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Ping aims to make golf “more fun” with its new G400 irons

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“We want to help every golfer hit it like Bubba,” Ping says. “We want them to hit it high and stop it near the pin.”

For golfers not named Bubba Watson, hitting high-flying iron shots that go at the target isn’t an everyday thing. That’s why Ping aims to create the highest-launching, easiest-hit-irons that it possibly can for golfers who may not hit the center of the club face on every shot.

Ping says these aren’t “game-improvement” irons, but rather game-enjoyment irons. So with its new G400 irons, compared to its G predecessors, Ping has increased launch, raised MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness), added ball speed, and changed the looks, feel and sound to “make the game more enjoyable” for golfers.

Fair enough. But what exactly has changed?

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For its G400 irons, which are made from Hyper 17-4 stainless steel, Ping says it has “enhanced the entire back cavity,” and it has also added an undercut behind the top rail for more face flex at impact. The top rail works by “relaxing” at impact, which helps to “catapult” the ball higher in the air. To support the flex of the face, Ping’s back cavity has its COR-Eye technology, identified by the circular structure at the center of the club head. The performance enhancements lead to a 4 percent higher launch, a 4 percent increase in MOI and 5 yards of more total distance.

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You’ll also notice a large badge on the back cavity that overlays the COR-eye technology. The badging is made from elastomer and aluminum, a combination that Ping says will dampen the sound and enhance the feel quality.

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At address, the club heads will also look a bit more compact, according to Ping. That’s because the flange has been smoothed out, and there’s a sharper face radius. This will also help to conceal the offset of the club. Ping says the iron may “look slimmer even though it’s a larger iron.”

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For the first time in a G-Series iron, Ping has made the finish of the these irons out of HydroPearl Chrome, which you may recognize from its Glide 2.0 wedges and the G400 Crossover. This finish is said to increase face friction and better repel water to reduce fliers and produce a more consistent ball flight in a variety of turf conditions.

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The stock shaft in the Ping G400 irons (4-PW, UW, SW, LW) is an Alta CB graphite shaft powered by Ping’s AWT (ascending weight technology). The shafts range from 85 grams in the short irons to 68 grams in the long irons — the lighter long irons will help golfer create speed, height and distance, while the heavier short irons will help maximize control. Other available shafts include Nippon Pro Modus3, True Temper XP95, Ping AWT 2.0, KBS, Project X and Dynamic Gold shafts.

For more distance, a lower trajectory or both, Ping will also offer its familiar Power Spec option, which means the lofts are bent strong; between 1.5 and 2.5 degrees depending on the loft (higher-lofted irons have less bend compared to the standard lofts).

Ping’s G400 irons will sell for $125 apiece with steel shafts, and $137.50 with graphite.

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

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. 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.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Frank Peterson

    Oct 28, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    After 3 months of trying new clubs I have ordered a complete set of ping G400 clubs that have been custom fitted to me. In testing other brands including Calaway, Titleist, Cobra and TM, I settled on Ping G400 as they surpassed all of the other brands as far as feel, workability(for game improvement irons) sound and appearance. What a giant improvement over past Ping clubs and I have owned most of them. I find no one has the quality of fitting and ease of finding a fitter than Ping. Also their understanding of metallurgy is only equaled by Mizuno.

  2. Scott

    Aug 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

    As a seasoned club fitter I must insist, stronger lofts don’t always equal more distance. Loft is just a number to gauge the angle of the club face. Stronger lofts would always equal more distance ONLY if every club were made the same, out of the same material(s).
    Trajectory, not distance, should be closely examined when looking at lofts. If you have two irons, (both 8 irons for example) and one is 2 degrees stronger than the other, but both are flying the same height and trajectory, is loft really a factor?
    example: 43 degree wedge flying higher than a 45 degree wedge and going 5 yards less. Shouldn’t the 43 fly lower and go 5 yards farther than the 45 degree wedge? Yes, ONLY if they are the same make, model, style, material etc etc etc.

    It happens ALL the time.

    The way clubs are made- what they are made of, how they are weighted and designed- help to determine the “loft” club companies must produce clubs with. Nowadays, club companies have to make them “stronger” (than standard) because if they didn’t, the ball flight would be much too high. Way higher than optimal.

    Try this for yourself. Test a blade at your local golf shop on a monitor. Then try a newer game improvement iron (same iron ie. 8 iron to 8 iron) with a “stronger” loft. Try to keep the shaft flex and weight similar as well.
    I guarantee the “stronger” lofted club goes higher.

  3. Power Fade

    Jul 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I recently had a club fitting and tried out the G400’s against Cobra F7’s and Mizuno JPX 900s. I did research in advance to understand their lofts, lengths and lie compared to my current Mizuno 825 Pros which are already +1″ and +2deg UP (I’m 6’6).
    I wasn’t surprised by the lower lofts of each brand as they compete to say their clubs hit longer and straighter than other brands. If people fall for the gimmick, I feel sorry that they don’t do their research.
    I was hitting the g400 slightly better than the other 2, I liked the sound and feel as well as the frosted look because it wasn’t glaring at me on the hot sunny day as was the case with the F7s.
    I probably would have been happy with any of the 3 though. Aesthetically, the g400’s are a little “fatter” than the other brands I tried as well as my current set, but I can overlook that as it’s on the bottom of the club which I don’t see while hitting the ball. I decided to go with the G400’s as I also plan to get the new driver which I was hitting farther and straighter (see my name) than other drivers I’ve tried (Cobra F7, JPX-900 and 2017 M2 driver) and I like less club brands in my bag. I also like Bubba.
    The other nice thing about their lofts being lower (and I’m one to tell people what degree loft I hit as opposed to a club number when they ask) is that I need to buy less clubs. My old set is 4-GW…8 irons. In the G400’s I only need 6-UW….2 clubs less and less money spent.
    Appreciate everyone’s thoughts and comments on these. Buy em if you like em, avoid em if you don’t.

  4. Rich Douglas

    Jul 15, 2017 at 8:37 am

    You want your irons to go 10 yards farther you say? No problem. Just paint new numbers on them. Now a 9I becomes an 8I and flies 10 yards farther than a 9I. See how simple that was?

    Absurd, you might say? That’s EXACTLY what’s going on with irons. Stronger lofts and longer lengths are what define the next iron up in a set.

    The higher COR brought about by slots (pioneered by TM, copied by a lot of others, including Ping now) add distance irrespective of changes in loft and length, certainly. But the rest is a con. Be sure you’re not being taken in by claims of longer lengths if the increase is due (in part or in full) to lengthening the shaft and/or strengthening the loft.

    Oh, and if you DO go for longer lengths, be sure to get fit. Your lie angle just changed and you’re going to need flatter lies than usual. But I suspect most people suckered in by this stuff just grab ’em off the rack and go. (Ironic, since Ping pioneered the idea of pre-fit lie angles with their dot system).

    These Ping G-400 look like great clubs and are a technical advancement over the Ping G. But if you already play the Ping G, don’t expect much (if any) real improvement. The distinctions do not necessarily add up to a real difference.

  5. Dave R

    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Really like the look finally a club that looks better than the last bunch they produced.

  6. The Drop Zone

    Jul 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    g400max please

  7. Rich Douglas

    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Nice to see Ping decided to sell Taylormade PSi irons. Ho hum.

    Higher launch angles mitigated by stronger lofts with higher COR. So they go a little farther, in part by fudging the specs so the 8 is really a 7, the 5 is really a 4, etc. The other part is the everyone-is-doing-it speed slots to increase COR.

    None of this is bad. But none of it is new. Except for Ping, that is.

    Still the 17-4 steel. Better get the dot color right, ’cause you ain’t bending them much.

    Having a set add 5 yards, especially when part of those come from jacked-up lofts and longer graphite shafts, is a distinction without a difference. Your game won’t improve a bit with these compared to the previous G series.

    There have been very few real leaps in irons over the past 5 decades:

    — Cast irons (cheap)–Spaulding
    — Cavity backs (forgiving)–Ping
    — U grooves (spin, then banned, but really never left)–Ping
    — Cavity backs with forged steel (forgiving and soft)–Hogan Edge
    — Slots (higher MOI and COR)–Taylormade
    — Single-length irons that actually work–Wishon, Cleveland, et al

    That’s the list, I think. These new irons by Ping are a few years late.

    • JThunder

      Jul 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      And the point made is what? That every new iron release should have new, groundbreaking tech? Completely, absolutely literally impossible. That new irons should only be released when new tech has been developed? In modern capitalism, essentially impossible. Like every other golf company, they feel pressure to “introduce” new products once or twice every year, replacing their entire lineup more or less every two. If they don’t, they will be the easiest target in the world for competitors’ marketing; Ping has been left behind, Ping is standing still; Don’t play with 5 year old technology… And they would likely lose their tour presence.

      The solution would be to dial back capitalism and increase education; smarter consumers with less hyaenas trying to tear all the money out of their pockets at every turn. Both of those goals would be moving further away currently – at least for the USA.

      On the other hand – golf is a luxury to begin with, so it’s not the first place to show grave concern with hyped marketing and phantom tech. In this arena, there isn’t a shortage of choices, including an eBay full of enough clubs to last eternity, and last year’s models with significant discounts.

      • Rich Douglas

        Jul 11, 2017 at 12:25 am

        You’re looking at it from Ping’s perspective. I was commenting from a player’s perspective. And from that player’s perspective, this release offers nothing new. This is just Karsten catching up.

  8. Guia

    Jul 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Nice write up, a few more changes than I expected. I will check them on a launch monitor and compare them to the last model. I will purchase or not dependent upon the outcome.

  9. Dat

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:28 am

    5 yards more distance? Love to see a breakdown of that claim.

    • joro

      Jul 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Break it down this way, make you wedge 44 degrees instead of 47, simple. oh, and add a half inch while you are at it. Wow, is this Wedge long. As PT Barnum said, there is a sucker born every minute. But, PING is also is and has made the best clubs, they are just cheating to sell em.

      • Cory

        Jul 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        loft is always relative to the geometry of the head, tuning the trajectory. Old lofts would create a ballooning effect. PING uses a progressive length chance where the long irons a +1/2 – +1/4 longer and it transitions to the “old” standard in the control clubs like a 9, PW, etc. If you like the old lofts, PING is 100% custom and will accomodate!

  10. Ted Thompson

    Jul 10, 2017 at 11:20 am

    These look like anyone with a 10+ hdcp would do well by giving them a try. No gimmicks like slots or cage bars. I tend to gravitate towards a shiny metal rather than the frost that these have. Ping will sell a lot of these if the distance is really there

  11. Clubber Lover

    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I love the look of these new improved G400s. I particularly love the HydroPearl Chrome finish. I don’t want my clubs reflecting glare at address cause it’s too annoying. These are lovely awesome clubs and will find a place in my bag soon. Good job Ping.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3, 4), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 54-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea
Grip: Super Stroke 1.0 SGP

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Garcia’s clubs.

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Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs. 

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