There are some things about the latest iron introduction from Ping that feel more than a little retro.
Let’s start with the name, Anser, which is probably the most famous product name ever to come out of Ping, mostly for the finely crafted putters that have born that appellation over the years. But it is also because the Arizona equipment company once produced an Anser iron – more than 40 years ago.
Then, there is the fact that the Ping Anser iron is forged. That’s how Karsten Solheim made his first irons back in the 1960s. But then he got into investment casting, with the K1 iron in 1969, and never used that process again. In time, Ping became famous for its investment cast irons, and forging seemed to be something other club manufacturers did.
Of course, all the nostalgia in the world doesn’t mean a thing if the new Ping Anser forged irons, which were released in North America last November after first selling quite successfully in Japan, didn’t have the looks and design to perform in modern times. And by all accounts, they do.
“We’ve pushed the forging process (in the Anser iron) to a new level, and I know golfers in the U.S. and Canada will be as eager to play it as they have been in Japan,” says Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim.
The modern Ping Anser combines an 8620 steel body with a tungsten sole and features a machined face and grooves designed to improve spin and control. Company engineers say the club’s hollow-sole cavity design softens feel and positions the center of gravity in such a way that it generates higher launching iron shots.
In addition, they assert, the progressive set design offers forgiveness in the long irons and greater control in the short ones. There is minimal offset, and the thin top line gives it more the look of a player’s club, though it is designed to be a true crossover.
“It’s forgiving, yet it provides workability for the better player,” says Solheim. “And the feel is amazing.”
The Anser iron is available in 3- to 9-iron plus PW, and comes stock with steel Project X shafts.