Perhaps the hardest part of analysing the new Ping Rapture was deciding whether it is a fairway wood or a driver. Whilst it has 13 degrees of loft and says 3 on the sole, Ping are describing it as a "versatile driver alternative".
Like many strong fairway woods on the market, the idea behind the Ping Rapture fairway wood is to produce a fast, long, compact head that can be used mainly off the tee, but offer workability from the turf as well. Ping's goal was to produce the "hottest fairway wood out there".
At 219cc its titanium head is large in terms of fairway woods, 33% larger than the G25 fairway and 42% larger than the i25 fairway, but around half the size of a traditional driver. It is available in just 13 degrees for now, but the adjustable hosel means you can alter that loft by plus or minus a half degree.
It may be half the size but Ping think the Rapture will be eager to compete with your driver for its fair share of tee shots. That is due in large part to the materials in the head. The titanium head is made from the same material used to make Ping's drivers. It is combined with a new tungsten plate screwed into the sole of the head.
Amazingly the injection-molded plate accounts for almost a quarter of the weight of the entire clubhead. By screwing it to the sole, Ping were able to bring the centre of gravity much lower and get the Rapture promoting a higher, lower spinning ball flight.
Don't worry, Ping didn't forget about forgiveness. They say they have added even more distance and forgiveness by creating a taller, variable thickness face. By increasing the size of the face, the Rapture offers a more forgiving profile both off the tee and off the turf, whilst the varied thickness behind the face helps increase balls and distance.
Furthermore the Rapture's face is built from a high-strength beta titanium that Ping say is 30% stronger than standard titanium.
Ping's Chairman and CEO, John A. Solheim, said:
The weighting properties of titanium and tungsten provide our engineers a lot of opportunities to improve performance. The high-strength beta-titanium material allowed us to really focus on creating a hotter face that yields ball speeds and distance unlike any we’ve seen in fairway woods. The tungsten positions the weight extremely low so we can optimise the CG position. It has a taller face and deeper head profile, so golfers will have complete confidence with the Rapture. We think golfers will really appreciate this unique combination of technology to improve their performance. It’s extremely long off the tee. We’re excited to get it in golfers’ hands.
The longer, 43.5 inch, club is fitted with Ping's in-house TFC 949 shaft. Specifically designed for the longer, larger performance, the shaft has an extremely high-balance-point. What that means is that the point at which the shaft balances has been moved approximately 1.5 inches closer to the grip, which lightens the swingweight of the Rapture, allowing it to swing at a weight of D2 and feel lighter and faster through impact.