Think of the Ping G400 driver as a faster, juiced-up version of last season’s G driver, because it shares some of that club’s core technologies. But thanks to a series of subtle improvements, the G400 delivers more ball speed and distance while sacrificing none of the forgiveness.
Ping’s senior design engineer, Marty Jertson, said a significant portion of the distance gains can be attributed to better aerodynamics, which results in increased clubhead speed.
“To get more clubhead speed, we made the driver more streamlined, so we are getting more gains in the early part of the downswing,” he said. “The turbulators (fang-like protrusions where the crown meets the face) and Vortec (lipped back section of the head) primarily give us a clubhead speed boost as the face squares near the impact zone, but the G400 is more aerodynamic at the top of the downswing, too.”
Ping says the 445-cubic-centimeter G400 driver creates the same amount of drag on the downswing as a 295-cc G30 fairway wood. So with the same effort, golfers can produce more speed.
“We also changed some of the manufacturing processes used to make the face,” Jertson said. “This year were are forging the variable face from the outside in. It’s thinner and more flexible on center hits and impacts all over the face.”
That should help golfers transfer energy created with their swing into the ball more efficiently.
Weight saved with the thinner face and crown was repositioned to the back of the club to increase the moment of inertia and make the G400 more forgiving. Going with high-density tungsten concentrated in a small bar in the sole allowed Ping to make the G400 shorter than the G driver from front to back while shifting the center of gravity lower and farther from the face.
For golfers who generate a lot of spin off the tee, Ping made a lower-spinning version of the club called the G400 LST. Its tungsten weight is positioned slightly more forward in the sole, which helps reduce spin by about 300 rpm.
Golfers who battle a slice might consider the G400 SFT, because its tungsten weight was positioned slightly more toward the heel. That should make it easier for players to square the face on the downswing and reduce sidespin.
The G400 is available in 9 or 10.5 degrees of loft, the SFT model is available in 10 or 12 degrees, and the LST is available in 8.5 or 10 degrees. All three G400 drivers feature an adjustable hosel that allows players and fitters to changed the stated loft up or down by as much as 1 degree.
The G400 drivers come standard with a counterbalanced Ping Alta CB graphite shaft and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip for $435, and numerous custom shafts and grips are available.