These days, manufacturers often try a different tack: Not replacing one material with another, but rather, combining two or more different materials in the design process. Hence, we now have things such as steel-tipped graphite shafts, carbon-crown titanium clubheads, and tungsten-infused stainless steel irons.
The multi-material approach is what Ping has taken with its newest offerings, which are intended as a complement to the G5 line. Titanium, stainless steel, carbon-composite, tungsten and elastomer compounds are used throughout the line.
The new lineup of clubs is called Rapture, and the company certainly hopes its customers become enraptured with the Rapture driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons on offer.
All of the clubs will begin shipping Sept. 1, 2006, and feature TFC 909 graphite shafts engineered by Ping and a new textured spiral grip.
Here's a short look at each offering in the Ping Raputure series:
Ping Rapture Driver
Ping's engineers put a Cray Supercomputer to use in the creation of the eye-catching Rapture driver. The supercomputer analyzed the crown to ensure structural integrity and performance, while acoustical engineering was also put to use to produce a solid, powerful sound.
What's so eye-catching about the crown? It's a web-shaped titanium crown injected with with lightweight composite, and that web is visible at address. The lightweight composite saved weight in the crown that was repositioned on the interior of the driver head to further encourage a higher launch angle and lower spin.
The Ping Rapture driver carries an MSRP of $475. Lofts of 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees are available.
Ping Rapture Irons
The Rapture Iron is a wide-soled, perimeter-weighted set that utilizes titanium, stainless steel and tungsten in its composition.
A lightweight titanium face saves a little weight that is repositioned to target improved launch angle and spin. A tungsten toe weight helps square the face for impact.
The Ping Rapture Irons are available in 2-9, PW, UW, SW and LW. The standard shaft is the Ping TFC 909i. Steel shafts, including the PING CS-Lite, are also available. MSRP is $162.50 per iron with graphite shafts or $140 per iron with steel shafts.
Ping Rapture Hybrids
The materials go into the construction of the Rapture Hybrids: 17-4 stainless steel in the body, tungsten nickel in the sole plate and 475 super steel in the clubface.
That very thin super steel face is what makes the tungsten sole plate possible, and the tungsten plate moves the center of gravity lower and deeper to make launching the ball easier. A sloped crown, first used by Ping in the G5 hybrid, also enhances launch and spin characteristics.
The Rapture Hybrids are available in lofts of 18, 21 and 24 degrees. The standard shaft is the PING TFC 909H. The Aldila VS Proto 80 Hybrid is also a standard offering in the Rapture Hybrids. Steel shafts, including the PING CS-Lite, are also available. MSRP is $225 per club with graphite shafts or $195 per club with steel shafts.
Ping Rapture Fairway Woods
Here's a club where the multi-material approach wasn't taken. The Rapture Fairway Woods are 100-percent titanium. They feature large clubheads with thin, machined faces, plus an internal weight pad positioned directly below the center of gravity to increase launch angle and reduce spin.
The Rapture fairway woods are available in 3, 5 and 7 woods. The standard shaft is the Ping TFC 909F. The Aldila VS Proto 85 Fairway is also a standard offering in the Rapture Fairway Woods. MSRP is $350 per club.