By Alex Gallemore
Ping revolutionised the golf market when they brought in their colour-coded lie option in the 1970s. It was easy to understand, as they knew how something as simple as the lie angle could affect the performance of a club, even at an amateur level. Out of all the manufacturers, Ping has explained things better than the others when it comes to model range. Their new G400 driver range achieves this perfectly. First, you have the standard G400 – the benchmark on which the other model range deviate from. If you require more spin, distance and forgiveness there is the G400 MAX. If you slice the ball there’s the G400 SFT (Straight Flight) or for players with a higher swing speed who spin the ball too high, there’s the G400 LST (Low Spin). So, it’s certainly very easy to understand, but do they do the job?
I appreciate this is the starting point from which the other models have derived from but with a 445cc head it’s the same as the LST and smaller than the others, although it does everything well. Aimed at the better player who isn’t looking to drop the spin rate and is normally accurate off the tee.
G400 SFT (Straight flight)
OK, no driver is going to fix a slice – that’s down to swing mechanics. Although certain drivers can tame it, the G400 SFT does this exceptionally well. Opening my stance while keeping the face square with a standard G400 driver resulted in a 50 foot deviation right of the target line. The same swing path with the SFT saw that reduced to 23 feet. That’s the difference between finding a fairway or not – or even a reload!
G400 LST (Low spinning)
Most of the Ping staff players, including Bubba Watson, have this in the bag and it’s easy to see why. Yes, it’s lower spinning due to the tungsten weights being positioned further forward in the head, but it’s also very forgiving across the face. The perfect choice for the longer hitters or just for players looking to drop their rpm and optimise both carry and total yardage.
The thin T9S+ forged face flexes more to ramp up ball speed for generating consistently long, straight drives. Also, the face is textured to increase friction for reducing spin, and a new face pattern forms a captured look with the ball.
This illustration shows how the deeper profile compares to the G400 standard driver. The 460cc head features Dragonfly Technology which thins the crown and positions the CG low to maximise MOI.
The G400 Max domed crown combines with bolder turbulators to reduce drag and generate significant clubhead and ball speed .
Keeping the forged face thin, creates more discretionary weight. This allows for considerable tungsten weighting and a higher-density back weight to produce their tightest dispersion and most forgiving driver.
This is ideal for players with moderate to low swing speeds as it delivers some off the chart ball speeds. I kept my swing speed under 100 mph and it was long, with very tight dispersion.