The 80s and 90s was the Ping Eye 2 era. Every golfer had a Ping in their hands, and Bob (Vokey) was your uncle, not the designer of your wedge.
When I was playing on Tour I was very lucky to have the support of Ping, and I played their Glide wedges right from the start. We are now up to the fourth generation of this wedge, but when they were first released I do remember wondering whether I was missing out on the short game department because I wasn't using a Vokey.
From 50 yards out Ping wedges were good, but inside that range I felt like I was at a bit of a disadvantage. This is something that I think is still evident amongst the company's big talents - Viktor Hovland, Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan all carry at least one Titleist wedge in their bag.
So are Ping wedges not as good, or has the marketing not been as intense compared to with other brands?
Titleist employ Bob Vokey and have separated their wedges into a specialist category. I am sure that Ping also have a master craftsman but we as consumers don't know their name and story. We now want the experience and history between a line of clubs.
Last year we had the Glide Forged Pro Wedge which was top notch, but gosh was it expensive at £200 for a single wedge. Now it's the turn of the Glide 4.0, which thankfully comes in at the same price as its competitors.
The head combines 8620 carbon steel with the softer elastomer insert to provide better feel and response off the face, with 36% more contact time.
The shape of the head is more rounded and more appealing to the eye than ever before, although it isn't a forged head like you get in the Glide Forged Pro... hence it's name.
Then there are spin milled grooves, again featuring an emery face blast to provide more friction and interaction between the ball and the club face, which Ping says increases spin with a lower launch.
In the 50 and 52 degree wedges, the grooves are milled at a 20 degree angle to maximise their volume on full shots. In the more lofted wedges, this is 28 degrees and features a tighter radius to provide more spin on shorter half shots.
With 17 different options of loft, bounce and grind there is plenty of opportunity for you to really get into your specific needs, and it's good to see that this is available in full for both left and right handers.
A hydropearl 2.0 chrome finish adds to higher spin rates and a lower launch, and is designed to perform especially well from wet lies and out of the rough.
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Ping Glide 4.0 Wedges Review
Looks and Feel
The first thing that I noticed when looking at these wedges is that there is no 'Ping' name on the actual club head, just on the hosel. Is this because they are trying to make a separate brand name out of the Glide like other brands do with their products?
I noticed that they were also doing something similar to this with their new premium PLD putters, and if you watched The Players you might have seen Ping players with caps and bags emblazoned with that new logo.
The head shape is rounded, like on Glide wedges of the past. Where it differs from other manufacturers is that the head doesn't narrow quite so much as it works its way towards the hosel, it is more bubble shaped than the likes of a Vokey.
The face is a standout for me as there is a clear roughness to the surface area of the grooves, just like an emery board. This is not a full groove face like you might see from Callaway or TaylorMade, and it is just available in the brushed chrome finish.
On the back of the head you can see where Ping have cut out material to save weight in the middle and distribute it towards the sole and top of the head, which is thicker although it's not noticeable at address.
This is done to lower the ball flight and I actually think that it makes the Glide 4.0 look less like a wedge and more like an i59 iron in design.
These wedges felt extremely spinny on both full shots and short shots, with a nice weight to the head that gives you plenty of feedback on the strike and it seemed like this also provided more control.
You can feel the softness of the face insert, although the emery face blast is clearly pretty rough and it did seem to mark up my ball more than my existing Vokey SM9s.
Starting off indoors on my Trackman simulator I wanted to test my favourite shot, a 3/4 52 degree wedge, because if a wedge can't perform as I'd like it to on this shot then I won't even consider it going into my bag.
The Glide 4.0 was excellent in its height and launch stability, with just a 4 feet and 0.8 degree deviation. I did have one shot which dropped off a bit in spin, but this can sometimes be a misread from the Trackman rather than the club or the shot itself.
The spin varied between 8540 and 8830 rpm which is a pretty decent level of consistency for a 3/4 shot. I was very happy with this club's performance on this shot.
Next up I performed a full shot challenge, putting the Glide 4.0 up against the Titleist Vokey SM9 on a 90 yard shot.
The Ping wedge averaged 150 rpm more spin than the Vokey, with each of the five shots up over 10,000 rpm. I had to land the ball beyond the flag as it was backing up so far!
The Vokey was more direct in the fact that I could hit it straight at the pin and land it at exactly 90 yards where it came to attention straight away.
The Vokey also had a lower ball flight which made it more like I was throwing flat darts, whereas the Glide was higher launching and higher spinning.
The launch window was super consistent both inside and out on the golf course, even when I was going through a variety of different shots. I hit 3 shots from each scenario, and each time I was getting the same launch off the face with a predictable flight.
The bunker play was a standout in terms of spin rates, it was a joke how quickly the ball was stopping. I had to force myself to go for flags, as it was the kind of reaction on the green that I don't see from my usual shots which tend to land and releas a bit, not rip back towards the hole.
I even got a round of applause from the golfers outside the clubhouse as my 25 yard bunker shot landed beyond the flag and sprung back like a wrestler bouncing off the ring ropes. I felt like Bubba Watson.
I felt very confident with both shots from the rough and lob shots, as they were consistent in the strike and I could trust that the ball was going to do what I wanted it to do once the ball landed.
I do have to bring your attention to one thing. There was one chip that I hit out on the golf course that was a bit of an issue, on a 30 yard chip and run where the ball came out so dead that it looked like I'd thinned it. However it was still spinning and the ball stopped dead at 8 yards which caused me to be puzzled.
Ping Glide 4.0 Wedges Verdict
I wish these wedges were available when I was on tour, as what was missing in the shorter shots has been found in the latest generations of the Glide due to the grooves being specialised and the plethora of bounce options available.
It can really help you get better at those feel shots as the grind and bounce is custom made for your delivery of the golf club.
I really enjoyed hitting these wedges and was pleasantly surprised by the consistency that I had in my game and the new shots that it added to my bag. Being short-sided was not as much of a problem any more!
The only question for me is whether these grooves and the emery face blast can last, or will the increased friction fade in time? These wedges were up there with the Callaway Jaws for the highest spinning range of wedges that I have tested.
They aren't forged wedges like the Glide Forged Pro, which is supposed to provide more feel, but to be honest it is really tough for me to notice. I certainly don't think that the feel alone justifies the extra price of the Forged Pro.
If you are buying any of the Ping iron ranges that begin with a G, then these Glides are my recommendation to make up the set.
If anything this review shows you that there are plenty of other options out there but with more limited marketing, and the fact that Titleist are just so far ahead, it's going to be hard to persuade people to switch to Ping and still pay the same price.
I can say, though, that from generation one to generation four the Glide wedges have really improved in looks, feel and performance.
Would I Use Them?
I could, but I'm not sure I will. Vokey makes me feel like a better golfer.
I need more confidence in my short game and the writing on the back of the club does provide that for me. Wedges are all about confidence and I've become so used to the performance of the Vokey over the last couple of years that I wouldn't want to alter that as I've just got my wedge makeup and shot variation right.
Who Are They Aimed At?
If you don't want to pay £200 for a Ping wedge then these won't let you down. If you're looking for more spin both on full shots and around the green, then these do spin more than the Vokey SM9.
Make sure you get a fitting though, as with 17 different loft, bounce and grind combinations you'll want to make sure that you've got the right setup to suit your game.
For those of you who want a trip down memory lane, take a look at the E grind wedge as it is inspired by the old Eye2 Wedge with a high toe finish which has made a comeback in recent year
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Ping Glide Forged Pro Wedge Review
TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge Review