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2019 Official Forum Member Review-PING Long Game Gapping Testing/Review

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Ping Long Game Gapping Review

Stage 2

By:  Kevin Loughran (RevKev)

 

 

Introduction

 

As I closed out my Stage One review I stated that my primary criteria for this test was going to be the data and most specifically on course live round data that compares gapping and proximity to the hole from my Shot Scope system between the 3 wood, 4 hybrid and 5 hybrid that my expert Ping fitter replaced with the Ping G410 5 wood, 7 wood and 9 wood back at the start of this review period in late May.  As a reminder each one of these fairway woods came with stock graphite regular shafts and they were each set at neutral.  It should be noted that the fitter was going for certain launch and maximum height numbers, once those were obtained we didn’t push farther.  As a bonus he did the same with driver and there we ended up with a non-stock shaft, 12 degree loft, down one degree and the weight shifted to fade.  I included that last fact to demonstrate that he took the fitting seriously, the neural settings were not the easy way out, they were the best fit for my game.

 

This test was not without its difficulties.  Course conditions change dramatically in Florida from May when we started, to August as I’m writing.  While they improve up North, they tend to deteriorate here.  Courses are wet making it difficult to mow.  Ranges were often closed particularly recently and several rounds or practice sessions were rained out.  Rough goes from almost non-existent to long and snarly and two of the coursew that I regularly play have aerated their greens twice during this time period.  (Of course that had little impact on the test but it speaks to the changes in course conditions that I have experienced throughout this test.)

 

 A special thank you to my home course the Bayou Club for allowing me to use their range and at times course to prepare for the main portions of this test.  They even allowed me to bring my daughter Penelope out on the course where she watched as I hit a number of 170 yard 9 woods to the green on the par 3 third hole.  Preparing for the main part of the test I wore the range out hitting my woods from a variety of lies.
 

 

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Looks

 

By now you’ve seen plenty of pictures of these clubs.  They look just fine to my eye, classic for a metal wood, although I must say that the 9 and 7 wood have a larger head than the hybrids they replaced or would replace for most golfers.  That does take some getting used to and many of my playing companions have noticed the size of the heads.  On a positive note, the dark color is particularly useful in killing the glare from the Florida sun.

 

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I will take one off for the larger head and give them a 9 out of 10 for looks.

 

Sound and Feel

 

Neither of these are areas of great concern for me although I know they are for many golfers.  While much has been made out of the sound of the G410 driver line the same may not be said of the fairways.  They are muted and certainly there is enough feedback to know where the ball was struck on the club face although there could be a tad more IMO.  Again I will give them a 9/10.

 

Basic Considerations

 

I found it easy to learn how to hit these clubs.  In fact I had them in the bag for the second nine of a league round the day they arrived.  Like most leagues we play nine holes that count but many of us go on to play the next nine.  I had little trouble hitting the 7 and 9 wood although it took me a while to warm up to the 5 particularly off the tee (if I have even warmed to it as yet.)

 

After that round I spent a good deal of time working with these on the range for the next few weeks.  I wanted to see how the 9 wood compared to the 6 iron (my longest iron) for distance on the range and a couple of practice rounds at the local par 3 course where I hit multiple shots on some of the longer holes. 

 

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Those three balls were hit with 7 wood, 9 wood and 6 iron from 183, 168 and 162 respectively.  The 9 wood is the deeper ball almost blending in on the back fringe.  Given those yardages it should be.  Honestly it looked good in the air and you will see below that the gapping has been pretty well spaced between 6 iron, 9 wood, 7 wood and 5 wood through the 8 rounds of play that I used for this test.  Far better than with the clubs that I had in the bag prior beyond a doubt.  I also quickly saw that the 9 wood and 7 wood work well out of the rough so long as I don’t ask them to do too much and they are money out of fairway traps as their leading edge glides rather than digging and they launch high.

 

I’m giving them a solid 18/20 here.

 

On the Course

 

This is really what the test was all about.  I should note that each of the 18’s that I played with these clubs saw scores in the 70’s and that my handicap index has dropped during the summer from 6.0 to 4.3.  But to be fair I’ve also picked up some yardage this year over the past three or four through another MGS test (see the SuperSpeed thread) and my fitness is greatly improved.

 

Still a look at the chart below shows that the clubs are performing as advertised.  At 8 rounds the 9 wood number is being skewed by a shot that went over 200 yards.  I thought the wind was into across right to left.  When we got to the green it was clearly down and right to left.  I flew the green with that one and went down a steep bank over the back. 

 

As I noted earlier, these woods launch high but I have also been able to flight them lower when needed, even the 9 wood.  Notice too on the chart below the performance averages for the 3 wood, H22 and H25 that I used to have in my bag.  The 5w, 7w, 9w replaced those three clubs.  The data for the H22 is being skewed because I was new to the Shot Scope system with it and hit a couple of punch outs that I didn't mark as positional shots.  Regardless the gapping there was very poor and would have gotten worse once I started playing in wet conditions with those clubs.  I essentially carry 6 iron, 5 hybrid and 4 hybrid the same distance just with differing ball flights.  The superiority of my fitter's recommendation to what I was using is easy to see by this chart.  It is also apparent in the proximity to the pin and average strokes taken with each club from start to finish on the shots that they were used even though that data is not provided here.

 

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Here's the skewed 9 w, I'm proud of the scrambling par off that one:

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The two little woods are particularly helpful on any number of par threes that I play requiring high soft shots over hazards from 170 to 190.  Also wetter conditions have led to longer shots into many of the greens bringing these clubs frequently into play on par 4's or for position on par 5's.  Where as I would have to play safe by shooting at the corner of the green with hybrid before I can now go for the middle of the green or even the pin.  They have actually made the 16th hole at my club, 168 to 180 all carry to a two tiered green over a Bayou, a fun and almost automatic shot.

 

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My one complaint is that I have yet to find consistency with the 5 wood off the tee.  Since it is my longest fairway wood and a needed resource off the tee on short par 4’s I’ve got a gap or issue there between it and driver.  I will write a bit more about that in the Play or Trade section.  After two months I’ve decided to put my 3 wood back in for those shots, keep the 5 wood for use from the fairway, I’m far more consistent than 3 wood there.  I will reduce the number of wedges that I carry by putting in a 58 in place of my beloved 60.  The jury is out on that move for certain but in wet conditions I can get away with the 58 around the green.

 

On course performance - 27/30

 

Miscellaneous

 

This one is a no brainer.  The clubs and the story behind them are fun.  I’ve told anyone who would listen about this test and they are particularly interested when they see how good I am with the 9 and 7 woods.  I recently won a closest to the pin and skin with a 7 wood from 178 into the wind in league good for $122.  Everyone wanted to know what I hit there.  To put it into perspective the better player in league all hit 4 iron or hybrid with no one getting anywhere near where I ended up.  The pin was tight to the left side over a bunker.  I would have had to bail out to a safe spot with 4 hybrid, instead I had some mad money in my pocket.

 

Miscellaneous  10/10

 

Play or Trade

 

For now these three clubs are in my bag.  I’m playing good golf with them in although I’ve also had to add the 3 wood back for use on several short par 4’s.  I will have to see what this means for my wedge game as the 56 and 60 have come out in favor of a 58.  Time will tell there.  Certainly the 7 and 9 woods are in to stay.  Beyond a doubt the two replaced hybrids are gone.  I thought I was getting more out of them than I was.  The data revealed that this was not the case.

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Play or Trade 17/20

 

Total Score: 90

 

Conclusion

 

Thanks again to MGS and Ping for what has been a great testing opportunity.  As is often the case with fittings and especially with expert ones I’ve learned a lot more about my game so thank you one more time, Steve, for a fun and informative morning.  As you’re reading this it’s important to remember that my driver SS is average LPGA (92-95) and that I’m an older single digit player who does best when not going after the ball too hard.  My results and yours may and probably will differ.  The point is the fitting worked and my long game gapping has improved as advertised.

 

Regardless of what type of player you are you may be able to shave a few strokes yourself by paying more attention to the long game gapping of your set, those clubs between the longest iron and driver.  Between its G410 Fairways, Hybrids and Crossover Irons, Ping has a quality offering for every player type in that part of the set.  But also every change that you make at one end of your bag has implications for your entire set.  You get fourteen clubs in the bag, each one should be there for a purpose that suits your game and the course conditions that you face.  This may lead some players to own 15, 16 or even 17 inter-changeable clubs that get switched out depending upon the time of year or course that is being played that day.

 

Thanks for reading, good luck and lots of fun on the course always!

 

 

 

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Ping Long Game/Gap Testing - Fitting

I want to preface this by saying that my fitting experience was different, not the typical one you've been reading about with the other members. Mainly because I'm a southpaw. 

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This was a process I was excited for for quite some time, like I mentioned, I've never had an actual fitting but have always been intrigued by the process of it. I know this is a very important aspect when it comes to golf, because you want something that is tailored to your body and your swing. I knew this was going to be a great treat and was excited to get the ball rolling. My fitting took place at New Bloomfield Country Club, which is about 90 minutes from my home, and this was actually the first time I've ever been to the course. It blew me away. Population of about 600, and the course was immaculate. Never would have imagined it. Anyway, enough drooling, back to the topic on hand. One of the main reasons I have never gotten fit for clubs is because I didn't think I would end up taking the game as serious as I do now. I looked at it as more of a hobby I'd do when I was bored, never thought I'd be seeking to find out every detail about my swing from setup to finish. I knew the theory of how the fitting worked. There would be several clubs. Numbers galore. Questions. Answers. The whole nine yards. However, mine turned out to be a little different. 

After finally getting in touch with my fitter (he thought it was a spam number calling him for the first few weeks) we scheduled to meet up at his club. I brought my bag, as well as my nerves, and had an irrational fear that I'd shank every shot and walk away with disappointment. Fortunately that wasn't the case. When I showed up I met Chris in the clubhouse and admired how nice of a shop he has for such a small, small town. He already had a cart sitting outside, ready to roll. So, as anxious as I was I threw my clubs on and we headed for the range, where he had a bag of Ping clubs waiting. Here comes the bad part... when he got to looking at my bag, he realized I was a lefty and all the clubs he had were right handed. He did not think to ask about me being left handed when we were sitting up the fitting, and I didn't think to tell him, I had just assumed he would have all the weapons I would need. So most of my fitting is based off of Chris's knowledge of golf, as well as how much he knows about Ping products... which is A LOT. 

I started off hitting a few wedge shots, just to get loose, while he got some information from me regarding rounds played, handicap, etc. After a handful of wedge shots, I started moving up the bag. Hit some 7 iron shots, then finally made it to the important part... the long clubs. He had me hit driver first, to try and get an idea of how far I was hitting it and how fast everything was going. Unfortunately, he I wasn't able to get any pictures of the data, as he was using a launch monitor I have never seen before... I believe Ernest was the brand? Other than seeing the data directly after the shot, there was no way to go back in and bring it up, at least that he and I were aware of. My driver impressed me, however. The launch monitor was saying 250ish yards with a 105 mph swing speed. He made the comment that judging from how the ball was flying and the shot shape, that it had to be more like 270 yards or somewhere near there. Which had me ecstatic. He knew the CB shaft and I were good friends, which I why I think it ended up on every club I was fit into. 

When I move onto my fairway wood, it was not a pretty story. Mind you, I said I got the 3w just to replace an older one I already had in my bag. My shots were low, not far, and had a small hook to them. Overall, not a shot I want to hit. He stated the shaft in the Rogue 3W (Project X Even Flow) was very close to being an X-stiff, and could be the culprit for my poor shots. I even shanked a few right into the monitor, because in order for it to work it had to be sitting almost in front of the ball.. sorta to the side. I've never seen one like that before. Anyway, from that he gathered I needed something that would launch the ball and give me more of a higher arching shot shape, which is why he hooked me up with a 15.5* 3W. He then did the standard static Ping fitting that you would find on their site. Wrist to floor, hand size, and height. He also had me take a normal stance with the right handed crossover, and he instantly knew I needed a +1" extension on the 3W... being 6'6" sometimes does that to ya. One thing I also never thought about was grip size. I have always gone with midsize just because I know my hands aren't small. I figured that was the go-to and have been that way ever since I started golfing. However, he determined that I actually need an oversize grip, so he stuck me with the Ping Orange coded grips which are oversize. I have to agree, they feel much much better in the hands than a midsize does! I will be replacing all of my other grips with the same ones whenever the time comes. 

We talked about my hybrid game and how well I got along with them. The answer is not very well. My hybrid is a scary club, full of hooks. That was a discussion we had for quite a while. He explained all of the new technology Ping has put into their new G410 line, especially their crossovers. He did not want me getting a club that I felt I was going to hit poorly, which is why he hooked me up with a 3 and 4 crossover. I can see why Ping hooked me up with Chris, he knows everything there is to know about the process of getting properly fit. He did state that although he is a Ping rep, he games Titleist. He has noticed that 75% of the people at his club have been buying Ping over everything else though. So kudos to Ping for making such a great product! 

After we finished hitting balls, we went back to the clubhouse so he could make a copy of the fitting sheet and explain to me a little more as to why he chose the clubs he did for me. He knew it was an important session and he thinks he chose the correct clubs to help me play better golf and score low! Before I was able to leave he did give me a few presents, I guess you could say. First, he let me pick any Ping hat in his store and told me it was on him, which is an awesome gesture! Secondly, he said I could come back to his course with a friend and play a free round! I'm telling you, Chris is an awesome guy! I really wish there were lefty clubs available, but sometimes you just gotta work with what you got. The entire experience was very interesting, and I walked away with great knowledge about my own swing, which is a win in my book! 

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Though my fitting was not traditional, I hope I was able to provide some information to all of you. All that's left to do now is to hit some balls, make some birdies, and of course tell you all about it! 

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Stage TwoPing G410 Long Game – Official MGS Forum Review by Tyler Sauer

 

Intro

So here we are, stage numero dos. Will the clubs stay in the bag or will they get tossed out to the curb? (hypothetically of course)

 

As you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of Ping. I have always believed they are one of those companies that just…. do things right. Of course, every golf equipment brand claims to be innovative and claims they can help you shoot low scores. Ping is the one brand I always stand behind when it comes to those claims. So, once again I’m glad I was able to really put that matter to the test.

 

My testing took place between the course and the range, with most of it being on the course. For some reason the range turns me off because I never truly know if the ball is going where I want or if I’m telling myself that’s where I meant to hit it. Therefore, what I did was put a lot of time into playing rounds and tested if using these clubs versus the ones they replaced really paid off. When ever a shot would call for my 3 wood, I would be sure to drop an extra ball and play that ball with my old club… the challenger as you might say. So, typically my second shots into par 5s always consisted of a second ball that was hit with the Callaway Rogue 3W. On the shorter par 4s, instead of pulling out a driver I would unsheathe a Crossover and see what kind of damage I could do with one of those. I was having a lot of fun with these clubs.

 

 

Looks (10/10)

Remember earlier when I mentioned how Ping just does things right? Well, this area is no exception. I would love to give a huge shout out to whoever the designer was behind the Crossovers because they are easily the best-looking club in my bag now. The past Crossovers were bulkier and though not hideous, they just weren’t as appealing. G410 Crossovers however give off a blade-ish look while being a heck of lot easier to hit than a blade. The hyrdopearl chrome finish is a thing of beauty. When it comes to the fairway wood, we saw that the turbulators are sticking around. This addition to the Ping lineup is really a hit or miss deal. Some people love the look, while others prefer the more sleek, minimal design. I personally enjoy them. Although they are a little more pronounced this year on the fairway wood, they give that aggressive look, which I really like! There is no real alignment aid besides the turbulators, which can really be a turnoff to some golfers. When it comes to the color scheme, I can’t hate… these were my high school colors back in the day. However, I think the previous swatches (black and copper) will always be my favorite!

 

 

Sound & Feel (8/10)

Sound. Let’s talk about it. I can tell you one thing I really hate in drivers and woods is an extremely loud ‘Ka Pow’ noise when I hit a ball. The G410 fairway fortunately is not like that at all, at least to my ears. It is a little more quiet than most of the clubs I’ve used, so it’s not deafening your partners ears. I would classify it as a medium sound, so right in the middle. It gives off a nice ‘thwack’ sound which reminds me of a cross between a wood and aluminum club. When it comes to mishits, they’re handled pretty well with Pings latest technology. Their new maraging face helps keep the feel consistent across the face with these mishits. I think the only time you will really feel a mishit is when it’s pretty severe on either end. That in mind, you will know when you smack one dead center and send it flying. The sweet spot is there and man does it feel good! When it comes to the crossover sound and feel, I can tell you this.. they’ve become my new favorite clubs. Not only do they sound stunning, the feel is pure butter. I don’t know why, but I had this notion that the crossovers would feel like my standard 4 iron and not be as forgiving on the hands. However, it’s the opposite. I think it partly has to do with them being paired with the CB shafts unlike the steel I have in my 4i. I will be hitting the crossovers as often as I can!

 

Basic Characteristics (18/20)

·       Accuracy: Being the handicap that I am, hitting my target has always been an issue in general, no matter the club. However, I noticed that when I took these to the range and focused on a flag, I was able to dial these in a lot closer than I had been able to with my previous clubs, especially my fairway wood.

·       Distance: Remember when I mentioned how the crossovers are my new favorite clubs? This is why. I was not able to hit the previous hybrid I had, or when I did it was a massive hook. I have yet to hook these crossovers, fingers crossed. They bring an entire new arsenal to my bag that I never thought I would have. I can now easily pull these out in some instances over my fairway wood, just because they are so long, and the shots are so stable.

·       Trajectory: If you remember back in my post about the fitting, I talked about how I struggled with getting any lift with my Rogue 3W. The fitter instantly knew I needed a 3W that would provide more launch and offer more hangtime to land softly on the greens. The G410 3W launches plenty high, and I’m not longer scaring the worms with my worm burners. Significantly easier to hit out of the rough as well, allowing for a lot more options when it comes that time.

·       Forgiveness: Well… don’t want to jinx anything but I have yet to hit a hook with any of the new clubs. I’ve had mishits, sure, but none of those ended up where they were not playable.

·       Control: Far more accurate with these clubs than my previous ones. Not straying too far offline and all my shots have ended up decent. Best shot yet has been a 4 crossover from around 200 out than landed 4ft from the pin, I’ll never forget that.

·       Workability: Changing my shot shape is something I’m still working on, so I can’t comment too much in this area as to how well they help my game.

·       Adjustability: One thing that I always enjoy in clubs is adjustability and Ping didn’t lack in this category. The fairway wood now has the new trajectory tuning which allows for loft adjustments of +/- 1.5* as well as lie adjustments. Ping is also known for the notch in their irons and crossovers that allow for easy adjustability as well.

·       Playability: Never an issue hitting balls out of the thick stuff. Have played rounds with tees and rounds with no tees and in the end, didn’t have an issue with either style.

 

On Course Performance (30/30)

As you have probably already gathered, I’ve had nothing but a great time with these clubs. When I first received them and was just hitting balls on the range I figured there would be a honeymoon stage just like with anything else. Boy, was I wrong. The honeymoon stage still has not ended, and we’re still going strong. Adding these three clubs to my bag has been nothing but positive for my scores, meaning lower… not higher. Haha. I can’t think of anything else I would like to add to these clubs in the next generation. One thing I would recommend them keeping is the turbulators and the CB shafts. I didn’t realize how much of a difference a shaft made, but I am now a huge supporter of the counter-balanced shafts. I’ll end this section with this… I’ve been having the most fun playing golf now than I ever have. I think it’s finally because I have clubs I can rely on.

 

Miscellaneous (10/10)

When I think Ping, I think quality. Every encounter I have ever had with Ping, whether that be a rep, fitter, or customer service has been great. Almost all my bag is Ping and every time I’ve ordered something from them the shipping has been super quick with everything packed well and no concerns of damaged clubs inside. I like that they throw in the custom card with every order so you can see the specs that you ordered, it’s a nice touch. They are a well respected company and I feel they always stand behind the tech they introduce, and that’s a winner in my book.

 

Play It or Trade It (20/20)

Goodbye Rogue 3W and goodbye Adams hybrid... this is a no brainer, these clubs are going in the bag. They have made me want to play more long courses just so I get to use them more often. If you are someone who struggles when it comes to the top end of your bag or struggle with getting ‘lift-off’ then you should check out this G410 line. I have always been afraid of my 3 wood and my long irons simply because they were not consistent. Sure, I would hit good shots with them, but they were few and far between. I never truly wanted to hit those clubs. It’s an entirely different story with the G410 line, I’m always wanting to hit these.

 

Conclusion

If you’re anything like me and don’t fancy the long ball, the G410 line may become your new best friend. The top end of my bag was not a fun spot for me, primarily because the longer you must hit a ball, the better the chance of it missing the target. Everything beyond my 5i or 6i was relatively good and I never really had any doubts. You hand me a fairway wood, hybrid, or long iron and I was sure to hit everything besides where I was aiming. Then, I got introduced to the G410 3W and Crossovers. While I can say the clubs are a big factor, I would argue the bigger factor would be a proper fitting. No, my fitting was not done in the traditional way, but I am certain he got me right where I need to be. After several range sessions and even more rounds, I am now more confident in my long game than I have ever been before. I’m not saying these clubs are miracle workers, I’m not saying they’ll make you a scratch golfer, what I’m saying is that if you struggle with hitting fairways and are fearful of any of your long irons, give the G410 clubs a try. You will not be disappointed.

 

Final Score ( 96/100 )

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Ping Long Game Gap Testing - Fitting Review

The fitting aspect of this review was one of the things that both excited and scared me the most about this testing opportunity. As I mentioned before, I’m a self-proclaimed golf junkie who has a tendency to change clubs more than I change clothes. I’m also one that frequents buy-sell-trade sections on forums on a regular basis. While not as bad as CG2….I do have a bit of a golf club buying/hoarding problem. 

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My current bag makeup prior to the fitting that I listed in stage 1 were clubs that I was not fit for, however through a lot of trial and tinkering, I found what works. I did go to an iron fitting recently, and found that my CF16 iron set with KBS Tour V110 stiff shafts fit me like a glove. Against all current iron sets (919F, p790, hot metal pro), everything was within a yard for distance and dispersion.

One reason why I never liked getting fit in the past was because I felt like they were all numbers oriented, without a lot of input from me, with the exception of maybe 1 experience. Part of that may have been my fault for not speaking up, but I always felt like I was told what I should play. I swing on the slower side with my driver (90-95) and I have been told multiple times, “You should play a lighter weighted, regular shaft because you swing slow.” In the past I’ve followed that reasoning and played clubs I couldn’t keep in the fairway. After tinkering, I found I get along better with heavier, stiffer shafts. My current driver shaft is a HZRDUS Yellow 6.0 76g shaft, and my irons have always floated between 110-120g.

Once I got my fitter information I was excited because I knew the fitter, Rick Kline, from a prior experience. Remembering my experience with him last time, and knowing his personality and how well we got along, I went in with an open mind, but also with the mindset of starting dialogue and discussion about not just numbers, but feel as well.

My fitting was not with a Ping Rep, but was at a Ping Top 100 clubfitter, so I reached out to him, scheduled a time, and when the day arrived I set off. With the fitting focusing on the gap between your driver and longest iron, I was curious about two questions.

Was I playing the right iron setup?

Would I be fit into hybrids or fairway woods?

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I arrived at Stitler Golf Center and immediately got taken into an outdoor bay to warm up and hit some golf balls. Rick popped over after finishing another fitting and we talked for a little bit. He remembered me from last time I was up and we chatted about the opportunity and testing, and I shared with him the two questions that I was curious about that I listed above.  Before even getting out his GC2, he asked me to take a few swings with my longest iron (4 iron). Took a few, none of which went straight. His first response was, “Yea..that club might get replaced.” I then grabbed my 5 iron and hit a few, all of which I hit pretty well. I then took a few swings with the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer, he grabbed a bunch of clubs and we were off! The only downside was we were using range balls on the GC2, so my 5 iron registered at 158 on the GC2, but generally that is my 175 club, but for the purpose of the fitting it still gave us a good idea on gapping.

Started out first with a 4 hybrid with the stock Alta CB 70 Red shaft. I took a few swings and didn’t like the feel. It felt whippy to me. Overall numbers weren’t bad. GC2 was showing between 165-170 but the ball was going all over the place. Had the conversation with him about always preferring a heavier shaft despite not having a high swing speed and he brought out the Tensei Blue 80 and the Tour 85 shaft, both in stiff.

Tensei blue gave me my longest shots of the day (GC2 registered 175) but the Tour 85 gave me the most consistency, with shots in the 165-170 range (again mind you this was using range balls) but a much tighter dispersion compared to the Alta. Decided that the 4 hybrid would replace my 4-iron

581411380_4hybrid.thumb.JPG.09673a06dfea58fa3d97d30ca68fd3f4.JPG

Next he pulled out a 3 hybrid and that was a pretty simple process. Tried the Tensei Blue and Tour 85 stiff shafts, and once again the Tour 85 shaft came out on top, fitting the gap perfectly with shots in the 170-180 range with the same tighter dispersion. We decided that the 3 hybrid would replace my trusty Heavenwood, and hybrids were done!

853627888_3hybrid.jpg.44af405c2973fac90ee5a3e7654369fc.jpg

I was really curious how the spot after my driver would go. Once we got through the hybrids, he handed me the g410 SFT 3-wood. For whatever reason I’ve always been against the SFT line, especially when it comes to drivers. If you asked me if I had a good reason I’d tell you no. Just never decided to game one, but after a few swings with the 3-wood my perception changed. It does look a little different at address, but after a few swings and seeing the results, it no longer bothers me. Super straight and so easy to hit. So much so that I’m now contemplating finding the SFT driver head. The Alta didn’t feel as whippy as it did in the hybrid, but we then threw in the Tour 75 shaft. Once again we saw the consistency with distance and the dispersion, dropped it down agree and we were done!

1903299302_3wood.jpg.ccdeb9fa8beddb0b9dd348587b34545a.jpg

So after everything, I added:

SFT 3 wood - 15 deg - Tour 75 stiff shaft

3 hybrid - 19 deg - Tour 85 stiff shaft

4 hybrid - 22 deg - Tour 85 stiff shaft

I replaced:

TS2 3 wood - 15 deg - Evenflow White 6.0 76g

GBB Heavenwood - 19 deg - Fujikura Pro 72g stiff

CF16 4 iron - Tour v110s 

Fitting.jpg.53832f4fc53cfd0fdf0085d26f49c021.jpg

 

2002003138_ClubCards.jpg.581fd8f6a6c63b63ce7033505c455e1d.jpg

Probably the best fitting experience I’ve had to date, and I believe it has to do with how you approach it with your fitter. The dialogue was huge, as well as what my thoughts and feelings were. Despite a shaft giving me better numbers,  I pointed out I was looking more for consistency, as well as a shaft/head combo that would continue to work for me as I improved my swing. I think we accomplished both of those during the fitting, and I’m excited to get these out on the course for more rounds.

 

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Stage Two - PAGolfer’s G410 Long Gap Testing 

Since Stage 1, the majority of my testing has been done on course or in the garage with my Skytrak. I’ve traveled a good bit throughout the summer, but have been able to get out for a number of rounds with these clubs. From my Stage 1, I’ve always struggled with woods, from driver to my longest iron. It’s never been a comfortable spot for me, and I tried to spend as much time with these as I could! 

Looks (9 out of 10 points)

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love the look of these, especially the hybrid. If I had to break this down between my two hybrids and SFT 3 wood, I’d give the hybrids a 10 and the SFT 3 wood an 8 based on looks. Hence the 9 rating.

Hybrids:

If any of you follow me in other threads, you know I have a bit of an addiction to golf clubs. I tend to purchase/swap quite often. I was in a golf shop the other day, and honestly couldn’t find another hybrid club head that, in my opinion, looked better than the G410 line. They’re compact and not clunky looking, yet instill confidence when you’re standing over it. For my eye, it does sit slightly closed, but not too much to the point where it bothers me. The black looks fantastic. I’ve never been a fan of clubs where you can see glare or shine on top. The g410 hybrid head paired with the Tour shaft looks fantastic from top to bottom. Stopped by a shop near me to try and grab some comparison pics compared to other models.

IMG_6149.thumb.jpg.fda6cf827491f81ba201adaf91d531e9.jpg

SFT Fairway:

The 3-wood is where you see a bit of a different look when it comes to “traditional” fairway woods. The SFT definitely has a larger look, and for me coming from 3-woods like the TS2 and M3 and F8, it took me awhile to get used to it at address. Despite the larger size, the turbulators still make it easy to align, and at setup, to my eye, looks a little closed at address as well, but again, not too much to turn me off from using it. With it being the same color as the hybrids, and paired with the Tour 75 shaft, the club itself looks great.

IMG_6148.thumb.jpg.e89e9f40a834cfc1f2af92cab9d36dcd.jpg

I know looks vary person to person, but my golf OCD has always struggled with clubs that have different color accents on the head (Epic driver with green, M3/M5 with blue/red, etc..). I love the clean black look that Ping brings to all their clubs, and I think they did a fantastic job with the G410 line in that regard.

Sound & Feel (9  out of 10 points)

I know people have always had varying opinions on Ping and how their clubs sound. I remember the G30-G-G410 debate on how the club sounded, but I love the sound of the G410 hybrids. It does have a more metallic sound. I can definitely tell when I hit off center. The metallic sound turns into a bit of a more metallic  thud. Neither of which sound harsh when hit. 

Feel is a little different for me. Overall I like the feel of the hybrids and fairway, but the face definitely doesn’t feel “hot” to me. I’ve played a few clubs in the past that you feel like the ball just rockets off the face. That’s not the case for me with the g410 line, but it still  produces a solid feel. I’ve had a few instances where I’ve hit them solidly off the toe or heel. Really off centered hits can definitely be felt, but hits that are slightly off centered still sound and feel similar to centered hits.

I don’t know if I'd rate it as my favorite sounding club. I loved the sound of the original Taylormade RBZ clubs, and even my Great Big Bertha Heavenwood, but sound is something that never truly bothers me. I think each produce more of a metallic sound, but I wouldn’t put the G410 line behind it. Sound and feel are nothing that would impact my mental game regardless of the club, but like I said, I really like the sound and feel of the line.

Basic Characteristics (15 out of 20 points)

Now let’s get down to the performance. These clubs are a bit interesting for me. Accuracy wise, when struck well, go very straight, but I’ve really struggled hitting greens. Even moreso, lately I’ve had issues with topping the ball, especially the 3-wood. I’ve had some issues with topping the hybrids as well, which has also lead to worm burners or low toe shots that go right.

 

IMG_6153.thumb.jpg.c835707da071fe41ea9784e5d92f3a2d.jpgIMG_6154.thumb.jpg.e45cdaa28fc2a0c892612526c634056b.jpg

With the 3-wood, it’s not a club I hit into grees, but tried to use it for tee shots, and based on the data, it didn’t help me much in that regard either. 

IMG_6152.thumb.jpg.6e3cc32d284f292474cb3d6cf8e43545.jpg

 

Distance is also a bit odd. I’ve hit distances with each club that “should” fit my gapping well, but have really struggled with the consistency. If you look at my gapping below, you’ll see that none of the 3 clubs, according to ARCCOS, fit my gap well. When I have hit shots well, I would say that the trajectory has been a bit lower than I’d expect. Prior to getting ARCCOS on my clubs, I hit a few hybrids into greens that ended up running straight through the green and off the back. Prior to the testing I had a Heavenwood which held greens well for me, so the trajectory was significantly lower than the Heavenwood. The 3-wood offers a bit of a lower trajectory as well, but this could also be due to the shaft and not necessarily the head itself.

Regardless of the club, no club is going to save you from a poor swing, but I found heel shots or shots low off the face fairly forgiving. There was the obvious loss of distance, but shots were still playable. The control and workability are a little harder for me to talk about. I tend to look for a straight ball flight, which I had no trouble finding when hit well, but again with my gapping issues, I had a hard time figuring out what distances to consistently use them for.

I do love the adjustability that comes with these. As a constant tinkerer, the ability to adjust the loft and even lie angle is huge in my opinion. It really allows you to dial in the settings that you need, and something I may tinker with a little more post stage 2. I will say that each plays well off the fairway and tees, and the hybrids work well coming out of the rough, but I’ve found that the 3-wood for me isn’t something I would hit out of the rough. Part of that may be due to the size/shape of the SFT head, but I seem to have even less confidence with it out of the rough. Also, living in Central PA with many hills, both surprisingly work well off of hills. Again, I’ve had some issues lately hitting them, but that may be more user error then anything related to the club.

On-Course Performance (18  out of 30 points)

Like I said above, the more time I spent with these, the more I lost confidence in my ability to hit them. I’m not a great golfer, but my normal miss with hybrids and fairways is a push to the right. Very rarely do I get in the habit of topping a ball, but for quite a few rounds, and even during yesterday’s round, I couldn’t get my 3-wood off the ground.

When it comes to both hybrids, I had similar issues, but not quite to the same extreme as the 3-wood. Yesterday I pulled my 3-hybrid for 3 shots. Topped 1 of them and sent the other 2 high and right. The recent struggle made me hesitant to pull them in pressure situations. Starting out, I had a nice stretch where I would use my 3 or 4 hybrid to tee off on a stretch of holes where I usually run into trouble on my home course. I would tee off and use the hybrid to hit my 2nd shot, but with the recent struggles of hitting them, I found myself doubting my ability to use them off the tee. Still pulled it to tee off, and immediately hit the ball OB right.

Below are two screen shots of the holes that generally give me trouble.

IMG_6155.thumb.jpg.dac3fe52333d50114aa466e06e1b5a79.jpgIMG_6156.thumb.jpg.5c7953863740b2aa51ef3bae737ebc9c.jpg

 

On other par 5’s, where I’d need a solid second shot, I found myself hesitating too. I definitely lost confidence, getting to the point where I felt like the ball would either get topped or find OB somewhere.

Another issue that I’m having is looking at my gapping. I’m comfortable hitting my 5 iron as my 175 club. Looking at my gapping, I’ve had a hard time figuring out where these fit.

IMG_6157.thumb.jpg.94f1a91d680857277ed182b489c29786.jpg

 

I will say that the hybrids work well for bump and runs. I’ve used the hybrids many times from either just off the green or close to the green in the rough. Both hybrids get the ball rolling well and easily cut through rough, but the overall performance on these clubs on full shots is still up in the air.

Overall I didn’t see an improvement in my score, and I think a lot of it was the lost confidence with the clubs, which might be more on me than on the clubs. It doesn’t change my impression on Ping at all. I still believe they make fantastic clubs. I absolutely love the turbulators. It might be one of my all time favorite alignment aids. I will say the one thing I would like to see in future models is more of a hotter feeling face.

Miscellaneous (10 out of 10 points)

From day 1 at the fitting, Ping was top notch in terms of getting us set up for our fitting, to getting our clubs out to us in a very timely manner. I’ve always had great interactions and experiences with Ping, and this was no different. I love that their clubs ship with a card that lists every spec from shaft to swing weight. Ping has always been a top notch company, and they definitely put an emphasis on customer service.

Play it or Trade it? (14 out of 20 points)

I prefaced before that a lot of this could be due to my current swing, while some of it can be due to the clubs, but I’m honestly split on this decision. I miss my Heavenwood, where the versatility of the club really shines for me from a number of distances and situations. I’ve seen a lot of positives with these clubs but I haven’t seen the consistency in terms of contact and yardage. 

I do think these clubs fit a wide range of golfers, from low cappers to high, and the adjustability allows golfers to dial in a number of settings. I think a lot of it comes down to having the consistency with your hybrids and fairways, which is something that I struggle with. I still plan on giving them some more time, but I'll definitely need to gain more confidence, and more importantly see the yardages that I need to fit the gap between my driver and 5 iron.

Conclusion

Ping hit a homerun in terms of design with the g410 line. I absolutely love everything from the look to the feel, but have struggled finding the performance that I want/need. Though one of the reasons why I want to give them some more time is because I absolutely love the g410 driver. Despite working a lot on my swing this summer, I seem to have hit a bit of a wall, and have really struggled to find consistency with it. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the next few months!

Final Score: (75 out of 100 points)

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Cannot wait for this!  Good luck guys, hope the change in the bag works extremely well!

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Really excited for this one! Great group of testers!


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The last time I played with @MattF, we were talking about this being one of the coolest tests that have come around. This will be fun to follow.

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Curious to see if anyone got fit into the crossover.

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Looking forward to the upcoming Stage 1s and fitting reviews and seeing who got fit into what!


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