WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Ping G425 line of metalwoods continue the company’s industry-leading push to the extremes of moment of inertia (MOI), best understood as the stability of the head on off-center hits (so misses fly more like dead-center strikes). The new driver combines the technologies of Ping’s two previous models—building on the super-high MOI of the G400 Max and advancing the movable weight feature of the G410 Plus—while also continuing to offer standard models for the masses (G425 Max), a low-spin option (G425 LST) and an anti-slice version (G425 SFT). The G425 fairway woods and hybrids break new ground for the company with a wraparound-style face that extends into the crown and sole to improve the way the face flexes for better distance.
Price: RRP €499 / £450
THE DEEP DIVE: Now in its seventh decade of existence, Ping prides itself on being a learning company that just happens to make golf equipment, right to its inquisitive original founder Karsten Solheim and his pursuit of engineering solutions to solve average golfer problems. For example, the company’s in-house library of experiments and research on everything from metallurgy and moment of inertia to clubhead aerodynamics, supercomputer simulations and ultra-individualized custom clubfitting would provide the foundation for a Masters degree in club design. As well, the stories are not apocryphal but actual of Solheim flying in a disgruntled customer to quiz him on what was so disappointing about the company’s latest product—not a retail partner, mind you, but a real-live current owner of a Ping club. There the company chief sat, watching an average golfer hit balls in the Arizona summer heat, taking notes and building a foundation for what the company’s next design might be.
So it is no surprise that the company’s new G425 metalwoods—led by the three-pronged approach in the driver—reflects not merely a combination of the company’s most recent technologies but a step forward in construction and theory. As Ryan Stokke, director of product at Ping, says of the new woods: “It comes down to our understanding of how to utilize the mass properties to help golfers hit their best shots farther and their worst shots farther and more accurate. It really comes down to how do we produce more speed, how do we make it more forgiving and how do we fit a diverse array of golfers.”
Simple in concept, perhaps, complex in all levels of execution throughout the G425 wood line. While the new G425 drivers largely continue the theme established with the original G2 of pursuing high MOI through a center of gravity location that is deep toward the back perimeter of the clubhead, they do so with a renewed effort to push the center of gravity lower than Ping drivers have been before.
To push more forgiveness, the new designs start by thinning out the walls more than ever before, which frees up weight to be reallocated in distinct ways with each of the three driver models (G425 Max, the low-spin G425 LST and the anti-slice G425 SFT). The new designs feature walls as thin as two sheets of kitchen-grade aluminum foil stacked on top of each other. At about 0.4 millimeters thick, the crown structure uses a web-like composition (called “Dragonfly Technology”) to make the walls stronger, but its greatest benefit is that it allows the movable tungsten weight in the rear perimeter to now be 26 grams. That’s 10 grams heavier than it was in the G410 Plus, the company’s first driver with adjustable weight technology.
What’s intriguing about the new adjustable weight structure on the G425, which again encompasses central, heel and toe positions, is that it extends across a shorter range so the weights don’t move as far into the heel and toe as its predecessor. While that might seem to make the resulting heel or fade bias less effective, there’s a logic at work, said Paul Wood, the Ph.D who is Ping’s vice president of engineering.
“We found that we didn’t need to go to the extreme heel or toe to get the movement we were looking for and it allowed us to keep the MOI high,” he said. For example, the company’s study of the new movable weight arrangement showed the same effects on influencing a fade or draw trajectory while seeing a 16-20 percent improvement in stability on off-center hits.
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Ping calculates the combined MOI in both the heel-toe and crown-sole directions to be nearly 10,000 grams-cm2. (The USGA limits heel-toe MOI to a tolerance of 6,000 grams-cm2, but does not have a limit on crown-sole MOI.) That overall stability not only reduces the decline in off-center hit ball speed but produces more consistency in spin on mis-hits, too, for more repeatable trajectories and distance.
Said Stokke, “That MOI preservation is unique when you look at the landscape of drivers in the marketplace.” On the standard G425 Max, Stokke said the isolated effect of the different weight positions provides around 10 yards of fade or draw shot bend, which is right in line with what players are looking for. The larger flight correction comes in the G425 SFT, which puts a fixed 23-gram weight toward the heel.
“We were able to achieve more draw bias using a weight that was not as far heelward, but is heavier,” Wood said. “The face angle also is closed slightly more but you can’t really detect it at address. The CG being deeper combines with the heavier weight to amplify the draw bias.”
The G425 LST is a slightly more compact model at 445 cubic centimeters but still features a hefty adjustable weight of 17 grams, and according to Stokke the center of gravity is both lower and farther back compared to the G410 LST. That difference produces not only 500-700 rpm less spin vs. the G425 Max but 200 rpm less spin vs. the G410 LST.
The face on the G425 driver models is again the T9S+ titanium alloy that uses a special heat treatment to get thinner for better flexing. A series of rib structures in the rear walls of the drivers helps control sound in the overall thinner structure in the drivers. Also, the drivers again push the MOI values because of their slightly heavier headweights (203-208 grams), which is neatly offset by Ping’s standard lightweight counterbalanced shaft.
Also, the drivers again incorporate a further advanced version of the ridges on the crown known as turbulators, designed to improve the head’s aerodynamics for improved velocity during the downswing.
WHAT PING SAY: Continuing its commitment to bring golfers advancements in technology that lead to lower scores and more enjoyment on the golf course, PING today introduced the G425 Family, a complete set of custom fit, custom built clubs engineered for golfers of all skill levels.
“We’re very excited to bring PING’s next generation of score-lowering custom fit, custom built equipment to golfers,” said PING President John K. Solheim. “Our engineering teams have made significant performance improvements in the G425 family which we are confident will appeal to long-time, loyal PING players while attracting other golfers looking to play better and enjoy the game more, including those brand new to the game. As is our engineering philosophy, we don’t introduce a new product unless it’s measurably better than its predecessor. The G425 family exceeds that standard in both performance and appearance.”
“The Tour response to the G425 driver has been exceptional,” Solheim added. “It started with a win its first week on the European Tour in the hands of Tyrrell Hatton at the BMW PGA Championship and has continued with wins around the world ever since. Viktor Hovland claimed the Mayakoba Golf Classic in early December with the G425 LST and one week later the U.S. Women’s Open Champion also relied on the new driver. In all, the G425 driver already has six wins to its name, helping earn titles on all the major tours around the world. The players are instantly attracted to the clean, premium look of the clubs and even more impressed with the performance.”
MOI to the MAX
In the G425 driver series, the primary model is named Max as it elevates the moment of inertia (MOI) to PING’s highest level in history and provide golfers the most forgiving driver in golf. Joining the G425 Max are the LST (Low Spin Technology) and SFT (Straight Flight Technology) to best match a golfer’s swing and launch conditions.
To achieve the new performance levels in the G425 Max (9º, 10.5º, 12º lofts), PING engineers combined key technologies from the G400 Max and G410 Plus. The resulting increase in MOI in the 460cc head comes mainly from a 26-gram tungsten movable weight, which is made possible by weight savings attributed to advancements in the driver’s dragonfly crown technology. The weight can be positioned at distinctive settings over a smaller area than G410 Plus/LST to help shift the center of gravity lower and farther back without sacrificing performance elsewhere in the design. The CG-shifting weight can be secured in one of three settings -- neutral, draw or fade -- to influence forgiveness and shot shape for maximum performance. The average MOI increase is 14% across the three weight positions compared to the G410 Plus, with three combinations of weight position and loft exceeding a combined MOI of 10,000 (gm-cm²).
The LST model (9º, 10.5º lofts) is designed with a pear-shaped head and measures 445cc to deliver spin reductions of approximately 200 rpm compared to the G410 LST and 500-700 rpm versus the G425 Max. The smaller head size of the LST employs a 17-gram CG shifter with three settings (Draw, Neutral, Fade) to fit the launch conditions best suited to the golfer’s swing and desired ball flight.
For golfers who commonly miss their tee shots to the right, the 460cc SFT version (10.5º loft) is engineered with draw bias to help bring shots back on-line and into the fairway. It features a fixed 23-gram tungsten back weight that shifts the CG closer to the heel to promote a right-to-left shot bend of approximately 25 yards compared to the G425 Max model. A lighter swingweight (D1) also helps influence the ball flight correction.
To help contribute to increases in swing speed and ball speed, all three models share proven PING driver innovations, including turbulators for reduced aerodynamic drag and the proprietary T9S+ forged face to accelerate face flexing for more distance. An internal rib structure in the Ti-8-1-1 body improves acoustics for a solid and pleasing sound. Each model also features the lightweight, 8-position hosel for loft (+-1.5º) and lie (up to 3º flatter) adjustments to further dial in ball flight.
RRP €499 / £450