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Spotted: Ping G400 Driver

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Update: We captured in-hand photos of the Ping G400 driver at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. We also captured photos of Ping’s new G400 Fairway Woods, Hybrids and Crossover, as well as Bubba’s custom G400 driver (see end of the story). 

A new driver from Ping, the G400, has landed on the USGA’s Conforming Club List and is on the range at the U.S. Open. As in previous Ping driver releases, the driver is listed on the USGA Conforming Club List in three different models:

  • G400: 9 and 10.5 degrees (RH and LH)
  • G400 LST: 8.5 and 10 degrees (RH and LH)
  • G400 SFT: 10 and 12 degrees (RH and LH)

In previous Ping launches, LST stood for “Low Spin Technology,” while SFT stood for “Straight Flight Technology.” Those two specialty driver models from Ping have served to meet the needs of a minority golfers who need to reduce spin (LST) or add additional draw bias (SFT) to their tee shots, while the standard model (G400) meets the needs of the majority.

USGA Photo: Ping G400 Driver

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USGA Photo: Ping G400 LST Driver

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USGA Photo: Ping G400 SFT Driver

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Ping isn’t commenting on the new drivers at this time, but it’s clear that the company has made several important changes compared to its current driver line, the Ping G.

Each of the three G400 drivers appear to have a tungsten weight on their soles, a design that was last seen in a Ping driver in its i25 driver. The addition of the weights to the back of the driver’s sole in previous models helped push weight lower and deeper in the club head, improving moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness that’s predictive of a driver’s ability to retain ball speed on mishits.

It’s also clear from that photos that Ping will carry on its “Vortec” aerodynamics package on the back of the driver, which in the G drivers worked synergistically with the company’s Turbulators, or “speed humps,” on the driver crown that helped reduce drag to improve swing speed.

The G400 drivers also appear to use dimples on the back portion of their crowns, which are equipped with ribbed structures known in the G drivers as “Dragonfly Technology.” Ping says Dragonfly improves structural stability and enhances weighting properties for more distance. As in golf balls, dimples on golf clubs can be used to improve aerodynamics.

We also captured photos of a G400 driver that could be used by Bubba Watson this week at Erin Hills.

Related: See more photos of Ping’s G400 Drivers, Fairway Woods, Hybrids and Crossover in our forum. 

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34 Comments

  1. Jose Pro Se

    Jun 22, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Ok Zak, Bubba is playing a practical joke on you.

    That’s pan dulce. Good one Bubba.

    I’m not buying the pink jaw breaker trick either.

  2. SoonerSlim

    Jun 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve always liked Ping clubs, but won’t be buying any new metal woods anytime soon. Clubhead is way too busy for me. I like an clean looking driver head. I seriously doubt that all that fancy technology makes that much difference in distance if you hit the middle of the clubface. Sorry Ping. If I buy one of your drivers, it will be a previous version with a clean looking clubhead.

  3. Orvill

    Jun 14, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Pinky Pingy Pimpy

  4. Ill take the other

    Jun 13, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    PingXG 0811X!!!!!

  5. KCCO

    Jun 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    busy……i like the head cover;)

  6. BigBoy

    Jun 13, 2017 at 2:00 am

    If it comes with a blow off valve, I’ll buy it.

  7. CrashTestDummy

    Jun 12, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    It is really ugly but if it hits quality golf shots over and over again, then it doesn’t matter. Function over fashion.

  8. Anthony

    Jun 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    If you made that in your garage, you would be a very wealthy person….

  9. Deegee

    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    It will be 1/2 % faster, have better dragon flies, turbulence turbulators…and mugs will spend spend spend on a product that’s no friggin different to last year. These manufacturers are B.S.

  10. Old Putter

    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I know this will never happen but….
    How bout a lie a lil flatter than 58*

  11. ooffa

    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    No, you are taking it the wrong way. I think you are great. I love your posts. It’s very rare to get to watch someone spiral downward so quickly. I wish i could help you get past this obvious tragic portion of your life. Unfortunately I cannot, so I am just observing your decline into delusion.

  12. Prut

    Jun 12, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Are the turbulators bigger?

  13. The Dude

    Jun 12, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    let’s get some numbers…….with the Volvik please..

  14. Egor

    Jun 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    My TaylorMade rep and I spent the day sipping mimosas and laughing at how hard Ping is trying to play catch up to the best club manufacturer in the world. Wild clubhead graphics are so 2014. If Ping would just get with the times, they might have a small chance of getting close to the greatness that is TaylorMade.

    • Alec

      Jun 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Ummmmmmmmmmm ok

    • Barry

      Jun 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Yea so that’s a complete lie. Taylormade is not a great company… they screwed themselves by having such a short product release cycle and ruined their reputation with green grass facilities. I know many courses that don’t carry Taylormade because it is a waste of money on inventory when they know they will have to discount it to sell it. They make decent clubs but throw money at the tour pros to play it. That’s the only reason that they are so “popular”

    • Desmond

      Jun 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      I think you drank a few too many…

    • LC

      Jun 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Egor, for one you were “sipping” mimosas (lose credibility there)… I am not against TM but Ping is up TM’s you know what as far as technology goes.

    • Count Dracula

      Jun 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Well said, my humble servant

      • SlapMyForehead

        Jun 13, 2017 at 9:21 pm

        ….. LC, Desmond, Barry have drunk too many… of each other’s Koolaids. You guys would be a hoot at a party not.

    • Boyo

      Jul 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      TM hahahaahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
      How long till they go under?
      The biggest bunch of bullshirt artists out of all of them….

  15. SH

    Jun 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Pretty soon somebody will bring out a driver with a cover that has the dimples from a golf ball. After all, we all know the ball is the most aerodynamically efficient design there is. Why tease us like this, Ping?

  16. xjohnx

    Jun 12, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    MOI is a measurement of the ability to resist twisting. Does it also have an effect on ball speeds or is that a mistake? Not calling you out, just asking.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks for the question, xjohnx. Yes, there is a direct correlation between the amount of twisting and ball speed retention. The less twisting, generally, the more ball speed.

  17. Tom1

    Jun 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    awww the co0lor pink, it brings out the best in all of us……

  18. Phil

    Jun 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Sweet Nike Vapor Flex 2017!

  19. LOLyoucantbereal

    Jun 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I would like to think you are kidding, but there are people in life that do not get it, that is why others succeed.

  20. ND Hickman

    Jun 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Now if they could sell the Bubba version at a reasonable price I’ll upgrade from my G30. Stick to pricing it higher than Callaway charge for the already ridiculous priced Epic’s then you’ve lost a sale.

  21. KC

    Jun 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

    That pink driver will look great in Bubba’s den as he watches the 3rd and 4th rounds of the US Open from home.

    • BMF

      Jun 13, 2017 at 8:08 am

      Belive it or not, i had a dream of bubba sending missiles all over the place after i read your comment. Even duffed afew shots. Lmao!

  22. drkviol801

    Jun 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Those turbulators are sick though

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing both boutique brands and major OEMs and why the former “trail the OEMs in drivers and woods”. WRXer ‘gr8 flopshot’, who plays a bag full of boutique clubs bar woods, poses the question and it’s got our members talking in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • DaRiz: “Irons, wedges, and putters don’t change much, and for all the technology OEMs try to pack in there, it’s more about how they look and feel. So boutique can fit in nicely here. Drivers/FW, on the other hand, definitely benefit from the millions of dollars in R&D, and it is probably really hard to compete. You can argue that COR is maxed out, but the tiny changes in launch conditions, spin rates, and forgiveness add up.”
  • MattM97: “One reason why I and most other lefties don’t go boutique is options. At least with OEM’s for drivers and most woods we get the most of what is released, some versions and loft we don’t get but better than nothing. I’m not against boutique; I love my putters, I love the look of a lot of wedges, I would absolutely love a set of Japanese forged CB irons one day. Just woods I’ll stick to OEM options.”
  • sniper: “The Wishon 560’s I had built years ago were as good (or better) as anything I’ve had. My current set of MP-18SC’s and Wishon’s are the best feeling irons I’ve played. Both came from a club builder and not built by the OEM. Obviously on the Wishon’s.”
  • RogerInNewZealand: “Genuinely good point. It’s like why we buy JDM, Yonex Ezone 420…and the famed J33 Bridgestone driver from long ago! T.E.E is another one..always a surprise there. With your wood/driver if your sorted that’s fine! You don’t have to bag an exotic club to hit fairways.”

Entire Thread: “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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