Ping have always led the way in forgiveness, but can they compete in speed and distance too? The new G430 range is here to prove that they can.
John Solheim, Ping's CEO and President, said 'the combined distance gains throughout the G430 family are like nothing we have seen from one generation of clubs to the next'.
If Ping get this right then they will be at the top of the tree for tangible performance in the most sought-after category in the golfing market.
G430 is an entire family of clubs for 2023, in today's review I will be testing the G430 LST which replaces the G425 LST as Ping's low spin, smaller head driver. These are said to suit faster swing speeds, with the company claiming that you could see an extra 7 yards in distance comparing to last year's model.
Ping are already delighted with the uptake amongst their staff players, with the G430 models already being used by Tyrrell Hatton, Sahith Theegala and Maja Stark. Stark was quoted as saying "I haven't changed my driver for five years but when I tested the G430 I put it in the bag straight away, the spin was consistent and I gained more yardage".
The main story with the drivers is the shallower and thinner VFT face which is said to produce more ball speed, whilst the Spinsistency technology has been moved from the fairway woods into the driver to try and capture more from strikes that are low and high on the face whilst maintaining ball speed and launch.
The LST model also has a 22 gram moveable weight to help with the fitting process and to shift ball flight characteristics to draw, straight or fade bias.
Specific to the LST model is the 440cc head and the CarbonFly Wrap technology, which is designed to save 4 grams of weight in the crown so that they can lower CG for more ball speed, decrease spin and produce higher MOI than ever before in this style of head.
Ping have also worked to reduce the high pitched sound of the driver thanks to an increased curvature of the crown, sole and skirt as well as ribs inside the head to influence the vibrations during impact to dampen the sound.
The G430 LST is available in 9 and 10.5 degrees loft in both left and right handed, as well as a loft sleeve so that you can alter both the loft and lie angle. It is priced at £575, which is £50 more than the G430 Max and SFT, and £100 more than last year's G425 LST.
Ping G430 LST Driver Review
Looks and Feel
With a 440cc head the G430 LST understandably looks smaller than the rest of the range. The black matte finish and Turbulators have remained, but now the head looks busier due to the CarbonFly Wrap which is a slightly different shade and pattern to highlight its existence I imagine.
I don't think this is needed, I would prefer the head to be the same design throughout to help me concentrate at address.
Underneath the weight track and sole design remains the same as the G425, although this year sees a lime accent to the range which is carried on through the headcover and shaft. It is a great looking compact head shape, although there is just a little too much detail for me on the crown.
Ping have worked hard on the sound this year and I have to say that the G430 sounded significantly duller and lower-tone than any other Ping driver I have tested, which for me is a massive plus.
These Ping heads never seem to fail when it comes to stability, even in a head which is more workable. I only lost one ball to the right and even then it held on to the fairway and carried a good distance.
The sound really is a game changer, in a large indoor space with a huge echo the Ping drivers normally ring out, but this one reminded me more of a Callaway Rogue ST in its noise which is brilliant.
With a distance claim like this, I had to get on the Trackman 4 simulator to test the performance of the G430 LST driver, as well as comparing it against the G430 Max driver using the same loft and shaft.
The ball speeds were good with an average of 132mph, and there was no single shot which jumped off the page like when I tested the Max head. The height was lower than the Max, as was the landing angle and spin, which is to be expected.
The dispersion was also wider than with the Max, which is once again to be expected. This head suits a player who swings the club at over 100mph, I am 10mph down on that number, which meant that the spin was too low for me and so I lost a few yards in carry distance.
Ping G430 LST Driver Verdict
This driver head had the biggest distance claims by Ping, at 7 yards more than G425, but with my 90mph club head speed I didn't find that, proving that the gains will only come if the head fits the golfer's swing.
I am sure that they tested with models that were better suited than me. If I was producing ball speeds of over 140mph then perhaps I would see the positive effects of this low spin, high speed face.
I saw gains in the G430 Max head as it suited me better, whereas the likes of Viktor Hovland and Tony Finau will be the kind of players using the LST. This is well worth noting when you hear the marketing claims from manufacturers.
You must always ask yourself the question - is this golf club aimed at me? Ping clubs are very clear in who they suit, I think they do this better than any other company which makes fitting and purchasing easier for you.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Players who want lower spin rates and/or players who swing the club faster than the average golfer. This is especially good for players who don't want to feel the club face closing at impact. Those elite golfers who chase distance and not accuracy need to try this.
Would I Use It?
Not this model no. I didn't find it hard to hit, but I just didn't get the gains due to the lower ball flight and spin rates. This head isn't suited to me and I'm ok with that, as I know that there is another head in the family which is.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Ping G430 Max Driver Review
TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Driver Review