Having used Ping putters for most of my career, I am always excited to hear that the brand has released a new range, and so when the chance came to try out the new Heppler putters, I couldn't wait to find out more.
The putters are named after a guy called Rick Heppler, who was considered to be one of Ping's very first employees, helping to build putters in the Solheim family garage all the way back in the 1960s.
Rick continued to work for Ping for many years until he passed away, and so the brand decided to pay tribute to his efforts and dedication by giving him his own range. A typically classy touch from a classy company.
So that's the back story. Now let's take a closer look...
What's It All About?
This range of putters is going to run alongside the existing Sigma 2 range from Ping, which provides a softer feel thanks to its True Roll groove technology.
The Hepplers are aimed at golfers seeking a firmer impact and sound with the short-stick, thanks to a machined face which is either aluminium or steel depending on the model.
The choice of either an aluminium body/steel face or a steel body/aluminium face is positioned deliberately in order to get the centre of gravity in the correct position to maximise forgiveness and consistency in that head.
The face has no grooves this time around, it's just flat, milled and simple. Ping say that they conducted plenty of testing on this, and found that the acoustics of this putter made it easier for the golfers to recognise where they'd struck the ball on the face whilst also increasing confidence.
Throughout their long history Ping have become well-known as pioneers in the golf industry, and this seems set to continue thanks to the adjustments made to their adjustable-length shaft technology.
The shaft comes in a new black chrome finish and has created a firmer feel to the previous incarnation, which some golfers felt was a little lightweight.
Using the adjustment tool in the top of the grip, the length can be adjusted between 32 and 36 inches, allowing golfers to fine-tune in order to fit their own stroke and posture.
There are four different Ping grip designs, all different weights and shapes, which allow golfers to pick the style that feels best for them and their stroke.
There are nine different models in the Heppler range, from simple Anser blades to high-MOI mallets. We got our hands on three different style putters and 'putt' them through their paces:
The Tomcat features 14 alignment dots inspired by airport runway lights which remind me of previous Odyssey putters, and a large mallet shape which provides the highest MOI in the range. These dots get closer together as you move backwards in the head which simulate motion and help with alignment and path.
This fang-shaped putter is comprised of 2/3 steel weight, thanks to a thicker back flange, which moves the CG further back in the head to raise the MOI. The copper front section gives the impression that this is an Anser-style, but with the additional stability of the two prongs from the toe and heel.
This is the classic blade-style putter that we all know and love, complete with the usual heel-toe weighting. This all-steel putter has a copper-coloured face and topline, which makes it a little easier to line up and the black back makes it seem a little more compact.
John K. Solheim, Ping President, commented:
With the Heppler series, we're providing golfers a firmer-feeling putter in highly forgiving models to ensure a choice that fits their stroke and eye. We've chosen a very precise manufacturing process that has significantly advanced our ability to create high-MOI mid-mallets and mallets by combining aerospace-grade aluminium with steel.
The contrasting copper and black finish provides alignment cues and a visually appealing, premium look that's attracting a lot of interest on tour.
Fitting continues to be an important part of our putter technology as well. We've made improvements to the feel of our adjustable-length shaft technology and the new putters are available to fit every stroke type so golfers can find a putter to match their stance and stroke.
Ping Heppler Putters Review
Let's start with the looks, and the word that springs to mind is 'fancy'. With the black and copper head, which I believe is more to do with cosmetics than actual performance, you will definitely be picking these putters up in the Pro Shop!
I'm a huge fan of putters which have black grips, shafts and heads, ever since seeing Tyrrell Hatton's Batman model in the Ping Factory a few years a go. They just look so premium and smart.
To start with, I did hit a few putts past the hole as the firmer feel and slightly heavier shaft came into play, but I soon got the hang of the speed of the greens and adjusted to the more solid impact.
The Tomcat 14 Putter was very good and gave me plenty of confidence, particularly on the left to right and straight putts where the dots made it really easy to line the ball up and commit to the stroke as well as looking great from address.
Across all three models I found that there was a good level of forgiveness. My pace was certainly good with all three, and even if I didn't quite strike the ball as I'd wanted it would only finish a few feet short of the pin from long range, despite the fact that the greens weren't at their quickest being in January.
The firm face here also helped with being a little more aggressive on those longer putts, and getting the ball all the way to the hole. Given the fact that most amateur golfers leave their putts short, this is a good sign.
On short putts the Tyne 3 and Tomcat 14 were excellent, as alignment was easy and the head and face just seemed to remain nice and square throughout the stroke.
Whilst I usually love the Anser shape I actually found that the new copper and black colourway meant that the black back section almost seemed to disappear down by the ball, which made the whole putter seem thinner than usual.
Thank the lord, it seems that the Heppler Putters have finally seen the days of quality headcovers returning! Putters are often softer and more prone to getting knocked, so we need to take care of them.
These putters are priced at £250 (Anser 2) and £275 (Tomcat 14 and Tyne 3) so there's no excuses for manufacturers to be scrimping on them. Having a fur lining adds a premium touch, and the magnet closure is so much better than Velcro and should also stop you losing it quite so easily.
Now time for my favourite invention EVER!
Ping's adjustable shaft technology is just so easy to use. Just insert the tool at the top of the grip and twist to increase or reduce the length of the shaft. Whilst I was experimenting during testing the grip did not twist once, and the marks on the shafts made it so easy to set the length exactly where you wanted.
This is pure genius as you can try a variety of different lengths to decide which works best for you, and the other bonus is that if you're buying or selling one, you don't have to worry about finding the right size! Great job Ping.
Ping Heppler Putters Verdict
The copper and black colour scheme on the Heppler putters gives this range a classy and premium finish, and there are a few people at the Golfalot office queuing up to give them a go!
I can only imagine that this reflects how popular these will be when they are released, as I think they'll be among the best looking putters of 2020.
Going into the review I thought that the Anser 2 would be my favourite, but the already-thin profile was exaggerated further by the colour scheme.
So I was torn between the Tomcat 14 and the Tyne 3. The performance between the two was pretty similar but I was leaning towards the fang shape of the Tyne 3 as it seemed to still look like the familiar Anser shape from address, but the stability of the two prongs gave me a little more confidence to boot.
It also sat a little flatter, which suits me, and during my testing I seemed to be making more putts with the Tyne 3 than the other two models - and at the end of the day that's really what it's all about.
On the slower winter greens these putters were also ideal. I don't mind a firmer face as I already use a soft ball, but be wary if you use a firmer golf ball or play most of your golf on fast greens, as you may find your putts racing by the hole to begin with.
The two main things for me with putters is looking good and giving you the confidence to make putts. With nine models available in the Ping Heppler range, I'm sure you can find a model that will certainly help you do just that. This range is certainly one add to your testing list.
- Classy looking
- Variable options in head
- Adjustable shaft
- Firm face might not be for you
- Price could put people off