June 12, 2017
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Bubba Watson's typical pink-and-black color scheme will be in play at Erin Hills. (Photos by Jonathan Wall/PGATOUR.COM)
HARTFORD, Wisconsin — The for the second time in the last three years, the U.S. Open is the site of a major equipment launch for PING Golf. This time the launch centers around the new G400 metalwoods line that officially landed on the USGA's list of conforming driver heads.
The PING Tour truck was humming with action on Monday morning as company representatives began the process of building new drivers, fairway woods and hybrids for players in this week's field at Erin Hills.
Three driver models were listed on the conforming list — G400, G400 LST and G400 LST — but only two (G400 and G400 LST) were spotted on site. The LST (Low Spin Technology) and SFT (Straight Flight Technology) are specialty versions that PING released in the past to meet the needs of players that are looking for less spin (LST) or draw bias (SFT) in the head.
In addition to the new drivers, PING brought G400 fairway woods (3-wood, Stretch 3-wood and 5-wood) and a G400 Crossover to Wisconsin. PING wouldn't comment on the designs or technology behind the clubs, but it's obvious the company has made some significant changes to the yet-to-be-released products.
In terms of technology, the newest addition appears to be a redesigned tungsten weight in the sole of the driver, fairway and hybrid that likely pushes weight lower and deeper in the club head to boost forgiveness. Previous versions of the driver have included a port in the back of the head, but this is the first time since i25 that tungsten has been used for the weight.
Another new wrinkle is a dimple pattern on the back portion of the driver crown that blends with the company's "Dragonfly Technology." The exoskeleton structure was introduced with the previous G lineup and allowed for a thinner, more stable head. Raised Turbulators on the front portion of the crown and a Vortec port in the back of the head were once again included to reduce drag and improve swing speed. The fairway wood and hybrid only feature Turbulators on the crown.
The G400 Stretch 3-wood could be a popular club this week for players that want another option off the tee, due the slightly oversized head. The previous G Stretch had a sole weight that was centrally located to produce a low launch with less spin, while the new G400 has a weight positioned more in the rear of the head.
The G400 Crossover is another possible choice for long approach shots. If the utility club is anything like G Crossover, it's designed to be a long-iron or hybrid replacement. The club features extreme toe weighting for a low and back center of gravity (CG) that expands the club's perimeter weighting for a high MOI with hybrid-like forgiveness. Unlike the previous model, this one appears to have a heavier tungsten weight that's visible in the toe.
While it's unclear if anyone in this week's field will put G400 in play, Bubba Watson already had a driver, 3-wood and hybrid waiting for him on the truck to test. The driver had Watson's usual black and hot pink on the crown, along with a torched tungsten weight in the sole. The 3-wood and hybrid were the standard all-black version.