to heavy that it dominated the swing or pitch. I really took to the weighting and when friends would have a few shots they would generally note with out prompting that they were well balanced. I can give a */5 rating for all categories but this here gets a 5/5 from me but its down to personal preference.

Profile / Head Shape

I was happy with the head-shape, it is not ugly but equally it is not something that would be something you would compliment. I had no problems with it offending me unlike some wedges where the toe on some clubs appears to be a distance away from the grooves but all in all a 'nice' head-shape.

Here is the thing though... the original Callaway Wedges were very very teardrop nice, small compact, efficient well weighted heads... and the power that be Mr R Cleveland has moved away from this, possibly for improved play-ability but the larger head just snags that little more. It is by no means large but also by no means small.


Stock is a Callaway Shaft and a Golf Pride Grip. The Callaway Wedge shaft has a low torque tip to prevent the head opening and closing due to twist through impact. These by no means degrade the club because they are Callaway branded (unlike the Uni-flex Callaway shaft) but I can't comment as I can't directly compare to an S400 shaft or a spinner shaft. Note: You Will NOT need a SPINNER shaft. These SPIN!!!



The feel is great here with the golfer being able to tell if he is playing a premium ball or a cheaper counterpart. The better balls without doubt complement the Callaway but also the Callaway sinks it's teeth into the balls. 

I do enjoy the feel, Callaway have done a great job with these. There everything a wedge should be. If it's from the toe, high, low, neck, you know. If it's from the middle you will be smiling. Once you play these you will look at the 'Spin milled wedges' and think why are these Callaway not in more peoples bag. They wipe the floor with Vokey SM's making the SM feel almost dead.

Flight / Trajectory

Again this may be personal taste for a wedge but for me I really liked the trajectory. On a pitch shot 15 yards to 45 the ball flight is low, maybe 20-40 feet high compared to a standard high ball pitch... but don't worry this doesn't mean it will run through the green.

It's defined as penetrating and you can hear it fizz as it does. This hasn't affected me in the wind either as the ball flight is low and confident not a 'ballooning' flight. Of course this is dependent on the ball and I find that as I use the Pro V1 Std or X, Callaway Black/Chrome, Penta etc that they all apply to what I've said. If however you play a cheaper ball then the ball flight is that of a normal wedge and it negates using a quality wedge. IF YOU OWN THIS WEDGE PLAY A PREMIUM BALL (and have 3+).

Would you buy a nice suit and wear trainers? If so feel free to play a 2nd rate ball... I cannot help you.


Okay this can be a positive or negative and I'll also mention technique. This wedges stops a ball. QUICK. I have competed with many many top golfers who play alternate wedges and on the firmest days they flop and I play the normal shot... more consistently, better results. I can't believe how revolutionary the MACK DADDY grooves are. They work!! I can play a standard shot on firm greens and it may take two big bounces then either stop, or return to sender. They work I repeat myself.

I have seen a video on the internet showing these screw balls back more than you imagine possible. With this comes cost... firstly you need to judge and allow for this. A high percentage of golfers come up short... a higher spinning wedge will not help this... Just a fact. Also there is a cost to this... It leaves golf balls looking like a dog has chewed them, from as little as green-side chips of 10yards. I have had backspin on average greens from less than 10 yards on a green-side chip... but this is one more variable you must plan for.

On full shots that are played with the intention of spinning, either to a front pin or to show of to your neighbor the spin can be excessive if the greens are receptive and quick and this makes things complicated. I carried more loft variations of this so I could club up and play half or quarter shots to compensate but if your not buying more than one then you have to make some decisions on what to hit if its going to stop but not spin too much.

So in summary it spins but this may be a Black Art.


I have had these wedges for a while and the grooves don't wear down but I'm selective over keeping my 60 degree as a none-bunker club to preserve the wedge. I also owned the Jaws variant and they have the same grooves but the life span is miserable. It will spin one week and not the next... So these are an investment. They last, care for them and you will make friends jealous but beware of the power of the spin.

Hope this helps, any questions let me know.

Mike B