Review: Ping G400 Max driverFebruary 1, 2018 Golf Equipment
Ping go for all out forgiveness and ball speed with the confidence-inspiring G400 Max writes equipment editor James Savage
Our initial Ping G400 Max driver review took place at the Pete Cowen Golf Academy in Rotherham.
We followed it up with a testing session at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi.
Ping G400 Max driver review – First impressions
The launch of the Ping G400 Max driver has been a bit different to what we are used to.
I actually received the product on the morning of January 15 with no knowledge or prior information about the technology.
Normally we’d be given a presentation about a month in advance of the embargo lifting to prepare coverage.
But I received it in the morning and went straight to the range to test it and now I am telling you all about it.
The headcovers are exactly the same as the other three Ping G400 drivers – standard, LST and SFT.
And this driver looks very similar to the other Ping G400 drivers as you would expect with the same design on the crown, same shaft, same colours etc.
But this driver just has a bit more mass and a larger footprint to give you maximum confidence at address. As you can see from the image above, the G400 Max on the right does look bigger.
It also has a silver, rather than a black face which seems to give the impression of presenting more loft at the address position.
The Ping G400 Max driver is already ticking a lot of boxes for me.
Now I feel like the Ping G400 Max driver is filling me with those same confidence levels.
Ping G400 Max driver review – The technology
“We’re on a mission to help golfers play better, and we know that starts with clubs that deliver across-the-board performance gains,” says John K. Solheim, Ping’s president.
“The new G400 Max is engineered with the same technology as the original G400 but we’ve optimized the size to gain even more forgiveness, which leads to tighter dispersion and lower scores.
“With the addition of the Max to the G400 driver family, golfers now have four fitting options to ensure they’re getting the most out of their game. If you struggle finding the fairway with consistency, the Max is likely the best fit for you.”
Sounds great doesn’t it, but how have Ping achieved these performance gains?
The forgiveness gains are attributable to the 460cc head and nearly four times the discretionary weight created by Dragonfly crown technology and a thin, forged face.
Its high-density tungsten back weight wraps around the back of the sole to help bring the combined MOI over 9,900 – that’s about as high as is possible.
Ping say the CG position is lower and farther back than any current driver on the market which makes it the most forgiving driver in golf – surpassing their current G400 driver.
Ping G400 Max driver review – The results
I hit a range of shots and paid attention to the sound, feel and then the numbers from my SkyTrak launch monitor.
I’m mainly looking at launch, spin, ball speed, carry and total distance.
On the sound, I didn’t feel like it was quite as sweet as the G400 but it was still much improved on the previous G and G30 drivers.
One of the Ping G400 Max driver’s main strengths seems to be its performance on off-centre hits – my speciality.
There were a few times where I struck it near to the heel or toe and was expecting to see huge drop offs in carry but they never came.
The carry was consistently over 220 yards, the ball speed was often over 140mph and the total was regularly over 250 yards.
For anyone who has read any of my previous drivers reviews, you’ll know they are all very good numbers – for me.
The best shot I hit carried 236 and ran out to 264. Not impressive to the big hitters but they are as good as it gets in my world.
The dispersion looks a bit wayward but that’s down to me failing to pick out a consistent target line at the driving range as much as anything.
Ping G400 Max Driver Review – Second testing session
The following day, I took the Ping G400 Max driver with me to Abu Dhabi for a day of testing at Saadiyat Beach.
It was obviously a bit warmer, but looking at the numbers gathered on Trackman 4, the swing speeds were roughly the same.
And it’s fair to say that these numbers really are as good as it gets for me.
Ball speed, smash factor, carry, total were all well above my normal driver expectations.
Yes, I was probably making better swings than normal but I will still always strike it all over the face so I think the forgiveness levels are there for all to see.
These numbers are arguably my best-ever with a driver so that makes me very excited by this product.
Ping G400 Max driver review – NCG verdict
I’m really pleased the Ping G400 Max driver had been launched. I wasn’t expecting it and it has come as a welcome surprise.
I’m a huge fan of the G400 and I especially loved the looks, sound and feel. But it just didn’t fill me with as much confidence as other drivers out there.
So I feel like it’s now ticking ALL the boxes for me.
I think golfers will transition into the Ping G400 Max driver much more easily from the G and G30 as it has that same confidence-inspiring footprint at address.
It really does make you feel like you’re not going to miss. And the performance really does speak for itself.
And it’s going to be really hard for me NOT to put this driver into play for 2018. Well done Ping, again.
Ping G400 Max driver details
Loft options: 9⁰ & 10.5⁰
Head weight: Std. (206g)
Head volume: 460 cc
Std. length: 45 3/4″ (Alta CB); 45 1/4″ (PING Tour and aftermarkets)
Loft adjustability: Up to +-1⁰
Stock grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 in six sizes (Blue -1/16″, Red -1/32″, Aqua -1/64″, White Std., Gold +1/32″, Orange +1/16″)
Shaft options: PING Alta CB (counter-balanced) 55 (SR, R, S, X), PING Tour 65, 75 (R, S, X), Alta Distanza 40
Aftermarket shaft options (Upcharge): Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi 60 (R, S, X), Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 (5.5, 6.0, 6.5), Aldila X-Torsion Copper (50R, 60S)
More information can be found on the Ping website.