Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Product Review - Ping Sigma G Wolverine

Welcome to another product review and this one looks at the Ping Sigma Wolverine putter. This is one of the new Sigma range of sixteen putters (in the UK) and has been available in the shops for the last few months. Unlike the previous release, "Vault" which had a milled face, with the Sigma G range Ping has gone back to an insert.

However, both the milled face and the insert on the Sigma range still has their "Tru Roll" face pattern which varies in depth and dispersion. This is less deep and wider at the sweet spot and then becomes deeper and spaced tighter for off centre hits which Ping claim speeds up off centre strikes and leads to less three putts. Now as a fourteen handicapper, the chances of me finding the sweet spot every time is unlikely so it's interesting to see how this plays out

Ping Sigma putter overview

Another new feature, much overdue in my personal opinion is the introduction of a new pistol type grip. I had one of the Cadence Anser's from a few year back and these came with a blue midsize grip (on the standard weighted putters) which I didn't feel comfortable with and I found became very slippery in the wet. This new Sigma G Wolverine comes with a PP60 midsize pistol grip which has a tacky but ribbed feel and sits nicely in the hand.

Ping Sigma G Wolverine
The Wolverine is designed for a straight back and through type of stroke. It's a large mallet type putter and on first sight, there are definite comparisons with the Odyssey Fang putter (below) or the Taylormade Spider (also below)

Odyssey Versa 2 Ball Fang Putter

Taylormade Spider
I've done a video to show the putter in action on my Youtube channel running in conjunction with this blog. I've attached a link to it here (Ping Sigma G Wolverine review). While you'll over there make sure you subscribe to the channel to get ongoing reviews, updates and on course logs and don't forget to thumbs up the video as well. If you have any comments please feel free to leave them under the video and I'll read each one and respond.

In action, it's very stable as you'll see and visually the big head and the distinctive white line makes it very to line the ball up, especially on the crucial short putts. One this you may not be able to pick up from the video sound is that it has a distinctive "ping" off the face. In the test I used both a premium ball (Srixon Z Star xv) and a firmer all (Srixon AD333 tour) and the noise was noticeable /with both balls. While I didn't mind this, clearly this may not be to every players taste.

The putts were from around two feet, five feet and out towards fifteen feet. As I've already mentioned, the putter has this "Tru Roll" polymer insert and while I was happy with the quality of the strike I made on each putt, I can't verify how many came off the centre as I don't have access to SAM Lab technology or similar. I can only describe it as I feel and see it.

Since the video was filmed it's been in my bag and I was pleased with the way it performed (31 putts with a distinctly flaky short game which meant there were very few tap i/n putts for up and down scrambles). Speed control was consistent which I guess you could argue vindicates Ping's claims about this insert and "Tru Roll". Of course I'd argue it was my smooth putting stroke but the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle somewhere/.

As I've done with all my other recent reviews I've broken it down into a couple of key sections

Looks - Visually it's definitely big, but I don't feel it's "in your face" big and no different to most other mallets on the market of similar design. It's clear, single white sight line is very simple but works well. The grey finish works well in the sun and glare is minimised 8/10

Grip - The mid size PP60 pistol grip definitely enhances a soft and light grip pressure and sits nicely in the hand which should promote a smooth action. It fits nicely in the contour of the hand 9/10

Alignment - As well as the vivid white line, the top of the putter does also contain other lines in the grey head which are of varying length. To be honest, I tended to focus solely on the white line and didn't really notice these other alignment aids. That said, the shape and the white line made it very easy to line up. I felt confident the putter was aligned correctly especially on the 2-3 footers on the course and it did provide an element of confidence boosting 7/10

Feel - The insert (and "Tru Roll" design) does give a pleasant, and perhaps more importantly a consistent feel off the face with both a soft and harder ball. As said, I can't vouch for the validity of the "Tru Roll" design but distance control was good. There is a distinct sound off the face that some golfers will find annoying 8/10

Stability - As with most mallets, it's very, very stable. Designed for a golfer with a distinct back and through, straight putting style, it has a large MOI for added accuracy. The shape definitely maximises the perimeter weighting Ping have put on the extremes of the Wolverine

Down behind the ball it sat very nicely and squarely. I've had putters before that will feel as though they are sitting distinctly open or closed and I've always had an inclination to then try and manipulate the face to sit squarer. With the Wolverine, it sits solidly behind the ball and begs to stroke the ball to the hole 9/10

Price - This (and I believe most of the other Sigma range) retail in the region (in the UK) of £169 although I'm sure as the range is now a few months old, deals will start to appear online and in shops. It's comparable in price to some of the similar putters from Ping's main competitors in the putter market and certainly much cheaper than the predecessor, the milled Vault range. 7/10

Overall - The Ping Sigma G Wolverine is a no frills putter. It's decor is plain but efficient and relies on the technology and consistent quality of build that Ping are synonymous for and is a reputation garnished from over 50 years of building top class putters used not only on tours around the world but which have been in the bags of the weekend golfer too.

That said, I couldn't verify the claims of "Tru Roll" as I didn't have a SAM Putting unit (GASP - Sam System to dissect my stroke and show where I struck the ball, However it was a stable, functional putter with a distinct sound, and from a variety of distances performed well. It's definitely one I like and I've a feeling it could be finding it's way into my bag and usurping the current incumbent soon. If you like a bigger mallet style putter then this one is definitely worth trying out 8/10

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