After a few months of build-up, the Ping G430 range started hitting the shelves and this means new Drivers to test! As you’ll know by now, I’m more than down for that. I’ve been particularly looking forward to trying the Ping G430 as the Ping G425 Driver is what is currently in my bag!
A quick flick of the Ping website, and they boldly claim “The Ping G430 Driver will GO FURTHER. FASTER” which sounds good. Ping also discuss the changes they’ve made to improve acoustics, and another feature – the “high launch” option to help slower swing speed players. These are all things we’ll break down in this Ping G430 driver review. Along with helping you decide if it is worth upgrading from your current driver.
Put the G430 down behind the ball and you’ll see a couple of changes immediately when comparing it with the G425. The turbulators remain but are complimented with additional alignment cues on the crown, which for me at least, gives a little added confidence in hitting a straight shot. It just fits my eye better somehow.
You’ll also likely notice the carbon-fibre like pattern on the back of the crown which again adds a little extra visual appeal. Now the low spin head, slightly smaller at 440cc comes with a “carbonfly wrap” crown – essentially a lightweight composite covering the back half of the crown, heel and toe areas. The Max and SFT versions do not come with this, but have a moulding that simulates the appearance, hence the difference in price between the models.
On the sole, the design is very similar to the G425 but comes with the added lime yellow accents, which as discussed when testing the G430 irons, I particularly like. It complements the slick black and silver colour palette nicely.
Ping are keen to push the benefits of their new thinner T9S+ face which in their words “leads to increased flexing for a big distance gain”. On the face of it, it’s a logical theory but we must bear in mind that all conforming drivers have to undergo a CT test for ensuring the face is within regulations, and all manufacturers have been pushing as close to that limit as they dare. I was therefore curious to see how much truth there is in this.
I’ll get straight to the point. I couldn’t get any more distance out of the Ping G430 than I could my G425 LST in the same head and setting. There were 4 yards between them on average in favour of mine, although the longest ball I hit was with the G430 LST by around 2 yards. Following range testing, I took them both out onto the course and again, it was very hard to separate them.
Whilst in some ways that may sound disappointing, in a way it’s nice for consumers to know that when they purchase a Ping driver, it’s going to remain competitive with newer models and represents a good long-term investment.
I do not represent every golfer though, and one area Ping have looked to target with this driver is the slower swing speed players. A new “high launch” setup option features a lighter grip, lighter backweights in the head and an ultra-light shaft with 35g and 45g options. The principle is lighter weight – greater speed & spin – greater distance.
This is a sound idea and will certainly benefit those who need a little more help with carry distance on the lowest lofted club in the bag. I specifically hit a couple of shots with this set-up at around a 75-80 mph head speed and found it very easy to launch.
Forgiveness & Control
If you struggle with an open clubface and a slice with your driver, you are not alone. I’m in the same boat and it was, for this reason, I put the G425 in my bag originally. Ping have long been focused on creating player-friendly products, particularly looking at creating higher MOI on their drivers to help keep the ball in play when we don’t quite make our best swing.
In my opinion, the G430 is every bit as good, if not better. I’m not sure whether it’s just the visuals on the crown or the technology itself, but I just don’t feel like it’s going to go right on me, even if I try to lean on one a bit. This was backed up by Trackman where, as you can see, the average dispersion with my G425 was further right than any other grouping (see head models data below).
There’s not a huge drop-off in distance with an off-centre strike which is also important as we’re not robots. Most shots were within 10 yards of my best which in playing terms is maybe one extra club into the green.
In recent years, Ping have developed a bit of a reputation for some of their clubs producing quite harsh acoustics which may not be to everyone’s taste. It seems this has been an area they’ve looked to improve with the Ping G430 range. Weight saving in the crown has allowed them to redesign the internal ribbing structures with the sole intention of dampening impact frequencies.
Now, we’re obviously relying on my ears here, Trackman doesn’t measure decibels, but I’ll give them a tick in the box. It does sound a little more muted on impact. I would say Titleist have always produced the most pleasing feel with their drivers, and the Ping G430 still is behind that mark, but it is better than Ping models from the past.
There are 3 models in the G430 Driver lineup, the Max, the SFT and the LST. The Max is the standard model available in 9º, 10.5º and 12º head lofts, with a back weight that can be moved into the heel, centre and toe position to help shot shape bias with anything from a fade to a draw. A 460cc head looks inviting to hit, offering maximum forgiveness.
The LST model, short for low spin technology, is aimed at faster swinging players who need help to reduce spin to an optimal window for their ball speed. Slightly smaller at 440cc, it’s available in a 9º & 10.5º starting lofts and again features the movable back weight to customise the golfer’s ideal shot shape. With the same shaft and head loft setting, my spin reduced by around 600 rpm when compared to the MAX.
|Carry (yds)||Total (yds)||Club Speed (mph)||Ball Speed (mph)||Launch Angle (º)||Spin Rate (rpm)||Height (ft)|
|Ping G430 Max Driver||252.8||274||105.3||151.9||13.6||2642||102|
|Ping G430 LST Driver||252.6||279.6||105.2||151.1||13.7||2080||89|
|Ping G430 STF Driver||251.1||274.1||105.3||151.7||12.5||2583||103|
|Ping G425 LST Driver||256.9||283.1||104.6||153.3||13.5||2150||92|
The SFT model, or straight flight technology, available only in 10.5 degrees, is expressly aimed at those who struggle with shots caused by an open clubface. I remember testing the G425 SFT and being incredibly impressed at how effective this was, and the G430 is every bit as good if not better.
Without changing anything in my technique, I was hitting the ball something like 40 yards further left in its most extreme setting, even more than the 20 yards Ping expects you to achieve.
It’s worth pointing out here that the dispersion described above will always be linked to the distance you hit driver. Meaning if you hit it shorter than 255 yards, you’ll get less dramatic results than 40 yards further left. – still you’ll notice a big difference!
One thing I particularly like about the SFT model is that there are now two settings for the heel weight, one less extreme than the other. When doing fittings with the fixed-weight G425 SFT, I often felt there was a conflict where it may suit the player now, but as their technique improves it would then be too draw-biased for them in time. Impressively there was a clear difference between the two settings as you can see from the Trackman data, which gives a progression pathway for the golfer.
Adjustability & Custom Fitting
In addition to the back weights already discussed, each model allows for +/- 1.5 degrees of loft change allowing for further optimisation of the trajectory. The hosel adjustment system also provides three flatter lie angle settings (standard loft, +1 deg, -1 deg) which aside from the obvious fitting benefits, can also help players shallow their attack angle to launch the ball higher with lower spin. It’s also a useful setting for players who may struggle with misses caused by a closed clubface.
As touched on earlier, the “High Launch” custom option features a lighter grip and head weights to help slower-swinging players increase their clubhead speed and overall distance. A proper fitting session should also cover grip size, and Ping offers various grip thicknesses at no extra cost.
Ping have looked to continue the trend of lighter weight materials in their shaft options for this model. There are super lightweight 35g and 45g Alta Quick shafts, which replace the Alta Distanza. At the other end of the spectrum, the heaviest extra stiff stock options weigh only 66g, whereas the Rogue white option from the previous model was over 70g.
This is all aimed at helping players increase clubhead speed, and Ping have introduced a new Tour Black proprietary shaft aimed at reducing launch and spin for stronger players. Another low launching shaft would be the Kai’li white, whilst Hzrdus Smoke RDX Red offers a higher launching, slightly more draw-biased option.
The Ping G430 Max and SFT models will be hitting shelves at around the £469 price point, whilst the LST with its Carbonfly wrap is likely to nudge over the £500 mark.
Every recent launch has seen an increase in prices, but this still positions the Ping G430 drivers lower than the Titleist TSR, Taylormade Stealth 2 and Callaway Paradym drivers which I expect will be a point of attraction for those considering an upgrade.
There’s no doubt it’s a quality product that will perform and stack up well for years to come, which is also an important point as drivers are becoming increasingly expensive, so the longevity of performance is becoming more critical.
Golf Insider Verdict
The big benefits I see in the G430 are control and forgiveness, and the ability to custom fit to different shot shapes and swing types. For players who struggle with pushes and slices, the SFT draw-biased model is honestly remarkable and I’d highly recommend giving it a try. It’s great that the weight is now movable on the SFT too.
I expect the high-launch lightweight setup to be a real plus for those who swing a little slower and are looking to maximise their distance off the tee. If anything, that’s where I’d expect the club to be able to meet its claim of being faster and longer. It’s great also that this lightweight option extends into the woods and irons for players looking to upgrade everything.
For those who hit a longer ball already, I think you’ll find it competitive but maybe not market-leading in this aspect. That said, the stability and control mean you can go after it with the confidence of keeping it on the short stuff. Same distance but hitting more fairways? When you look at it like this, it starts to make more sense.
The feel and sound at impact are a step in the right direction. I particularly like the redesigned crown visual alignment cues, and the colour scheme gives a smart yet cool aesthetic which carries through into the headcover design. I’m certainly looking forward to getting it in golfers’ hands and seeing how many players’ driving stats we can improve!
People often ask us which is the best current Driver, and the answer is pretty much always the same. It’s not that one is drastically better than another, it’s always about finding the right combination of head type, setting, shaft and visual to optimise performance for the individual.
That’s why I’d always recommend trying different options and keeping an open mind. The Titleist TSR, Taylormade Stealth 2, Callaway Paradym driver and Mizuno STZ / STX 230 are among the newest releases.
If you’re a Ping enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed with the G430 and there are more than enough fitting options to find a good setup for you. Just make sure you get fitted properly.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Ping G430 Driver review, feel free to leave any questions or comments below.
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