Christmas Eve 2002 looked to be a slow night in the office for John "Doc" Souza, a jack-of-all-trades at Ping for the past 23 years. He'd just been visited by the scourge of golfers past and present: the yips. And then inspiration struck -- make a putter so large that it had to stay on-line. Souza sketched the basic shape that night and had Ping machinists cut it from a sheet of aluminum. The guys slapped on a shaft and rolled some putts. That first iteration was stable as a table, we're told, if a wee bit large -- a foot long from heel to toe.
Eighteen months and 30 prototypes later, Ping introduced Souza's first putter design, the USGA-conforming Doc17. It comes in 2Ã‚Â° upright lie to 2Ã‚Â° flat, from 30 to 45 inches. $220; 800-474-6434 or pinggolf.com
1) The club's milled aluminum face extends just over 6Ã‚Â½ inches, or about 17 centimeters -- hence the name Doc17. Ping preferred a still-larger version but the USGA ruled that putters must not be longer than seven inches from heel to toe.
2) A nickel-plated finish diminishes glare. Two exterior bars draw your eyes to the ball, while the center bar aids alignment.
3) Doc17's enormous one-piece head (shown actual size) offers extreme perimeter weighting, but it's just 7 percent heavier than a G2 Anser.
Doctoring the Doc
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