Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dear PING, tell me again--how forgiving?

Almost a year ago, venerable club geniuses PING released, as you undoubtedly have heard, a new iron called the G2. They say it's their most forgiving club ever. I'll make an off-hand observation, since I'm not an engineer (in fact, my math education stopped at the quadratic equation: F.O.I.L. (mnuemonically stated--First Outside Inside Last) which is used to calculate I-have-no-idea-what) and can't delve into M.O.I., C.G., torque, and what-not. Okay, I am qualified to comment on what-not, as during my last stint of unemployement I submitted a paper to the National Academy of Sciences on the typology and primogeniterology of what-not (not yet published) but I digress.

The G2 doesn't look like PING's previous line of irons, the bulbous Zing-ISI generations (herein referred to Z-I), which PING claimed were their most forgiving line of clubs. Firstly, the G2 looks nothing like the Z-I--no stainless steel tumors, now weird flanges, no Star Wars-esque rounded edges (can you picture Obi-Wan playing anything but PINGs?)

I am a long time player of Zings, so I just had to try the G2s for myself. So, I went down to my local Ping fitting center, a.k.a. the perpetually burnt/tanned/winded pro at the nearest driving range. Al is his name and he was a patient man. My wife and I (and no, we're a nerdly couple who have to play golf together or wear matching Ford windbreakers--for unknown reasons, she wanted to come along) spent over an hour with him. Naturally, I threw him a ten-spot as a tip when we finished, and he was so grateful, I feared he might asked us to be his son's godparents. So please remember to tip your service-industry professionals. When in doubt, tip--it's what separates us from the animals. I'd never been fitted before, and it was eye-opening. Firstly, and in contradiction to my long-held notions about myself as a golfer, I learned I'm not a black dot. I'm a green dot. Green! So, in the span of, oh, 12 seconds, I went from thinking black was cool, to thinking green is the color of victory. Easy enough transition. But the ball flight, my God, the ball flight! Straight, not too high, and did I say straight? Now, I'm not one to "work" the ball; in fact, it's usually me who's getting worked by it.

Hold on. I don't like the term "work." It implies a job, like working on an Excel spreadsheet. So from now on I'm going to call it... "playing" the ball? No, that sounds like I'm in a sandbox with the other kids burying my hand and then slowly freeing it from its sandy tomb, pretending it's a zombie hand. How about "curving"? No, that doesn't imply insider status--golf terminology should be esoteric. "Turning"? No. "Bending"?. Worse. "Deflect"? Horrible. "Arch"? Not bad. "Warp"? Getting closer. "Veer"? Not there yet. "Pervert"? Hold on. Again. "Pervert." That's it. Pervert the shot.

Now, as I was saying, I've never been one to try and pervert shots. Most times I'm happy to get the ball started in the correct general direction. But these G2s just made straight shot after straight shot. It's very gratifying. I know what you "players" out there are thinking. You're thinking "White or wheat with my eggs," because you sure as hell aren't reading this post. If you've never been a PING guy, and always thought their club's shape indicated their most likely use was to hoe weeds between rows of corn (or maize, if you will), the G2s look a lot more like what the resides in the collective psyche as "golf club." So give them a shot. Most courses or ranges that offer PING fitting allow you to apply the cost of the fitting towards purchase of clubs. These irons might one day make me confident enough to pervert shots at will.

Coming soon: Review of G2 woods and HL irons.


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