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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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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

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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

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X

3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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