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Ping claims smaller is better with its new G400 drivers

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In general, the larger a driver measures in size, the more forgiving it will be. On the flip side, the smaller it measures, the faster you’ll be able to swing it because it will have less drag through space. For golf club engineers, the puzzle is to design a driver that has the ultimate forgiveness, but it also needs to reduce drag, or air friction, to produce the maximum speed possible.

Speed and forgiveness often oppose each other, but Ping believes it has engineered a driver that reduces the tradeoff between them.

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Ping’s new G400 drivers measure only 445 cubic centimeters — 15 cubic centimeters smaller than the now-standard 460-cubic-centimeter driver — but they’re even more forgiving than their predecessors, the G30 and G, both of which were industry leaders in forgiveness among their contemporaries. According to Ping, the company has managed 0.75 mph more club head speed and a 3 percent increase in MOI (a measure of forgiveness) with its new G400 drivers compared to its predecessors.

“We didn’t feel pressure to hit 460,” a Ping representative said. “Volume was a free variable for us… and we made it even more forgiving than the G. To be clear, this is not a Tour-only driver; it’s for everyone.”

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To boost forgiveness, Ping looked to improve its Dragonfly technology, which it introduced with the G drivers. As you might remember, the Dragonfly design is highlighted by raised portions on the rear of the crown that look something like bear claws. Their overall goal is to remove weight from unwanted areas. In the G400, Ping engineers were able to eliminate even more weight from the Ti-8-1-1 crowns, and the soles, too. The result was a smaller club head that created a 15 percent reduction in drag, according to Ping, leading to the increase in club head speed.

“we’re continuing to reduce drag, which is becoming harder to do.”

You may ask: “Instead of using Ti-8-1-1 titanium, why doesn’t Ping simply use carbon fiber like everyone else if they want to lower CG?”

According to Ping, the titanium material it uses is much better for casting, and it allows the crowns to be made as thin as Ping feels is necessary. Company representatives also say that carbon fiber crowns don’t save weight as efficiently as some may think due to the welding, epoxy, and other accomodations that are necessary when using the material. Ping prides itself on the casting process — Karsten Solheim, the founder of the company, was a pioneer in casting in the golf industry — and says it has created the thinnest crown in company history with the G400 drivers.

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By removing weight from where it’s not needed, Ping engineers were able to relocate it into the condensed back weight on the sole. Its copper-colored, and made of both elastomer and stainless steel. There are also tungsten weights — made of nearly pure Tungsten, according to Ping — in the driver soles that are located in different spots on the three different models for the three different trajectories they produce.

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  • SF Tec (10, 12 degrees): Tungsten is placed in the heel for 10-12 yards of draw bias, according to Ping.
  • Standard G400 (9 and 10.5 degrees): Tungsten is placed at the extreme rearward of the sole for maximum forgiveness and wide-spread appeal.
  • LS Tec (8.5 and 10 degrees): Tungtsen is placed more forward than the standard model, shifting center of gravity (CG) toward the face. This reduces spin, and encourages a penetrating flight. It also adds about 3 yards of fade bias. Ping says the G400 LS Tec is about 300 rpm lower spinning than the G LS Tec with the stock Alta CB shaft, and up to 500 rpm less spin with the Tour shaft, which 0.5 inches shorter.

The faces of the new Ping drivers are now made from T9S+ instead of the T9S material of its predecessors, they and have variable face thickness (VFT) to boost ball speeds on off-center hits. The new material is stronger and has 20 percent greater stretch, therefore, it can be made thinner and produce more ball speed at impact.

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Along with performance improvements, the company has also addressed concerns about the sound of its predecessors, which produced a higher-pitched sound than golfers wanted, especially the LS Tec. With a new virtual analysis system, Ping simulated sound frequencies without actually building a prototype. Using the new tool, Ping was able to dial in the exact sound it was looking to produce with each of the driver heads. This process is revolutionary for the company, it says, which used to build prototypes and test sound on the range via headphones. Ping engineers describe the sound of the new G400 drivers as “powerful, but muted.”

Further enhancing the overall experience of the drivers, Ping engineers also worked on visual aspects of the club head to better appeal to the eye of golfers. You’ll notice Ping’s Dragonfly technology on the crown now wraps around the back edge. Ping calls this an “infinity edge.” According to Ping, this aesthetic softens the edge and is more appealing to golfers at address. The G400 drivers also have Turbulators, or raised portions on their crowns, that sit directly behind the face. They have been thickened up, and dots have been added to the back of the crown. Neither of these changes have any aerodynamic qualities, but improve the look of the drivers, according to Ping.

Another interesting aesthetic change to the Ping G400 drivers is their stock shafts, which use a special paint application that looks different at address than it does on the shelf. By using paint that refracts light in different ways, the Ping Alta CB (counter-balance) shafts have a copper color when they’re looked at fro face on, but they appear to be all black at address. Ping also offers a Tour shaft as a stock offering, which comes in two weights (65 and 80 grams) and has stiffer profile for high-speed golfers. Aftermarket shaft offerings, which carry a $75 upcharge, include the Project X HZRDUS 75 (5.5, 6.0 and 6.5-Flex), Aldila X-Torsion (R and S Flex), and Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 60. Ping’s G400 drivers will sell for $435 per club with stock shafts, and they become available on July 27.

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Ping’s G400 drivers

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. AlbuquerqueDan

    Aug 4, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I hit the G400 on two different launch monitors over the last two weeks. I was very, very impressed both times. I am sure there is a lot of truth in the statements saying that driver head technology has maxed out, given the rules restrictions. However, different drivers have different looks, feels, and sounds. For me, the G400 looks great at address (very compact, muted black), feels tight and solid, and the low thud sounds better than any driver I’ve ever hit. As for launch monitor numbers, the G400 with the Tour 65 shaft easily beat the Epic and M2 and was marginally better than the M2 Draw. The G400 (for me) beat all the other drivers hands-down in the subjective categories (look, feel, sound) and performed equally well or better in the objective categories (spin, carry, accuracy).

  2. BrianM

    Jul 13, 2017 at 2:21 am

    p.s. The dragonfly design reminds me of the organic spaceship the “LEXX”

  3. BrianM

    Jul 13, 2017 at 2:16 am

    It’s a fine looking club and I like the idea of a smaller head. No hope for me though, as I’m a long way behind and still gaming a TM r7 425cc and W/S Ti Td5 385cc

  4. The Drop Zone

    Jul 11, 2017 at 9:48 am

    If this thing sells, hopefully Call or TM will go even lower with the cc (400ish)

  5. Matt

    Jul 11, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Looks nice but can’t picture it performing better on course than their last couple drivers. After drinking the marketing koolaid for the first time in years and bagging a gbb epic (best of the bunch for me), the penny dropped that these 2017 drivers are only slightly better than the early 460cc heads. A farkled out 2007 driver w/ nice shaft, shortened to 44″ and correctly lead taped swing weight will still be damn nice.

    • McPickens

      Jul 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      nailed it, I love blowing it by guys at my club with M1’s, M2’s, GBB’s, 917’s etc, and I’m using a TM R7 quad TP.

      • Double J

        Jul 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        Maybe try playing with guys at your skill level….

        • Matt

          Jul 11, 2017 at 6:43 pm

          Hey McPickens, yep took an old 9.5deg, 45″ R5 that I replaced two drivers ago (never dawned on me back then to modify it), down to the practice fairway recently. Hit it not far off the professionally fit 10.5deg Epic which is in turn about as easy to hit as my 3w. Shortened and lead weighted, the r5 would probably be a better club than I thought at the time; will be a little careful next time I’m tempted by the marketing brigade.

        • TheCityGame

          Jul 14, 2017 at 8:26 am

          Maybe try not drinking the Kool Aid.

  6. Rich Douglas

    Jul 11, 2017 at 12:41 am

    There’s nothing wrong with this. But there also is no discernable improvement over previous versions. The numbers claimed are tiny. There’s more variability in your swing than is found in this driver.

    How does this driver compel people to leave their current drivers (from Ping or other manufacturers)? How does this driver exceed its current-year competitors?

    Real advances in drivers:

    — Taylormade introduces the metal driver
    — Callaway Big Bertha pushes larger designs with bigger sweet spots
    — Titanium drivers
    — Adjustable weights
    — Adjustable everything else

    Because the USGA limited COR to .830 and the clubhead to 460cc, there’s not much room for manufacturers to innovate. Movable weights have added some potential distance gains, but even those are maxed out.

    The key to success with drivers–just as it is so with irons–is not in the latest version of the same technology. Rather, it is the fitting of the right clubs (and specs) for each player. Buying these Pings off the rack will not help you get there–beyond the help of the dot.

    • TJ Smithers

      Jul 12, 2017 at 1:23 am

      I agree, especially with the Ping line. They are all pressured to come up with the next greatest, longest, straightest clubs or no one will upgrade.. and to be clear, I dig the Ping line.

      But, not adjustable like the other brands and not that much different than the G line. Not offering adjustability isn’t betraying some golf trust… it’s just not wanting to spend the money to upgrade your current offering.

      Knowing these are 2 year product cycles, I wonder if this line up is strong enough to pull from what Callaway and Taylormade are offering. If not, it could be a long 2 years for Ping.

    • Boyo

      Jul 24, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Lot of club ho’s out there…..

  7. Dave R

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Still playing the g25 really like it,will have to try one when they arrive at the club I play. If it’s as good as the g25 or better then they have a winner.

  8. P Healey

    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I think it looks great. And on another note, why so many negative comments about new golf equipment? Strange that people come to a site based around golf equipment just to say how they do not believe it makes a difference.

  9. Tom Duckworth

    Jul 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Read some good reviews by people that have had the club for a few weeks now. I know I read somewhere that the small dots helped air to flow tighter to the head and have less turbulence.
    I like that the head is smaller love the understated looks. I don’t need a new driver right now but I will check these out. Ping makes honest equipment.

  10. ron

    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Well, it’s not.

  11. Ude

    Jul 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    a copper colored shaft changes into a potent black shaft to match the big black head = big man performance where it counts

    • Ude

      Jul 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      JESUS – new brand clubs that have great forgiveness for your sinfully bad golf shots

      • The Drop Zone

        Jul 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

        You like that big black head don’t cha

    • Boyo

      Jul 24, 2017 at 9:25 am

      It’s all about the shaft.
      “You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother (Shut your mouth)”

  12. Jim

    Jul 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    So-called improvements in golf gear are really not needed every year. It’s all about marketing and driving sales. Golf course sizes and dimensions were pretty much standardized in the last century (and before). If manufacturers want to make the game easier for the common man (like me), fine, just make the clubs easier to hit. Don’t “improve” clubs and the ball to the extent that courses have to continually be re-designed and stretched to accommodate the latest technology.

    • Logan

      Jul 11, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      “It’s all about marketing and driving sales.” Well duh…These companies must sell their products and make a profit to survive. They don’t make the clubs out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s a business.

    • Chris

      Jul 11, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Wow, that’s a real eye opener! Not. Companies need to drive sales and so they develop products and market it as new and improved, what a shocker.

  13. Cons

    Jul 10, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    These are clean! Best offering in years from Ping, IMO.

    • Norm

      Jul 10, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Strategic location of tungsten weights will make these G400s the best in the business.

      • FFS

        Jul 11, 2017 at 2:54 am

        What, you mean just moving the weights around a couple of millimeters every year just for the F of it? FFS!

  14. Jack Nash

    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve got a better idea. I’m gonna bring out my Chicago Classic Perssimon out of hibernation. It’s like 300cc’s. Outta be able to swing even faster as I watch the ball fly into the rough. Why don’t these OEM’s bother mentioning how long the driver shafts are? Momentum is really built up by length of shaft and swing arc. The club head is just merely a passenger in the swing.

    • FFS

      Jul 11, 2017 at 2:57 am

      No, you have to have mass at the end of the stick too, to have any effect on momentum. You can continuously lengthen the clubs all you want, there’s going to be a point of diminishing returns when you can’t swing it around on time. It’s better to have the proper balance of head weight and shaft length than just going lightheaded and light swing arcing with longer lengths, as long you can handle the heavier head set up

  15. Chuck

    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Count me as excited and intrigued. The only redeeming thing to me about a 460cc driver is that science tells me that it is straighter/more forgiving than a smaller head. I would love to swing a smaller head.

    First thing I will want to hear about, however, is the sound. Current Ping drivers are indeed notoriously straight. But they sound like garbage cans. I hope these sound different.

  16. Clay

    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Why so many negative comments every time a new driver comes out? And Ping only releases them every two years, it’s not like they just dropped a new driver on us last quarter. Maybe sitting behind a keyboard creates a road rage effect for some people.

    I personally think it looks fantastic and am looking forward to a sound/feel improvement. Not a Ping homer, my only Ping club is a Ketsch putter, but I have hit the G and my only complaint was sound and feel. Performance was outstanding.

  17. EEEHaun

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Maybe try reading all the way through the article to glean this information….

  18. Doug A

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Oh Boy are golf companies running out of things to market lol

  19. TK

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Can’t wait to see GolfWrx post the numbers on a head2head combat between the G400 / Epic + M1/M2.

    That’s when the truth will come out.

    • LDiamond

      Jul 10, 2017 at 11:43 am

      The truth? You mean the launch monitor champion? Is this also part of the “race to tour dominance”? Are you sitting at your keyboard with a little Epic/M1 jersey on and waving your banner cheering on your “team”?

  20. Big Richard Cox

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

    0.75 mph more clubhead speed! Can’t wait!!!!! I will be purchasing this driver with an extended warranty.

    • Robert Parsons

      Jul 11, 2017 at 11:43 am

      And that is so worth $399 or whatever they price it at! Hahaha

  21. ROY

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Any word on release dates??

  22. Regis

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Ping fans will gravitate towards it. Non Ping lovers-not so sure. To me that’s the measure of probability of success. The Epic and the M1/M2 before it got non brand fans to at least get out and try their ” revolutionary ” new technology

  23. kel meyler

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Very much doubt it will be an affordable price for the average club golfer

  24. Clubber Lover

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

    It pings… it zings… it dings… it wings… it rings… it sings… it tings… and it yings and yangs your balls all over the place …. G400 ….!!!
    (I’ll wait for the G800… which will talk to you and tell you how great you are… a macho brute … >:-(

  25. DaveyD

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Will be interesting to see the tests comparing these to the previous model line-up. I doubt any improvements will be earth-shattering, but who knows? Ping seems to be sitting behind TM and Callaway in the race to tour dominance.

  26. Philip

    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:43 am

    So now the beginning of tech going in circles truly begins. It will be interesting if this is just Ping (with truly unique advances) or everyone else reduces the sizes only to increase them 2-3 years in the future with a new claim for going back to 460cc …

  27. mr b

    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

    looks real solid. still gaming the g30 ls as i didn’t see enough improvement #’s wise to justify switching to the G Ls. maybe this one will finally kick out the g30!

    • EricM

      Jul 10, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Same here mr b. May sound strange to some, but I’m not looking for more forgiveness than I get with the G30 LS, so I didn’t go to the G series, still want a driver I can work at least a little. Of course the G400 does look interesting, could always use the three wood when I need to work the ball.

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Whats in the Bag

Kevin Na’s winning WITB: 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge

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Driver: Callaway GBB Epic (9 degrees)


Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD GP 6-TX

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 70 TX

Hybrid: PXG 0317 X Gen 2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95X

Irons: Callaway Rogue Pro (4), Callaway Apex Pro 16 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (50, 54 degrees), Vokey Design prototype (’18) (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Equipment

The top-5 longest drivers on the PGA Tour and their driver/shaft combos

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Let’s take a look at what the PGA Tour’s biggest bombers thus far in 2018-2019 are using to launch their rockets.

1. Cameron Champ

Average drive: 315.6 yards


Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees @ 7.9)


Shaft: Fujikura Pro 63 TS (44.75 inches, tipped 1.5 inches)

T2. Luke List

Average drive: 314.4 yards
Driver: TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 80TX

T2. Rory McIlroy

Average drive: 314.4 yards


Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees)


Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK White 70TX

4. Tony Finau

Average drive: 311.5 yards


Driver: Ping G410 Plus (9 degrees @ 8)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana RF 70-TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1 inch)

5. Wyndham Clark

Average drive: 311.4 yards


Driver: PXG 0811 XF GEN2 (10 degrees)


Shaft: Accra Prototype (45.25 inches)

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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