Opinion: Ping G series benefits from science not fanfare
There is a quiet confidence about Ping right now.
Not out of any sense of complacency or entitlement, just a strong belief that the G range of woods and irons will compare favourably with anything else on the market in 2016.
Ping have never been a boastful company and they are not about to start now.
Marty Jertson is Ping’s director of product development. He’s also a professional golfer good enough to have competed in several PGA Championships.
When asked how the the new G driver performed for him he replied, with no little pride: I gained 1mph clubhead speed, 1.5mph ball speed, with a higher launch angle, which translates to four yards of additional distance.
Considering he had spent the last 90 minutes detailing all of the features and benefits of the G driver, some of the assembled roomful of golf equipment journalists were underwhelmed.
Surely, one suggested to me, it should have been 10 or 15 yards.
I disagree. Jertson knows the new driver is genuinely superior to the G30 it replaces.
He designed both drivers and has been dialled in to both as well as any player could be.
Four yards is a significant amount. He knows it is real. These are the words not of a marketeer but an engineer. It’s highly satisfying to him.
The next morning, I got the chance to hit the new driver on Ping’s own pristine driving range.
Armed with a Trackman, I tested it against my own G30 LS Tec. And what do you know I needed less loft, I gained clubhead speed, I gained ball speed and on my best shots with either driver, the new G went just under five yards further.
Just like Marty said it would. It was uncanny.
Of course, most consumers will not be moving to the G from G30; they will be coming from a G10 or a G20. Or from competitor product.
And their existing driver will most likely not be set up in way that optimises their performance.
My guess is they will gain the best part of 20 yards when they make the switch.
And there’s much more to this range than just the driver.
For example, the Stretch fairway wood is an intriguing proposition. It will be overshadowed initially by the driver and irons but I think this is a club that will help lots of golfers.
It’s a driving 3 wood that is also playable off the deck. I have hit this club off tight lies and it feels like you are using a regular 3 wood.
Then there are the G irons, which just in terms of the visuals are a quantum leap forward for Ping when compared to previous G-family irons.
I’ve never considered putting anything but a long iron from the G line in my bag because the looks didn’t do it for me.
Somehow, though, these latest versions offer all the forgiveness benefits but look just like the I Series irons. I don’t really know how they’ve managed to do that.
As a final flourish, Ping have unveiled their Crossovers.
Jertson patiently explained in his presentation that they were not to be thought of as driving irons, and that they would be more penetrating than hybrids but much more playable than long irons.
I wasn’t convinced until I hit them for myself.
The proof of the pudding will be on a cold, windy links in March but I reckon they will be a brilliant option for those of us who love the confidence hybrids offer but know there is a trade-off in not being able to control the flight or distance as well as we would like.
It’s an impressive range from top to bottom.
Like I said, Ping are an equipment company on top of their game right now.
¢ The new Ping G Series will be available at a pro shop near you from February 11.