Talking woods with Ping’s head designerJune 28, 2013 Golf Equipment
We talk to Ping's director of engineering Brad Schweigert...
3 Wood woes
Is the 3 wood now the hardest club in the bag for an average player to hit well?
Brad: The difficulty with hitting fairways woods centres on the club’s primary function, which is to provide the most distance from shots off the ground. To try and deliver more distance, many 3 wood designs have become longer in length and stronger in loft.
Longer clubs with lower lofts are more difficult to control and so the player’s consistency diminishes. Unfortunately, most golfers purchasing new clubs aren’t presented with or don’t understand this trade-off. Too often, performance is measured based on those one-out-of-10 perfect hits in a fitting bay or range setting. Unfortunately, on the golf course we only have one ball and one shot.
We genuinely want to help people play better.
As drivers get more lofted and hybrids become ever-more popular, is the fairway wood an endangered species?
Brad: The short answer is no. The larger shape and face size makes the inertia higher than a hybrid and positions the CG in a more ideal location, low and back. Essentially, the fairway wood is more forgiving and better suited for launching the ball easily into the air.
Higher-lofted drivers are poor choices from any lie other than the tee as the face height causes the impact to be low on the face. This results in a low-launching, high-spin trajectory. One alternative is to play the fairway wood at a shorter length. The decrease in length helps with tempo and aids with making more consistent contact similar to when a player uses a hybrid.
The G25’s shallow face is a critical performance attribute for distance, forgiveness and confidence. A shallow face saves mass from the face region providing discretionary weight to lower the CG and increase the inertia.
Why so shallow?
Why do so many fairway woods, like your G25, have shallow faces?
Brad: The G25’s shallow face is a critical performance attribute for distance, forgiveness and confidence. A shallow face saves mass from the face region providing discretionary weight to lower the CG and increase the inertia. The low and back CG helps launch the ball high with the proper spin leading to distance gains. Higher inertia directly attributes to more fairways. Confidence is the final factor and the shallow face height aids with one’s ability to hit cleanly.
Why haven’t you used titanium in fairways since Rapture?
We continue to research the area of advanced materials to try and develop high-performance designs and we actually have some exciting things in the works.
You recently introduced adjustability into your Anser fairway woods but not G25s. Why was that?
Brad: Most golfers are looking for a fairway wood that looks and feels great, is forgiving, long and easy to hit in the air from both the turf and the tee.
We are confident the G25 fairway provides those characteristics at a great value.
Our adjustable features can potentially help fine-tune trajectory; however, most players will find that they can be easily fit to the optimal trajectory within the G25 family.
Our research indicates that most players adjust their club during a fitting and refrain from making changes after purchase, so for the most part adjustability serves as a fitting tool. That said, there are obviously exceptions to the rule.
3 or 4 wood?
Whenever we compare the performance of 3, 4 and 5 woods on a launch monitor, there is a clear trend of of improved performance in terms of increased carry, total distance and greater consistency with the higher lofts. So would most average players hit a 4 better than a 3?
“Our research clearly shows that the average player will increase distance and consistency with a 4 wood compared to a 3 wood,” says Brad.
“In fact, most players’ average distance increased six yards! With a 5 wood, distance generally decreases; however, consistency does improve.”