Given the incredible success that PING enjoyed with its past two driver releases, the G30 and the G, many wondered what the company would do for an encore when news broke that the new G400 was on the way.
Well, it’s safe to say that PING’s engineers had no intention of resting on their laurels, as the G400 offers significant changes almost across the board when compared to its predecessors, all of which have been implemented to improve performance and offer golfers a product that they simply love to hit.
“We’re coming off a couple of high-performing drivers in the G30 then the G driver that just led the marketplace in mechanical horsepower,” said PING Director of Product Development Marty Jertson. ‘They’re super straight, really good launch conditions, and we worked really hard with the G400 to advance that even further, so it’s higher inertia, the CG is lower and deeper, and it goes faster through the air.’
“But we also focused on the motivation to the player. The driver looks amazing in the playing position, a little sleeker shape, less lines, and the sound and feel of this driver is absolutely phenomenal.” As Jertson mentioned, improving sound and feel, which are unquestionably tied together for golfers, was one of the main goals with the G400, as one of the only complaints that players ever had about the G30 and G were that they were a bit loud and offered a harder impact feel. That, however, is far from the case with the G400, as music theory and computer simulation were utilized to fine tune a deeper, more muted sound and feel at impact.
“What we’ve done to engineer a more pleasing sound, that more muted, crisp sound, is to dial down some of the low frequencies that had big spikes, brought in a few more high frequencies, brought in one more low frequency, (and) that ultimately results in what you hear when you hit the product,”Jertson added. “We’re able to make the driver sound deeper through this really unique radial rib architecture on the sole. This gave us the ability to, with a minimal amount of weight added to the structure, control that sound frequency.”
Also unique about the G400 is that the clubhead, which still features PING’s trademark Dragonfly Technology and Turbulators, is actually slightly smaller than either the G30 or the G, having dropped from 460cc to 445.
For engineers, however, the goal was not to create a smaller clubhead. That was just a byproduct of what they were trying to accomplish.
“The volume’s a little bit smaller,” Jertson explained. “But we weren’t really out to just achieve a certain volume; we were out to get faster ball speed. There’s really two big components to how we’re getting more ball speed, and the ball speed numbers have been incredible so far.”
So what are the two components that are leading to the ball speed increases that PING has seen in its testing?
“We’re getting more clubhead speed on the downswing,” Jertson said. “We’ve made the driver more streamlined early in the downswing and making it more streamlined gets us a clubhead speed boost, which produces more ball speed.”
The second component that’s helping produce faster ball speeds relates to a modification that has been made in manufacturing the clubface. “We are taking our T9S (clubface) that we had used previously and we’ve changed some of the manufacturing methods. How the materials are rolled into their shape, and the final processing step, which establishes the variable face geometry, is a forging process,” Jertson said. “That allows us to create a material that’s stronger and more flexible. That’s exactly what we want in golf. We want strength and flexibility combined.”
While the ball speed and clubhead speed increases that come with a more flexible face and smaller, more streamlined design obviously have benefits as it relates to distance, modifications like that can often come at the expense of forgiveness. But that is not at all the case with the G400, as it’s even more forgiving than the G30 or G, which makes it such a unique product on the golf market today. The increased forgiveness has been made possible by repositioning weight to establish a lower, deeper CG position, which promotes incredible stability at impact.
“The way we achieved that is through using the weight savings from the face, the weight savings from the Dragonfly Technology, taking it all the way to the edge, and then we utilize that weight savings with a high density tungsten weight that’s placed differently depending on the model,” Jertson explained. “Those multi-material components help us get that inertia to where we’ve never gotten it, and I don’t know that the market’s ever seen a driver at over 9,000 (MOI).”
What hasn’t changed with the G400 is that there are still three different models to choose from to help players best meet their needs.
“We’re trying to make that fitting process simple with three fully optimized models, and that’s very important for us,” Jertson said. “We have the SFTmodel, Straight Flight Technology; the tungsten weighting is in the heel. That helps it square up a little easier and the swingweight is also a little bit lighter.”
“The standard version, the tungsten weight is placed optimally low-back so we can max out the inertia and the dynamic loft. And then we have the LS Tec, where the tungsten weight is placed in front of the high-density back weight. (That) moves the CG more forward and gets the spin down about 300-400 RPM for those that need that to optimize their trajectory.”
PING is also utilizing a new stock shaft with the G400 drivers, the Alta CB. A counterbalanced shaft, the higher-launching Alta CB allowed engineers to utilize heavier clubheads to help enhance energy transfer at impact. Additionally, it features Color-Shift Paint Technology that transitions the shaft’s vivid copper color to nearly black in the address position.
Other premium aftermarket shafts, including the Project X HZRDUS Yellow, the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core, and the Aldila X-Torsion Copper, are also available for players in need of a different spin and launch profile. Also new for the G400 drivers is the stock grip, which will be the highly popular Golf Pride Tour Velvet.
In terms of the three models that are available, the standard G400 is offered in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees, the LST is offered in lofts of 8.5 and 10 degrees, and the SFT is offered in lofts of 10 and 12 degrees.
Additionally, each model features a lightweight, adjustable hosel that will allow players to adjust loft by +/- 1 degree to help them achieve their ideal ball flight.