By Mike Stachura
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The followup to Ping’s Glide Forged wedges, which were introduced three years ago, the new Glide Forged Pro features more compact shaping, added lofts and a new emery blast surface roughness for enhanced friction and better spin.
PRICE: €245.00 per club with stock steel shaft; € 255.00 per club with stock graphite shaft (10 loft/bounce options, two sole grinds, 50-62 degrees).
THE DEEP DIVE: The Ping Glide Forged Pro wedge targets all the smaller points of making a wedge for “shotmakers.” That naturally includes a painstakingly inspected forging process like on its predecessor, and precise measurements around the grooves and the two sole grinds, too. But it also means making a wedge that not only looks smaller, but feels smaller, too—just what a short-game shotmaker is looking for.
The blade length on the Glide Forged Pro is a little more compact than Ping’s standard Glide 3.0 wedges. But Ping’s team also consulted with its staff of tour players and noted short-game expert Stan Utley to shorten a measurement called “hosel-X,” or the distance from the head’s center of gravity to the hosel axis. That distance might only be a tenth of an inch, but that speaks volumes to the better player, said Ryan Stokke, Ping’s director of product design.
“This has a similar offset to Glide Forged, but it’s what we call a little more of a capture feeling,” Stokke said. “There’s the blade length and there’s also where the hosel connects. So we’ve taken out some of the hosel-X distance so the club actually feels shorter.
“There was always this desire to produce a shotmaker’s wedge and what are the characteristics. So that’s why it has that capture, little smaller, little more rounded profile. The actual measurement can seem like a little but when you see how all those things like offset and shaping stack up, it really shows in the overall visual appearance of the golf club.”
The Glide Forged Pro is forged from 8620 carbon steel, and like its predecessor it features a machined face and grooves. The grooves differ by loft. The lower lofts use a 20-degree sidewall angle for better full-swing performance, while the higher lofts feature a sharper 28-degree sidewall angle for better spin on the shorter shots.
Even more crucial to spin on those partial shots around the green, the Glide Forged Pro uses a new emery blast on the space between the grooves for enhanced friction, Stokke said.
“Emery material is just a very jagged material,” he said. “Where a lot of materials when you blast it imparts a certain texture, this just puts a lot more across the face. This gives us a better prediction of impact and launch angle and spin rate.”
The two grinds target the demands of Ping’s corps of better players. The S grind targets most golfers with a moderate bounce and sole width, trailing edge relief and a rounded leading edge. The T grind features a slightly narrower sole with three degrees less bounce and more trailing edge relief. The T grind includes a 62-degree low bounce option, while the S grind will feature Ping Eye2-like 59-degree model with an homage to the Eye2’s traditional higher toe (below).
Stokke said the combination of elements targets better performance in those places on the course where players need it most.
“We didn’t redesign the groove or anything like that, but when you look at how everything plays in with the club changes and sole changes and the emery blast, we are seeing real improvement in some of the secondary conditions that people play from,” he said.
The Glide Forged Pro offers multiple customisation options, including graphic elements, custom stamping and 13 paint fill colors. Beginning Sept. 1, customers can design their preferences on Ping’s website.
The Glide Forged Pro is available in 10 loft/bounce options. That includes 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 59 (Eye2) and 60 degrees in the S grind; and 58, 60 and 62 degrees in the T grind.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAY: Engineered for golfers in search of versatility and improved shot making inside the scoring zone, PING today introduced the Glide Forged Pro wedge series. The tour-inspired, high-spinning design is offered in two grind profiles and multiple loft options to fit players who rely on precision and control to shoot lower scores.
The custom-fit, custom-built Glide Forged Pro wedges are now available for pre-order at authorised PING retailers around the world.
“When you look at the Glide Forged Pro wedge, everything about it stands out,” said John K. Solheim, PING President. “It’s a great-looking club with amazing feel that performs beautifully. It has the versatility to attract and benefit a lot of different skill levels. Our engineers focused on every design attribute. It’s slightly smaller heel-to-toe with a rounded profile to allow players the ability to control the club and play any shot with precision. We’ve also applied a new face blast to improve friction for increased spin and trajectory control.”
Tour-Inspired Compact Shape
In consultation with its Tour staff and brand ambassadors, PING’s engineers designed the Glide Forged Pro for golfers who focus on saving shots into and around the green. The smaller heel-to-toe head, which is forged from 8620 carbon steel, creates a captured look at address, giving players the confidence to manipulate the head to help execute any shot they are facing.
“We know golfers are very particular about the look of their wedges. That first impression when they look down at it is vitally important to whether it makes it into their bag,” said Solheim. “The feedback from our players and coaches really helped guide the design of the Glide Forged Pro. It sets up perfectly behind the ball, giving you the confidence to pull off almost any shot. It has the all-around performance that will lead to lower scores for a lot of different type of players.”
Friction Face with Emery Blast
In combination with the precision-milled face and grooves, the new Emery face blast adds more texture to the hitting surface, creating higher friction and more interaction between the club and ball for more spin and lower launch. The 50º and 52º lofts feature wheel-cut grooves with a 20º sidewall to optimise performance on full shots. The 54º to 62º options are milled with a 28º sidewall and tighter radius for more spin and precision on finesse shots around the green and from the sand. The hydropearl 2.0 chrome finish adds to the higher spin and lower launch, especially from wet and rough conditions.
“As great as these clubs look, it comes down to performance off the face,” said Solheim. “The new Emery blast makes a huge difference. The added spin and lower launch overall give shot makers the control they need to play at the pin on full shots or take on the tough shots around the green.”
Expanded Lofts and Grinds
Two grind options in multiple lofts expand the offerings to ensure a wedge choice to match a golfer’s playing conditions and angle of attack. In the “S” grind, moderate bounce and a rounded lead edge combine to produce an option that fits most golfers. It comes in seven loft/bounce configurations. The “T” Grind has a narrower sole with approximately 3º less bounce than the “S” to make it more versatile and precise around the green. It’s available in three lofts, including a 62º, which offers low bounce and high loft for the most greenside versatility and will be a popular choice on tour when matching course conditions. Golfers can also choose from eight custom grinds through PING Wrx, the company’s facility that custom builds the majority of its tour and college equipment.
59º EYE2 Toe Option
The PING EYE2 wedge face profile inspired the “S” grind 59º option, which is distinguished by the high-toe design made popular by Karsten Solheim’s iconic sand wedge developed in the early 1980s. It features a blended hosel and a more traditional sole design than the original with approximately 1.5º less bounce than the other “S” grind lofts.
“I may be a little biased since my swimming pool as a kid was shaped like a PING EYE2 wedge, but I love the high-toe option in this line,” said Solheim. “It gives me the confidence and versatility to play high and low shots with a lot of spin without being intimidated. It’s especially good out of the bunker.”
Glide Forged Pro Specifications
Material/Manufacturing Process: Forged 8620 carbon steel head; precision-milled face and grooves; Emery face blast; hydropearl 2.0 chrome finish
“S” grind loft/bounce options: 50º/10º, 52º/10º, 54º/10º, 56º/10º, 58º/10º, 59º/8º (EYE2), 60º/10º
“T” grind loft/bounce options: 58º/6º, 60º/6º, 62º/6º
STOCK SHAFTS: PING Z-Z115; PING AWT 2.0 (R, S, X), UST Recoil 760 ES (A), 780 (R, S),
PING Alta CB Slate (SR, R, S)
OPTIONAL STOCK SHAFTS: Dynamic Gold (S300, X100), Dynamic Gold 105 (R300, S300), Dynamic Gold 120 (S300, X100), KBS Tour (R, S, X), NS Pro Modus 105 (R, S, X), Elevate 95 (R, S), Project X LS (6.0, 6.5)
STOCK GRIP: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360
RRP: €245.00 per club with stock steel shaft; € 255.00 per club with stock graphite shaft