Ping Doc 17 Putter

February 19, 2007

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 2° upright lie to 2° flat, from 30 to 45 inches. $220; 800-474-6434 or

1) The club’s milled aluminum face extends just over 6½ 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
Left to right:

  •   the first Doc prototype, 12 inches across
  •   the first Doc22 prototype
  •   the Doc22 prototype head submitted for USGA approval (denied)
  •   the current Doc17.