In the final installment of this guide series, more answers to questions from eBayers are listed. Again the main topic is the popular second generation of Ping brand golf clubs (Eye2 to ISI) but with discussion of earlier and later models as well. I don't sell Pings on eBay. I have tried to indicate facts, suppositions and opinions as such. The opinions are my own.
Q: What do the dot colors mean?
As I discussed in one of the prior installments, the dot color is the lie angle of the club. Lie is the angle described by the earth and the shaft of the club when you address the ball. Ideally, if your clubs fit you properly, the grooves are parallel to the earth and neither the heel nor the toe of the club is any more elevated than the other. If your clubs are too upright, (a greater angle) then the toe of the club is sticking up and you will tend to draw or hook the shot. If your clubs are too flat, (a smaller angle) then the heel or hosel of the club is elevated and you will tend to fade or slice the shot. The original Ping color codes allowed a ten degree variation to obtain the lie angle that fit your height and swing. For 2008, Ping announced a modification to the dot series with two additional colors to accomodate a change to a .75 degree variance between the dots as opposed to the former one degree variation. The dots are as follows:
- Gold -4 degrees flat Gold -3.75 degrees flat
- Brown -3 degrees flat Brown -3.00 degrees flat
- Orange -2 degrees flat (Women's Standard) Orange -2.25 degrees flat
- Red -1 degree flat Purple -1.5 degrees flat
- Black 0 degrees (Men's Standard) Red - .75 degrees flat
- Blue 1 degree upright Black 0
- Green 2 degrees upright Blue .75 degrees upright
- White 3 degrees upright Yellow 1.5 degrees upright
- Silver 4 degrees upright Green 2.25 degrees upright
- Maroon 5 degrees upright White 3.00 degrees upright
- Silver 3.75 degrees upright
- Maroon 4.5 degrees upright
Note that shafts in clubs with colors from Green on up are usually 1/2" or more longer than standard for a taller player and likewise, shafts in Orange on down are usually 1/2" or more shorter than standard for a shorter player.
Q: I play some Eye2 that were my Dad's; they still have the original grips, should I regrip them?
My rule of thumb is that grips should be replaced every three years or 200 rounds, whichever comes first. If these clubs have been played regularly, then the grips should already have been replaced at least five times. By all means, regrip with whatever type of grip you prefer. Continue to replace them frequently during your ownership of the clubs.
One thing to watch out for: Ping proprietary shafts in second generation clubs all had .580 in. butt diameter shafts. Newer clubs with the CS-Lite shaft are .600. Make sure you use the right size grips as the latest Ping 703 grips are for the larger size.
Q: What's a "drill dot" Ping Eye2?
After Ping and the USGA settled the square groove lawsuit, Ping offered replacement original Eye2 clubs with the groove pattern of the Eye2+ . These clubs were denoted by a drill hole on the back of the toe of the club where an Eye2+ would have the extruded + mark. Usually they are a club or two in an original Eye2 set where a club was lost or supplemented. I have heard of, but never seen a complete "drill dot" Eye2 set. A drill dot Eye2 is the least attractive combination of features: it has the older head design with the newer groove pattern.
Q: What about Pings for Women?
In a recent check, (Winter 2010) almost every set in the Women's section of eBay I would consider significantly overpriced. Don't be fooled, the heads from Ping are identical whether they are men's clubs or women's. The difference is the lie angle (dot color); standard Ping women's angle is orange dot or 2* flat and 3/4 inch shorter than men's standard for a woman approximately 5'6". If the intended user is any taller, then you can look at a men's set with a regular or senior flex shaft. It's all about the lie angle: the club doesn't know it's a woman or a man swinging; just make sure you get a lie angle to fit the player, regardless of gender. Most relatively athletic women under 40 and taller than 5"6" can swing a men's regular shaft without too much difficulty. More petite women, because of their smaller swing arcs, probably need a more flexible shaft. Lightweight graphite is always a good choice for a women's shaft. Remember, the same physics applies to men's swings and women's swings.
All of the above is true for Ping Kid's sets too.
Q: I have a Ping ________ model putter with a 85029 zip code. What's it worth?
As a general rule, any Ping putter is worth forty or fifty bucks unless it has been abused, making it worth less or if it's in unusually good condition, has an unusual pedigree, or its made of something other than Bronze or Stainless Steel which might make it worth more.
I would need to know a little more. If the grip has been replaced then that indicates the putter was used enough to need to have the grip replaced. What is the head composition? The address indicates this might be a somewhat rare putter in that the 85029 zip is relatively rare, but not as rare as the Scottsdale address. In my opinion, only the Scottsdale address is collectable. Ping made hundreds of thousands of putters from the other addresses.
Q: How do I track down the long irons and wedges with serial numbers to match my set?
If you can, you are Indiana Jones.
Seriously, there is no way I'm aware of to do this. Theoretically, Ping knows to whom they were sold unless they were sold as stock to a pro shop rather than as a special order. Privacy concerns would preclude the release of this information. Also, the clubs are now more than 10 years old. On average, most golfers change their clubs about every five years. The set you have may have changed hands two or three times times before you got them. Finally, it is possible that they were never even made -- the golfer who ordered the set you have may not have specified a 1 iron or L wedge.
I'd stick with the Ark of the Covenant . . . .
Q: What's my set of Karsten (I-VI) worth?
Any set of playable irons is worth at least $100. An auction on eBay will be the ultimate judge of value. Assuming you have 3-P, my guess is they are worth about $160 or about $20 per club. These are not particularly sought-after clubs, their value being more as a collectable than a functional set of clubs. The same holds true of the original Ping Eye clubs. Think about donating them to a high school golf program or the First Tee program. Watch out - sometimes these old clubs are listed as Women's clubs and are overpriced accordingly.
Q: My Ping's don't have a serial number. Where should it be?
It should be on the spine of the hosel and run parallel to the shaft. Alternatively, it will wrap around hosel if it was manufactured overseas. If your clubs have no serial number, they have either been removed (that's bad) or they were issued directly from the factory to a member of the Solheim family or a close associate (extremely unlikely). My bet is that they've been removed to prevent tracing after theft.
Q: I bought some Pings on eBay that the seller failed to disclose had the original owner's name on them. Is there anything I can do about this?
If the name is engraved as it was on the early second generation clubs (eye2 - zing2), you're out of luck short of buffing it off of each club with a Dremel polishing wheel. If it's on a late second (Zing2-ISI) or third generation club (I3-Rapture) the names and the "DEMO" designation are some kind of laser graphic which comes off, eventually, with Acetone and a Q-Tip. If you're selling such a set, please use the Acetone.
Q: What flex is a JZ shaft? I was thinking of reshafting with Dynamic Gold shafts . . . .
The JZ shaft (and any other Ping shaft without specific flex designation) is somewhere between Stiff and Regular. It wasn't until late in the production run of Zing2s that there was a differentiation in the flexes of JZ shafts.
With that said, the JZ is lighter that a DGS or a Rifle, so changing the shaft will change the feel of the club. Only you can determine the playability but unless you are under thirty and still get over 110 on your driver speed you might rethink the S400/DGS reshaft. The lighter shaft promotes more speed. The JZ tends to hit the ball slightly lower than other Ping shafts I've tried.
One last thing for you to consider: The new CSL shaft from Ping is, in my opinion, the best proprietary shaft Ping has used since the ZZ-Lite of the late '80s. The CSL is a true lightweight steel shaft. While it retains the .355 tapered tip, it has a .600 butt and seems to have better torque resistance than older Ping shafts. If I were reshafting, I would go with the CSL-S.
Q: My pro said I need more flexible shafts. Can I reshaft my Pings?
I'm pretty sure that you are really asking, "Can I reshaft my Pings without ruining them or decreasing their value?" The short answer is YES, by all means reshaft your Pings. I am a big fan of playing and enjoying Pings rather than collecting them which, if you've read through the guides to this point, you know I believe to be a waste of money. Pings were and are made for .355 tapered tip shafts. True Temper and Rifle make replacement shafts in a variety of flexes. My favorite method is to buy a set of used Ping shafts on eBay and reshaft with these. For instance, for an older golfer, replacing the excellent but stiff ZZ65 shafts in a set of Zing2s with some CS-Lite regular flexes pulled from a G5 set. Ping will also reshaft their own clubs, but be forewarned, they charge $30-40 per club depending on what type of shaft you want and more if you want graphite.
Now, will all of this lower the value of the clubs? Maybe not, especially if the reshaft is done by Ping or to a lesser extent, with Ping shafts. What lowers the value is to reshaft with the wrong size of shaft, like drilling out the hosels to accept parallel tip shafts. If I'm buying and I see Ping shafts in the clubs even if I know that the clubs were not offered with that particular shaft, I'll have less heartburn about paying top dollar for those clubs.
Q: What are the best buys in Pings right now?
I used to say the I3 irons. More recently, I've noticed that the Zings are selling just less than $30 per club. These are wonderful clubs for recreational golfers As Ping churns out a new model club every 18 months or so, the older clubs are devalued. I still like the I3 s but the Zings are solid performers when equiped with the JZ shaft and as of Fall '07 they're selling cheaper than the I3 s. I personally prefer the Zings to the I3s and even to classic Eye2+s and I am not alone. Both the I3 and the Zing are just as good as anything made today. Note that if I had a choice between I3 and I3+ , I would go with the + as it has slightly revised offset, leading edge and weighting characteristics.
S59s, S58s and S57s are also a very good value if you have the game for them. Plan on hitting balls or playing at least two times a week to stay on top of these blade-style clubs. S59s are under $40 per club for what, in many ways, is the best club Ping made in the last ten years. Their value has dropped steeply since the S58 and S57s came out. I've played both the S58s and S59s and was unable to notice any difference between them. Watch out for Ping blades being offered for bid at just less than you could buy a new set; $100 per club for used (or even new) clubs is ridiculous.
Recall that in the mid to late 90's, it seems that Ping went from being an engineering firm to a marketing firm; new models with little or no performance improvement are introduced if sales of the older model were flat rather than selling the best possible design until a quantum improvement was available. Place I3, I3+, G2, G5 and G10 heads next to each other and you'll see what I mean.
The short version is: from $20-$30 per club is a bargain; from $30-$45 per club is a good buy; $50 is O.K. and anything more than $50 per club had better be BeCu or " +no+ " in great shape. Remember: ALWAYS COMPUTE THE PER CLUB PRICE .
Q: Do you know anything about the finish on Ping Metal Woods?
Yes, a little. Ping woods since the TISI head are painted like a car: there is a base color coat and a clear top coat to give the glossy finish. Blemishes like a sky mark that does not penetrate the color coat can be removed with toothpaste: apply a small dab of paste to the blemished area, rub it in with your thumb, allow the toothpaste to dry, then buff it off with a soft cloth. A sky mark that penetrates the color coat (shows metal) will need to be touched up by first sanding the area with 1500 grit paper, then brush on Metallic Black auto touch up paint, resand and finally, give it a top coat of acrylic clear. For the clear, I use Future acrylic floor polish. With a little practice, the appearance of Ping (and other) metal woods can be improved a great deal with a little work.
Q: My handicap is ______ . Which Pings should I get?
There are a lot of factors that go into which Pings to purchase. What follows is a broad generalization:
- If you've never broken 100 - Zing2s with JZ shafts
- Handicap between 20-30 - Zing2s; I3+s (not blade); G5/G10s; Zings
- Handicap between 12-20 - Eye2+s; Zings; I3+s; G5/G10s; Raptures
- Handicap 5-12 - Eye2+s; Zings; I3 Blades; I5/I10s
- Scratch to 4 - S57s; S58s; S59s; Eye2+s
In general, if you're male and over 55 you need regular flex shafts; over 65 needs senior flex shafts and over 70 probably should look for lightweight graphite. (Again, these are broad generalizations, I have a playing partner who is a 60-something year-old blacksmith who can crush my head with his hand -- he can use any shaft he wants). Note that I don't recommend the original Eye2, ISI, I3 or G2 models. I really think the other models are better.
I recommend Ping M/B wedges, Tour wedges and iWedges as both good values and good clubs. In all cases, make sure you get the right dot and shaft flex for you and plan on regripping with grips to suit when you buy your clubs.
Q: What about fakes?
Fakes or knockoffs as they are called do sometimes show up but far less than some of the other eBay guides might breathlessly indicate. Both the head and the shaft could be faked. Faking a set of irons is a lot of work. Far more likely is faking driver heads. I did get a G5 driver that I'm sure was a fake. It had a premium shaft but neither any of my friends nor I could get this driver airborne. Impact felt terrible. Even after a reshaft, it was clear this club was garbage. While I don't like some of their clubs, my experience is that Ping doesn't make garbage.
Q: The Golf Digest Hot List says _____________?
The 2011 Hot List recently came out. It contains substantial hype for new clubs. Are new irons necessarily better than old irons? In a word, No! There have been no technological breakthroughs in iron design since square grooves were developed in the mid 80's. Now they might say they hit farther but as we've learned in the other guides, that's due to length and loft changes, not to any new design. Old clubs, when well cared for, will be just as good as any set of irons you can buy today, be they Ping, Callaway, Titleist, Mizuno or Cleveland. New clubs do have a psychological advantage, the shafts are not bent and goodness knows the new grips are a plus, but the objective benefit of new irons over older irons, if it exists at all, is incremental. At the same time, new-to-you clubs that are a qualitative improvement over what you have now can be very beneficial. (like replacing your 1980 K-Mart Chi Chi Rodriguez irons with some used G5s that are less than half the price of new K15s).
Keep in mind that clubs sold new this year conform to the new USGA groove rules which do reduce the amount of spin generated by lofted clubs. Your old clubs are still legal until at least 2024, by which time hopefully more scientific minds will be in charge of the USGA.
What do you need? You do need a relatively new driver; anything made in the last three years where MOI and COR were design considerations: any Taylormade R7/9, Callaway FT-3/5/9/i or Diablo series, Ping G (or I or K) 10/15, Nike Sumo or Cleveland Hi-Bore. There have been substantial technological improvements in drivers and their shafts in the last few years. You need a new driver. Everything else is . . . hmmm. . . . Horse Hockey.
Try a 21 or 22 degree hybrid. If you like it, buy it.
You might want fresh wedges if you play a lot (more than 120 rounds per year) and are among the rare amatuers who actually hit the ball past the hole and want it to back up. (Yelling "BITE" at a bladed, head-high lob wedge doesn't count) Wedges do wear out with extremely heavy use: like hitting balls every day or playing more than 300 rounds a year for three or four years. Ask yourself how many times a round you say "Man, I wish that would have backed up." If the answer is never then you don't need new wedges. For most of us, wedges will last as long as the rest of the set.
Finally, look at the putters: A Scotty Cameron is a $300 knock-off of a $75 Ping Anser. For $300 bucks, I better never miss and you know that's not the case. Most of the high end putters are expensive versions of Ping, Ray Cook and other old putters.
The Hot List is designed to get you interested in new clubs, which is fine if you can afford them. If not, your old clubs or some new-to-you clubs you got on eBay or at the golf shop are fine. This spring, regrip everything, get a lesson from a PGA pro and smoke the poseur with the shiny new clubs.
Q: What about replacing wedges?
O.K., there's a LOT of misinformation out there mostly from companies that want you to buy new wedges; remember that the ball spends only a tiny fraction of a second on the club face. Here's the short version:
Grooves, square or otherwise DO NOT influence a full-swing shot out of the fairway where there is direct club-to-ball contact. The finish on the face, machine swirls or bead-blasting, DOES.
Grooves are irrelevant out of the sand on a explosion shot (they never touch the ball).
Grooves DO come into play when there is light fringe, the grooves channel away moisture (which of course, does not compress) on and in the grass as it's smushed by the club into the ball, much like the grooves on your tires channel water when the road is wet.
In thick rough (grass greater than a couple of inches long) grooves have no effect because there's too much "stuff" between the face and the ball at impact. That's why the recent rule change by the USGA regarding square grooves is simply ignorant. If the USGA really wanted to address the issue of good players spinning the ball out of light rough, the simple answer was grow the rough a little longer. It would have been cheap and nothing gets banned. (This is the third time in the last few years that the USGA dropped the ball, the first being lack of regulation of the ball itself; the second being the COR rule which should have been set to zero.)
So when the machined or blasted area of your wedges disappears, it might be time for retumbling or bead-blasting or perhaps new wedges. More importantly, are you good enough to notice an effect? Only pros and low handicapers would be able to notice any difference. Some top players prefer slightly worn wedges because they don't cause the ball to come zipping back when they play in moist conditions. For 99% of the golfers, wedges need not be replaced any more often than the rest of the set. Ignore the hype and use the money to take a lesson or two.
Finally, remember a groove sharpener is waste of money and makes your clubs non-conforming, or in more coloquial terms, "cheating."
What about the new USGA groove regulations?
As mentioned above, the USGA changed the groove specifications for clubs with more than 25 degrees of loft. (from approximately 5-iron on up). What they have effectively done is make every iron set and wedge set presently playing non-conforming for USGA events (apparently, growing the grass longer for skilled players was not an option). While there is a phase-in period and all previously conforming sets are "legal" for local play, they will not be legal for USGA tournament play and for those local tournaments which follow USGA tournament rules beginning January 1, 2011. It is unknown if any older sets from the 60's, 70's and 80's which did not have square grooves, are conforming.
Note that this regulation, because of the settlement agreement with Ping, does not apply to Ping Eye2s (but it does to Eye2+s). Ping may or may not have caved in on this by separate agreement with the PGA Tour and the USGA in 2010.
I'm going to add a few more questions soon.
I hope all this helps. Check back as I do edit these guides occasionally. Send your questions but remember that because of eBay security policies, I can't always respond to individual questions. I will try at least once or twice. If I don't get back to you, look for your answer in this guide. I am working on a section about Ping kid's clubs.