So what about the PING G15 fairway wood? In 2009, PING followed up on
the resounding success of its G10 lineup by introducing a new series of
clubs called the G15. Naturally, the new series included a fairway wood
which was available in various lofts, including a 3-, 4-, 5- and
7-wood. Draw versions of the 3-, 4- and 5-woods (but not the 7-wood)
were also available.
Although the PING G10 fairway woods were exceedingly popular, the newer PING G15 model included more than just a few simple cosmetic changes. The improvements PING made to the G15s aren't what you'd call revolutionary or even drastic, but they're effective and they make the club an even more playable club than its predecessor.
The head of every PING G15 fairway wood is made of 17-4 stainless steel. Their overall profile is elongated and low, intended to improve turf interaction when hit from a variety of lies and to provide additional forgiveness. The first time I saw one I saw what I thought was a resemblance to the old Adams Tight Lies design. These long, low heads are larger, though, and their size helps create confidence at address.
I borrowed a friend's 3-wood and 7-wood for purposes of this review of the PING G15 fairway wood. Both clubs were fitted with regular flex Aldila Serrano 75 graphite shafts, although a lighter-weight shaft - the PING TFC149F - was another stock shaft option.
The pleasing appearance of the PING G15 fairway wood was a nice little surprise, especially considering PING's questionable reputation regarding aesthetics. The crown is black with a red alignment aid, and the sole is a combination of black, red and silver. The overall appearance is tasteful and not at all distracting as you're standing over the ball. It set up nicely behind the ball and the elongated head gave it a look of confidence.
A weight pad positioned on the sole of the PING G15 fairway wood shifts the club's center of gravity down and rearward to promote a higher launch and more distance. Hitting the 3-wood off the tee was fun and effective, but I did have to tee the ball lower than normal to prevent ballooning. Using the 3-wood on the tee box gave me more accuracy than my driver and my shots weren't all that much shorter; it could be the perfect club for drives into tight fairways or long par 3s.
But a PING G15 fairway wood is equally easy to hit off the deck. Shots from the fairway flew surprisingly far, with a medium to high trajectory. Hitting out of the rough was easier than with many other woods I've tested, perhaps because the club's low, elongated design seemed to resisting twisting in the tall stuff.
I'd also grade the forgiveness of the PING G15 fairway wood as well above average. In fact, it's one of the most forgiving woods I've ever hit. When I hit the ball on the screws it was long and almost always flew straight or with a very slight draw. My off-center hits were still very playable: I lost some distance (although not a terrible amount) and the direction was still good. I did have a couple of bad hits out of the rough, but I can't really blame the club. When our Bermuda rough gets more than a couple of inches high, it's almost impossible to hit a ball out of it no matter what club you use.
The sound at impact on well-struck balls was a solid "crack" - the kind of sound that lets you know you hit the ball well. The feel was smooth and just as fulfilling.
These clubs are aimed at mid- to high-handicap players (the contemporaneous PING i15 series is intended for lower handicaps) who want a wood that makes it easy to get the ball airborne and combines maximum forgiveness with maximum distance. After trying the 3-wood and 7-wood, I'd say PING hit its mark. The classy look of these clubs is just some unexpectedly sweet icing on the cake.
The Bottom Line: These are sweet clubs. Flush hits are rewarded with distance and accuracy, and not-so-good hits aren't penalized terribly. They're not great out of heavy rough, but let's face it - what fairway wood really is? Despite being introduced a couple of years ago, the PING G15 fairway wood lineup remains a strong contender and it deserves a long look.