Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today we get a chance to look at Ping's G20 driver, a hot item that is still flying off the shelves.
Tester -- Shane Bacon -- Handicap: 1.4
Target Golf Audience -- All Handicaps
You know those commercials that tell you not just to hit it long, but hit it Bubba long? They were made for this Ping G20 driver. The day I got to test these bad boys out at the Ping facility in Phoenix, I was forced to move back as to not fly balls over the back of the net at Karsten. Needless to say, that doesn't happen to me very much.
Ping is a smart company with what they do. They were on the forefront of making club fitting not just an experience, but a personal experience. The day I headed out to Ping, I was shown around all day, but the fitting was the most special part. I got to hit all sorts of heads and irons and putters, but the G20 (both driver and 4-wood) were the ones I was most impressed with.
I hit the ball fairly low with my woods, so obviously I need more loft to get the ball at a proper launch angle. No problem for Ping, who shipped me a driver with a little more loft. Taking any new club out of the box is a holy experience, but this one driver is craftsmanship (funny little Ping tidbit: you know the "I" that scrolls vertically down their grips? They actually align that with a laser to ensure every grip they put on your golf club is perfectly straight ... nice little touch I enjoyed, especially being a reminder guy).
One of my first expensive drivers I had as a kid was a Ping, and while it was revolutionary at the time, it's fun to see the transformation a company like this has gone through from then to now. The G20 is just ... beautiful. No real other way to put it. The head is traditional, and it doesn't hurt knowing when you're pulling out a club that you are about to add 15 yards to your bag. Distance is still king, right?
Transitioning & Playability
The fun thing about my Ping trip was when my clubs came, they all came. The s56s irons, the Anser wedges, and more importantly, two G20 woods that were set up right for me.
The driver jumped quickly into my new bag and I was excited to add some yards. I love the duller sounds of woods, that don't 'ding' so much, and the G20 does that (I have an iPod test, to see if I can still hear the sounds of woods obnoxiously while I'm listening to music, and I am happy to say that the G20 passed that test).
The playability behind the new driver is nice as well. You can move it if you want, which is nice for the lower handicaps, but it isn't made just for that. A higher handicap with a slower swing speed can still enjoy this club as much as the professional tossing it in his staff bag (my uncle is currently hitting a G20 and loves it).
And while I've touched on it before, adding 10-15 yards with anything is a bonus, and if you can do it off the tee without having to really give it an extra WHOMP yourself, that helps.
I like the strategy Ping did with both this driver and their new clubs, the i20s. They just stayed with what they did best instead of joining the fray and it has worked. Sure, not every club a company is going to make is right for you, but this driver is solid, and can help give you some extra distance without sacrificing the beauty of a new driver. I loved it, and will continue to hit it and enjoy those extra yards.
Ping G20 ranking -- 8.2 out of 10
Price -- $299
Other popular content on the Y! network:
• Michael Silver: Fired Hue Jackson says Raiders owner made decision
• After three tough seasons, Tom Crean living hoops dream at Indiana
• Video: Fans crash Mavericks' bench during NBA game
• Y! News: Vizio's new TV models nearly 6 feet across