Without compromise. That’s PING’s anthem and guiding design principle when evaluating whether new product is ready for market. The challenge is to take a step forward in all major performance areas without taking any steps, even small ones, backward. As a result, it’s fair to consider PING as perhaps the most cautious and calculated of the major OEMs – and that’s not a bad thing.
Shiny, sparkly and highly caffeinated product releases aren’t exactly its modus operandi. As such, with PING’s G410 fairways and hybrids, it’s not about wholesale changes as much as the story revolves around unlocking better performance through enhanced fitting options and slight changes to geometry.
For 2019, PING is sticking with three fairway models – Standard, SFT and LST. All three utilize a C300 maraging steel face which is exceptionally strong, fatigue resistant, and thinner than previous versions. The chief benefit of thinner faces is they flex more, which translates to increased ball speeds. Additionally, PING engineers moved the CG slightly forward in all models, as compared to the G400. The purpose of a more forward CG (though it still qualifies as low-back CG orientation) is to better transfer energy from a shallower face while increasing stability and forgiveness.
As with the G410 drivers, an updated 8-position hosel sleeve allows for both loft (+/- 1.5°) and lie (up to 3° flat) modifications. In this case, however, more is also less. Increased adjustability comes at the cost of compatibility as the old adapter will not fit any of the G410 generation heads. It’s a bummer, but such is the cost of progress.
The standard head, as the name implies, is the most balanced design. It’s a medium/low spin geometry and according to PING’s internal testing, generates 1 MPH more ball speed and 200 RPM less spin than the G400. This translates to an additional 4 yards of carry and a flatter, more penetrating ball flight. The overall shape at address might remind players of several Nike fairway woods, which should be a win in the aesthetics department.
The SFT (Straight Flight Technology) model targets players who need a bit more assistance getting the ball in the air and maintaining a straighter (or right-to-left) ball flight (RH golfers). Internal weighting is draw-biased (more weight toward the heel), and the marginally larger head increases MOI (forgiveness) beyond that of the G400 – and most competitors for that matter. The SFT also has a lighter (D0) stock swing weight than the standard model. As a result, PING’s player testing showed increases in average ball speed (+ 1.7 MPH), decreased spin (-200 RPM), and a net gain of +7 yards carry distance. Considering the target demographic of the SFT and the mathematic realities of averages, a gain of nearly 2 MPH of ball speed for mid-high handicappers is significant.
On the other end of the spectrum is the G410 LST (Low Spin). The previous model (G400 Stretch) also gave higher-launch, higher-spin players a more suitable option, but this time PING increased the native loft (from 13.5 to 14.5) and changed the naming convention to match G400/410 driver models. The LST offers a more compact, tour-inspired geometry with a CG aligned to launch shots higher with less spin. Compared to the G400 Stretch, the LST’s peak height is 5% higher, which translates to a couple of extra yards of carry, but steeper decent angles to help hold more greens.
Players don’t often expect tour inspired models to offer robust forgiveness. But PING prides itself on winning the MOI battle, and if we ever developed a forgiveness to head size ratio, I’d like PING’s chances.
In all fairness, PING’s hybrids probably haven’t received due respect, but such is the nature of hybrids in general. As a category, it’s a tweener, caught somewhere between long irons, driving-irons, and fairway woods. And frankly, there’s very little exciting about hybrids – It’s pretty much the minivan of golf clubs, which is to say they are entirely utilitarian but decidedly not-sexy.
For PING, the G410 isn’t making any distance claims. Refreshingly, it’s a comfortable conversation around fitting and ensuring every club is up to a specific task. With six different lofts, ranging from 17° to 30°, players have plenty of options deciding where to best bridge the gap between longest iron and highest-loft fairway wood.
To aid this cause, for the first time, PING is incorporating loft/lie adjustability in a hybrid. This is new territory for PING, and like the G410 drivers and fairways, the hybrids will give golfers a full range of trajectory tuning – including flatter lie angles which help combat the oft-maligned quick hook, which is a common criticism of hybrids from better players. However, to do so, PING wasn’t willing to concede ball speed, MOI or anything else. As such, the hybrids will feature the same thin maraging steel face as the fairway woods and high-density tungsten back-weighting, which better aligns CG with impact.
Compared to the G400 hybrid, the G410 has a slightly larger footprint and 6.5% higher MOI. It also launches a bit higher, but because ball speed is also increased, distance isn’t compromised. Again, the tech story with the G410 hybrids isn’t one of increased distance, but more adept and precise fitting options.
PRICING – SPECS – AVAILABILITY
Retail Availability – February 7th for hybrids and March 7th for fairway woods.
MSRP – $270 (hybrids) and $310 (fairway woods). Street price is likely lower.
The standard fairway head is available in the following lofts 3 (14.5°), 5 (17.5°), 7 (20.5°), and 9 (23.5°).
The SFT model comes in a 3-wood (16°), 5-wood (19°) and 7-wood (22°).
The LST model is available in 14.5° only.
The stock shaft option is the PING Alta CB Red (counter-balanced) 65 (SR, R, S, X). No-upcharge shaft options include the PING Tour 65/75 (R, S, X); Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 70 (R, S, X), and Project X EvenFlow 85 (6.0, 6.5)
The G410 hybrid comes in 6 lofts – 2 (17°), 3 (19°), 4 (22°), 5 (26°) and 6 (30°).
Stock shafts for the hybrids are the Mitsubishi Tensei Blue and Project X EvenFlow Black.
For more information, visit PING.com.