When PING claimed that their new G430 driver is one of the game’s longest and most forgiving drivers and that it has a “more pleasing sound,” I just had to try it for myself.
As it turns out, I was heading to Nashville that weekend to do a driver fitting at Club Champion. The G430 was definitely on my list of drivers to evaluate and replace my year old – and now obsolete – Stealth.
After arriving at Club Champion, meeting my club fitter, and getting warmed up, it was time to put several new 2023 drivers to the test. After hitting about 10 drives with 5 different drivers, I compared the results. Much to my surprise – but not PING’s I’m sure – the G430 MAX lived up to its claims.
Based on my Trackman report, club speed, ball speed, and smash factor were within decimal points of each other as was the launch angle. Spin was about 600 rpm higher; carry and total distance was a few yards less as well. My fitter felt that by adjusting the G430’s loft from 9° down to 8° loft he could boost the carry and total yards significantly. Spin pretty much is what it is.
So, the big question is how did they do this? For starters, the new forged face design is a shallower, variable-thickness face that produces more flex in the clubface, leading to big gains in distance. Secondly, there’s a 25-gram moveable backweight that positions the CG and influences the shot shape. It can be set up for a draw, fade, or neutral shot shape. Draws tend to gain more yards so draw it is.
Secondly, all of the G430 drivers feature a variable roll radius that creates less loft low on the face and reduces spin which leads to improved performance by producing faster speeds which in turn generates consistently longer drives.
Feel is very subjective and personal, however, what struck me was how stable the driver felt at impact. Whether you hit it flush on the face or slightly miss it, there’s no twisting sensation or perceived loss of distance. Some of my toe hits went further than some of what I thought were well-struck shots. Overall, standing over the G430 inspires confidence. It has a good look and the way the club sits screams smack it down the middle.
As for the sound, PING’s engineers did some research into audio frequencies and harmonics. That led them to create a new internal rib structure and increase the curvature (stiffness) of the crown, skirt, and sole, to produce that desirable sound at impact.
The PING G430 driver is available in several models. The popular G430MAX (described above), the 440cc G430LST which accelerates ball speed with reduced spin, the G430SFT with its moveable backweight that promotes a draw, and the G430HL (High Launch) with lighter backweights, a lighter shaft, and a lighter grip to deliver more ball speed with extreme forgiveness. Each model is available in three lofts: 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. Lofts are adjustable +/- 1.5°.
PING offers three proprietary shafts. Their Alta CB Black offers mid-high to high launch, the PING Tour 2.0 Chrome mid-launch and the PING Tour 2.0 Black produces a low shot trajectory. You can also fit your new G430 driver with either the Project X Hzrdus Smoke Red RDX (high launch) or the low-launching Mitsubishi Kai’Li White at no additional charge. The stock grips are Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360, Tour Velvet Cord, and Lamkin UTx Lite (HL).
I highly recommend the new G430 driver. I haven’t hit PING clubs in a while, but the new G430 has me thinking about switching to an entire set. I’ve swung the G430 irons and was quite impressed with the look, feel, and distance.
All G430 drivers come with an adjustment tool and headcover and are fitted with an Arccos sensor in the butt end which can be activated by scanning the QR code. For more information or to purchase a new G430 driver, visit www.ping.com. The G430 is also available at all big box golf retailers.