From Golf Magazine (August, 2010)
In 1967, Ping received a patent for its breakthrough Anser putter. It's also the last time that the company sold forged irons (100 Anser sets). The new Anser, a forged multi-material iron, is designed to raise Ping's profile among avid single-digit handicappers in Japan, Korea and other Asian markets. (Ping iron sales in Asia are relatively weak by Ping's U.S. standards). Of course, Ping expects its share of converts in the States, too. The U.S. version, for the record, has an identical head design as the Asian model, the same shaft length, a 1-degree weaker loft per club, and the Project X shaft.
As expected, the clubhead materials and overall design package contribute to a softer, quieter impact sensation. The forged "8620 carbon steel" clubface is thick behind the hitting area, similar to a muscleback blade, while a "support bar" (just below the oval "custom tuning port") connects the face to the back flange. A heavy tungsten-nickel sole (22 percent of clubhead mass) serves many functions, too: It dampens vibration more so than less-dense metals (aka steel), shifts the club's center of gravity more rearward (to increase ball trajectory), and boosts overall forgiveness. The forgiveness bit ties into a hollow cavity (behind the lower portion of the face) that redistributes 30 grams away from the face. The Anser has forgiveness qualities that are similar to the i15's, but the Anser looks cleaner, feels noticeably smoother, produces more spin on short irons and flies slightly lower in the long irons.
From The Shop blog (March, 2010)
MIAMI — Two weeks ago in Phoenix, before the start of the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale, several Ping staff players had a chance to see, hit and learn about the new Anser irons.
Matt Rollins, a Ping tour representative, said Monday, "The clubs are as forgiving as our i15 irons, but they are a little sleeker looking and they've got the word 'Forged' on the back, which we've never had."
For gearheads and Ping fans, that single word, forged, will raise eyebrows.
Ping has always made cast irons, a process that involves creating extremely-detailed molds and then filling them with liquid metal to create the clubheads. (Click here to see a video showing how Ping casts clubs.)
To make forged irons, a piece of metal is heated and then hammered or pressed into shape.
"We've been talking about making a forged iron for while," Rollins said. "But for our guys, it's kind of funny. Once we put chrome on a cast club, people thought it was forged.
"They are only available in Japan right now," Rollins said. "They might release it in the United States later, but I don't know." He explained that in the Japanese market, irons need to be forged in order to be perceived as high quality. Irons that are not forged simply don't sell well.
While not a super game-improvement iron, the Anser irons feature plenty of perimeter weighting and tungsten in the sole to help players get the ball into the air more easily. The PING badge on the back of the club is a weight that can be changed as part of the fitting process.
As more information about the Ping Anser irons becomes available, we'll pass it on.
$1,440, steel, ping.com