What we say...
Ping G400 Driver: The Ping G400 driver combines everything that Ping knows about forgiveness and distance, and comes with both a new look and better acoustics.
Details: RRP £389. Lofts: 9°, 10.5°. Stock shafts: Ping Alta CB / Ping Tour. Adjustable hosel: Yes. How much loft change: +/-1°.
The Ping G400 driver family originally launched in 2004, and the woods and irons have been on the UK’s best-seller list pretty much every year since (that’s Ping G2, G5, G10, G15, G20, G25, G30, G…).
Each of Ping’s updates have focused on improving everything from aerodynamics to forgiveness, ball speed and off-centre hit performance, and the Ping G400 driver is no different. Some would say with Ping’s roots firmly based in engineering, how a driver sounds and looks has always come secondary to its performance, yet this latest update shows otherwise.
The Ping G400 driver’s high-density tungsten back weight and Dragonfly Technology help bring the combined MOI (heel/toe and high/low) over 9,000 gram cm2 for the first time and position the center of gravity lower and farther back than any current driver on the market – making it the most forgiving driver in golf.
In testing, the Ping G400 outperformed the leading drivers in the marketplace, most notably when comparing dispersion results.
“We pay very close attention to the dispersion data when we analyse and compare product results,” said John K. Solheim, President of Ping.
“Dispersion is an overall performance measurement that reveals just how consistent your distance and accuracy results will be on the golf course. We encourage all golfers to get fit and look closely at their dispersion, not just their one best shot on a launch monitor. We know they’ll be much more satisfied over the long term. They’ll not only hit it farther more consistently, they’ll find the fairway more often and their scores will go down.”
The Ping G400 was first shown to the firm’s tour players just before June’s US Open, where 13 of them put the G400 driver in to play. In a week when there’s such a premium on driving and finding fairways, that’s almost unheard of at a major championship.
Ping aren’t promising massive distance gains or huge improvements in ball speed over their current G driver, but they are saying that if you’re using a G30 model or older, you’ll definitely see some big gains in terms of ball speed, carry and forgiveness by switching to the Ping G400 driver.
PING G400 DRIVER: VIDEO REVIEW
Ping G400 Driver: You need to know
A slightly smaller head with improved aerodynamics and forgiveness stability make the G400 Pings fastest most forgiving driver ever. Ping reckon the multi-material construction improves ball speed by 2mph over the previous G model. Extensive frequency and vibration research delivers a deeper muted impact sound, similar to puring a persimmon driver.
Ping G400 Driver: We say
Over the years Ping have set the benchmark for club golfers drivers, they’re always very solid, build on sound engineering principles and perform just as well on the golf course as they do on the driving range. Ping say the G400s slightly smaller head (445cc vs 460cc) means its faster through the air, yet MOI and forgiveness are higher than the competition. None of our testers recorded their very longest carry distances with the G400. Our test pro though equalled his fastest individual ball speed (159 mph – tied with Rogue Sub Zero, Rogue Standard and Cleveland Launcher HB) with a shot 9mm off the toe which speaks volumes about the G400s forgiveness. The sound of the G400s all titanium head, is a lot like modern carbon clad drivers
(carbon fiber absorbs vibration), muted and powerful, which is much nicer than the original G and previous Ping models. Our test pro reckoned the single colour matt black head gives a simple look at address, meaning for many golfers the G400 is a really honest, straight forward, high-performance golf club.
Ping G400 Driver: Verdict
G400s been going great guns since it arrived in the shops last August, if you’re considering one in 2018, make sure you try it alongside the new G400 MAX (460cc). We can’t take anything away from G400 but comparing it to the MAX in this test (in the right golfers hands), we saw some very impressive gains in favour of the MAX.
See our Best 2018 Driver Test here
How does the Ping G400 driver compare to the G400 MAX?
Ping G400 Driver: 5 things you need to know
Ping G400 driver sound
Ping’s engineers reckon a bad-sounding driver shares some similar sound frequencies with a crying baby. They’ve specifically tuned the Ping G400 to generate some of the same sound frequencies as a luxury car door closing. One of their tour players said it even sounds a bit like a persimmon driver.
Marty Jertson, director of product development at Ping, says “The Ping G400 Driver has a beautiful impact sound, it’s very rewarding to the player. We’ve studied music theory in the development of how we improved our sound and we’ve really advanced our tools, our ability to simulate the sound on the computer which allowed us to make a more rigid architecture in the sole”
Ping G400 driver review: Tungsten Weighting
Thanks to weight being shaved from a thinner and lighter face, Ping has been able to locate 7g of dense tungsten right on the perimeter of the G’s head. It maximises forgiveness, and gives the G400 an MOI 20% higher than the industry average, according to Ping.
Marty Jertson says: "This is our highest inertia driver we've ever made. For us we've broken a barrier of the 9000 number for us when we add up the heel/toe inertia as well as the low inertia."
"We've expanded our weight savings from the dragonfly expanded to the perimeter and the face, and we've put all that mass we've saved in to a high-density, 15 specific tungsten weigh low and back as well as a high-density back-weight for precision weighting of the driver."
Ping G400 driver review: Aerodynamics
Ping says “everyone wins from aerodynamics,” so it’s no wonder they’ve committed some serious time to making the G400’s aerodynamics and turbulators better. More pronounced turbulators increase air flow efficiency and head speed and there’s a new “infinity edge crown” to give a cleaner look at address.
WATCH as Director of Product Development Marty Jertson explains everything you need to know about the Ping G400 Driver
Ping G400 driver review: New Face Material
Ping’s metal boffins have as obviously done their homework as a new grain of titanium (T9S+) has been used to create the clubface. Not only is it thinner and lighter, which frees up more weight to locate to improve forgiveness, it’s also 20% more flexible than the previous Ping G driver.
Jertson says: "We've upgraded our manufacturing technique for the face. We're taking T9S and turning it in to T9S+ through a forging process which upgrades the melargy to make it stronger and more flexible."
"We also fully machined the outside of the face and we also engineered a surface texture which gives the face more friction so that the ball complies more with the face during the impact interval, which allows us to get spin reduction."
Ping G400 Driver Review: New Alta CB 55 Shaft
Counter-balancing means the Alta positions more weight closer to the head and under the hands with the Ping G400 driver. Ping say it gives more momentum at impact helping increase ball speed and carry distance. It also has a clever new paintjob; it’s copper-coloured when you hold it out in front of you, but turns black when you put the club down at address.
Marty Jertson says, “The G400 driver has an amazing proprietary shaft design. We remove material in the design process from the tip section, placing more mass closer to your hands so that lightens the feel of the driver sensation so then we can add more mass to the club head to get more distance and accuracy combined.”
“It has colour shifting technology, so when you put the shaft in the playing position, the shaft turns dark so it almost disappears in the playing position and your mind’s eye can really focus on the club head and making perfect contact.”
The three Ping G400 driver options
The Ping G400 comes in a standard head as well as LS Tec (Low Spin) and SF Tec (Straight Flight, to curb a slice) models, so there’s one to suit every player. The LS Tec typically lowers spin by 400rpm, while the SF Tec boasts of 12 yards of draw bias over the standard model. LS Tec lofts: 8.5°, 10°. SF Tec lofts: 10°, 12°.
Ping G400 driver in numbers
We reviewed the Ping G400 Driver in numbers, and this is what we came up with.
15%: The Ping G400 driver has 15% less drag than the G driver during the downswing
295cc The size Ping’s G30 driver (launched in 2014) would need to be shrunk down to, to be as aerodynamic as the new Ping G400 driver.
20% G400’s new T9S+ titanium face is 20% more stretchy than the G, it’s also 6% thinner and 9% lighter.
1.2mph Ping reckons even average swing speed golfers will see a ball speed increase of 1.2 mph over the G.
5 yards The amount of yards average swing speed players can expect to gain over the G driver, of course for G30 or G25 gains will be bigger.
13 The amount of tour pros who put the Ping G400 driver in play the first week it was available on tour, that was the US Open.
Tested! Ping G v Ping G400 driver head to head
The question everyone wants answered when a major equipment manufacturer launches a new driver is always: Is it any better? And if it is, how much better and is it worth spending the cash to upgrade?
We headed to Ping HQ in Arizona to challenge Marty Jertson, Ping Director of Product Deveopment, to show us the difference between the Ping G400 Driver and the Ping G Driver.
Watch and find out what happened!
We also roped in our TG test pro Chris Ryan to hit both the old G and new G400 in the same spec on a launch monitor so we can show through data how the two compare.
Ping G400 driver numbers
They for themselves. Ping certainly aren’t saying all golfers will see the same 15 yards of carry distance our test pro saw (they reckon the average gain from G to G400 is five yards), but the numbers do stack up across the board. The G400 increased ball speed by 2mph, launched shots higher (the key to hitting further), and of course any yardage gain is always welcome.
Ping G Ping G400
Ball speed: 170mph 172mph
Launch angle: 12° 13°
Backspin: 1908rpm 2135rpm
Carry distance: 276 yards 291 yards
Ping G400 driver: Our first verdict
Ping insists that because their manufacturing technology allows them to produce titanium to the same thickness as three sheets of paper, they really don’t need to look at carbon-fibre crowns just yet. And based on the performance of the Ping G400 driver we’d have to agree.
£389 is certainly not a snip for any driver, but the Ping G400 driver does what it claims and that’s really impressive. It goes down as an extremely forgiving and powerful option which is just what most club golfers want.
The G400 driver might not have any sliding weight or carbon-fibre tech, but because there are three different models you can be fitted just as well into a new G400 as any other driver on the market.
Ultimately Ping G400 driver is better than the previous G driver; we’ve proven it. But Ping aren’t expecting too many G owners to upgrade. However, if you own a G30 or older or older we reckon it would be well worth hitting the G400 alongside your own on a lunch monitor to see how much distance you can pick up.