Pros: More forgiving and lower spinning than Ping’s G25 driver. The turbulators (ridges on the front of the crown) actually work, creating an average of about 1 mph more clubhead speed in our testing.

Cons: The new adapter adds an additional 1 degree of adjustability, but it’s not compatible with Ping’s previous adjustable tips. Really high-spin golfers still might not be able to get their spin to an optimal range with the G30.

Bottom Line: Ping took golf’s most forgiving driver, the G25, and made it even more forgiving. Even more impressive is that the company was able to lower its spin, too, which was the biggest knock on the G25. With its turbulators, the G30 also delivers a novel (and real) way to boost distance. We buy Ping’s claim that the G30 is about 7 yards longer than the G25.

Overview

If we were to make a list of golf’s perfect driver, it would probably go something like this:

  1. We would want it to go really far — like farther than all the other drivers — even when we miss the sweet spot.
  2. We would want it to go as straight as possible — like straighter than all the other drivers — even on mishits.
  3. We would want it to launch really high so we can carry it over things like trees and bunkers.
  4. We would want it to look, sound and feel really good.

The G30’s predecessor, Ping’s G25 driver, was one of the most awarded drivers in our 2014 Gear Trials: Best Drivers list because it is — at least before the launch of the G30 in late July — golf’s most forgiving driver. It also happens to be one of golf’s highest launching drivers, and more golfers like the way it looks, sounds and feels than don’t like it. The only real strike against the G25 was that it didn’t quite go as far as some top drivers because it tended to launch with too much spin.

Ping could have simply lowered the spin of the G25, called it a G30 and still patted itself on the back for making a great driver, but the company did what it tends to do: it engineered another classic with new, visible technology that actually works.

Click here to read our tech story on the new G30 drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons.

Turbulators

ping g30

The first thing golfers will notice when they pick up a G30 driver is that its crown has six small ridges that the company calls “turbulators” on its crown. You can watch the short video below to see exactly what they do, but the basics are this: thanks to the turbulators, the 460-cubic-centimeter G30 has the aerodynamics of a driver that measures about 100cc smaller. That will give golfers an average of 0.7 mph of extra clubhead speed compared to the G25, according to an internal Ping test.

Do I really want a rearward CG?

Ping also made the G30 driver about 150 rpm lower spinning than the G25 by doing exactly the opposite of what TaylorMade has been doing in recent years to make its drivers lower spinning. Ping gained 4 grams of discretionary weight with its new titanium face material, T9S, which is lighter and stronger than the G25’s Ti 8-1-1 face material. Instead of using that weight to move the G30’s center of gravity (CG) lower and more forward, Ping moved the CG of the G30 lower and more rearward.

ping g-30 driver review

When the CG is moved forward in a driver, it decreases what’s called its moment of inertia (MOI), or its retention of ball speed on off-center hits. Whether a forward CG driver is better for your game than a rearward CG driver is up for you and a qualified club fitter to decide, but with all other things being equal we’ll take a low, rearward CG everytime because it does the following:

  1. It increases MOI, which means that off-center hits won’t lose as much ball speed.
  2. It encourages a driver to swing more upward into impact, which is one of the easiest ways for golfers to add distance to their drives.
  3. It creates more face closure at impact, which helps golfers minimize their slice or fade.

Do we have your attention? Great, we’ll talk more about performance in the performance section below. For now, we’ll list the necessary specs.

ping g30 drivers

The G30 driver (9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) comes stock with Ping’s counterbalanced TFC 419D shaft, which measure 45.75 inches and weighs between 53 and 63 grams depending on flex. The shafts are available in Soft R, R, S and X flexes, and come with a new adjustable hosel that allows golfers to increase or decrease loft as much as 1 degree from the printed loft. There’s also an intermediate adjustment, 0.6 degrees up or down, on the new adjustable hosel.

The bad news? It’s not compatible with Ping’s original adjustable shaft tips.

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Above: Ping’s Tour 65 shaft is shorter, stiffer, lower launching and has less torque than the stock TFC 419D shaft. 

Golfers can also buy a G30 (or any of Ping’s current drivers) with the company’s new Tour 65 or Tour 80 shafts, which come stock at 45.25 inches in a driver and are a little heavier, stiffer, lower launching and have less torque. Regardless of what shaft you choose, the stock swing weight of the G30 driver will be D3 unless you specify something different.

Ping is also launching a G30 SF Tec driver (10 and 12 degrees), which stands for “Straight Flight Technology.” The drivers are nearly identical to each other with the exception that the SF Tec models have a more closed face angle and a CG that’s closer to the heel, which can help faders and slicers straighten out their ball flight. The head weight is also 3 grams lighter (203 grams vs. 206 grams), giving the SF Tec a swing weight of D1.

Both drivers are currently available for pre-order and will hit stores in late July. They carry an MSRP of $385.

Performance

According to Ping, Bubba Watson added about 10 yards with the G30 when compared to the G25 driver he used to win the 2014 Masters and you can see him demonstrate that in the short video below. But most golfers aren’t Bubba Watson, so what did the G30 driver show in our internal testing?

Ping’s improvements for the G30 created a driver that was — as much as we hate this expression in golf equipment reviews — better than its predecessor in every way. The added ball speed from the turbulators are not going to be as effective for 99.9 percent of golfers as they were for Bubba because of his PGA Tour-leading clubhead speed, which creates more drag forces than golfers who swing slower, but the gains were noticeable for us and they’ll likely be for you, too.

One of our testers, who swung a G25 at about 100 mph, saw an average of 1 mph more clubhead speed with the G30. Another, who swung a G25 driver at 114 mph, saw his swing speed increase by an average of 1.5 mph. That equated to about 2 and 3 mph more ball speed, respectively.

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Since the turbulators don’t really change anything about the G30 other than the way the driver looks, there’s no reason not to have them on the club, even if your swing is not fast enough to get much benefit. After all, the G30 has a few other ways to improve your performance without turbulators.

Remember those 4 grams of weight Ping saved with its new face material? Their position lower and more rearward in the club head is said to make the driver more forgiving, but the difference isn’t so great that it was easy notice. We saw clearly, however, the 150 rpm of spin that Ping claimed it scrubbed off the G30’s launch on our Doppler radar launch monitor. For our high-speed tester (116 mph swing speed), the G30 proved to be even a little lower spinning than that.

Ping claims the G30 is 7 yards longer than the G25, and between the added speed from the turbulators and the lower-spin launch, we saw at least 7 yards of extra distance. Golfers coming from an older Ping driver will probably see even more yardage gains.

Looks and Feel

Some golfers are going to love the turbulators, but since this is the internet, I’m sure we’re going to hear from plenty of golfers who hate them. Our opinion is that they’re a pretty non-intrusive way to get extra performance, and we don’t really mind those six bumps on the front of the crown. They actually frame the ball pretty nicely at address, too.

ping g30 driver review

Traditionalists will likely continue to praise Ping’s matte black crown, which returns with the G30. Those who wanted a little more “pop” in a Ping driver should enjoy the bright blue accent colors on the driver’s sole and on the headcover.

Ping described the G30’s sound to us as “more robust” than the G25, but we actually thought the G30’s sound was a little more muted. It’s still not the quietest drive on the market, but the sound won’t cause golfers on the range to take cover either, which we think is a good thing.

ping g25 vs the g30
Above: The Ping G30 driver (left) has a .040-inch taller face than the G25 driver.

One thing about the G30 that’s part performance, part feel is its counterbalanced TFC 419D shaft, which has a higher balance point to help give Ping’s heavier-than-standard, 206-gram G30 driver head a conventional swing weight of D3 at 45.75 inches.

The good news about counterbalanced shafts is that players who tend to care about things like swing weight generally play aftermarket shafts that are shorter than 45.75 inches. That will work to their advantage with the G30, as installing a non-counterbalanced shaft of a shorter length in the G30 will keep the swing weight in range better than a lighter driver head.

ping g30 woods
Above: Ping’s TFC 419D shaft, which weighs between 53 and 63 grams depending on flex.

There’s always a lot of talk about stock shafts not being as good as aftermarket models in our forum, but our high speed tester actually got very similar launch and spin from a stock X-flex TFC 419D as he did with his Mitsubishi Fubuki K 70X (tipped 1 inch) at 45.5 inches. We’re not saying that the two shafts play similarly, because different shafts work differently for different golfers, but we want to point out that there’s no reason to believe that the TFC 419D will perform any better or any worse than an aftermarket model.

Go into a fitting with an open mind, and if a stock Ping shaft shaft happens to be the best option you shouldn’t be surprised.

The Takeaway

ping g30 series

Remember that list we made at the beginning of the review of the things we’d like from the “perfect” driver? Here it is again:

  1. We would want it to go really far — like farther than all the other drivers — even when we miss the sweet spot.
  2. We would want it to go as straight as possible — like straighter than all the other drivers — even on mishits.
  3. We would want it to launch really high so we can carry it over things like trees and bunkers.
  4. We would want it to look, sound and feel really good.

The Ping G30 is going to be golf’s straightest driver when it’s released in late July (No. 2), at least until the other OEMs start to roll out their 2015 models this fall. And history tells us that it will probably continue to be golf’s most forgiving driver until Ping makes something even more forgiving.

The G30 also launches higher and carries farther than the G25 thanks to its turbulators and lower, more rearward CG, which covers No 3. As for No. 1, is it the longest driver on the market? It could be and it could not be. Go get fit when it’s released and find out.

Finally, there’s not really anything bad to say about the looks, feel or sound of the G30, which satisfies No. 4.

With the G30, Ping reinvented what was already one of the best drivers on the market, keeping the forgiveness and high launch that we loved while improving what we didn’t; its tendency to spin too much. It’s too early in the 2015 equipment season to talk about how the G30 might stand up to what the other OEM’s have coming next, but let’s just say that we expect the G30 to hold its own against whatever those models might be.

Quite frankly, we’ll be a shocked if this isn’t still one of golf’s best drivers a year or two from now.

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204 COMMENTS

  1. All you guys that don’t spin the driver must play on courses you don’t have to carry any problems and the fairways are like concrete. For carry and under wet conditions you want more spin. Physics does “not” allow a club hit at the “same swing speed, same loft, same shaft, same face degree” to go further with less spin….period. It is impossible. Players are lofting up because they heads “don’t” sping, same difference as playing less loft with more spin. The 17 at 1700 theory is just not true not unless you generate extremely high clubhead speed which 95% of golfers do not. I could hit my Stage 2 tour further than my G25 on hard fairways but that was it. The G25 I carried further and was able to take angle over traps and trees I couldn’t take with TM. If I upped the loft on the TM it went slightly shorter than the G25 so which driver is longer? Only real world conditions matter, anything else is secondary. If you think knowing a car repair book inside and out will help you repair a car it’s not until you actually work on a car that you become competent. That is why college graduates don’t make 100k a year out of college because they merely filled a discriminator checkbox that gives them the privilege of working in a job that might pay that down the road. After a certain point golf is head game anyway, psychiatry lessons would probably be more prudent than swing lessons.

    • Most intelligent post I’ve read about driver (or clubs in general) on this site in awhile.Carry and total are totally separate and THE BEST is relative to the condition and course. Well said leftright! HERE, HERE!
      P.S.
      And what I need is trajectory.

  2. The trackman is the biggest hustler on the planet. I sucks in guys and they go spend hundreds on new drivers they can’t hit because the trackman is usually wrong and they get fit by a guy who wants to sell so many of these and so many of those and could care less what you hit or how you hit it. You have to hit the drivers in the real world with real golf balls and real tees and real weather and real fairways or driving ranges with real people watching. I don’t know about the G30 but Ping makes the best mass produced golf clubs in the world by far. They also have real good stock shaft offerings if you give them a chance. I had a TFC 129 S put a motore speeder in the closet. Golf shafts do not have to cost 400.00 to be good.

  3. I know the head makes the most impact on spin, but I have a fujikura pro shaft, 67 grams, in my g30. I play it at 45″ length d3 swingweight in an x-flex, cpm wise it plays closer to stiff. Anyway this setup is amazing, i have a 110 to 115 ss, and anything hit center line or higher on the face produces a knuckle ball. I went into golfsmith and my spin numbers were 1600 to 1800, on good strikes. Strikes low on the face were still staying in the 2400 to 2800 range.
    I hit up on the ball and hit the ball very straight, tiny draws or fades, I know this helps me keep spin down. Bottom line this head and shaft combo is long, low spinning, and the forgiveness is amazing. I think Ping has made a great club, and with the right shaft is a monster. I have never drove the ball so straight or long I hated the head shape when i got it, I have since learned to love the turbulators!!! I am also not loyal to ping, I play what i think is the best for me, Score wedges, Callaway apex irons, and TEE cb4 fairway woods. I hope this persuades some minds to try this club with some different shafts.

  4. damn these reviews are all the same anymore…what are they talking about the really high spin players can’t get optimal with this club? what are they comparing it to, a SLRD? weak, unoriginal review.

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