TPP REVIEW: Ping Nome Adjustable Belly Putter

Oh Give Me a Home, With a Sweet Belly Nome…

Wait, that’s not how the song goes, but maybe it is time for a rewrite.  As those of you who follow know, I absolutely loved the standard length Ping Nome that I had in for review a few weeks back.  If you didn’t know that, you can click HERE to read the review.  Having had some more time with the standard Nome, I still believe that it is the mallet to beat in 2012.  The Nome’s presence on the PGA Tour has also increased since I wrote that prior review.  Most notably, Lee Westwood is now rolling the Nome.  If only he hadn’t hung that ball up in the tree at The Olympic Club.  If that ball falls out of the tree, the Ping Nome could have possibly had a win in a major to go with Hunter Mahan’s earlier 2012 Nome wins.  Not too shabby for a new design.

And that brings us to today’s review of the Ping Nome Adjustable Belly Putter.  This is not just the regular Nome on a longer shaft.  Ping has pumped some significant design elements into the Belly Nome and as such, the belly version of the Nome warrants its own separate review.  Let’s take a look at the standard and the belly Nome side by side.  The belly is on the right.

The visual differences are absolutely striking!  Don’t you agree?  If you are struggling to see the differences in the two heads, you should be struggling because the only difference in the heads are the weights.  The standard Nome’s head weight is 355g while the belly Nome’s head weighs 405g.  Adding weight to the head of a belly putter is not innovation, that’s just necessary to get the swing weight into the correct range.  If you check my review of the Taylormade Belly vs. Standard Ghost Manta (HERE), you can see that the belly version of the Ghost Manta is also heavier.

However, one of the things that does set the Ping Belly Nome, as well as the other recent Ping putters, apart from other putters is the ability to custom fit the putter to the player using the iPING app.  The Anser Milled line has a model of putter to suit each player’s individual stroke.  They accomplish this by changing the design of the head, hosel, and etc.  With the Nome, the head remains the same, but the shaft is altered to fit an individual’s stroke path.  Both the standard and belly versions can be shafted to fit a straight, slight-arc, or strong-arc stroke.  While this type of individual fitting is something that we expect from Ping, it is also not the real innovation in the belly Nome.  That innovation can be found at the base of the long belly grip.  Do you see that little metal collar?

You see, this belly putter is adjustable.  The design of the adjustment mechanism also allows the putter to conform to the rules of golf.  In other words, it’s tournament legal.  Ping has developed a very clever mechanism where one can easily loosen the shaft and adjust the length of the putter, as well as the openness of the face (if desired) and then lock everything up tight for the course.  Lets take a look at the significance of the adjustability.

Length Adjustment

The ability to adjust the length of the belly putter to one’s individual playing preference has a couple of implications.  The first obvious advantage is for the player.  People come in all heights, and even those of the same height may have different leg to torso ratios.  As such, it is folly to assume that a few standard length belly putters will fit the majority of golfers.  If we take the belly size of the golfer into account, the correct fit equation becomes even more complicated.  With the Ping adjustment system, one just screws the adjustment tool into the threaded port on the collar and then continues to turn the tool until the collar spreads open and the shaft becomes mobile.  Now the golfer is can set the putter to his or her comfortable height and lock that height into place by turning the adjustment tool in the other direction.  Very easy to do, even by yourself, and the collar has an immediately-tight engagement.

I think that Ping has also created an adjustment system that will be welcomed in golf shops.  The PGA professionals in the shop now have an easy system for making sure that the customer is correctly fitted for a putter.  No longer will they have to get one that is too long cut down, or one that is too short extended.  Every Ping belly Nome in the shop can fit every customer.  And that is the other benefit to the shop.  The shop can order one adjustable length putter that can then be purchased by nearly any customer.  No longer does the shop have to stock multiple lengths, at the risk of one length not selling well.  The shop also then does not have to put in special custom orders for the customer to get the correct length.  The customer can take the putter home today, rather than waiting for the order to come in.  Now granted, the putters must still have the correct shaft to match the customer’s stroke, but even with this in mind, I see a more efficient inventory situation for the shop.

Alignment Adjustment

One other potential advantage of the adjustability came to mind as I was adjusting the length.  When you loosen the collar, not only does the shaft now move up and down in length, but it also is able to twist side to side relative to the grip.  The adjustment instructions do a good job at showing you how to get the face square again after finding the right length.  But what if you don’t want the face to be square?  What if a bit of relative open or closed helps you be more accurate?  Personally, I just set it square, but it seems like there is a chance for customization and correction through equipment here.  Maybe you could stop pushing putts if you dialed the face closed a few degrees.  It seems like the same logic that is used to alleviate slicing the driver by making the club set up with a closed face.  I honestly don’t know if this type of adjustment would do more harm than good, but Ping has designed a system where this is possible.

This review has been a little different from the other TPP Reviews in that it has not included discussions of the putter’s aesthetics and playability.  It’s not that they are not worth mentioning, it’s just that information about these areas presented in the review of the standard also works for the belly version.  This is a great looking putter that performs very well on the course.  One cool aesthetic feature is that they come now come with the correct Nome headcover.  The headcover includes some of the same design lines as the Nome itself and is a definite compliment to the putter.  And for those of you who are wondering, no, Hunter Mahan has not yet sent me an autographed headcover.  He’s busy this week though in England.  I am sure that sending me the headcover is at the top of his To Do list for when he returns to the States…

Regardless, if you are already rolling putts with a belly putter or are looking experiment with one, you should check out the Ping Adjustable Belly Nome.  The belly Nome retains the cool aesthetics and playability of the standard length Nome, while gaining the truly innovative adjustability.  Ping has a great stick on their hands here, and you really should probably get your hands on one as well.

Find out more at the Ping website:  HERE

Follow Ping Golf on Twitter: @PingTour

And if you feel like it, ask Hunter about my autographed headcover on Twitter as well: @HunterMahan