|GolfWRX Top Rated|
Improvements to their head shape and aerodynamics will make the G drivers more appealing to more golfers than the award-winning G30 drivers. Few of its competitors will be able to match the G's balance of big ball speeds, a high launch angle and impressively low spin.
5 out of 5
Pros: The most forgiving driver Ping has ever made. Sleeker, more pear-shaped head improves aerodynamics. Thinner crown adds forgiveness, creates higher launch.
Cons: The Dragonfly-inspired crown and Turbulators may distract some golfers at address. No CG adjustability.
Who they’re for: With three distinct models (Standard, LS Tec, SF Tec), the G drivers can suit everyone from Tour players to beginners. Most golfers will do best with the Standard model, while high-spin golfers will gravitate to the LS Tec. Chronic slicers will enjoy the SF Tec, which offers more draw bias than the G30 SF Tec.
The G-Series drivers are the follow up to Ping’s incredibly successful G30 line, the best-selling drivers for the majority of their 18-month product cycle. There were several keys to the success of the G30 drivers, the most important of which was their low, rearward center of gravity (CG) that made them golf’s most forgiving drivers, according to our 2015 Gear Trials Panel. Along with their big balls speeds, our Panel also noted that the G30 drivers were able to produce a high launch angle and maybe most importantly, much less spin than previous Ping drivers.
With the G drivers, Ping continues to show off its ability to move weight lower and more rearward in its driver heads, achieving a CG position that’s 0.05 inches lower and 0.07 inches deeper. That gives the G drivers a 6 percent higher moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a club’s forgiveness, on shots contacted vertically across the face and a 1 percent higher MOI on shots contacted horizontally across the club face.
While every last bit of improvement counts in the highly regulated space of driver design, golfers who currently own a G30 driver won’t notice a significant difference in forgiveness if they upgrade to the new model. What they will notice, however, is a change in the shape of the new drivers, which improves their aerodynamics.
The G drivers employ more traditional, pear-shaped club heads made possible by an eye-catching change to the geometry of their crowns. Ping calls it “Dragonfly Technology,” and it occupies the space behind the company’s “Turbulators,” which were introduced with the G30 driver. The crown pattern was inspired by a dragonfly’s wings, and allowed thickness to be reduced from 0.52 millimeters in the G30 to 0.43 millimeters in the G – about the thickness of three $1 bills stacked on top of each other. It also freed up 8 grams of discretionary weight that was used in head reshaping efforts.
While other companies have used carbon composite constructions to make the crowns of their drivers lighter, Ping continues to push the limits of low-density, Ti 8-11 titanium bodies that also debuted on the G30 driver. The all-titanium construction, which includes Ping’s T9S titanium club face, is one of the reasons the G drivers will likely sell for about $399 ($435 MSRP), whereas most of its competitors are selling its premium drivers for $449 and up.
Another contributor to the G’s relative affordability is Ping’s decision to exclude moveable weights from its design. While that may irk tinkerers, the three different G drivers create three different trajectories, and one of them is likely to suit majority of golfers interested.
Ping G LS Tec
- Ping’s lowest-spinning driver because of its slightly lower, more forward CG.
- Face angle is slightly open (1 degree), and lie angle is 1-degree flatter than the G.
- Heavier, D4 swing weight also creates more fade bias. Head weight is 207.5 grams.
- Available in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees.
- Square face angle for neutral ball flight.
- D3 swing weight, head weight is 206 grams.
- Available in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees
Ping G SF Tec
- 1-degree closed face angle and lighter D1 swing weight. Head weight is 203 grams
- More heel-biased CG creates roughly 10-12 yards more draw bias (compared to G).
- Available in lofts of 10 and 12 degrees.
The crowns of the G drivers are more “domed” compared to the G30 models, which like the Turbulators allows airflow to better “stick” to the surface as the driver head approaches impact. The Turbulators themselves were also tweaked slightly in the new drivers, as they’re flared more outward. Even the space in front of the turbulators was smoothed out, which also helps create a smoother airflow.
The new aerodynamic feature that golfers will notice first, however, is called Vortex, which like the trailers being employed on the back of semi-trailers reduces drag forces on the very back of the driver.
According to Ping, the combined aerodynamic changes reduce drag by 11 percent for the entire downswing, and creates 37 percent less drag at the moment of impact. Ping says the real-world benefits of all this will be between 0.75 mph and 1 mph more swing speed for the average golfer, but the faster golfers swing the more they’ll benefit. In our test, we saw an swing speed increase of 1.43 mph, on average, for our two testers who swung between 108 and 118 mph.
To test the performance of the G drivers (Standard, LS Tec and SF Tec), we took them to Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where its Trackman Master club fitting team tested the three new models against their predecessors at its Launch Pad Fitting Center.
The two testers hit the drivers in the same loft (9 degrees in both the G/G30 and G LS Tec/G30 LS Tec, 10 degrees in the G SF Tec/G30 SF Tec) and with the same shaft (Ping’s Tour 65X at 45.25 inches with no tipping), and the outdoor test employed premium balls and Trackman’s normalization feature.
Since the drivers were not optimized for each player, the carry and total distances are not as important as the differences in swing speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate.
That being said, it’s clear from our testing data that the G and G30 drivers are quite similar, although the G drivers do appear to have an edge in both club head speed (+1.43 mph) and ball speed (+0.71 mph) on average across the three models. The G drivers also proved to be slightly higher-launching (+0.31 degrees) and higher-spinning (+342 rpm). That fits with Ping’s recommendation that golfers will get the best performance from a G driver if they use less loft than they needed with G30 models.
According to Ping, its tour players are using between 0.25 and 0.5 degrees less loft with the G drivers, on average, than they did with the G30 drivers. Using less loft in a driver is beneficial because, all other things are equal, less loft at impact creates more ball speed and therefore more distance.
Given that the launch monitor numbers are quite similar between the three different G driver models, the most important part of the buying decision for most golfers will likely be choosing the model that creates the best dispersion. Keep in mind that each of the G driver heads are the same size (460 cubic centimeters) and have the same head shape, with the only differences being swing weight, face angle and internal weighting.
Player 1 Dispersion
Player 2 Dispersion
Almost robotically, Player 1 validated that Ping’s G SFT driver will offer golfers the most draw bias, while the G will offer a neutral trajectory bias and the G LS Tec will offer the most fade bias. Player 2’s results weren’t quite as clean, but reflected the same general pattern.
It’s likely that the greatest weakness of the G drivers will be that golfers will compare them to Ping’s already excellent G30 drivers.
We did not see the same performance leap with the G drivers that we saw when the G30 drivers were released, but the aerodynamic improvements, as well as the more traditional shaping of the drivers and their lower-pitched sound at impact, makes the them one of the most intriguing new launches of 2016 — even for golfers who currently own a G30 driver. For golfers using an older Ping driver, upgrading is a no brainer for more distance and consistency.
Compared to the other new drivers on the market, the G drivers will continue to benefit from their high-MOI design. Few competitors will be able to match the G’s balance of big ball speeds, a high launch angle and impressively low spin.
- See more photos of the G drivers, as well as what GolfWRX Members are saying about them in our forum.
- Ping’s new G Fairway Woods, Hybrids and CrossOver
- Ping’s new G irons: What you need to know