Ping says that they designed the G fairway to be easy to hit from all situations.
From the tee this is easy to achieve as the ball is raised to whatever height suits, but from the turf this depends on the lie. Therefore Ping has lowered the leading edge on the G fairway by 3.6mm and this has the effect of moving the impact position 12% higher on the face, which makes it easier to get it airborne.
The lower leading edge works with an internal Cascading Sole Design, which is essentially a thinner section just behind the leading edge on the sole that enables the sole to flex a little more to increase energy return to the ball.
I tested this against the previous Ping G30 fairway and from the turf it did feel easier to get going, even if the ball was sitting down a little in the grass.
The straighter leading edge of the G may take a larger divot than the more curved G30, but this is a small price to pay for an easier to hit fairway.
Whilst the head is still 17-4 Stainless Steel, the face is now Carpenter 455 Steel that has a 25% stronger 'yield strength' than the body so that they can make it thinner to flex more without compromising strength.
The G crown has also been made 25% thinner than the G30 which saves 7g that is then moved to the sole of the club and moves the CG back just over 4.8mm.
This makes the club more forgiving with the MOI increasing from heel to toe by 3% and from top to bottom by 7%. Not much, but it all helps and Ping says that the MOI of the club is 40% higher than most other clubs on the market.
Turbulator fans will be pleased to see that these fins on the crown of the club are retained and are more prominent, chiefly as an alignment and cosmetic feature as the aerodynamic advantage on the smaller head is minimal, unlike on the Ping G driver.
The 169cc G fairway head is the same size as the G30, but has a slightly smaller footprint at address and will appeal to players of all abilities.
The face of the 3-wood has the usual painted grooves, whereas the 5 and 7 woods also have real grooves in the centre of the club to help them perform better out of the wet grass.
The 3-wood features a rougher surface on the face that increases friction and reduces spin by around 200rpm.
The Ping designers were very excited about this as the spin change effectively comes for free as they don't have to change the dimensions of the club to achieve this.
You will see this rougher face on all Ping woods and hybrids as it is a technology that delivers down to around a 5 iron loft. After that it starts to increase spin, which is why there is rough surface between grooves on wedges. It all sounds a little counter-intuitive, but if that is what happens then no need to knock it.
Previously with the G30 you just had one head, but with the G range there are two other offerings all of which come with the same high balance point Ping Alta shaft as standard.
Ping G SF TEC Fairway Review
The SF TEC or Straight Flight version of the G driver was very popular so Ping has brought the concept over to the G fairway.
The SF TEC comes in 16° and 19° versions with a bit more weight towards the heel of the club to create a slight draw bias to straighten up those fades.
The head is 6cc larger at address with a 3.8mm deeper head that looks a little squarer, but maybe not as pleasing on the eye.
And the face is a little shallower too.
Like the driver, it also has a lighter D0 swingweight than the D1 of the standard G fairway to help you square the face at impact more easily.
Ping G Stretch 3 Fairway Review
The final version is the G Stretch 3, which as it names suggest is 15cc larger than the standard version at 184cc and only comes in 13° head.
The sole weight is more in the centre of the club and moves the CG 16.5mm further forward than the standard G to create a lower spinning, more penetrating fairway for use mainly from the tee.
Ping G Fairway Performance Review
So which is the model to go for? I took all three together with the G30 onto the range with Trackman to compare the types of shot you will get and the results were interesting.
I liked the look of the standard version at address and from the turf the lower leading edge increased the ball speed by over 1mph once you allowed for the slight difference in club head speed.
The G spin was also down over 400rpm and you could see it fly further and higher than the G30, which is really a good thing as you want it to land steeply if you intend to hit approaches from the fairway into the green.
As you can see from above, I struggled with the G SF TEC Fairway as the lighter swingweight and head shape did not suit my swing. You can see that the spin and launch were both up, as you would expect from a head trying to create a straighter flight, but my spin numbers were dis-proportionately high so don't read too much into them.
It just goes to show how swingweight and shaft are very important and relate to swing speed, so slower swingers would probably do fine with the SF TEC fairway. It is a different beast to the SF TEC driver, which is for most players, whereas I would say the SF TEC fairway is more for those who struggle with slicing their fairways.
Finally the G Stretch 3 performed equally as well from the turf as the standard G, but with a lower launch and you could see this in the trajectory and the dispersion, which was not as accurate for me.
Off the tee the G Stretch 3 was a different club, as you could hit it higher on the face and therefore get the extra launch angle to get the maximum benefit of the lower spinning head.
Overall for most levels of golfer the standard G fairway is going to be the one to go for as it is equally at home from the tee and the turf. The G Stretch 3 and SF TEC are going to be more specialised fairways for golfers who need their differences and a Ping fitting session will help decide if they are the best option for you.
The G is definitely more playable from the fairway and more forgiving than the G30 with a higher launch that is going to offer a few more yards and better chances of holding the green for those who will be using it to attack the green on par-5s.
The Alta shaft is lovely and combined with a good looking head, a fair price and renowned Ping engineering, the G fairway is going to be hard to beat.