Exclusive – Podcast #242 John K. Solheim, PING G400 Driver
In this episode, we discuss the up and coming G400 Driver, how PING continues to lead the way in club aerodynamics, the different head options in the G400 driver and the new technology and look of the shaft.
Tom Brassell: Welcome to Golf Better at Worldwide Golf Shops. Hello everyone. My name is Tom Brassell. Thanks so much for joining us. This your first time listening or you’re a longtime subscriber or maybe somewhere in between, doesn’t matter. We’re just glad that you joined us. Our special guest today joins us from out in Scottsdale Arizona. He’s a good friend. He’s the President of PING Golf, who else but Mr. John K. Solheim. John, thanks so much for joining us. Great to have you with us today.
John K. Solheim: Well thank you. It’s good to be here.
Tom Brassell: Gee John, before we get going on the topic at hand, sincere condolences, our thoughts and prayers about the loss of your grandmother, Louise Solheim. I’m sure you got some great memories about really the First Lady of PING Golf.
John K. Solheim: Yeah, you know, I appreciate that. She was 99 so I got a lot of years with her. Looking back, she was very instrumental in creating PING. I always called her like the wisest person I know. She’s given me a lot of advice over the years both personal with marriage, with family and then also with company and some great business advice too.
Tom Brassell: Obviously, it’s a exciting time, the new G400 series, we’re on the brink of that. I wanted to start with the drivers because you’ve got some tremendous feedback on this great new product. I’ll let you take it from there as far as what’s behind it and what’s new with it.
John K. Solheim: Excellent. Yeah whenever we talk about the G400, seems like we start with the driver. I go on and on. Then I’m like, “I’ve only talked about the driver. We still got fairways, hybrids.”
You know the thing when we do design clubs we look at everything and try to improve everything with each launch that we have so the G400 driver’s no different. We can start I guess with the aerodynamics. We made it substantially more aerodynamic. You know we started to lead the industry in aerodynamics when we introduced the turbulators back with the G30. So now we’re two generations into turbulators. We’ve got the Vortec on the back of the club also increases the aerodynamics.
Then this head’s actually a little smaller, which obviously makes it faster. So all those going together combine into more club head speed, more ball speed. Then kind of right on top of that, we’ve got new face technology. This is a T9S+ titanium so it’s a slightly different alloy than what we’ve used in the past. Still use our proprietary, patented heat treating method on it. Then there’s a new process we call “The Ferris Wheel” that puts the bulge and roll on the clubs. All these together gives this a very consistent face so we’re right at that CT/COR limit across the board. The drivers are very consistent height. That also increases ball speed.
Kind of the engineering feat, even though the head’s a little smaller than we’ve been in the past, the MOI is even higher. So that increases the forgiveness and the CG is even further back and low so we’ve got great launch and spin characteristics come off. So all that added together it’s longer and straighter. The tour players I was the most impressed … I think it was 11 or 13 players at the U.S. Open, they got the drivers on Monday. A lot of them hadn’t even hit it before. A few of them had done a video with us before but these were different drivers and I was shocked that 13 players, getting it on Monday, played it in the U.S. Open that week.
Tom Brassell: Yeah. I think you tested it with your tour players back at the week of the Player’s Championship at Sawgrass. Like you said that wasn’t really the club but to give it to them the week of the U.S. Open and to pull the trigger that week, that’s unheard of isn’t it?
John K. Solheim: I was shocked. Yeah we were excited to get it out there. We’d had a few players asking for it so we’re like, “Okay let’s do it at the U.S. Open.” I think we had 13 drivers and 11 fairway woods. So it was very impressive.
Tom Brassell: I heard something new with the G400 drivers as well John is the shaft painting, the new technology of the shaft. Correct?
John K. Solheim: Yeah.
Tom Brassell: Yeah.
John K. Solheim: I always forget about that because I played a different shaft. But I tell you what. That’s the one thing everybody is most excited about. That has nothing to do with the performance of the golf club. I guess there’s a little bit subliminal because it’s got this great copper look. We’ve gone from the blue to now we have like copper accents on the club so it gives it a real rich look. The shaft when it’s on the shelf or when you’re just looking at it, it’s copper but as you put it down in the address position, it’s a color-shifting paint and it just switches over to black. So it’s very non-distracting in the address position.
Tom Brassell: Also, with the driver I believe you’ve got some different head options. Correct?
John K. Solheim: Yeah. The way we fit our product we’ve got the standard, which is going to have the highest MOI. It’s the most forgiving of the bunch. It’s also got the lowest back CG so it’s going to launch the highest. Then for the golfer that struggles missing it right we have the SFT technology, which is straight flight technology. So this really just prevents the ball from going right so its got a little more heel weight in it.
Then finally, for kind of the stronger golfer that struggles with spinning it too much at those impact speeds, a lot of golfers just lose distance because they’ve got too much spin, this one would actually move the weight just a little bit forward compared to the regular G400. But if you look compared to the industry it’s still a very far back CG but it’s a little more forward and lower than the standard model. So this really lowers the spin for the golfers. Interestingly enough but a lot of our tour players in the past they haven’t played the LST but a lot of them with the G400 because it’s such a high-launching driver had gone to that LST option.
Tom Brassell: Like you and I spoke about at the show, please don’t grab one of these off the shelf and put it into your bag. Get custom fit. The importance of being fit, you’re not going to insure the technology is fit for you unless you invest a few minutes.
John K. Solheim: Yeah. I mean you’re kind of cheating yourself. Our club works great if you just go pick one off the shelf and hit it, I’m pretty confident you’re going to be happy with it but you’re passing up like 20 yards if you don’t take the time to just get the shaft right. To get the loft right and just go through a 10, 15 minute fitting and really make sure you’re getting the right product.
Tom Brassell: G400 driver new from PING. The pros are throwing it in their bags left and right and around the world too not just on the PGA Tour. John K, hey thanks so much for joining us on this. We’re excited about it. Appreciate it.
John K. Solheim: Thank you.
Tom Brassell: So there you have it from John K himself. Mister John K. Solheim president of PING Golf on the new PING G400 driver. The feedback has been phenomenal. To have 13 drivers put in play the week of the U.S. Open is just absolutely incredible. If they’re doing it, you should do it too. Go out. Give it a shot. Most importantly, get custom fit for this incredible new club from PING. Well special thanks to John K for joining us and to you our listeners. We’ll do it again next time. We have another episode of Golf Better at worldwidegolfshops.com. So long everyone!
For more information on the G400 line of clubs, check out our recent “New PING G400 Series” blog post that highlights the technology, head options and much more that come standard in the G400 line. If you want to hear about the new G400 Irons, check out our recent podcast with John K. Solheim at “PING G400 Irons.”