Rounding out Ping's G430 Driver range for 2023 is the G430 SFT.
This is the brand's anti-slice driver which is built with more draw bias and is said to be a bit easier to launch and a bit more forgiving than the G430 Max and G430 LST models.
The big difference between with the G430 SFT is the addition of a new, moveable 22-gram tungsten backweight which positions the CG to add 13 yards of left-to-right correction in the Draw setting, with another 7 yards available via the Draw+ setting.
There's a shallower, thinner, variable-thickness T9S+ Forged face as well as a 'transition design' from face to head, which work together to save weight and create more deflection for faster ball speeds.
Ping have created a new internal rib structure, whilst increasing the curvature and stiffness of the crown, skirt and sole, to produce an improved sound and feel at impact.
This year sees a new variable roll radius which lessens the loft lower on the face to improve performance when you hit the ball out of the bottom by reducing spin, providing faster ball speeds for more consistently longer drives.
The updated Trajectory Tuning technology uses a lightweight hosel sleeve which has eight different positions to adjust the loft and lie for more specific ball flight requirements.
In the G430 Max and G430 SFT models there is also the option of an HL model, which is designed to give golfers with slower swing speeds an average of nine yards extra off the tee. This is done by incorporating an 11g backweight as well as lightweight shaft and grip.
Ping G430 SFT Driver Review
In general I find that Ping drivers like the G430 are a bit busy for me with the turbulators, dimple pattern and other graphics on the crown, although I did like the matte finish of the SFT.
On the sole, there is plenty of indications of technology with the back weight adjustment clearly visible, as well as the forged face and SFT logo. I probably preferred the more basic black and white finish of the G425 although the colour scheme on the G430 wasn't offensive.
There's a slightly offset look at address but the head seemed large and friendly-looking - I can imagine that high-handicappers or golfers who struggle with their drivers will feel more confident with this.
Stability has long been the key when it comes to Ping drivers and the G430 SFT is no different. These kind of anti-slice drivers are always built around forgiveness and the head feels so solid at impact, there's no twisting in the hands and the mis-hits still feel good too.
This year's range also sees Ping continue with their commitment to improve the sound of their woods and it's definitely a more muted sound than in previous years, which may be more popular with a larger number of golfers.
Before we really dive into the numbers I have to provide a small disclaimer by saying that this driver isn't exactly suited to me, it came in 10.5 degrees and with a lightweight shaft, so I didn't get the results that I was hoping to see on the launch monitor.
The ball speed was just under 145mph on average (I would usually hope to see around 149 mph) and this produced 232 yards carry, which is around 15 yards less than my usual average of 250.
This is due to the fact that the spin was much higher than I usually see at an average of nearly 3500rpm, with one shot even jumping over 4000.
The peak height was also high at over 40 yards (120 feet) on average, so I just wasn't getting optimal numbers for the effort I was putting in. The back weight was clearly working in that it was aiding launch, but it didn't suit my delivery.
Whilst the setup of the driver meant that the numbers didn't quite add up for me, the overall performance of the driver was pretty good. The head felt solid at impact and there was really good levels of forgiveness there across the face, with a drop off of only about 10 yards of carry on my mis-hits which is really impressive.
This is billed as a draw-biased driver and I definitely saw that from my testing, my first few shots with the driver went left and I felt like I was having to work a bit harder to hit straighter shots which proves that the technology works. There was also a couple of swings which felt like they would've gone right with a normal driver head, but the result was less severe.
The Draw+ setting is even more successful for golfers who are sick of seeing the right hand side of every hole. I tried hitting a few shots in this setting and found it almost impossible not to hit the ball left, which could be very reassuring for some.
Ping G430 SFT Driver Verdict
The G430 SFT Driver provided all of the stability and forgiveness that I expected from Ping.
Whilst I didn't love the look of the head at address, and the numbers produced weren't particularly impressive due to the specs of the driver, I still think it's a good product which I can see a lot of golfers liking.
The addition of the adjustable weight is great too, as it allows golfers to dial in their ball flight depending on just how bad their slice is, and the Draw+ setting could be really useful for those golfers who just can't seem to get the ball flying straight.
We all know that one playing partner who aims further and further to the left on every tee shot, only to see the ball slice further and further to the right...
Priced at £525 this is not a cheap driver, but it's packed with technology and it's a real improvement compared to Ping drivers from five years ago, so if you're due an upgrade then it may be worth the cash.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Anyone who struggles with a slice could benefit from using this driver. There's loads of stability and an improved sound with a clear draw-bias. If you get a properly fitted driver you may also see the distance and ball speed benefits that Ping are promising with their new G430 range.
Would I Use It?
I would be more interested in trying the G430 LST or Max as I think that would be better suited to me. It would take a bit of time to get used to the look at address though.
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