From GOLF Magazine (July, 2012)
Nome 405 Belly; $300
Ping’s Nome 405 Belly (405 refers to head weight) is the industry’s first USGA-conforming, adjustable-length belly putter. The cool part is that it allows you to fine-tune shaft length between 37.5” and 46.5” in increments of 0.01”. The goal, of course, is to achieve a setting that gets your eyes directly over or slightly “inside” the ball, regardless of where you anchor the putter to your body. This Nome is 50 grams heavier overall (750 grams) than Ping’s other belly putters due to the stainless steel locking mechanism and overlapping shaft. (Ping uses graphite in the grip end of the shaft so that the club isn’t unmanageably heavy.) Frankly, a marginally heavier belly putter can be an asset—additional mass, and inertia, should help boost stability and consistency, since more force is required to swing the club off line.
The aluminum-headed Nome 405 Belly has hosel configurations to suit three stroke types—Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc. That’s significant because Ping’s research reveals that belly putters encourage more swing arc (rotation) than “traditional-length” putters, which causes the clubface to open and close more. Most importantly, however, the Nome 405 Belly’s telescoping shaft represents a new frontier in consumer friendly putter designs. After all, the technology is well suited to belly lengths and to traditional-length putters (say, 32” to 37”), which account for the vast majority of sales. Ping was noncommittal when we inquired about possible plans involving traditional-length adjustable putters. Either way, you can expect others to pursue this design platform in the near future.
Mahan has used traditional, heel-toe weighted blade putters throughout his professional career, but while working on the practice green Monday with Matt Rollins, a Ping rep, Mahan discovered that his alignment was off with his old putter. A laser attached to Mahan's putter revealed that when he thought he was aiming at the hole, he was actually aiming slightly left.
Rollins and Mahan experimented with a few different models in hopes of finding one that would improve his aim while still pleasing his eye at address.
The Nome, a mallet made from aluminum with two tungsten weights added to the bottom-rear section, proved to be perfect for Mahan. It has a higher moment of inertia than Mahan's previous putters, and the face-balanced model he selected enhances his fairly straight putting stroke.
The laser showed that Mahan aimed the Nome perfectly, which isn't surprising because it features a black piece on the crown with a white alignment line that stretches from the middle of the face to the back of the putter.
"Basically, I'm aiming where I think I'm supposed to be aiming," Mahan said on Friday after defeating Steve Stricker in the third round. "Before I was aiming a little more left than I thought, so I was kind of pushing my putts. I wasn't getting a true roll and a true read."
The Nome should start arriving in pro shops in the first week of April. If he putts like he did in Tucson, Mahan might win his first major that week too.