TPP REVIEW: PING Nome

So I had a dream with Hunter Mahan in it last night…

That sounds a little awkward, so let me explain.  In the dream, I was standing in a locker room holding a pair of PING Nome putters.  Why I had two?  I don’t know.  It’s a dream, remember?  Anyway, Hunter Mahan walks by and I say to him “Hey Hunter, we use the same putter.  Would you sign this headcover?”  I am thinking that this is so cool, Hunter is going to sign my headcover.  Maybe we will start hanging out.  We both like the color orange.  For Hunter, it reminds him of his time at Oklahoma State.  I am not sure why I like the color orange… Anyway, there he is, and he is going to sign my Nome headcover.

After a pause, Hunter looks at me with that sideways grin and says, “Nah” and walks on.  Thank you for that ego boost my dear subconscious.

Back to the PING Nome

There is a reason why my brain associates the Ping Nome with Hunter Mahan, and it is a simple one.  Hunter has won two tournaments so far this year with the Nome.  You don’t win the Match Play Championship or go 16 under at the Shell Houston Open without a hot putter.  12th at the Masters is not too shabby either.  Hunter has been killing it since switching to the Nome and as a result, this putter has exploded into the marketplace.  I don’t know a single mallet player who has not thought about putting a Nome into play.  I was glued to the set like many others watching Hunter drain putt after putt and I too wondered if the PING Nome would be the answer to this season’s putting question.

Aesthetics

OK so the PING Nome is not a blade.  The Nome is a mallet with a relatively large footprint.  From address though, never once did I think that the head looked unusually or distractingly large.  The color scheme is simple with the Nome.  The combination of the sweeping lines at the edges of the Nome and the black center section create a very sleek overall design.  I described the look to a friend as “slippery”.  It just looks very fluid to me and my eyes just slide around the putter’s various contours.

The Nome has a “nano nickel” satin-finish on its C805 Aluminum body, coupled with the black “Optigraphic” alignment aide on the top.  The weight of the standard shafted model comes in at 355g with the help of some tungsten.  The adjustable-length belly version weighs in at a hefty, though appropriate 405 grams.  Some of you who play the PING Sydney will be very comfortable with the Nome’s alignment system and overall appearance.  Personally, I thought that the Sydney was one of the more interesting putters that came out in 2011.  The Nome and the Sydney are definitely cousins, but there is something present in the Nome, some little bit of “extra”, that sets it apart from its red-topped predecessor.  The Sydney, while cool looking, was not slippery looking.

As with anything that I have ever owned that carries the PING name, the workmanship of the Nome is top notch.  The milling of the face, and the rest of the body is clean and precise.  Parts of the putter are also milled for what I assume are purely aesthetic reasons.  The black alignment section is textured with milled lines that run perpendicular to the long sight line.  Maybe these are somehow involved with the Optigraphic alignment system, but I have a feeling that there is a PING engineer in the mix somewhere who thought that the milling would look cool.  Kudos to that artistic engineer.

On The Greens

Those of you who follow The Putter Place on twitter (@theputterplace) got to see a sneak peek of this putter when it arrived a few weeks back.  Super excited to open the box and take this one out to the course.  Nature decided that NorCal needed another week of rain, so the Nome and I got to know each other at the garage putting green.  Once the rain stopped, my first thought was about getting out on the course with the Nome.  My sessions in the garage let me know that the Nome was going to put up a good fight for spot 14 in the bag.  Here are some of the on-course findings:

  • Balance:  Superb balance through the stroke.  My Nome has the midsized version of the PING/Winn AVS grip.  I think that the grip really settled the hands and allowed the putter to just flow along the target line.
  • Roll: PING lists the face response of the Nome as “firm” and I think that is a good assessment.  Impact is crisp feeling, with the ball coming off the face at a good clip.
  • Accuracy:  The combination of Balance and Roll helped me to realize that a slow and smooth stroke with the Nome was the way to produce accurate results.  The other piece of the puzzle is that the shaft of the Nome promotes a bit of forward press with the hands, both at address and ideally through the stroke.  With the hands a bit forward, aiming the putter and making the ball actually follow the line you pick is very easy.  Almost cheating easy.  Hands forward, line at target, feet square to line, bring it back, and fire.
  • Sound:  The great tone at impact was something that took me totally by surprise.  When I went to hit a 20′ or so putt for the first time, I heard this great little ring, or “ping” at impact.  It is not a “tink” or “clank”.  More like a bell’s initial tone and subsequent resonance.  Maybe that is a bit much.  The Nome doesn’t have a sustained ring after impact, to me it just sounds like a little bell has sounded.  This sound even comes while putting with a soft Pro V1.  A harder ball may make impact symphonic.  For my ear, and in terms of impact feedback, this feature of the Nome is amazing and very welcome.

An interesting feature of the Nome is that can be fitted with a shaft that will fit any of the stroke patterns identified on the iPING app.  My Nome features the “Straight” configuration, but you can also have it built to suit the “Slight Arc” or “Strong Arc” putting styles.  If you have played around with the iPING app fitting, but at the end of the process said to yourself ” that’s nice, but I like mallets”, then the Nome may be just the putter you have been looking for.  The different shaft styles allow PING to truly make a Nome for all needs.  All of this and the adjustable belly version of the Nome has not even entered the conversation.

Final Thoughts On the PING Nome

I think that the best way to sum up my experience with the Nome is to talk a bit about yesterday’s round.  I have a friend who I play with all the time who laughs a bit at my revolving door putter well.  He sees that I am bagging the Nome and asks how I like it.  “So far, it’s amazing” I tell him.  He putts a bit with it a few times as we are warming up and says that he likes the feel and aiming with the big line.  At about the 12th hole or so, after I have made another long putt with the Nome, he asks me again, “So how do you like that putter?”  I just smiled and removed the ball from the cup.

So, if you are a mallet player, you should have already tried out this putter.  If not, go to a shop right now and roll the Nome.  If you are a blade putter player, you should probably also go roll the Nome.  Maybe Hunter Mahan didn’t want to autograph my headcover, that’s OK.  I still wish my brother-in-Nome well, and I know that the PING Nome will help Hunter to take home the big check on Sunday more than once in the coming season.  Can’t wait to go and watch him play at the Olympic Club in June.

Find out more about the PING Nome at the PING website HERE

Start a grassroots effort to have Hunter send me a signed PING Nome headcover HERE :)