Ping golf clubs have become immensely popular among all skill levels of golfers.
Perhaps no other brand has had as rich a history of combining forgiveness and performance. When Karsten Soleheim introduced his innovative perimeter weighted designs, the golfing world was rocked to its core and golf club technology reached a new level. With the introduction of the Ping G2 driver in 2003, Ping made a tremendous move to improve the performance of their drivers while still satisfying players who desired a more traditional shape and feel. Now in 2007, the latest version of Ping’s all titanium driver, the G10 has been introduced to the market to sit along side its composite brother, the Rapture. Just how well does the G10 rate compared to some of the other drivers on the market?
Cosmetically there is very little separating the G10 from its predecessors, the G2 and G5 drivers. However, some major tweaks in construction and design have gone into the new G10 compared to the G5. One major area where Ping has worked to improver performance is in the club’s weight distribution. Selective areas of the club’s crown have been made with thinner material to allow Ping engineers greater discretionary weight to move down low and further back in the club. The overall effect is increased launch, lower spin, and higher moment of inertia – the trinity of golf club performance.
Additionally, Ping has also tweaked the overall geometry of the club so the face is deeper. A deeper face allows for a larger hitting area and greater ball speed on miss hits. The face of the club features variable thickness technology to maximize ball speed. But the G10 takes it one step further by combining the design of the sole, crown, and face to provide minimal energy loss. Ping also has a draw version of the G10 which features heel biased internal weighting and a hosel moved forward in relation to the face to help promote a right to left ball flight.
To complement the G10, Ping has also released an updated shaft, the TFC 129 which was designed to fit a wide variety of players and features progressively increasing weight decreasing torque to fit players from R, S, to X flex.
Ping has come a long way in driver design since the old TiSI. The G10 fits in nicely alongside any other driver in the market with its perfect looks. The dark, glossy black paint is very pleasing. The deep face combined with the dark paint gives the club head a much smaller appearance than some of the other 460cc drivers on the market. The club has a short hosel and it combines with a very square face angle that better players naturally gravitate toward. The sole is a polished chrome finish with orange accents that will definitely stand out, but none of which is visible at all from address.
One aspect of the club which has divided users in the past centers around the crescent moon alignment aid that began in the G2. Many traditional players disliked the crescent alignment aid, enough so that many Ping drivers on Tour were painted without it. This has been addressed in the G10 in a very impressive way that might satisfy all players. The crescent alignment aid is still there, but Ping has made it incredibly faint. So faint that users who have avoided the G2 and G5 in the past will easily be able to ignore it, while it is still visible for those who prefer it. The orange color theme extends into the shaft which is a light copper color and has some subtle Ping graphics near the grip.
If I could only use one word to sum up the G10’s performance solid would be it. The feel, sound, and performance is simply as solid as any driver on the market. The sound at impact is a low, muted “whack” which I find very pleasing compared to the trend of high pitched sounds most drivers seem to make these days which feel more like hitting a golf ball with an aluminum can than a golf club. Also, many players will appreciate the lively feel the ball has off the face. Ask anyone who’s used a G10 and they’ll describe feeling as though the face of the club rebounds as the ball rockets off at impact. Even the most ardent traditionalists will be able to appreciate the G10’s feel. If you have the opportunity to demo a G10, I’d encourage you to do so, it is a driver that feels incredibly solid.
Fitting will be a very important consideration for anyone interested in the G10. I am not a golfer who struggles with controlling high launch spin; but even I found that the G10 launches very high for its loft. I would strongly suggest testing this club on a launch monitor before buying because it’s likely you may move into a degree less loft than other drivers on the market due to the club’s high launch. Although the club did seem to spin a bit more for me, it definitely did not balloon in the wind, the spin rate was more than acceptable. Some of this might be due to the softer tip shaft, but with Ping’s custom fitting program, it is very worthwhile to spend the time getting fit at a Ping retailer. Also, be aware that the club comes stock at 45.75″ which is 3/4 of an inch longer than most other drivers on the market. Ping Golf’s WRX department has a fantastic selection of customizable shafts and grips so if there is a specific shaft or club spec that fits you, chances are very good you can get it through Ping’s WRX custom program.
The stock TFC-129 shaft is also worthy of mention. Stock shafts have received a reputation for being an overly soft and inconsistent. The TFC on the contrary is an excellent performing option, for people who fit into a soft tip bend profile. The shaft is smooth with a very perceptible kick, but it still retains quite a bit of control even on harder swings. It is a higher launching option and as a result should increase spin slightly as well. For those who desire a different bend profile, the stiff tip Grafalloy ProLaunch Red and UST Proforce V2 High Launch will also be available.
One of the most impressive features of the G10 is its forgiveness. Whether shots are struck towards the toe, or heel, they simply want to go straight. Even moderate miss hits do not lose much ball speed at all. However, this forgiveness means the G10 is not likely to be the best choice for players who love to shape their shots. I have found that the G10 just wants to go straight. Hit it on the heel and it’s more of a push than a cut, hit it towards the toe and it’s a slight pull rather than a draw. Common convention holds that a longer than normal club is typically much harder to control. However, due to the great ball speed and ample forgiveness, I don’t feel that the extra length hurt my game that much. Also, the increased ball speed could very well be due to the longer shaft. Either way, it all seems to combine together to work very well in the G10.
In the end, the question that seems to arise most often is whether the G10 is worth upgrading from their previous models. I can tell you for a fact that even though the G10 may seem to only have minor differences over previous models, the minor changes in weight distribution and construction have combined to form a driver that is a major improvement in ball speed and forgiveness. It was really tough for me to find negatives, the G10 has found a firm home in my bag. With solid performance, and feel, its biggest drawback may be the difficulty it presents to highly skilled players who love to work the ball. With a driver how much more could someone ask for?