When it comes to setting up your golf bag some decisions are easy. But what about that awkward gap between your driver and irons?

The test: fairway wood v hybrid v driving iron v long iron 

These four clubs all go the same distance in the air – but they do it in different ways. Dan Murphy explored the performance characteristics of four Ping clubs to help you put your set together 

Club set-up

I asked Ping to custom-fit me into four clubs – a 7-wood, a 3-hybrid, a 3-Crossover and a 4-iron – that all carried the same distance when hit from a mat at their fitting centre in Gainsborough. The aim was to build clubs that would carry 210 yards. 

I then tested the clubs on a range, hitting from turf, to see how they performed once built. I then took them out on to the course and used them from a range of lies/scenarios: 

• From the tee 

• From the fairway 

• From the rough 

• Into a headwind 

• Downwind 

Here are the specs: 

Fairway wood 

Ping G425 Max 7-wood 

Loft: 20.5˚ 

Shaft length: 42” 

Shaft: Ping Tour 75 X 

Average ball speed: 1401mph 

Average launch angle: 15.1˚ 

Average push/pull: 4.15˚ right 

Average sidespin: 101rpm right 

Average backspin: 5,000rpm 

Average carry: 209 yards 

Hybrid 

Ping G425 3-hybrid 

Loft: 19˚ 

Shaft length: 40.25” 

Shaft: Ping Tour 85 X 

Average ball speed: 141 mph 

Average launch angle: 12.9˚ 

Average push/pull: 4.26˚ right 

Average sidespin: 100rpm left 

Average backspin: 4,200rpm 

Average carry: 217 yards 

Crossover 

Ping G425 3-crossover 

Loft: 20˚ 

Shaft length: 39.75” 

Shaft: Ping Tour 85 X 

Average ball speed: 137.6 mph 

Average launch angle: 13.5˚ 

Average push/pull: 4.8˚ push 

Average sidespin: 70rpm left 

Average backspin: 4,800 rpm 

Average carry: 205 yards 

Iron 

Ping G425 4-iron 

Loft: 19˚ (Power Spec) 

Shaft length: 39.38” (+ ½”) 

Shaft: Nippon NS Pro Modus 3 105 X (112g) 

Average ball speed: 131 mph 

Average launch angle: 15.9˚ 

Average push/pull: 2.37˚ push 

Average sidespin: 145rpm right 

Average backspin: 3,800rpm 

Average carry: 202 yards 

Comparisons 

Average ball speed (mph) 

Fairway/Hybrid 141 

Crossover 138 

Iron 131 

Average launch angle (˚) 

Iron 15.9 

Fairway 15.1 

Crossover 13.5 

Hybrid 12.9 

Average push/pull (˚) 

Crossover 4.8 

Hybrid 4.26 

Fairway 4.15 

Iron 2.37 

Average sidespin (rpm) 

Iron 145 

Fairway 101 

Hybrid 100 

Crossover 70 

Average backspin (rpm) 

Fairway 5,000 

Crossover, 4,800 

Hybrid 4,200 

Iron 3,800 

Average carry (yards) 

Hybrid 217 

Fairway 209 

Crossover 205 

Iron 202 

Conclusions 

Well, it depends what you are looking for. And that’s really the point of this test. 

In neutral conditions, the hybrid went furthest, the 7-wood landed softest, the 4-iron was the most penetrating, the ball speeds were highest on the hybrid and fairway wood, the iron launched highest and the Crossover went straightest. 

In terms of consistency across the board and versatility, the hybrid outperformed the rest. I hit more solid shots that hit the number. 

Ping G425 hybrid

This wasn’t what I expected. My preconception was that the hybrid would go especially high, and with a stronger left tendency. Neither of these fears were borne out. I haven’t carried a hybrid for years for those reasons. I have changed my mind now. For me, it’s the most reliable way of shifting the ball 225 yards or so – and better still it can do so from a range of situations. The real bonus is being able to get the ball out of unappealing lies. Only the 7-wood could rival it from such positions. 

Crucially, I felt like I got great results when driving, from the fairway and the rough – which set the hybrid apart. 

Ping G425 5-wood 

It goes high – really high. It was second-highest launching with the highest backspin. For me, that is a ballooning tendency. Especially from the tee. But for you, it might allow you to attack greens beyond water or sand that you normally struggle to hold. Ball speeds and distance were excellent. It loves lifting the ball – even from heavy lies. 

So for high, soft-landing shots, this is the club for you. And remember, in old money 20.5˚ used to be called a 5-wood, so don’t be put off by the ‘7’. 

Ping G425 3 Crossover 

I love a driving iron so had high hopes for the Crossover. For me, though, it only really excelled in one particular category – a lack of curve on my shots. I’m not sure I can pinpoint a reason for that. The spin is definitely hurting me, so I would describe this as a club that would suit a good ball striker who hits long irons a little low. If you’re looking for power or versatility, to go on my results, you’d do better with a wood or a hybrid. 

I certainly couldn’t get the same carry out of the Crossover and it wasn’t as effective from the semi-rough. 

Ping G425 4-iron 

I currently carry either or both of a 3-iron and a 4-iron. So I thought this would be a strong option for me. It quickly became clear that, for me, it’s harder to get consistent distance out of a long iron to match the others, especially the hybrid. What was noticeable was the high launch and low spin combo. I really wasn’t expecting either of those things, in comparison to the others. That could work really well for you but wasn’t very effective for me. It should be said that I had no trouble getting the 4-iron out of imperfect lies, but I was still giving up yards compared to the other options. So it isn’t quite as versatile. 

All clothing and shoes used in my videos are supplied by FootJoy. This video was filmed at Rudding Park Golf Club.

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