Joel Tadman tests out the clever adjustability system and performance of the new Ping Sigma 2 ZB 2, Fetch and Valor putters
Ping has been looking to improve its standing in the putter market for a while now and hopes the Sigma 2 range will help make up some ground on the leading competitors.
We were sent the new ZB 2, Valor and Fetch models to test at Burghley Park Golf Club and having done so, we’re confident you’ll be as impressed as us.
Before you try them out, you need to choose the length that feels most comfortable and this is much easier to do with the Sigma 2 range. We did this during a recent Ping putter fitting and discovered what felt the most comfortable over the ball was nearly an inch longer than what we were currently using. So don’t always assume you use a certain length.
The beauty of the Sigma 2 putters is that you can make subtle adjustments to the putter’s length until you settle on what feels the best – there are markings on the shaft to tell you which length you’ve chosen.
The new system also has a much cleaner look with no metal ring on the bottom of the grip like we saw on the Sigma G range. It also ensures the grip doesn’t twist while adjusting the length, another flaw of the system on the Sigma G putters.
Strike a few putts and the soft feel is noticeable. They strike the perfect balance of feeling soft, with a muted sound that’s almost inaudible on very short putts, while feeling solid and still getting the ball rolling with good speed.
You don’t want a soft feel to come with having to hit the putts harder, which can lead to inconsistency due to the longer stroke required, and this certainly isn’t the case here. It’s unquestionably softer than the Vault 2.0 putters and while some may prefer a firmer feel, it comes as a feature here with seemingly no side effects.
The ball did seem to come of the face of the Fetch a little quicker than the ZB 2, but with more meat behind the face this is to be expected and takes a few putts to adjust to.
The ball-retrieval feature on the Fetch is clever and certainly works, although you are required to push down quite hard into the cup to get the ball to stick and consequently, it takes a similar amount of effort to pop it out of the hole afterwards.
Additionally, there isn’t much room to spare when sliding it into the hole, so it can be easy to knock the side of the hole and scuff the edges of the putter. But if you’ve got a bad back and don’t mind your putter not looking pristine, the Fetch is an excellent option – especially considering the forgiveness it provides and the alignment assistance from the ball-shaped hole behind the face. Lee Westwood has put it in play recently and had some good results with it, although doesn’t use it to get his ball out of the hole, not yet anyway.
With it’s elongated white sightline contrasting sharply with the black flange, the Valor (above) provides the most aim assistance and stability. We tested the face-balanced option but it apparently also comes in mid-toe hang option to help the transition for blade users who want a more forgiving putter that’s easier to align.
For our rotational stroke and pull tendency, the ZB 2 was the standout performer. It offers a little more stability than the original ZB, which seems tiny by comparison, and the line on top was more infinitely effective than the dot for alignment although was a little too reflective in bright sunlight.
Consistency of ball speed was impressive across all of the models we tested, as was the shape, size and feel of the PP60 grip we tested.
With nine different head shapes to choose from and the simple length adjustability, Ping’s Sigma 2 range should certainly be worth your consideration if you’re looking to change your putter.