One of the most eagerly anticipated hardware launches of 2014 was announced on July 3, when Ping made its worldwide introduction of the G30 family of clubs. While Bubba Watson had the pink G30 driver in his bag immediately on tour in the United States, GOLF RETAILING got the trade media exclusive in the UK. Robin Barwick spoke to John Clark, managing director of Ping Europe
Ping has launched the G30 family of clubs, with store deliveries scheduled for the end of July. Headlining the new range are a pair of G30 drivers – Standard and SF Tec (Straight Flight Technology) – which are built with attention-grabbing Turbulator Technology, engineered with a view to improving aerodynamics and therefore increasing clubhead speed. Complementing the drivers are new G30 fairway woods, hybrids and irons.
John Clark, managing director of Ping Europe, is convinced that strong pre-sales of G30 are going to lead Ping into a very strong second half of 2014.
“Pre-sales have been fantastic,” starts Clark, speaking exclusively to GOLF RETAILING. “Based on initial feedback from key customers, we have already ordered in more product, so we have very high expectations. That is not just for the driver either, that is for the whole G30 family, including driver, fairways, hybrids and irons.
“This is an extremely important launch for Ping, because ‘G’ is our biggest category and it reaches out from the centre to the fringes of the golfing population. The clubs suit a lot of different golfers. Every retailer we are active with will be stocking G30, which is getting up to 1,800 to 2,000 retailers.”
The most visible innovation on the G30 drivers are the patented Turbulators, which are engineered onto the crown. Ping promises that Turbulator Technology reduces aerodynamic drag by significantly delaying airflow separation, and thereby maintaining attached airflow around the clubhead as it approaches impact, leading to more speed.
“The one thing [Ping chairman] John Solheim will never allow to happen is for Ping to give up on finding improvements in distance and forgiveness,” adds Clark. “That is a no-compromise situation, and whatever the engineers come up with, every new product has to show genuine progress. G30 technology has to move forward from what we achieved in G25, and it does. Any innovation that does not offer real improvement would not see the light of day. Over the years, a lot of new designs have been left at the drawing board. It is a philosophy that has stood Ping in good stead over many decades.”
Says Solheim: “With the G30 series, our engineers once again accomplished something that is unique to Ping products – they elevated performance significantly in key areas without sacrificing other important attributes. Across the product line, we’ve proved you can hit the ball higher and farther while increasing forgiveness and control. We’ve also continued our focus on advancing custom fitting in the driver and fairway woods by offering five loft positions. All of this promotes the consistent, reliable results that will help golfers of any skill level shoot lower scores and enjoy the game more.
“The turbulators are really exciting. Wind-tunnel testing verified with clarity the role they play in reducing drag on the driver head, but its real benefit was confirmed through our player testing. When Bubba Watson first tested the turbulators, he picked up two miles per hour in clubhead speed and four miles per hour in ball speed, which meant 10 more yards for him. We can’t promise that for everyone, but with the turbulators’ powerful, inspiring look we’re confident all golfers will be longer off the tee, thanks to Turbulator Technology.”
A late season boost
Ping promises that the entire G30 series benefits from new face technologies and materials, including the introduction of T9S titanium in the drivers, which has enabled thinner faces and weight savings that should help position the CG low and back. The fairway woods utilise a high-strength Carpenter 475 steel in the face, and the hybrids are heat treated with an H900 process. Both should result in hotter, more forgiving faces. The G30 iron face is thinner for higher ball speeds, while being stabilised by a new custom tuning port design for predictable distance control.
“When innovation is ready you bring it to market,” says Clark, in explaining the mid-summer launch that has proved so successful for Ping in recent years. “I don’t think we would insist that there are fixed times for us to come to market. Beyond that, a July or August launch catches the back end of the golf season, so it gives the end of the season a boost, and from a global perspective, the July launch is always very strong in the southern hemisphere markets. It also means that come spring 2015, the July launch enables us to ensure our service levels in spring are extremely high, while the product has only been available for a few months so it is still fresh.”
The G30 SF Tec driver is engineered for players whose shots typically end up right of the intended target. In player testing, the G30 SF Tec, which features weight closer to the heel and lighter swing weights, improved shot bend by 12 yards when compared to the G30 Standard.
Ping has also increased the range of adjustability to five loft positions in the driver and fairway woods, promising the benefits of adjustability with no sacrifice in performance.
“Ping is an authentic golf club brand and we believe in trying to reach all the consumers in the market,” adds Clark, “and you need a range of product in order to do that fully. The G30 irons will fit very well alongside i25 and S55, while the driver will sit alongside i25. With two G30 driver versions – the Standard model and the SF Tec – we will have three driver clubheads available, so we can reach every section of the market. We have something for every golfer.”