Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf gear through its paces. Today we look at the Ping G-30 driver.
Tester — Shane Bacon — Handicap: +0.5
Target Golf Audience — All golfers
It would be impossible to talk about a first look at the new Ping G-30 driver without talking about the turbulators. Those raised bumps you see on the top of the driver's crown? Those are the turbulators, something Ping invented to reduce the drag of the driver through the air (this wasn't some cockamamie idea either, with plenty of testing going on at ASU's Windtunnel Laboratory).
The G-30 has a similar finish to all the drivers from I-20 on, with the matte black continuing to look menacing and beautiful, but the first thing you see is the turbulators.
While science isn't our specialty, watching the YouTube video that Ping made showing off the turbulators makes everything a bit clearer. Just look at this screengrab below if you want to see how they perform in the simplest way possible, and then think about your golf club passing through the wind, and the air, and decreasing that amount of drag without having to do anything different with your golf swing.
I was just on a golf trip at a golf course where the wind routinely blows 20-30 MPH, and with that much wind out there, any help on drag can produce better tee shots that travel further than a clubhead without the turbulators on top (and it worked, as I didn't lose a single golf ball over 143 holes on my trip, which I can promise you had as much to do with the equipment as it did my golf swing).
I also loved the slight bit of color the Ping guys decided to go with on their G-30, with a hint of blue highlighting the bottom of the driver just enough to give it a little extra when you pull the headcover off.
I've had a few weeks to mess around with the G-30, and I can tell you that I'm consistently as long with this club as any I've hit before, but it isn't the good ones I'm impressed with.
I've been hitting my misses with a pretty good pop, the ones that you didn't totally connect with. That to me is just as important as what happens when you find the sweet spot, and the G-30 seems to be very effective on the misses which means that more bad swings are finding the fairway, and not losing a ton of yardage.
Ping added a new face material, T9S, that is both lightweight and ridiculously strong, so the ball is flying off the clubhead at a faster pace just by the driver switch, meaning more ball speed and more yardage with your tee shots (isn't that what we all want?!).
I've talked about how my misses have produced with this driver, but what about the ones that you actually do catch? I noticed a gain in yardage from the get-go, even taking a picture of one of the better ones I hit with the new G-30 the moment I got to swing it.
The thing can move, but it's the consistency that I've loved the most (I play a cut, and almost all of those balls ended up in an area that I would have called the "fairway" if this was a real golf course).
I also love how the turbulators almost point you down the line, an alignment aid even if it wasn't meant to be. We've seen dots on the top of drivers and arrows to help you get it right, but the fact that whole top of the face almost points you in the right direction can help just about anyone get the club set in the right spot before taking it back (a huge problem for amateur golfers).
For whatever reason, Ping drivers and I have got along great, and this G-30 is no different. I love the feel of the driver, how easy it is to work it, and how even the most normal of golf swings can produce power and distance.
People might think the turbulators are a bit odd on the top of a driver, but after a couple of swings you won't even notice they are there, and the added clubhead speed will make you forget about almost everything as you're gaining more and more yards off the tee.
I loved it, and can't wait to take it out again.