Ping doesn't make a golf ball. They're one of the few major manufacturers who don't have skin in that segment of the equipment category. Couple that with the company's long-standing commitment to properly fitting players for their equipment, and Ping seems like a brand who could make golf-ball recommendations to players with crediblity.
Realizing this, Ping has developed an online ball-fitting tool called Ballnamic, which is positioned as an unbiased and brand-agnostic tool to make recommendations to players based in Ping's own ball-specific flight models and performance algorithms. The idea is for a golfer to provide data on how their driver, 7-iron and wedges perform and get recommendations on which of any of 40 ball models in Ballnamic's repertoire fit best.
Ping is charging $39 for the online fitting, returning a detailed fitting report with the five best matches for a player. The database will update as new models are released and others are tweaked. The service is only available in the United States, and Ping will allow fitting facilities to license use of the app.
“Ballnamic represents our never-ending quest to innovate every variable of the custom-fitting experience,” said John K. Solheim, Ping President.
“We’ve been studying golf balls since the early days of PING when my grandfather, Karsten Solheim, quickly recognized the ball was the ‘tuning fork’ for golf equipment. Our extensive knowledge library and engineering expertise led us down the ball-fitting path, and we’re excited to bring it to both fitters and consumers. The access golfers have to their data through launch monitors and other tools continues to grow and make advancements like Ballnamic possible. Since we’re not in the golf-ball business, we’re able to conduct independent testing and offer this unbiased tool as another service for golfers to help improve their enjoyment of the game.”
Robot testing generated the data set from which Ballnamic recommendations are based, including testing in both wet and dry conditions. As it turns out, golf balls perform differently at launch, boring through the air and in their descent. Ballnamic seeks to connect players with total performance that fits their game.
The user is asked to provide information that estimates launch conditions and distances with the driver, 7-iron and wedges. Golfers are also asked to share their desired performance on ball flight and spin and how it might differ from their gamer ball. The questions are easy, and with a mobile-first interface, a golfer can quickly get through the survey.
Once the five recommended balls are shared, a user can view modeled ball flight performance in calm and windy conditions based on their estimated ball flight and location.
“We’ve been using Ballnamic to custom fit our guests at the PING Proving Grounds for the last several months,” said Ping's Marty Jertson, who oversaw the development of Ballnamic.
“It’s been eye-opening to see the impact that different balls have on dialing in someone’s fitting recommendations. While Ballnamic provides useful information as a stand-alone tool, we’ve also seen the benefits of combining club and ball fitting. For example, using Ballnamic we’ve seen optimization benefits in players achieving greater distance while using a higher-lofted driver with better-matched golf balls. Our goal is to help golfers in working to match the best ball to their game, so they can have the most success on the golf course.”