New Tee to Green Gear From PING: G400 Max Driver & G700 Irons Print


By Jason Bruno

When I sat down with Ping's Director of Communications Pete Samuels

during this year's PGA Show to discuss the company's latest edition to

their G400 driver line, the G400 Max, it was obvious that he knew PING

had crushed it with this new offering. Always known for their cutting-edge

innovation, their G400 models were making noise and gaining momentum

in the industry, and the G400 Max was the logical evolution. It's still clear

that Karsten's engineering ethos exists in every club bearing the PING








Ping's G400 drivers come in 4 different models: The standard G400, G400

SFT (Square Face Technology) that is for the player who tends to slice and

needs a driver that helps them get the face back to square. G400 LST (Low

Spin Technology) which is designed for the high swing speed player that is

looking to keep their spin rate down. All of those 3 models are 445 CC. G400

Max is the most forgiving of the four, at 460 CC and it's weight positioned

farther back than the other models, it has incredibly high MOI. In fact, the

G400 Max has a heel/toe MOI of 5700. Only PXG is in that neighbor-

hood, but when the top/bottom is factored in, the combined MOI is

9900! That's1000 more than any other driver on the market.




Technology -


"Low and back is our philosophy, by going a little bit bigger we have

more volume to extend the weight," said Samuels. "The tungsten weight

is in all four of the models, in the case of the Max, it is pushed further

back and actually wraps around the back of the crown. The tungsten is

what gives us the ability to increase the MOI and max the forgiveness."






Turbulators and Dragonfly crown are signature PING design elements on

all G400 drivers. According to Samuels, "Turbulators aide in aerodynamics,

while dragonfly technology is basically the thinning of the crown that allows

club designers to take those weight savings and re-position it for better MOI.

With so many of golf's leading manufacturers moving to carbon fiber materials

in the construction of driver crowns, why has PING continued to build drivers

with an all-Titanium construction? According to Samuels, "By keeping the

whole head titanium and being able to thin the crown, that's the best approach

in order to find that additional weight in order to re-position it in the head design."







We tested the G400 Max in 10.5 loft with the adjustable sleeve set in the

factory standard neutral position.







Notice the difference in the rear weight and tungsten position of the

G400 Max (above) vs the smaller and lower spin G400 LST (below) . . .




The tungsten weight port is located closer to the center of the sole on

the (445cc) G400 LST shown here.









Aesthetics -


G400 Max - Matte black, sophisticated and bold like a device used by

Bruce Wayne's alter ego and yet brilliantly simple in appearance. It just

looks fast . . .





It isn't just tee box eye candy, A closer look at where it all happens on the

G400 Max. The forged T9S+ face is hotter and faster - producing increased

ball speeds and a powerful feel at impact.








Powerplant options -

PING's TOUR 75 shaft was the powerplant of our G400 Max review and

is an available option for an upcharge. The Tour 75 is tip trimmed 1 inch

when installed in any PING driver (45.25"). Many high swing speed players

(that often prefer to upgrade to an aftermarket shaft) will find the TOUR 75

a stout and worthy choice, we did. Other shaft options include the PING's

Alta CB 55, Alta Distanza 40 gram, Aldila's X-Torsion, MCA Kuro Kage and

Project X HZRDUS Yellow.






Performance -


From a distance perspective, the G400 Max produced a solid yield with

the TOUR 75, not by any means the longest that we've tested (we'll

update the distance #'s once we get in a session with our usual gamer

shaft). However, in the forgiveness and dispersion category, the G400

Max was off the charts. Using the Foresight GC Quad, here are the results

of our indoor testing session with the G400 Max.


SS:103.1 mph,  Ball Speed: 151 mph, Azimuth: 1.2 R, Launch: 13.1,

Backspin: 2564,  Sidespin: 86L, Carry: 249 yds,  Total: 273 yds,

*Offline: 1.9 yards left


On course testing showed off the G400 Max as a shortgrass finder, we

practically had to aim offline to miss a fairway. Bold remarks for sure, but

the combo of forgiving head and stout shaft produced straight darts all

round long.


Sound/Feel/Playability -

The G400 Max is a bit louder with a more tingy blast at impact than the 3

other slightly smaller G400 models. Purely subjective on what you prefer

to hear at impact, I favor the more subdued thrash of the smaller models.


On-course testing brought the elements and factors that launch monitors

don't, but there were no surprises. Working the ball with the G400 Max

is quite easier than you'd think, but make no mistake, this club is a point

and shoot fairway finder. If you look at the *offline stat from our launch

monitor testing (1.9 yards L), it proved true on the course as well - missing

fairways was a chore.




Summary -

With four models to choose from in the G400 line, all you need to know is

exactly what it is your looking for from your driver. The need to reduce spin

- LST, Correcting the big miss to the right - SFT, Neutral bias and the easiest

for working the ball - standard G400. If you want the same attributes of the

standard model but with maximum forgiveness of any club in the industry,

the G400 Max is your choice . . .









G700 Irons

Game improvement and Big Distance comes from PING in the form of these

smooth looking hollow body G700 irons.







Technology -

The hollow-body 17-4 stainless steel head construction allows weight to be

positioned out to the perimeter of each clubhead - creating metalwood type

of launch and high ball speeds.







Maraging steel produces high C.O.R and fast flexing faces = mega distance.







Notice the hosel notch, which allows for weight to be moved elsewhere,

while the black dot signifies standard lie angle. Sole width and bounce

help with better turf interaction for improved ball striking.









Aesthetics -

The club designers at PING used contours and a hydro-pearl finish to create

a gorgeous set of game improvment sticks. There is some heft where you'd

think there would be on an ultra forgiving distance club, but the G700 comes

off as somewhat sleek in appearance.





The look is so clean, the closer you get the better they look.





Performance/Testing -


Big distance is the takeaway here. For the golfer looking to add pure

carry yardage, get fitted for the correct shaft and be giddy. Looking for

a reliable and forgiving long iron, my numbers with the G700 4 iron had

me so excited that after a dozen swings on the monitor, it was off to the

course. On the first short and tight par 4 - I hit 4 iron off the tee - 223

yards into the shortgrass. The high draw carried 210 yards and released

about a dozen yards or so. Off the tee - check.

Next, on the 458 yard par 4 - 2nd at Eastpointe West (that played 470

yards to a back pin), 198 yards remained from the fairway to a narrow

elevated surface guarded by water to the right, perhaps the hardest

approach on the course. A high soft fade was the only shot, and the G700

was up to the task landing softly and stopping about 12 feet below the pin.

Approach shot yardage, trajectory and workability - check




Sound/Feel -


G700 is a hollow body iron, producing a totally different sound and feel

than most irons on the market. Is it louder and more firm at impact than

what most players are used to? Absolutely, it feels more like hybrid than

iron. Is that the trade-off for maximum forgiveness and distance? Would

a foam filled sound dampener improve the acoustics and feel? Other

companies have used such a thing in their irons recently (TaylorMade's

P-790 w/SpeedFoam & Callaway Rogue X irons w/Microspheres are two

examples) to mitigate the hollow-body feel at impact. Perhaps, but only

the PING engineers know that one for sure. Our review models were

equipped with Recoil 780 F4 graphite shafts, so some vibration dampening

was already in place, but honestly they still lack that solid feel at impact.


It's a trade off, crazy distance and maximum forgiveness for a feel at impact

that is less than ideal. You decide, either way the G700 is a game improver

. . .



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