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Callaway Rogue drivers

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Club: Callaway Rogue drivers
Price: $499.99 with Aldila Synergy or Quaranta, Project X EvenFlow and HZRDUS Yellow shaft; Golf Pride MCC grip.
Specs: Titanium face and chassis with carbon-fiber crown. Lofts: 9, 10.5, 13.5 degrees
Available: Feb. 23

Goal
With the Rogue drivers, Callaway aims to take many of the technologies in 2017’s GBB Epic drivers and add more forgiveness and stability.

The Scoop
Callaway’s GBB Epic drivers were a runaway hit and the most widely sold driver in the United States last year. Now, with the release of three new Rogue drivers, Callaway is borrowing several key design features from those clubs while making the Rogue family slightly different. (The Epic line still will be available – Rogue doesn’t replace Epic.)

At the heart of the Rogue drivers are two features that work together to provide more distance: an updated Jailbreak system and a re-designed variable-thickness face.

“This is really the next generation of Jailbreak,” said Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s director of research and development for metalwoods. “There are two titanium rods that connect the crown and sole inside the head, and their purpose is to add stiffness to the body and minimize the amount of deflection in the body during impact. This minimizes the amount of energy lost in the body and focuses that energy to the face.”

Callaway Rogue driver

The internal Jailbreak rods in the Rogue drovers are hourglass shaped and lighter. (Callaway Golf)

The Jailbreak rods in the Rogue drivers have an hourglass shape and are each 25 percent lighter. At the same time, the Rogue drivers were given a face that is thicker in the center and thinner around the perimeter. The thicker areas form an X.

“The focus is really to increase ball speeds when you don’t hit the center of the face,” Gibbs said. “Working in tandem with Jailbreak, the new face delivers higher and more consistent speeds across the face.”

The Rogue drivers have a triaxial carbon-composite crown, as did the Epic drivers, but the carbon-fiber piece is larger to help lower the Rogue’s center of gravity and create more discretionary weight. That allowed Callaway designers to shift more of the Rogue’s overall weight to the back of the head and increase the moment of inertia. The Rogue’s 8,800 kgm2 total MOI dwarfs the MOI of the driver it replaces in Callaway’s line-up, the XR16, which has an MOI if 7,500 kgm2. It’s also higher than the Epic’s 8,000 kgm2.

Callaway Rogue Draw driver

Callaway Rogue Draw driver (Callaway Golf)

To help golfers create more clubhead speed, Callaway teamed with aerospace company Boeing to develop a design that keeps airflow moving efficiently over the leading edge and the seam where the hitting area and crown meet.

Aside from the standard Rogue, Callaway is offering a Rogue Draw driver with the same features and benefits, but its 5-gram external sole weight was shifted from the back-center area of the sole toward the heel. This should help the face close more easily on the downswing and square more easily, reducing the severity of a slice. Compared to the Epic with its sliding weight affixed all the way to the right, Callaway says the Rogue Draw has 7 more yards of right-to-left bias. Compared to the standard Rogue, it has 17 yards of draw bias.

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero driver

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero driver. (Callaway Golf)

For golfers who create excessive spin, Callaway offers the Rogue Sub Zero. This club has two weight screws, a 2-gram in the back and a 14-gram in the front, directly behind the leading edge. They can be swapped, but when the heavier weight is forward the club produces about 200 rpm less spin. Shifting the 14-gram weight to the back further increases MOI and stability. The Rogue Sub Zero creates 300 rpm less spin than the standard Rogue, and also less spin than the Epic Sub Zero.

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Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero fairway woods

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Club: Callaway Rogue fairway woods
Price: $299.99 with Aldila Synergy or Quaranta, Project X EvenFlow and HZRDUS Yellow shaft; Golf Pride New Decade MCC grip.
Specs: Carpenter 455 stainless steel face, carbon-fiber crown. Lofts (Standard): 13.5, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25 degrees; (Sub Zero) 13.5, 15, 18 degrees
Available: Feb. 23

Goal
The Rogue fairway woods borrow distance-enhancing technologies first used in Callaway drivers to deliver more ball speed and distance.

The Scoop
To help golfers hit their fairway woods farther and achieve better performance off the tee and from the fairway, designers packed several features that are typically associated with the company’s drivers into the Rogue fairway woods.

“We are really excited to bring Jailbreak technology into the fairway wood category,” said Evan Gibbs, director of metalwood research and development for Callaway. “Functionally, it really does the same thing that it does in the driver.”

The steel rods connecting the sole and crown stiffen the body. (Callaway Golf)

Jailbreak consists of two rods that connect the crown and sole inside the body. In this case, they are steel instead of the titanium rods used inside Callaway drivers, but they still help stiffen the head so energy created at impact is not lost in the body of the club and is instead redirected to the hitting area.

The Carpenter 455 stainless steel face has a cup shape instead of being a flat piece of metal. Callaway says that by using a cup face design, the sweetspot is broadened across a larger portion of the hitting area and ball speed is protected more effectively on off-center hits.

“We wanted to be sure that we designed the Jailbreak technology and the face cup together so they would compliment each other,” Gibbs said. “We did not want these two elements to hinder each other, so it was a real challenge to bring these two elements to fairway woods.”

Callaway Rogue fairway woods

Callaway Rogue fairway wood (Callaway Golf)

To lower the center of gravity, Callaway designed the Rogue fairway woods with a triaxial carbon-composite crown. It is significantly lighter than a stainless steel crown of the same size, so more of the head’s overall weight shifts toward the sole. This should help increase launch angle and make hitting the ball high in the air easier.

To ensure the Rogue fairway woods do not create excessive spin, a weight that Callaway refers to as an Internal Standing Wave was positioned behind the face and Jailbreak bars inside the head.

For golfers who create excessive spin with their fairway woods and want a club that produces a flatter, more piercing trajectory, Callaway created the Sub Zero version of the Rogue fairway woods. Instead of the weight screw being in the back of the sole, in the Sub Zero edition is it forward, between the Jailbreak bars, and that helps shift the center of gravity forward to decrease the launch angle.

“This is really a distance fairway wood that is going to be low-spin,” Gibbs said. “It still launches high, so it’s easy to hit. It’s not just for higher-head-speed players, but it’s really our maximum distance fairway wood.”

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Angelina Ye uses late turn of events to win ANNIKA Invitational USA

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Angelina Ye hoped to win her first AJGA invitational at some point in 2018. It took her two weeks into the year to achieve that dream.

Ye flipped the script late Monday at the ANNIKA Invitational USA. She stood on the par-3 15th tee at the World Golf Village’s Slammer & Squire Course two shots back and in line to finish runner-up to wire-to-wire winner Mathilde Claisse.

Only, the French player stumbled late, and Ye rose with a pair of birdies to snatch a two-shot victory.

In the aftermath, Ye was trying to take it all in. As she waited for a video interview start, Ye queried what the questions would be, noting with a laugh that she was “kind of freaking out.”

Understandable considering the main goal she set had shockingly come so quickly.

“I didn’t think that it would come so fast,” said Ye, who earned her second AJGA win overall Monday. “First event of the year, definitely a great start.”

For much of the day, though, it appeared a different outcome would arrive.

Claisse had led from the start of the week, posting a bogey early in Round 1 but ending that day with a 3-under 69 for a one-shot lead. She had played 30 bogey-free holes before closing with one in Round 2 – but with a 71, she led by two at 4 under.

After five straight pars to begin Monday, Claisse appeared she might become unnerved when at the par-4 sixth she flubbed a pitch, knocked her next one to 4 feet and couldn’t get the putt to drop. Double bogey.

But her round quickly stabilized. Claisse actually missed another shortie at No. 7, this time for birdie, but she knocked one in for birdie at the par-5 eighth. Another birdie followed at No. 10 to right the ship.

Bogeys at No. 12 and 13 set her back, but Claisse still had a one-shot advantage over Lucy Li at that point.

Li, the top-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior girls rankings, then double bogeyed the par-3 15th.

That’s what put Claisse two ahead of Ye on that 15th tee.

Then the Poissy, France, product made a mental mistake. On the treacherous par 3, she wasn’t sure about her distance and didn’t lay into her 8-iron that hard. Her ball ended up short and in the water, leading to a double bogey.

Meanwhile, Ye’s soft 8-iron leaked a bit right of where she wanted but the ball ended 5 feet from the hole. When her birdie putt dropped, it was a three-shot swing and Ye was in the lead after starting the round three back.

At the next hole, Ye faced a 20-footer for birdie with a patch of bad grass that she thought might push the ball offline in the way. With no choice, she hit her putt and it rolled true into the cup for a birdie and a three-shot lead when Claisse bogeyed.

“I didn’t see that one going in,” Ye admitted.

Li’s birdie at the last secured her a closing 72 and an even-par total, but Ye finished par-par for a final-round 71 and a 2-under total. Claisse dropped to solo third after a Monday 77 put her to 1 over.

The 2019 South Carolina commit, who ranks No. 86 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, had pointed to her putting as keeping her out in front over the first 36 holes,

But she felt uncomfortable on the greens Monday, prompting her to note that practicing indoors in the winter in France may have had an effect in the end.

“Maybe the fact I haven’t putted on real greens just caught up with me,” Claisse said.

As for what she’ll take from this week overall, it was an opportunity lost but an opportunity nonetheless.

“It’s golf and I’m going to learn from that,” Claisse said. “Maybe next year.”

Ye actually doesn’t have much immediate competitive events after this week, but her American odyssey continues.

The 16-year-old was born in Shanghai and grew up most of her life there. She would follow her parents to the range as a toddler and first seriously took up golf at age 6.

But early in ninth grade at Shanghai American School, a change was in order.

It became apparent the school didn’t give much support to sports. When Ye, an excellent student, went to play in a golf event that coincided with final exams, she was given a zero on every one.

Her dad, John, had long wished for his family to move to the U.S. because of the country’s superior junior golf system. Wanting their daughter to be able to mix academics and golf, John and wife, Rose, could see it was time.

Their budding golfer agreed.

“Angelina said, ‘Oh, I need to go,’ ” Rose said.

Rose moved to Bradenton, Fla., along with her two children, Angelina and 11-year-old son James, in January 2016. Angelina has been enrolled at the IMG Academy in Bradenton ever since.

John remains in Shanghai in order to continue to run his car service company, but his emotional support is never doubted: he was up until 4 a.m. local time to see how his daughter would finish at the ANNIKA.

The family move has paid dividends. Ye, No. 14 in Golfweek’s rankings and sixth in the Class of 2019, has verbally committed to Stanford. Along with her two AJGA wins, Ye has also played in the AJGA’s prestigious Wyndham Cup.

And it’s all certainly given her a peace of mind. During the final round, Ye didn’t truly know where she stood at any point.

Sure, she could sense where she might be, but Ye didn’t even know she was leading down the stretch. It fit in with her motto heading into the final round.

“Keeping a relaxed mindset and enjoying the round of golf,” Ye said.

The teenager appears to have her priorities in order, a lesson that stems back several years.

At a tournament roughly a decade ago, all the competitors were chipping around a putting green even though it was expressly forbidden.

Angelina wanted to join in but Rose said no. After the youngster asked why, her mother explained doing so would not be correct. Then she offered an ultimatum.

“I gave her two choices: You can chip here, then we will go home and no more tournament or you will just putt here and you can play in the tournament.”

The conclusion…

“She chose the second option,” Rose said with a laugh.

That calm decision-making proved to come in handy once again on Monday.

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Spring preview 2018: Big West

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As the college golf season gets ready to resume, Golfweek will preview each automatic-qualifier conference in Division I, offering picks to win, midseason All-Conference teams and more.

All of our conference previews will reside here.

Next up: Big West

• • •

Men

Conference championship: April 29-May 1, Pacific Palms Resort, City of Industry, Calif.

Defending champion: UC Santa Barbara

Team rankings: Cal State-Fullerton (86), UC Davis (89), Long Beach State (104), UC Santa Barbara (105), Cal Poly (160), UC Irvine (170), UC Riverside (176), Cal State-Northridge (208), Hawaii (255)

Midseason All-Conference team: Derek Castillo, Cal State-Fullerton (144); Matt Moomjian, UC Santa Barbara (236); Felix Mory, Cal State-Northridge (243); Joe Fryer, Long Beach State (244); Evan Knight, UC Davis (270)

What to expect: The quality of golf in the Big West is much better than a season ago. Cal State-Fullerton has made the biggest improvement, and much of that can be attributed to the addition of Castillo, a Yorba Linda, Calif., native who transferred from UNLV this summer. The other Big West contender, UC Davis, is the more balanced team and played the 40th toughest schedule this fall compared to Fullerton’s 116th schedule rank. However, neither team finished better than T-6 at last year’s Big West Championship, so there is much to prove still.

Pick to win: Cal State-Fullerton

• • •

Women

Conference championship: April 15-17, Strawberry Farms Golf Club, Irvine, Calif.

Defending champion: Cal Poly

Team rankings: Long Beach State (85), UC Davis (89), Hawaii (98), Cal Poly (102), UC Irvine (112), UC Riverside (119), Cal State-Fullerton (138), Cal State-Northridge (176)

Midseason All-Conference team: Samantha Hutchison, UC Davis (215); Christine Danielsson, UC Davis (216); Jamie Binns, Cal Poly (290); Jakeishya Le, UC Riverside (348); Maria Davis, Long Beach State (367)

What to expect: Cal Poly held on to win last year’s Big West title by a shot despite shooting 12 over in the final round. Five of the conference’s seven other teams finished within 12 shots of Cal Poly, and that type of parity is present again this season. Six teams are ranked between 85-119 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, led by Long Beach State, which boasts a deep squad. However, UC Davis, winner of six Big West titles since 2010, is better at the top.

Pick to win: UC Davis

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Tiger Woods' odds to win 2018 Masters are skyrocketing

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Tiger Woods opened 2018 Masters betting at 100-to-1 odds to win this April at Augusta National. Now, the latest odds have Woods at 20-1, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Current odds from @LVSuperBook to win the 2018 Masters.

Some dude name Tiger opened at 100/1…now 20/1. pic.twitter.com/DIO49EgRZD

— Covers (@Covers) January 15, 2018

Just seven players have better odds to win than Woods, who is joined at 20-1 by Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are co-favorites at 7-1, followed by Rory McIlroy at 12-1.

Woods, 42, has won four Masters (1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005) among his 14 major titles.

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Rory McIlroy: 'I might play more times this year than any before'

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When Rory McIlroy returns to action this week in Abu Dhabi, it will be the start of what is shaping up to be a busy 2018 for the 28-year-old Northern Irishman.

McIlroy will tee it up twice in the Middle East, beginning with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which starts Thursday, and continuing with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the following week. After a week off, McIlroy will return to PGA Tour action, teeing it up in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Genesis Open and Honda Classic. He’ll skip the WGC-Mexico Championship, and then play the Valspar Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and likely the WGC-Dell Match Play before taking a week off before the Masters.

“I might play more times this year than any before,” McIlroy told Telegraph Sport. “I played 28 times in 2008 and I’m on track to beat that. … I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I’m placed in the Race To Dubai. But I’ll see.”

McIlroy also revealed that he’ll return to the British Masters in October at Walton Health near London.

The desire to play a busy schedule comes just a year after a rib injury plagued McIlroy, who went winless and fell out of the top 10 in the world rankings last year. He took two extended breaks because of the injury. His start in Abu Dhabi will be his first since the Alfred Dunhill Links last October.

McIlroy said he feels ready to get back on the course.

“I’ve worked hard on my short game and I’m probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have,” McIlroy said. “I’ve had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road.”

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Blayne Barber's caddie 'stable, but still completely unaware'

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It’s been three days since Blayne Barber’s caddie, Cory Gilmer, was hospitalized after hitting his head in a serious fall Friday night in Hawaii. And according to Barber, doctors are continuing to search for answers.

“Checked on Cory again tonight,” Barber tweeted late Sunday evening from Hawaii. “Not much has changed from this morning. He’s stable but still completely unaware and mostly unconscious. It will be another 2-3 days before they (doctors) will know more, but he’s in great care! Will be in Hawaii for a little while. Keep praying!”

Gilmer was admitted to a neurological intensive care unit in Honolulu on Friday night after he collapsed and hit his head while at dinner. Barber, who was not with Gilmer at the time of the fall, said Saturday morning that Gilmer was unconscious and in critical condition with swelling and bleeding in his brain.

After tying for 67th Sunday at the Sony Open, Barber told reporters that Gilmer was “essentially unconscious” but that he was responsive to pain, was able to say his last name and asked a nurse to pray for him.

“Small improvement this morning for Cory,” Barber tweeted Sunday. “Still in a critical stage but asked about his friends, said his last name, and asked the nurse to pray today. He’s got a long way to go but continue to pray! Specifically that the swelling would go down in his brain.”

Barber said Sunday night that he will remain in Hawaii to be with his friend. Gilmer’s parents were also on their way to Hawaii as of Sunday morning.

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Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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How low can you go?

That’s the question yet again on the PGA Tour this week as players head back to the U.S. mainland for the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.

The CareerBuilder annually ranks among the easiest tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule in terms of scoring. The Stadium Course at PGA West, which will be used for all four rounds, is the tougher of the three, but not by much. All three hosts – PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club, the other two courses for the first 54 holes – play to a par of 72 and range between 7,000-7,200 yards.

Last year, Hudson Swafford won despite ranking 44th in strokes gained-putting. Adam Hadwin, who fired a 59 that week, was third in SGP, but 58th in strokes gained-tee to green. Moral of the story: the course doesn’t favor the ballstrikers or the putters exclusively; players must do at least one thing great, though, to win. Par breakers, obviously, will be huge.

This is 54-hole event, too, so for daily fantasy players, missed cuts aren’t as penal this week.

Here are my top-20 fantasy-golf options for this week’s CareerBuilder:

1. Brian Harman: Since the course switch, Harman has gone T-11 and T-3 at the CareerBuilder. Enters this year at career-high 20th in world rankings and riding a streak of five straight top-8s, including a T-4 at Sony. Ranks 12th in SGP.

2. Phil Mickelson: Lefty is tied for third on Tour in par breakers, fifth in SGTTG and 22nd in SGP. Finished T-21 last year in Palm Springs, though he was returning from a double-sports-hernia surgery. Owns five top-10s, including two wins and a T-3 in 2016, at CareerBuilder. T-3 and T-15 in two Tour starts in the fall.

3. Jon Rahm: Tied for 34th in his CareerBuilder debut last year. Didn’t miss a beat after long break following his win in Dubai last November; he finished runner-up to Dustin Johnson at Kapalua. Ranks seventh in SGTTG and 14th in par breakers.

4. Webb Simpson: Ranks 35th or better in SGTTG and SGP. He’s coming off his best showing of the season, a T-4 at Sony, and has made seven of eight cuts at CareerBuilder.

5. Chez Reavie: Hasn’t missed a cut since last season’s Byron Nelson and his T-18 at Sony was his sixth straight top-25 to open the new season. Ranks eighth in SGP. T-17 and T-12 in Palm Springs since the courses switched.

6. Charles Howell III: T-32 finish at Sony was a bit surprising, but Howell gets another course that he loves this week. Owns five top-15s at this tournament, including top-12s in each of the last two editions. Ranks 28th on Tour in SGTTG.

Bud Cauley (Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports)

7. Bud Cauley: Ranks in the top 12 in both SGTTG and SGP, and is coming off a T-3 showing here. Also was T-14 in 2016. Owns two top 10s in four starts this season.

8. Jason Dufner: Ballstriking numbers are returning to normal while Dufner surprisingly ranks 13th in SGP this season. He’s coming off a T-18 finish at Sony and was T-25 last year at CareerBuilder, which he won in 2016.

9. Patton Kizzire: Ride the hot hand. Kizzire has won twice this season, including last week at Sony. He ranks 20th on Tour in SGP and 27th in par breakers. Nothing better than T-42 at CareerBuilder, though.

10. Brendan Steele: Finished 29th at Kapalua, but had a nice fall with a win at Safeway and T-13 at CIMB. Ranks 27th in SGTTG and T-16 in par breakers. Has a nice track record here – runner-up in 2015, T-10 entering final round in 2016 before tying for 34th, and a T-6 last year.

11. Zach Johnson: Two missed cuts since the switch in courses here, but his current form is too good to ignore. Johnson’s T-14 at Sony was his fifth straight top-25 finish. Ranks 18th in SGTTG and is top 50 in SGP and par breakers.

12. Kevin Kisner: T-25 finish at Sony was his worst of the season, as he was T-17 at Kapalua and T-4 at RSM. Was also T-25 last year in Palm Springs. Ranks sixth in SGP and is top 25 in par breakers.

13. Lucas Glover: Five career top-20s here, though was T-41 last year. Ranks 15th in SGTTG. Hasn’t played since a T-50 in China, but did notch top-15s in South Korea and Malaysia.

Patrick Reed (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

14. Patrick Reed: Looked good in Dubai (T-10) and Bahamas (T-5), but this will be his PGA Tour season debut this week. Was T-12 last year at CareerBuilder after winning it in 2014.

15. Bill Haas: A two-time winner in Palm Springs, though those came in 2010 and ’15. Ran off 40 straight red numbers at this event before a second-round 72 last year. Still has finished T-9 and T-17 since the course switches. Current form is lacking as a cold putter has caused him to miss his last two cuts, including at Sony.

16. David Lingmerth: Risky play, but does own two runner-up finishes in five CareerBuilder starts. Was T-34 last year with all four rounds under par. T-17 last time out, at RSM. Good putter.

17. J.J. Spaun: Opened with a 66 here last year before tying for 50th. Was a popular pick last week, but tied for 47th. Still has three top-15s this season, including a second at RSM, and ranks 17th on Tour in SGTTG.

18. Kevin Streelman: Posted for top-20s in five fall starts. Doesn’t make a lot of birdies, but is a top-20 ballstriker and has three finishes of T-11 or better in eight trips to Palm Springs. Did MC last year.

19. Chesson Hadley: An illness killed Hadley’s early-season momentum as he was forced to WD from Mexico last fall. He had three straight top-4s before that. Hasn’t played since a T-37 at RSM. Ranks 11th on Tour in SGTTG and is top 40 in SGP and par breakers. Did miss the cut here in 2016.

20. Ollie Schniederjans: Not a great record in two starts here, but is coming off a T-7 at Sony and ranks 15th in par breakers.

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Ping G400 MAX driver

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Club: Ping G400 MAX driver
Price: $435, with Ping Alta CB graphite shaft and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip
Specs: T9S+ forged titanium face welded to 8-1-1 titanium body with a tungsten sole weight. Lofts: 9, 10.5 degrees
Available: Feb. 8

Goal
Complimenting the three previously released G400 drivers, the MAX is designed to provide distance through extreme levels of stability and forgiveness.

The Scoop
Ping released three G400 drivers last summer: the G400, the low-spinning G400 LS and the slice-fighting G400 SFTec. Think of the new G400 MAX as a standard G400 on steroids.

“A big part of where distance comes from on the G400 driver is through speed,” said Paul Wood, Ping’s vice president of engineering. “With the G400, we were able to present a smaller target to the wind while still increasing the moment of inertia and continuing on the path of moving the center of gravity lower and back. That said, going to a 460cc driver, you can accentuate that even more.”

Ping G400 MAX driver

The added size and extra weight in the back help increase the G400 MAX’s stability and forgiveness. (Ping Golf)

The original G400 driver has a volume of 440 cubic centimeters, while the new MAX is an all titanium 460-cc head that is deeper and wider. Wood said that while Ping has worked to make the G400 MAX slip through the air as efficiently as possible, distance with this club comes from forgiveness.

Many of the key technologies found in the other G400 drivers are present in the G400 MAX, including arrow-shaped protrusions on the crown called Turbulators that enhance airflow efficiency on the downswing for increased clubhead speed. The crown also has Dragonfly technology, with a series of ribs extending from the topline to the back of the club to reinforce it. Designers were able to make the crown thinner and lighter between the ribs, creating discretionary weight.

Ping G400 MAX driver

The Ping G400 MAX driver has a forged titanium face and a multi-material weight in the back of the sole. (Ping Golf)

A significant amount of that saved weight was repositioned in the back of the sole in the form of a high-density tungsten weight. The weight is twice as heavy as the weight in the standard G400 driver, which helps shift the center of gravity farther back and down, which also increased the moment of inertia. Wood said the standard G400 driver has a combined MOI (left, right, up and down) of 9,200 kgm2. The G400 MAX is 9,900 kgm2. (The USGA limit is 11,800 kgm2.)

Wood said less spin is created with the MAX because a special surface-roughening treatment was added to the face.

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Ping G700 irons

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Club: Ping G700 irons
Price: $160 per club with Ping AWT 2.0 steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips; $175 per club with Ping Alta CB graphite shafts
Specs: Hollow, 17-4 stainless steel body with C300 maraging steel face.
Available: March 20

Goal
The first hollow iron set from Ping is designed for mid- and slow-swinging golfers who want more distance and height on their shots.

The Scoop
“This iron, more than our other irons, is really focused on easy distance,” said Paul Wood, Ping’s vice president of engineering. “It’s really for the player that used to hit his 7-iron 160 yards and now hits it 140. At the same time, it’s not distance for the sake of sacrificing everything else, but distance is definitely the priority.”

Ping G700 irons

By making the Ping G700 irons hollow, the face can flex more efficiently at impact to create more ball speed and distance. (Ping Golf)

Height was also a big design goal, so engineers designed the joint where the bottom of the hitting area meets the leading edge to be especially thin, which allows it to act as a springboard and get the ball up more easily.

At the same time, the G700 irons have a machined C300 stainless steel face that is thicker in the center and thinner around the edges, so golfers should not experience “hot spots” on the face that create inconsistent distances. The face is plasma-welded to the 17-4 stainless steel body by robots. Combined with the hollow-bodied design, it allows the whole hitting area to flex more efficiently at impact to boost ball speed with a higher launch. That should produce more carry distance and help iron shots land more steeply with better stopping power.

Even though the lofts are about 0.5 degrees stronger than in last season’s G400 irons, Wood said the G700 irons hit the ball higher.

While the G700 irons do not have the custom-tuning port found on most Ping irons so fitters can fine-tune the swing weight, there is a toe weight and tip designed into the clubs. When a golfer orders a set, either 1-gram or 6-gram weights can be added as the clubs are built to personalize the feel.

The Hydropearl finish applied to all the G700 irons is the same as the finish used on Ping’s Glide wedges and G400 irons. It reduces friction with the turf by up to 40 percent, so golfers do not lose much speed in the hitting zone.

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