Need To Know
Angel Cabrera's performance in the closing stages of the US Masters is probably the best example yet that Ping has upped its game in terms of quality equipment in this its 50th year of production.
The Argentinian's S57 irons were used to great effect at Augusta, proving a significant improvement on the two previous S models, but it was his wedge-play that ultimately proved significant as he chipped stiff at the 71st hole, then managed to get up and down from 100 yards to stay in the play-off.
Clearly, Ping has worked hard on updating the line, with the slightly tired looking Tour wedge (one that appeared to be the missing piece of the S58 set) being revamped and replaced by the stunning Tour-W. Unsurprisingly, this short-game wand perfectly matches the equally gorgeous S57s and proved perfect for the tight lies and treacherous bunkers of Augusta National.
But as with the irons, looks and playability go hand in hand. I must admit that although I have always loved using Ping wedges, I often found their appearance a little clunky and uninspiring. This isn't the case with the Tour-W wedge.
The similar brushed, non reflective steel finish and compact head as the irons gives the club a look of quality and set behind the ball it gives a comfortable feel. There is nothing to distract the eye, nothing unusual about the classic teardrop shape, just a neat white line to help with alignment.
And once you make good contact, you'll be sold on it. The reason I always enjoy Ping wedges is the massive amounts of spin they effortlessly generate, and the Tour W is no different in that respect. Best of all, the club seems immune to the debilitating effects of long grass, damp rough or heavy sand, producing controlled shots from all sorts of situations.
The Ping Tour-W wedge looks like an extension of the S57 irons range. Thankfully, it also plays like it. The tungsten weight in the toe and the small cavity helps ensure a reassuring solidity at impact, while the distinctive polymer insert on the rear helps quieten vibrations and optimise the CG to produce lovely penetrating shots.
There is plenty of forgiveness and I also found it particularly good from bunkers, with a sole that Ping describes as 'aggressive', proving remarkably adaptable. You can lay it open, you can nip the ball… however you want to play it, the Tour-W can handle it.
One of the strongest elements of the wedge is the massive array of options available. Thirteen different loft and bounce combinations are on offer, so whether you're a steep-swinging parkland player (use more bounce to prevent digging) or a links player who sweeps the ball (play less bounce to prevent skidding off the surface) you can the build the perfect short-game arsenal for your course and your swing.
Whether or not you're considering a set of Ping S57 irons, these will compliment your game perfectly. Modern, stylish, hugely versatile and perfectly engineered, the Tour-W is a classy wedge that will not disappoint.