At the risk of mansplaining; it’s my belief that one of the many things that the golf equipment industry gets wrong with its approach to female golfers is that too often the strategy is woman first, golfer second – and that’s only for the brands who put any real effort into their women’s clubs at all.
In my experience talking and testing equipment with female golfers, I’ve found that when you engage with them as golfers, talk about performance, and explain exactly how a new club could benefit their game, very few are overly concerned about color. It’s not particularly hard to sell any golfer on performance.
It’s frighteningly obvious as I write this, but just like men, women can be fiercely competitive on the golf course. They play for money, and as it is for you and me, being on the wrong side of a mostly meaningless $2 Nassau hurts. Within that context, I’m reminded of a Callaway driver ad from several years ago.
Performance Over Paint.
To me, that seems like the right approach to women’s gear.
In this guy’s opinion (potentially mansplaining again), nobody in the equipment industry is doing a better job right now of making clubs for golfers that are women than PING. There is still a degree of the dreaded shrink it and pink it approach in play, but the shrink it piece is strictly for performance reasons. The pink it, or more accurately, the magenta it part, is admittedly about adding a touch of subtle femininity to the designs without going over the top. Think of it as the difference between fierce and flamboyant.
In my estimation, the fundamental principle that shines through in PING’s new G Le2 lineup isn’t the paint job and some abstract notion that it’s designed for women. Every club is designed for serious golfers; albeit golfers who typically benefit from lighter clubs (including lighter shafts and grips). The more significant point is that PING is designing to a performance specification, not a chromosomal one.
Many of the key performance elements found in the G410 metalwoods, as well as PING’s G and I-series irons, are designed into the G Le2. To a club, they’re lighter and shorter, but otherwise, the technology is on par with what PING delivers to every golfer.
PING G Le2 Driver
As proof that PING isn’t doing much differently, the company says that, in addition to being lighter, the G Le2 driver is faster and more forgiving than the previous model. That’s textbook marketing to the masses right there. The head itself is about 15-grams lighter than the G410, and the stock length is an inch shorter at 44 ¾”. Not for anything, the shorter length would benefit plenty of men as well.
Like the G410 SFT, the Le2 is internally heel-weighted. That gets you a bit of draw bias (anti-slice). It means there’s no adjustable perimeter weight, but you do get the same updated 8-position (1.5° in either direction) hosel found in the 410 lineup.
Most notably, PING hasn’t watered down the materials used in the driver. The G Le2 driver offers a T9S+ face, though the design has been optimized for the intended swing speed. It offers Turbulators to frame help frame the ball at address. Typically, when we talk Turbulators, we talk aerodynamics, but as head speed dips so do the aerodynamic advantages. It’s isn’t fair, but the physics benefit the fast, so for all intents and purposes, the benefits are strictly visual while providing continuity across model lines.
The stock shaft is the PING ULT240D in Light or Ultra-Light flex. MSRP is $435. Expect the actual street price to be a bit less.
PING G Le2 Fairway Woods
With the new fairway woods, the story is much the same. While weight has come out, you still get a maraging steel C300 face for more ball speed. The shape of the head has been refined to promote higher launch and increase forgiveness. Like the driver, the fairway woods are internally weighted to mitigate a fade or a slice. The 8-position adjustable hosel is also part of the offering.
The G Le2 Fairway Woods are available in 3 (19°), 5 (22°), 7 (26°), and 9 (30°) wood models to provide a multitude of options to hit distance targets and fill gaps.
The stock shaft is the PING ULT240F in Light or Ultra-Light flex. MSRP is $270.
PING G Le2 Irons
Arguably it’s with the irons where we find the best evidence of PING treating its women’s lineup with the same respect and attention to detail and performance that it does the men’s. The performance story is consistent with the rest of the lineup; more speed, increased forgiveness, and a higher trajectory (this time by way of COR-eye technology and a deep top-rail undercut).
You get the same 17-4 construction as PING’s stuff, and you get the durable HydroPearl 2.0 finish (improved hydrophobicity), but what stands out to me is the use of a visible (and factory-tunable) Tungsten toe weight, which in addition to boosting MOI (forgiveness) serves to enhance swing weighting capabilities. It coveys the message that PING is every bit as committed to properly fitting golfers who are women as they are to fitting golfers who are men.
G Le2 irons are available in 6-9-irons, UW, PW, and SW.
It’s worth paying attention to what’s happening at the long end of the set here. At the risk of relying on stereotypes, it is my observation that women are often smarter – and certainly less pig-headed – when it comes to the long end of the bag. Some of that likely has to do with the available options, but I believe there’s less foolish pride when it comes to letting go of long irons in favor of higher launching hybrids. I see so many guys content to hit squirrely worm-burners with 4-irons because of some bizarre idea that real golfers don’t use high-lofted hybrids.
The stock shaft is the PING ULT240i in Lite or Ultra Light Flex. MSRP is $137.50 per iron.
PING G Le2 Hybrids
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the construction of the G Le2 Hybrid is mostly the same as that of the G410 line. Weight has come out, but a lower and deeper CG helps boost MOI (forgiveness) relative to the previous lineup. PING has added a 34° 7-hybrid to the lineup which extends the hybrid fitting capabilities into the mid-irons.
The stock shaft is the PING ULT240H in Lite or Ultralight Flex.
G Le2 hybrids are available 4H (22°), 5H (26°), 6H (30°), and 7H (34°) models. MSRP is $200 per club.
PING G Le2 Putters
To round out the G Le2 line, PING is offering three putter models to fit a variety of putting stroke types.
It wouldn’t be PING without an Anser in the lineup. It’s ideally suited for golfers with a slight arc putting stroke.
For golfers with strong arc strokes, the G LE2 lineup includes PING’s Shea Mid-Mallet.
The G LE2 Anser and Shea are made from 17-4 stainless steel, and feature PING dual-durometer PEBAX inserts for outstanding feel and distance control. Both models feature a champagne nickel plating with Magenta accents.
Finally, for Straight to slight arc strokes, there’s the Echo Mallet. The Echo is machined from 6061 aluminum and features a stainless steel soleplate and a dual-durometer PEBAX insert.
All three models are length adjustable from 31” to 35” (33” is the factory setting). The stock grip is a new, softer PP59.
The release of the G Le2 lineup shouldn’t suggest a one size fits all approach to fitting golfers who are women. While the lineup offers a robust variety of fitting and gapping options, the reality is that some women, in fact, many women, will be better served with playing what I suppose for the sake of contrast, we call men’s clubs. If something from the G410 lineup provides a better fit and better results, there’s no reason to take those options off the table.
It’s also true that since weight is the primary differentiator between the G Le2 and PING’s other offerings, the benefits for moderate to slow swing golfers cross gender lines. Apart from a misguided notion of being too manly for magenta, there’s no reason for golfers who look for help from products like XXIO, Wilson’s D-Series, the new Titleist TS1 or any of a number of other offerings designed for slower swingers, couldn’t benefit from the G Le2 in all of its magenta glory.
For more information, visit PING.com.