With the brand new G425 Driver gracing the bags of some of the finest players on men’s and ladies’ tours worldwide, including the likes of Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood and Angela Stanford, we were keen to get hands-on and find out just how good it is!
Ping G425 driver review: Quick buyers guide:
As is the case with the entire Ping G425 range, the colour palette of black and silver really does create a product that speaks to quality and sophistication and looks like it means business.
The matte black crown ties in with this theme, and a round, deep shape gives a sense of confidence when placed behind the ball. As is now customary with Ping drivers, the turbulators remain on top of the clubhead in the pursuit of greater clubhead speed.
Whilst they have been shaped to provide subtle alignment cues, they may not be to everyone’s taste.
It goes without question that whenever you are considering upgrading your driver, greater distance is one factor of paramount importance.
Ping has a track record in producing exceptional drivers and woods, and continues to utilise their proprietary T9S+ forged face to deliver competitive ball speeds. Of course, we must bear in mind that all top manufacturers design equipment to meet the legal limits set by Golf’s governing bodies, and in the case of face flexion – the CT test. Therefore most manufacturers, Ping included, are looking for ways to increase clubhead speed and improve launch conditions to optimise distance.
Ping’s focus on aerodynamics centres around the turbulators found on top of the crown, for which the shape is being continually refined through wind tunnel testing. There have also been minor refinements to the overall head shape making it slightly rounder and more tapered than the G410 models.
In testing, the ball speed generated was solid and competitive, but by no means groundbreaking. In fact, the new EPIC models from Callaway marginally outperformed the Ping in testing, by around 2mph on average across the full driver range. If all other launch factors remain consistent that may equate to around 4-6 yards.
Below is a quick look at the data between the Ping Max and EPIC Max, you can see the EPIC was a fraction longer.
|Ping Max||Ping Max||Callaway EPIC Max||Callaway EPIC Max|
|Ball Speed (mph)||Carry (yds)||Ball Speed (mph)||Carry (yds)|
Accuracy & forgiveness
Distance is one thing, however, ensuring you are in the fairway is of equal, if not greater importance for many golfers. This is where Ping have focused most on improving from the G410 and earlier models.
In the most forgiving driver model – the G425 Max, weight-saving has been achieved through refining the head shape and has given rise to their heaviest sliding back weight (26g), helping move the Centre of Gravity further back and lower than ever before.
This creates a more forgiving area across the clubface on off-centre strikes, and that stability was noticeable during testing, with all shots finishing within 10 yards of the target line. The start direction for each shot was within 2 degrees with side spin not exceeding 250rpm.
I am sure I am not alone in being prone to the odd wild one off the tee, so this feeling of control was enjoyable and something I am sure would benefit your game too.
It’s also worth noting that the G425 performs reasonably well in terms of ball speed for off-centre strikes. When I caught one rather low and out of the heel, ball speed only dropped around 6 mph (4%), and despite the less-than-attractive low cut, would still have been perfectly playable.
Considering that the Ping brand was named based on the feel and acoustics of their first putter design by Karsten Solheim in 1966, one has to believe that feel is important to them when designing new equipment.
Ping drivers have traditionally produced a fairly solid, powerful feel on impact with the sound to match. The G425 continues this trend, however, the introduction of some internal ribbing has helped to reduce some of the vibrations which gives a more pleasing experience without sacrificing any feeling of power.
Ultimately, feel always comes down to personal preference, so as the consumer, I’ll leave you to be the judge when you have a hit!
The Ping G425 comes in at a price point that sits comfortably below both the Titleist TSi and new Callaway EPIC ranges whilst providing an overall package of performance that is highly competitive with both.
Extra value is also provided by the Arccos Smart Grips which also come as standard, something that is only matched by Cobra currently. It is worth noting though, that to use this technology requires an Arccos annual subscription which may not be of interest to everyone.
In terms of price point, Ping is highly competitive, the latest models from Mizuno and Cobra are positioned slightly cheaper. On the whole, value is a measure of what you get for your money and in this sense, the Ping G425 represents excellent value.
Ping G425 driver shaft options
When choosing any driver, it’s important that the combination of head type, head settings and shaft are fitted to your swing characteristics to help optimise your launch conditions and ball flight.
Ping offer a range of shafts and flexes ranging from their own proprietary Alta CB slate, Ping Tour and Alta Distanza, to a small number of aftermarket shafts at no upcharge. The varying characteristics of each of these ensure that the Ping G425 drivers can be fitted to any level of golfer.
The Alta CB Slate is the standard stock option, promoting mid to high ball flights. If you generate a relatively lower swing speed and struggle with generating enough flight on your driver shots, you should consider the super lightweight 40g Alta Distanza shaft for higher launch and spin.
Faster swing speeds are also catered for in a range of options, with both the Ping Tour and Aldila Rogue White generating a lower more penetrating flight through a combination of lower launch and spin.
My personal favourite however was the Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 which produces a mid-launch with low spin. This is a great option for those looking to optimise their ball flight for greater carry distance.
Ultimately, everyone swings the club differently, and so you will benefit the most by visiting a qualified PGA Professional who can expertly fit your driver from the wide range of options provided.
Ping G425 Max vs LST vs SFT
With three distinct head models to choose from, Ping aims to cater to the vast majority of golfers playing today. The Ping G425 Max is designed to provide ultimate forgiveness and control, whilst the SFT model caters to those who struggle with push and slice shots. The LST model is targeted at those with faster swing speeds, who typically will benefit from a lower spin rate on their drives. Let’s explore each of these models in a little more detail.
The G425 Max comes in head lofts of 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees, each with the ability to adjust ±1.5 degrees, giving a total range between 7.5 and 13.5 degrees. The Ping G425 Max comes with the heaviest backweight of any model – a full 26 grams of tungsten that can be set in a neutral, draw-biased or fade biased position. This weight positioned so far back in the head provides ultimate forgiveness and control to the golfer.
The G425 SFT is only available in a head loft of 10.5 degrees (adjustable between 9 and 12 degrees) and features a fixed 23-gram tungsten weight positioned far into the heel. Ping claim that this will produce a shot that finishes 25 yards further left than the G425 Max on average.
This seems quite an impressive claim and was something I was keen to investigate further. Fair play to them, my average dispersion with the G425 Max was 0.2 yards right of the target, and with the SFT – a whopping 23.1 yards left of target!
My side spin alone changed from 100 RPMs right to over 450 RPMs left, so it works. There is a caveat though – the faster your clubhead speed is, the more spin you will generate and the greater the dispersion will be. Therefore, at lower swing speeds this effect is likely to be proportionally reduced.
One must remember that with the SFT, the weight is firmly fixed and so whilst this will absolutely be of benefit if you struggle with push and push-slice shot shapes, there isn’t some level of adjustability that you get with the G425 Max.
With this in mind, I tested the G425 Max with the weight in the draw position (heel), whilst the effect was far less profound, my average side spin changed from 100R to 24L, resulting in average dispersion of 4 yards further to the left. Therefore for those simply looking for greater workability – consider the MAX as a better option. Whereas, if the right rough is your enemy opt for the SFT option.
Finally, let’s talk about the Ping G425 LST. Once again, Ping makes a very bold claim in stating that this slightly smaller headed model (445cc) will reduce backspin by around 700rpm compared with the G425 Max.
Naturally, I wanted to see if this could be substantiated, and I’m pleased to say it can. My average spin with the G425 Max was 2884 RPM and this reduced to 2193 RPM with the LST – a drop of some 691 RPM.
|Ping G425 Max||Ping G425 LST|
|Backspin (rpm)||Backspin (rpm)|
This head also features the movable weight at the back, but at a lighter 17 grams because too much weight would contradict the effort to reduce spin. For those with faster ball speeds, this is a great option and comes in both 9 and 10.5-degree adjustable head lofts, so you can surely generate the ideal launch conditions for your swing.
Much of the adjustability in these models has been touched on in the above section, but I’d like to mention the hosel adjustability that Ping title “Trajectory Tuning 2.0”.
As with most major manufacturers, it is possible to adjust the head loft by removing the head and repositioning it into a different setting on the hosel. Ping allow for a movement of up to 1.5 degrees higher or lower.
Of special note though and almost unique to Ping (I’ll discuss “almost” in a moment) is the ability to select a flatter lie angle with either neutral, +1 or –1 loft. This is beneficial not just for short golfers like me, it also benefits those looking to shallow out their angle of attack, in an effort to reduce spin loft and optimise launch conditions for their drives.
I say almost because the SureFit hosel adjustability from Titleist also has flat (and indeed upright) settings, but selecting these also automatically adjusts the loft and face angle.
Golf Insider Verdict – Ping G425 driver review
I could go on for some time about how good the new range Ping G425 Drivers in this review. In actual fact though, the verdict is very simple. Here you have a driver with exceptional performance, fitting options for every golfer at a price that represents excellent value in the market.
The Ping G425 Max offers good distance and exceptional levels of forgiveness. The SFT driver will certainly help golfers who struggle with a slice, and the Ping G425 LST provides great performance and does a good job of reducing the backspin on your drives.
Next time you are looking to upgrade, I highly recommend giving the Ping G425 drivers a try.
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