The new Ping G410 metal woods, led by the transformational G410 driver, embody a bold direction in technology for the company, yes, but also in tone. In short, Ping’s engineers are describing its latest driver’s capabilities – arguably its most complex ever – in the simplest of terms: “no sacrifice”.
That sounds like an aggressive line for a company whose approach could often be labelled admirably all the way back to the days of its founder Karsten Solheim as facts and measured science vs, well, hashtags and catchphrases. But the G410 driver is a seachange towards giving players more customisation in the area of adjustability, while not compromising on its core principle of improving off-centre hit performance.
From the very beginning of the company, Ping’s products from putters to now drivers have extolled the science of moment of inertia (MOI). That idea is to make the clubhead more stable so that off-centre hits cause less twisting and thus less energy is lost on a mis-hit shot. That’s why Ping drivers, led most recently by the G400 series, have pushed measured inertia numbers higher than every mainstream driver on the market for most of the past decade. But in making that push, the company steered away from the industry’s pursuit of adjustable weights that could shift the centre of gravity to better tune draw bias or fade bias for each particular player’s shot-shape requirements. Their position was clear: moveable weight systems by the very nature of their construction reduced MOI. That point was non-negotiable.
Now with the G410 driver, Ping’s team believes the best of both worlds in driver design is a reality. According to its research, the G410 features a 15 percent higher MOI than the average of other drivers with moveable weight. Even more, Ping believes the G410’s MOI is about six percent higher than the average of other mainstream drivers that don’t have movable weights. On top of that, the G410 driver in its neutral setting even has a slightly higher MOI than the G400. In essence, it’s been built more forgiving and more customisable.
“You kind of get both with our solution,” said Ping’s Marty Jertson, vice-president of fitting and performance. “That’s kind of been our mission to be able to unlock it and not have to take a step backwards.”
While the idea of having both adjustability and maximum forgiveness seems an obvious choice (who wouldn’t want extra dessert without the calories), its execution is rarely seen because the structure to support a moveable weight feature can mitigate how stable a head can be. Simply put, ultra-high MOI drivers need much of the discretionary mass pushed to the extreme perimeter. Anything short of that is a compromise Ping’s team wasn’t willing to make. So they solved that problem by creating a thin channel on the rear skirt of the G410 that houses a meaty 16-gram weight. The weight fits into a neutral, draw or fade position.
That customisation feature matches what Ping was seeing with its tour staff, where players often would add internal weighting (“hot melt”) to tweak a centre of gravity towards the heel or toe for optimised, individualised ball flight needs. According to Jertson, two out of every three Ping tour players’ drivers featured a customised centre of gravity position.
“These three different custom CG locations are all as far as possible to the silhouette of the driver,” he said. “This allows us to tune the centre of gravity of the driver, deliver that custom CG without sacrificing the inertia.”
The G410 driver achieves its goal of not sacrificing any performance attribute through its thin crown construction (just more than 0.4 millimeters thick) that uses thin supporting sections that fan out like the veins on a dragonfly’s wings. Less weight on top allows for a lower centre of gravity to help with higher launch with less spin. The thin T9S+ titanium alloy in the face provides enhanced flexibility and increased surface friction provides an added reduction in spin. The crown also features the trademark aerodynamic turbulators, which have been further refined in the G410, Jertson said.
“We’re trying to eke out every ounce of efficiency from the turbulators that we can, spacing them a little closer together in the centre to get coverage,” he said. “We’ve done a few more rounds of wind tunnel testing. They’re actually positioned pretty different than when we launched them on the G30. We’ve moved them a little further from the lead edge and the high point is a little further back so instead of the apex being closer to the lead edge it’s moved back a little bit.”
Further adding to the G410 driver’s customisation is a new eight-way adjustable hosel that extends the loft range of each head to plus/minus 1.5 degrees. There’s also an extensive line-up of custom shafts that will be provided at no extra charge.
G410 drivers offer the G410 Plus as the adjustable weight model, but also add the G410 SFT to attack the slice. The G410 SFT features a draw bias through a centre of gravity that is approximately .050 inches more to the heel side than in the G400 SFT.
The rest of the G410 metalwoods line-up provides a similar array of customisation, better ball speed and more stability on off-centre hits. For example, the G410 fairway wood collection includes three versions, each with an eight-way adjustable hosel. That group includes the low-spin LST (which replaces the Stretch3 from past years) and the slice-fighting SFT model. Altogether, there are eight models in the line-up that with the adjustable hosel cover a loft range from 13 to 23.5 degrees.
A shallower face height on the G410 fairway woods also breeds confidence and helps lower the centre of gravity, Jertson said. The G410 also benefits from the flexible high-strength C300 maraging steel alloy seen in the G400 fairway woods.
“For slang we’re calling it the heavy hit,” Jertson said. “This better alignment of the centre of gravity and the ball during the impact makes for better performance, even when you don’t have the perfect lie.”
The G410 hybrids have added an adjustable hosel to improve fitting options. Its five-way settings mean the loft range on the G410 hybrid line runs from 15.5 to 31.5 degrees. They’re also more forgiving than their predecessor, with a 6.5 percent increase in MOI, Jertson said.
“We were able to accomplish that a little through shaping and a little through weight savings, and adding mass with the adjustable hosel also helped boost that,” he said.
The G410 Crossover, Ping’s mix of utility iron and hybrid, completes the full package of customisation options for Ping’s metalwood line-up. Built on a chassis that combines the findings of Ping’s hollow G700 and i500 irons, the G410 Crossover benefits from the C300 maraging steel face insert for better ball speed.
“The size is quite a bit leaner than its predecessor, very different altogether in how it’s sized and shaped,” Jertson said.
But again, like every new entry from driver to hybrid that is part of the G410 lineup, the Crossover does not deviate from Ping’s first-order mandate not to sacrifice forgiveness. In fact, though the club is trimmed down from the G400 version, the amount of tungsten slugged in the toe is 50 percent higher (30 grams instead of 20 grams) to bolster stability on off-centre hits.
Available in Australia from mid-March, the G410 driver ($799) comes in the adjustable G410 Plus (9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) and the heel-biased G410 SFT (10.5 degrees). The G410 fairway woods ($499) are offered in three models: Standard (14.5, 17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degrees); SFT (16, 19, and 22 degrees); and LST (14.5 degrees). The G410 hybrids ($389) come in five lofts (17, 19, 22, 25, 28 and 31 degrees), while the G410 Crossover utility club offers three loft options (17, 20 and 23 degrees).