50 Words or Less
The PING G400 Max driver is a 460cc version of the G400 driver. Nearly identical look and feel but even higher MOI and forgiveness.
When PING released their G400 line of drivers, I made a smart decision (with the prompting of my fitter) to switch into the standard G400 driver, the most forgiving in the line up. I’ve been extremely happy with it ever since it went into the bag.
Then, without warning, PING released the G400 Max. At a USGA-limit 460 cc, the Max takes the forgiveness to an even higher level. Will it put my G400 into early retirement? I tested it to find out.
The first thing I wondered when I heard about the G400 Max was, “Will 15 cc (a roughly 3% difference) be noticeable at address?” The answer is maybe.
When set next to each other, the G400 and G400 Max are virtually twins: matte black crown, Dragonfly Technology, turbulators, textured “infinity edge.” The difference is that the G400 Max is longer from front to back. Having stared at them next to each other, I can’t un-see the difference, but if you had handed me one then the other, I think they would be tough to tell apart.
Sound & Feel
Hitting the G400 Max and the G400 back to back, looking for a difference in sound and feel, I thought the G400 Max was slightly louder. If I were hitting them blindfolded or with a greater focus on results rather than acoustics, I have zero confidence I could tell the difference.
Just like the G400, the G400 Max driver feels solid. Impact produces a low-pitched “thwack” that doesn’t have any metallic, tinny notes.
One of the interesting things about the G400 Max is that there’s minimal audio feedback on mishits, but I could always feel mishits in my hands. This is a unique trait among super forgiving drivers. Typically, forgiving drivers make shots all over the face feel the same. The G400 Max gives me a precise sense of where the ball struck the face.
I’ve been gaming the G400 driver since it came out, and I love it. The forgiveness is amazing, and there have been days where I’ve needed every bit of it. Somehow, the G400 Max has more.
Let’s start with the numbers. According to PING, the standard G400 has a combined MOI of 9,263. For context, the next closest competitor has a score of 7,720. The G400 Max pushes the combined MOI to 9,902. That’s 28% higher MOI!
What that does in practice is takes your shots from the edges of the face and gives them long rides down the fairway. I was particularly impressed with shots low on the face. Usually, that’s the absolute worst miss: low launch, high spin, ball goes nowhere. With the G400 Max, the bottom groove still translated into a 250 yard drive.
In terms of launch and spin, I found that the G400 Max launched slightly higher than the G400, and had spin numbers that were very similar. In our recent Golf Myths Unplugged, we had a number of players test the G400 and G400 Max head to head. There was no consistent pattern in spin – some were higher spin with the G400 Max, some were lower. A majority of the golfers launched the G400 Max a bit higher than the G400.
I thought that my G400 driver would be the one club in my bag that was safe for 2018. I’m no longer sure. The G400 Max driver offers even more forgiveness without markedly changing the ideal launch conditions I get from the G400.