The hitherto unthinkable has happened. I have found a driver that I like more than my TaylorMade R7 Superquad TP.
So, despite 18 months of sterling service, the Superquad looks set to be spending an extended break in the cupboard under the stairs which has to be golf’s equivalent of football’s “keeping the bench warm”.
To be honest I hadn’t even been window-shopping for a new driver. Naturally I have given each new 1-wood that has come into the office in the last few months a waggle and once over but that was where the interest started and finished. I really was that happy with the Superquad.
However a visit to the Ping’s European HQ at Gainsborough changed all that. I’d headed up to Lincolnshire with GM’s commercial manager Andrew Boxer for a meeting with Ping Marketing manager Dave Fanning and a tour of their fitting facility and factory.
Enlightened self-interest dictated we held the meeting on the golf course so Andrew and I teamed up against Dave and Ping’s head of fitting Julian Clay. I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow report of our round on the excellent Karsten Lakes course save to say Andrew and I won 2&1 (valuable GM order of merit points banked) and I hit the Superquad as well as I ever have done.
Not deterred by this went Julian took me through the fitting process for a Rapture V2 driver and by the time he had worked through several different loft and shaft combinations (and settled on a 10.5 head with regular flex Mitsubishi Diamana shaft) he had me oohing and aahing with delight.
It felt good off the face, the flight was pleasing and a glance at Trackman revealed my ball carry was now up at over 250 yards. 20 plus yards further than my Superquad. But, equally as important as the distance gains were the fact that the accuracy and feel that I felt was that Superquad’s big strengths hadn’t been compromised.
After the excitement of the fitting Julian took Andrew and me on a tour if the factory. I must confess that before I donned the safety goggles walked through the factory doors I didn’t think I could possibly get that excited about what I though was going to be the world’s biggest CDT classroom.
I was wrong. The following 45 minutes were truly mind-blowing. To see everything from G10 drivers to Redwood putters being carefully crafted by the Ping staff was simply fascinating.
I don’t think as golfers we really appreciate what goes into making top quality golf equipment. Save to say that if you thought it was one big production line with gadgets and robots sticking shafts into heads before them being dropped into a box you’re a way off the mark. They even paint on by hand the trademark Ping colour code dot that signifies the lie angle of irons!
As a postscript I put the Rapture V2 in play last week on a trip to Scotland and it went like a bomb so I now feel safe to change my what’s in the bag line-up. Who knows that list might be about to change further as I’ve got a set of Ping S57s to trial. Could my MacGregor’s be about to be reunited with the Superquad under the stairs? I’m due to play this weekend coming so I report back on how they went after that