Nature has been solving problems for billions of years longer than humans have. So it makes sense that bio-inspired designs should take take golf equipment to the next breakthrough level, right? It did for PING Chairman John Solheim, who's close-up photo of a dragonfly was the inspiration for PING's new G driver.
Drawing inspiration from dragonfly wings, 18-wheelers, and other diversely unique sources, PING has launched its new G series of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons, and even went one step further, creating a new club category with the G Crossover, which combines the best of hybrid and iron technology.
G Drivers (Standard, LS Tec, SF Tec)
The new G series drivers come in standard, low spin (LS Tec), and straight-flight (SF Tec) versions.
The drivers feature a newly designed crown, utilizing Dragonfly Technology, a complex complex exoskeleton design resulting in PING's thinnest and lightest crown to date.
And the weight saved by this design also lowers the center of gravity lower and deeper than any PING driver in history, increasing dynamic loft and elevating MOI for maximized distance and forgiveness.
PING researchers also studied the base flaps that minimize large-scale vortex shedding behind 18-wheel semi-trailers, and integrated Vortex Technology on the back of the driver to improve aerodynamics.
Combined with repositioned crown turbulators, and a variable-thickness, high strength-to-weight T9S face, drag has been reduced 37% in the impact zone, yielding greater clubhead speed and ball velocity for all swing speeds.
The G LS Tec driver features a CG that is extremely low and slightly forward of the standard G driver for players who desire low, stable spin with forgiveness.
While the G SF Tec driver is engineered with weight closer to the heel to produce a right-to-left shot bend (for right-handed golfers) and steer the ball back into the fairway.
Standard and LS Tec drivers are available in 9* and 10.5* lofts, while SF Tec drivers are available in 10* and 12* lofts. Lofts can be adjusted plus-or-minus 1*, and the stock shafts are PING Alta 55 shafts (with custom options carrying a $30 up-charge). Retail price will be $435.
The G iron utilizes revolutionary COR-Eye Technology (first introduced in the GMax irons), which activates the sole, face and top rail in flexing for consistently faster ball speeds across the hotter face.
The entire G set is heat treated using a specialized process that creates Hyper 17-4 alloy, which is 40% stronger than traditional 17-4 stainless steel. Metallurgical advancements combined with COR-Eye Technology provide four times the face flexing with improved stability.
"The results are big distance gains and a higher peak trajectory for better stopping power so you can hit and hold the green," Solheim said. "One benefit of that is a player might be able to club up and hit a 7-iron, for example, instead of a 6-iron."
Weight saved from the face was allocated to the low toe and perimeter, creating a high MOI for extreme forgiveness. And connecting the Custom Tuning Port to the sole creates a deeper CG to help elevate the launch angle and increase MOI.
At address, the iron’s refined look is created by a thin top rail, satin-blast finish and appropriate offset. An enlarged multi-material damping badge joined to the cavity works with COR-Eye Technology to provide exceptional sound and feel.
New AWT 2.0 shaft (Manufactured by Nippon)
Contributing to the improved performance of the G iron are PING’s proprietary Ascending Weight Technology (AWT 2.0) shafts, an optimal combination of physics and feel. The shafts get lighter as they progress from the short irons and pitching wedge to the long irons.
Lighter long-iron shafts help square the clubface to increase clubhead speed and optimize flight for distance and accuracy. While heavier short iron shafts improve trajectory control and feel.
Available 4-9, PW, UW, SW, LW, the G irons come with the stock PING AWT 2.0 shafts (with after-market stock shaft options available at no up-charge). Retail price will be $110 per club with steel shafts, and $125 per club with graphite shafts.
G Fairway Woods (Standard, SF Tec, Stretch)
Nearly all golfers struggle getting the ball in the air easily with fairway woods. To solve that, the G fairway woods have a lower lead edge that yields 12% higher face impact, relative to the G30 series.
"The face sits lower so it’s much easier to hit the ball high in the air," Solheim said. "Contact occurs higher on the face, which makes this club perform beautifully off the ground and tee."
High-strength Carpenter 455 steel allows for a thinner, precision-machined, variable-thickness face. The cascading sole design engages more of the structure in face flexing, resulting in faster ball speeds and higher launch.
And PING's thinnest crown ever in a fairway wood means discretionary weight has been used to move the CG lower and farther back, making it easier to get the ball airborne. A unique process adds friction to the face for reduced spin. And crown turbulators provide a captured appearance and help with aim and alignment.
The G SF Tec fairway woods have weight closer to the heel, a lighter swing weight, and higher lofts to produce right-to-left shot bend for players whose typical miss is to the right.
While a new G Stretch (13*) 3 wood is custom-engineered to stretch a player’s distance off the tee and on shots into the green with its larger head, slightly forward CG, and reduced spin.
Standard fairway woods are available in 3W (14.5*), 5W (17.5*) and 7W (20.5*) lofts, while SF Tec fairwaywoods are available in 3W (16*) and 5W (19*) lofts. Lofts can be adjusted plus-or-minus 1*, and the stock shafts are PING Alta 65 shafts (with custom upgrades carrying a $30 up-charge). Retail price will be $287.50.
An innovative tiered internal sole helps activate face flexing to power the ball off the face faster for greater distance. The ultra-thin crown allows for a low-back center of gravity to ensure high launch, reduced spin and a higher MOI for maximizing forgiveness.
The high-strength Carpenter 455 steel face is precision-machined to variable thickness, which saves weight and maximizes flexing to generate faster ball speeds across the face for consistently longer results.
Like the G fairways, a unique process adds friction to the face to reduce spin. Crown turbulators and contrasting grooves on the face help provide a captured look and assist in aim and alignment, creating a consistently centered impact position.
The hybrids are available in 17*, 19*, 22*, 26* and 30* lofts, and the stock shafts are PING Alta 70 shafts (with custom upgrades carrying a $30 up-charge). Retail price will be $247.50.
PING created a new category, the Crossover, to combine the precision, workability and control of an iron with the ball speed and forgiveness of a hybrid.
"People love the look and feel of the Crossover because they haven’t seen anything like it," Solheim said. "It shouldn’t be confused with a driving iron, it’s higher-launching and much more forgiving, and offers a lot of versatility. Our extensive player testing has revealed this to be a very attractive option."
The high-strength Carpenter 455 steel face is precision machined to an optimal thickness for greater face flexing, faster ball speeds and longer results. And a flat face, narrow top rail and appropriate offset deliver iron-like accuracy and workability.
An innovative cascading internal sole engages the entire face, sole and top rail in flexing to maximize distance. And extreme heel-toe weighting helps locate the center of gravity low-back and expands the perimeter weighting to create a high MOI for maximizing forgiveness.
The Crossover is available in 3 (18*), 4 (21*), 5 (24*) lofts, and the stock shafts are the PING Alta 70 graphite shafts and AWT 2.0 steel shafts (with after-market stock shaft options available at no up-charge). Retail price will be $247.
I'll have tons more for you from the PGA Merchandise Show down in Orlando later this month. But in the meantime you can find out about PING's entire 2016 line-up of clubs by checking out PING Golf, and following them on twitter @PING Tour.
And as always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email here, or DM on twitter @PGAPappas.