PING's Color Coding System debuted in 1972 to help golfers buy clubs that fit. PING founder Karsten Solheim developed his system after having success fitting professional golfers, according to the company's website. The system helps club fitters match the clubs' shaft lengths and lie angles to a golfer's height and swing. The lie angle is the relationship between the sole of the club and the shaft, measured in degrees. PING puts a colored dot on each club so you can identify the setup of each club.
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The color coding system includes 12 colors, representing lie angles that are spaced 0.75 degrees apart. Each color code represents how upright or flat the lie angle of the club head will be on your custom clubs. Colors range from maroon, which is 4.5 degrees upright, to black, which is neutral, to gold, which is 3.75 degrees flat.
The lie angle is important because the club's sole should sit flat at address, and the proper lie angle depends on the height and swing of a particular golfer. If a club is set up too upright, shots might start more to the left than desired because the heel of the club could strike first and turn the head over. Clubs that are too flat tend to send the ball right because ground impact closer to the toe could open the club face.
Upright Setup Colors
For upright setups, maroon is the extreme, at 4-1/2 degrees upright from neutral. From there, silver is upright by 3-3/4 degrees, white by 3 degrees, green by 2-1/4 degrees, yellow by 1-1/2 degrees and blue by 0.75 degrees.
Black is the color for a neutral setup. Don't believe that standard is fine for you until you've met with a club-fitter familiar with PING clubs. Even if you're of average height, your posture and normal ball position could mean you should use irons with a nonstandard setup.
Flat Setup Colors
Gold represents the flattest setup at 3-3/4 degrees from neutral. From there, brown is flat by 3 degrees, orange by 2-1/4 degrees, purple by 1-1/2 degrees and red by 0.75 degrees.
If you buy a set of used PING irons that need adjusting, the lie angle can be bent to proper position. Club-fitters interviewed at Edwin Watts and GolfSmith say PING irons are often shipped back to PING for adjustment because the iron's material is hard to bend. PING will re-color the dot to indicate the new setup.