Whilst you may not associate Ping as a specialist wedge manufacturer, they have a long heritage in this category going back to the iconic Ping Eye2 sand iron in the 1980's, which you can still get today.
The Eye2 still has the old style Ping iron looks, which are super strength marmite, but since then Ping has gone more mainstream as they design better player wedges like the Ping Glide to fit in with their current range of irons.
As you would expect from Ping, the Glide is a cast, cavity back design, but before all you better players click away, please read on as this is probably the best wedge Ping has done to date.
Ping say they designed the Glide wedge from the hands down and this starts with the 3/4 inch longer Dyla-wedge grip that enables you to grip down the shaft to vary the distance you hit the ball with a full swing or get cute with a flop shot around the green.
The grip has markings on it for your lower hand placement to help your judgement and this shows that a lot of thought has gone into the club. This idea has been done before and I would probably prefer the option of hand markings for the top of the left hand rather the bottom of the right, but either way they do the job.
The Dyla-wedge grip is also wider than usual at the lower end thanks to a reduced taper, so that when you do grip down the club feels more normal in your hands and that is a great advantage.
Whilst there is a graphite shaft option, most of us will go for the wedge flex CFS steel shaft which is stable, responsive and feels lighter than its 118 grams.
Ping say the name Glide comes from a moisture repellent chrome finish to the 431 stainless steel head to help it glide through damp grass more easily. In addition, the hosel has a narrowing taper to help the club slip through sand more easily and the Ping Glide did live up to its name when I tried it from the soft stuff.
Finally we reach the head and with each generation of wedge, Ping get more mainstream and this is the first one that I think non-Ping players will pick up and think "I like the look of that".
From above it looks like a generous sized blade wedge and even when you turn it over the cavity back is subtle. I really like this approach because the extra weight around the perimeter increases the MOI fractionally to help maintain distance on off centre strikes.
With the rise of small cavity, better player irons, you still need a full shot wedge if you are adding to the set. Having a Ping Glide with a cavity back makes more sense to me than switching to a muscle back before you have to.
The design of the Gorge grooves varies depending on the loft and they carry over the excellent spin that made them stand out on the previous Gorge wedge. On the higher lofts from 56° upwards the grooves are shaped to create more spin than on the lower lofts, as they will usually be used with shorter shot and therefore slower swing speeds.
On full shots the Ping Glide has a lovely balance and a lighter feel than most muscle back wedges. Compared to mainstream muscle backs, the Ping Glide did hit the ball higher than its bladed friends on full shots, so there is a trade-off for the extra stability and forgiveness.
There are three widths of sole called Thin, Standard and Wide to change the bounce, but all of them interact with the turf very well.
There are no published bounce numbers for the three sole styles and in a way that is a good thing as you just go with the one that feels and performs the best rather than worrying about whether you have the right number.
Around the green the Ping Glide did perform well, but the lighter feel did maybe not give as much feedback or control as some of the heavier muscle backs in the market.
The sole widths make a difference to the playability and unless you regularly play on a soft parkland course then the Standard or Thin sole options are probably fine for most UK golfers, as the bounce is generally above average, if you know what I mean.
Whilst there is some cambering around the sole, the heel and toe grinds are not as aggressive or as varied as other better player wedges, so if you do like to vary the face angle on your short shots then you may want to test the Glide out before you buy to check they meet your needs.
Overall I really liked the Ping Glide wedge and it is easily the best wedge Ping has done to date. As a full shot wedge I think it is the complete package and in the gap within the gap that is being created by stronger lofts, having the 47°, 50°, 52° or even 54° Glide's in your set is a no-brainer.
Anyone in single figures that has a muscle back at these lofts in another make should also seriously consider the Ping Glide. It is the best cavity back wedge in the market at present and may improve that full shot consistency on off-centre hits before you go to muscle backs for the touch shots.
Better players who want more feedback and versatility may stop there, but higher handicappers and Ping diehards will find that the higher lofts will also deliver the right combination of forgiveness and performance.