The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

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Written By: Tony Covey

Yesterday we gave you a primer on driver Center of Gravity; what it is and why it matters. Whether you know it or not, CG location probably influenced your last driver purchase.

Today we’re going to take things a step further. We’re going to step away from the marketing, the buzzwords, and the catch phrases. We’re going to show you reality. We’re going to show you the actual center of gravity locations for 19 of most popular drivers of 2015.

Whose CG is the lowest? Whose CG is the farthest back? Whose CG locations are so high they’re nearly off the chart?

Does anyone actually offer low spin with forgiveness?

We have the answers.

Our first chart will provide you with a better understanding of relative CG between clubs. Our second chart is not to be missed. It pulls everything we’ve discussed the last two days together, and provides the best illustration of why the top drivers of 2015 perform the way they do.

The Fine Print

Before we get to our dynamic charts, it’s important to understand that although heads were measured according to USGA standards, tolerances (both in measurement and in manufacturing) come into play. The tolerance for our measurements is approximately .7mm. To account for this we represent CG using large dots rather than a smaller absolute point.

Where the dots are touching or in close proximity to one another, it’s reasonable to assume the heads offer similar performance.

These are CG measurements only. While CG placement is the foundation of driver performance, as you’re aware, loft and shaft selection also contribute to overall driver performance.

Finally, although we’ve blown these charts up to make them a bit easier to read, every last one of the CG locations represented is within that tiny little 14mm x 12mm box we discussed yesterday.

Here’s our graphic from our previous article to remind you how CG location impacts driver performance (left is front, right is back).

CG Location Relative to Face Center

This chart shows the CG locations of 19 different drivers relative to the center of the face.

To isolate a given head, simply select it from the list on the left hand side. You can select multiple drivers using the dropdown list. Individual models are color coded.

Movable weight/adjustable CG drivers have multiple dots associated with each head to reflect the CG location for the various weight positions. Hovering over a dot will reveal the driver model and weight configuration.

The x-axis represent distance in millimeters from the driver face (a value of -36, for example, represents a CG location 36mm from the face). Basically, the face would be to the right of the chart.

Observations
  • Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver sampled
  • TaylorMade’s AeroBurner offers the most forward CG
  • Callaway Big Bertha driver with gravity core up have the highest CG
  • PING’s G30 has the most rearward CG location
  • Among the adjustable CG drivers, it’s interesting to note which models offer the most significant CG movement

The Neutral Axis

golf-geeks-neutral-axis

Still with me? Let’s kick the geek speak up a notch.

As illustrated by the image above, the neutral axis is an imaginary line running perpendicular to the center of a lofted driver face. Before you can ask, let me tell you why that matters.

As the center of gravity moves closer to the neutral axis you get less gearing (twisting) and a more efficient transfer of energy. It’s your basic ball go far argument. As with everything else in our CG discussion, the distance from the CG to the neutral axis (or GG NA is it’s called for short) is measured in millimeters, but as we learned yesterday, those millimeters matter.

#Team_____ vs. #Team_____

As you would imagine, each golf company has its own unique CG philosophy. TaylorMade, for example, believes a low forward CG is best, while Ping is a strong proponent of rear (and also low) CG positions. Sometimes there’s a legitimate argument to be made for a given company’s philosophy, and sometimes – and this shouldn’t come as a shock – the publicly stated philosophy is developed to justify a technology that perhaps isn’t quite as compelling as we’re supposed to believe it is.

It’s also important that you understand that because of where reality dictates the CG has to be, and the front-heavy nature of a driver, it’s much easier to move the CG forward than it is to move it backwards. The farther you move CG backwards, the harder it is to keep it close to the neutral axis.

Simply put…low and forward is relatively easy to achieve. Low and back is hard, which is why you don’t see many true low/back designs.

loft-vs-cg

Allowed 5 seconds of honesty and the suspension of the immutable laws of physics most R&D guys will tell you that the farthest point away from the face, and close or on the neutral axis is the ideal CG location. But like I said, putting it there is literally impossible.

So as a substitute for perfection, golf companies strive for the best we can do. Variations of the phrase low spin with forgiveness have been tossed around quite a bit this season. So keep that in the forefront of your mind as you consider the next chart.

A comparatively rear CG location near the neutral axis is the only way to truly achieve low spin with forgiveness.

CG Location Relative to the Neutral Axis (CG NA) & MOI

As with the first chart, you can sort our CG NA/MOI chart by club model. We’ve also added the ability to filter clubs by proximity to the neutral axis and MOI.

Please Note: Because MOI is represented by a positive number, the driver face would be to the left of the chart.

Observations

  • In the previous chart we saw that the center of gravity for the majority of drivers is located below the center of the face, but none of the drivers measured has a CG on or below the neutral axis.
  • With some weight positions less than 1mm from the neutral axis, Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver measured, and likely the lowest CG of any driver on the mainstream market.
  • The CG of Ping’s G30 is the farthest back of any tested, only Ping and Cobra offer drivers which can reasonably be described as offering low/back CG, and only Ping, Cobra, Titleist, Adams, and possibly Nike can be described as offering above average forgiveness.
  • Ping’s G30 LS and Cobra’s FLY-Z+ achieve low(ish) spin with above average forgiveness.
  • All of Nike’s current offerings can be considered high CG.
  • Most manufacturers offer a sort of linear progression between models. In many cases you can connect (or nearly connect) all of a given manufacturer’s offerings with a single straight line. I would suggest that this is the best indicator of a given company’s CG philosophy relative to an entire product line
  • The difference in CG location between FLY-Z+ weight forward and FLY-Z+ weight back, as well as Big Bertha Gravity Core Up vs. Gravity Core down is substantial, while CG movement between the various positions of the Mizuno JPX-850 is minimal.

Surprises

So, did anything here surprise you? Are there some manufacturers that aren’t exactly where they say they are? We think so.

I’d also be curious to know if you’ve observed something similar to what I have. Do you favor drivers with similar CG placements or are your preferences all over the map?

Want More from the Golf Geeks?

What other topics would you like to have our Golf Geeks tackle and simplify? Let us know.

MyGolfSpy

Survey Results – What’s In YOUR Bag (Drivers and Fairway Woods)

Survey Results – What’s In YOUR Bag (Drivers and Fairway Woods)

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What’s In YOUR Bag?

A few weeks ago we asked you to tell us about the equipment in your bag. We already know what the pros play (because the brands they rep bombard us with press releases weekly), but what about the average golfer…or at least the average MyGolfSpy reader?

Golf equipment is a business, we get that. Certainly most of us would play just about anything if we were compensated for our trouble. We’re not, which is why we think it’s much more interesting to hear about the equipment you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

It’s pay to play vs. paid to play.

Before we get to the first round of results, there are a few things to keep in the back of your minds. By the letter, the average MyGolfSpy reader does not fully represent the average golfer.

We believe our readers are more likely to:

  • Be gearheads, possibly even obsessed with golf equipment (we think that’s a good thing)
  • Be custom fit for his equipment
  • Replace equipment more frequently, and therefore your equipment will be, on average, newer than the gear of the golfing population as a whole
  • Play smaller or niche brands. Apart from the guys taken-in by Warrior Golf, you’re less likely to be brandwashed.
  • Be more familiar with emerging equipment trends

So with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the results.

Drivers

WITB-q1
Not surprisingly, TaylorMade leads our field with a 25.06% share. PING, Titleist, and Callaway are reasonably tightly grouped between 15.43% and 18.53%. After the 4 at the top, it’s a pretty steep drop-off to Cobra at 9.85% and another steep slide to to Nike at 5.48%.

We’re showing you only those companies with at least a 1% share of your bags. Excluding the Other option, the sum total of the remaining brands is 3.25%. That places Other between Adams (2.72%) and Nike.

Notables listed under Other: KZG, Nakshima, Nickent, Bobby Jones, Sinister, Bombtech, Geek, and I don’t carry a driver.

WITB-q2

On average, golfers replace their drivers once every 3.7 years. I’d wager the average MyGolfSpy reader replaces his driver at a measurably higher rate.

39.81% of you are gaming drivers that are less than 1 year old, while 68.53% of you are playing drivers 2 years old or less.

On the other end of the spectrum, 8.30% of you are playing a driver that’s 4-years old or older.

I’d be curious to know why those guys haven’t upgraded. Are you comfortable with what you have? Is it cost? Is it the perception that USGA limits mean drivers can’t get any better?

 

WITB-Q3

Two observations here. 1) According to the previous chart, somebody is lying. Either that or 2) a bunch of you have already bought new drivers this year. Essentially, 40% of you either will or might buy a new driver this year. That’s a sizable chunk (huge actually), and no doubt some manufacturers believe an even newer model may provide all the enticement you need to pull the trigger.

Fairway Woods

WITB-Q6

Of little surprise, only the order of Top 5 changes. TaylorMade remains on top, but likely off the strength of the X(2) Hot, Callaway (21.85%) leaps ahead of both Ping(14.98%) and Titleist (16.56%). Two companies reasonably well-known for their fairway woods, Adams (9.19%) and Tour Edge (6.11%),  pull ahead of Nike (5.16%).

It may be interesting to some that while Nike’s percent share  is similar between drivers and fairways, it falls from 6 to 8 by rank.

Companies not shown account for a sum total of 1.95% of fairways in your bag. That number fits between Wishon (1.22%) and Wilson (1.67%)

Notables listed under Other: Dynacraft, Orlimar, Sonartec, XXIO, Yamaha, Harvey Penick, and I don’t carry one.

WITB-Q7

Compare this chart with the same chart for the driver category. The number of you with new fairway woods in your bag (21.79%) is nearly half as few as those with new drivers in the bag. Not surprisingly, the percentage of fairway woods older than 4 years (18.62%) is significantly higher than it is in the driver category.

While we don’t have the exact numbers, we know that golfers buy new fairway woods with less frequency than they do new drivers. Your responses suggest that a healthy percentage of you bought at least one new fairway wood within the last 1 to 3 years. That more or less brings us to the edge of the RocketBallz/XHot era when, for a brief window, fairway woods were sexy again.

Also of note, 3.42% of you don’t carry a fairway wood at all.

WITB-Q8

A full 64% of you report that you have no plans to buy a new fairway wood these. Obviously plans are subject to change (especially if you break something or what you have now stops working), but what you’ve told us suggests that consumer purchase cycles for fairway woods may be leveling off, or perhaps even returning to pre-RBZ levels.

Fairway woods aren’t the it club anymore, and could be on the verge of regaining their status as a barely-necessary evil, particularly among average to high handicap golfers.

On a more positive note, 9.42% of you told us you are planning to buy a new fairway wood this season, while 26.58 say you might.

Aftermarket Shafts

WITB-Q4

I suppose we shouldn’t find this surprising given what we know about our readership, but nevertheless, I do.

At a club with roughly 300 members I can count on one hand the number of guys I’ve played with who have something other than stock in their drivers. Even among the best players, the percentages are almost certainly lower in the real world than they are with gearheads such as ourselves.

More than 45% (46.53%) of you told us that you play an aftermarket shaft in your driver. Even here, I would have guessed 30%…tops.

It would interesting to better understand the split between those of you who were fit (and stick to a single shaft), and those of you who are compulsive dabblers.

 

WITB-Q5

It can be argued that when golf companies run out of ideas, they simply re-invent old ones. That which was once called the 2-wood has evolved into the Mini Driver.

TaylorMade introduced the first of the new breed last year with the SLDR S Mini. That was followed by this season’s AeroBurner Mini, which will soon be followed by Callaway’s Big Bertha Mini, and eventually, I suspect, other Mini-like clubs.

As of this moment, more than 55% of you are telling us you are not interested in the category, while another 5.69% of you told us you’re unfamiliar with the category entirely. I’d be willing to wager that both of those numbers will have changed substantially by this time next year.

TaylorMade hasn’t done any significant marketing around either of its Mini products (it’s little more than a word of mouth club at this point), but I suspect once competition hits shelves we’ll hear quite a bit more about the benefits of the various Minis, and that  should pique curiosity.

More to Come

We’ll be posting your responses in the hybrid, iron, wedge, and putter categories in the coming weeks.

 

MyGolfSpy

SPY PICS! – 2015 Bridgestone J15 B3 and J15 B5 Drivers, J15 Fairways and Hybrids Too

SPY PICS! – 2015 Bridgestone J15 B3 and J15 B5 Drivers, J15 Fairways and Hybrids Too

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A few weeks back I told you that Bridgestone is gearing up for a huge push for 2015. We didn’t have much in the way of details at the time; only that Bridgestone’s lineup would include new, and what they believe to be game-changing technologies.

Today we can bring you the first real look at the new product, along with a better idea of what Bridgestone’s technology stories will be.

2015 Bridgestone J15 Drivers

Capture

The indications are that Bridgestone will launch 2 men’s drivers in 2015. The 715 B3 will be a 460cc offering, while the B5 is 445cc. Bridgestone didn’t offer a 460cc model in the J40 series,so the suggestion is that Bridgestone will be putting more effort into connecting with the average golfer in 2015.

It’s reasonable to expect that the smaller B5 will be billed as offering enhanced workability, and a lower, more boring, trajectory. That’s almost always how this stuff goes with Pro/Tour style heads.

While the early spec sheets we’ve seen suggest that both models will be available in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°, the USGA’s Conforming List also includes a 12° option in the B3.

Indications are that the stock length will be 45.5″.

Rumors are proving to be reality as it appears the J15 Driver integrates 4 key technologies that Bridgestone will no doubt be discussing in greater detail as we move closer to the USA launch.

Power Slit Technology

pwerslit

It’s going to be interesting to hear what Bridgestone has to say about the Power Slit stuff. The drawings suggest a slit, or rather a series of slits (or channels) that extend from the top of the crown to the rear, and then back under along the sole. The safe assumption is that Power Slit is all about optimizing the transfer of energy and bracing the body to minimize the impact of vibrations.

Bridgestone’s take on slot technology does look to be something we haven’t actually seen before.

Power Milling

powermilling

This one could be big.

We’ve been told time and time again that score lines on the face of the driver are purely cosmetic. Lines, no lines…doesn’t impact performance. It sure looks like Bridgestone engineers don’t believe that. The J15 driver faces feature a pronounced milling pattern and the images suggest lead us to believe they have something to do with friction and spin control.

Again, we’ll have to wait for more information, or at least a translator,  before we can be certain what Power Milling is supposed to accomplish, but given that no one else in the industry is doing anything like this right now, it’s pretty damn intriguing.

Spin Control Technology

adjustable cartridge

At face value, there’s nothing revolutionary going on with Spin Control Technology. You’ve got two weight cartridges that can be mixed, matched, and otherwise swapped to alter the spin, and by extension, flight characteristics of the golf ball.

What is unique is the location of the weight themselves. The most common implementation of a 2-weight system involves placing towards the perimeter of the club. In the Bridgestone implementation, one weight in the front/center portion of the sole (some might call that low and forward). The 2nd weight is located in the rear off the club, and slightly off-center to the heel side. That suggests an ability to explicitly configure the club with a draw bias. Since the weight is redistributable from front to back (or back to front), in theory the club would also offer adjustable MOI.

The one concern I have with Spin Control Tech is that as companies have moved towards…or perhaps more accurately, back to sliding rail systems, the Bridgestone system could be viewed as antiquated.

cartridges
*Shiny Yellow refers to the Women’s version of the J15 series, which in Japan anyway, is being called the Shiny Yellow.

Variable Adjust System

variable-adjust-system

As with Spin Control Technology, Bridgestone’s Variable Adjust System  doesn’t appear radically different than most anything else that’s on the market right now. Variable Adjust will feature 8 different settings (variations of left/right, plus upright). Bridgestone is billing things as a face angle adjustment as opposed to loft, and given that Variable Adjust appears to be a single cog mechanism, there doesn’t appear to be any conceivable way to make that face angle adjustment with out impacting loft.

Stock Shafts

stockshafts

While changes could conceivably (maybe even likely) be made for the US Market, in Japan anway, Bridgestone will be offering 3 different shafts with the J15 Driver. It appears the Graphite Design Tour AD J15-11W  is the true stock, while upcharges will apply for the Fubuki AT60 and Diamana R60. Again, all of this may well change by the time the driver launches in the USA.

J15 Fairway Woods and Hybrids

fw-hy-hero

Once again, Power Slit would appear to be the big story (currently unknown what if any role it plays in the hybrid design). Unlike the J15 Series Drivers, the fairway woods won’t be adjustable.

I suspect they’ll be some discussion around face material, construction, and technology. More than one golf company has admitted that when RocketBallz, and the X2 Hot hit the market, their designs didn’t measure up from a distance perspective. As much as we like the current generation (J40) fairways, it’s not totally unfair to suggest that Bridgestone fell behind as well.

Most everyone in the industry claims to have caught up, and I suspect the story with the J15F won’t be any different.

power-slit-fw

fwhy-face

Bridgestone J15 Fairway Wood Specs

fw-spec

Bridgestone J15 Hybrid Specs

hybrid-spec

Pricing and Availability

Bridgestone USA remains tight-lipped about product details, availability, and pricing. We think it’s unlikely these will hit shelves before 2015, and our assumption is that prices will be consistent with that of the previous generation (largely PING-like).

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

All the Details – PING’s Turbulated G30 Drivers

All the Details – PING’s Turbulated G30 Drivers

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Written By: Tony Covey

Monday we gave you a first look at PING’s new G30 Series of metalwoods, and today we’re back with some actual details.

Last month members of PING’s R&D Team invited us down to PING Headquarters in Phoenix Arizona to step us through the new lineup, and let us experience the new product for ourselves.

As you might imagine, PING’s R&D guys spared us no detail. We like that.

PING-G30-Driver-with-Mr-PING-2-1

Bubba Long. . .and I’m talking about more than just this story

As we’ve told you countless times, we are #Datacratic. We’ll share some of the marketing angle with you, but ultimately we believe in the data and not much else.

Of course, when one of our staffers (Golfspy X) starts hitting balls over the huge fence PING built specifically to contain Bubba Watson’s monster drives, data or no data, we quickly get to thinking that PING might have something special.

Then again, not everybody can hit it as far as X and Bubba. So take it for the great story that it is and move on.

While we’ll eventually get around to discussing things like forgiveness, playability, and all-around solid performance; the hallmarks of the G-series, the cutting to the chase of it dictates that we start with the most prominent feature of the new lineup.

Turbulators

PING-G30-Driver-Turbulators-close-1

Turbu-what?

Turbulators

…and lest there’s a chance you forget, PING has embossed the word on the damn crown. Subtle guys…really subtle.

One of the obstacles that absolutely every club designer struggles with is that a golf club head, particularly a driver head, is simply not aerodynamic by design.

You’ve got this giant mostly-flat face that transitions rather harshly to the crown. As far as moving through air and space as efficiently as possible are concerned, it’s less than ideal. It basically sucks.

In terms of pure aerodynamics, a smaller face with a more gradual, elongated, transition to the crown is a much more efficient design.

Unfortunately, that type of design doesn’t work particularly well for hitting golf balls (especially when you care as much about MOI as PING does), which makes it less than practical considering the intended purpose.

That’s where the Turbulators come in.

PING-G30-Driver-Face-2-1

In the most basic of terms, Turbulators are a means to improve the overall aerodynamics of the clubhead without compromising on the intended purpose of the design (to hit golf balls long and straight), or substantially reducing head volume and, as a consequence, dramatically lowering MOI.

Here’s the really odd part, PING’s Turbulators actually increase drag. You’d think that would actually slow the clubhead down, right?

You’d be wrong.

Through the use of computational fluid dynamics (smoke tests and whatnot), PING’s engineers figured out that they could use precisely placed Turbulators to make the air stick (or flow closer) to the clubhead for a longer period of time.

Effectively what the Turbulators do is reduce the wake produced by the clubhead, which actually reduces the drag coefficient. Despite that initial increase in drag, the existence of Turbulators  results in a net gain in clubhead speed for a majority of golfers.

Confused? Let me dumb it down for the guys like me:

Turbulators allow The New G30 to move through the air like a smaller-faced driver while still maintaining the low/rear CG placement that’s imperative to G-series design.

It’s all really scientific stuff.

By way of comparison, to get the same speed gains by changing the size of the driver head, (assuming the same shape), PING would have needed to shrink the G25 down to 362cc, and thereby reduce the MOI by 34%.

Nobody wants that. Not even TaylorMade (I kid…I kid)

The Downside of Aerodynamic Improvements

Let’s make one thing impossibly clear. Aerodynamics matter. It’s one of a few very obvious ways that golf companies can increase distance within the confines of the USGA’s tidy little box.

If, through design, you can speed up the clubhead (make the golfer swing faster), you’re going to increase ball speed as well, and folks, more ball speed equals more distance. That’s pretty simple.

Anybody want to argue that one?

The downside of aerodynamic gains is that they are exponential in nature. What that means is that guys who already swing fast will see more substantial gains than guys with average to below average swing speed.

For example, in PING’s own testing, the average gain in clubhead speed was .7MPH.

That’s good.

PING-G30-driver-face-1

Unfortunately for the everyday crowd, the guys who saw the biggest gains (2 or more MPH) were guys who already generate between 112 and 120 MPH of clubhead speed. For higher swing speed guys, that translates to upwards of 6 yards or so over the G25.

The rich keep getting richer.

You average guys…the 85-90MPH crowd, realistically, any gains you see will be comparatively minimal. We’re talking about .5MPH or less of new-found clubhead speed on average, which translates to barely a yard in total distance gained.

Bummer, right? It is what it is, and PING isn’t going to tell you otherwise.

Turbulators. . . A Mass Problem

PING-G30-driver-crown-1

As we’ve already mentioned, one of the primary goals of PING’s G Series designs is to move the center of gravity as low and as far back as possible. Placing additional mass by way of Turbulators (approximately .5 grams) high and forward basically runs contrary to PING’s design goals.

To offset the additional high/forward mass, PING is using a new alloy to construct the G30′s face. T9S (9% aluminium) has a lighter density than the G25′s face material, and a stronger strength to weight ratio.

The new face material, along with Ti-811 body and crown construction, not only allowed PING to maintain the low/rear CG placement of the G25, they were actually able to move it slightly lower and slight farther back. The end result is a 1% improvement in toe/heel MOI and a 2% improvement in top/bottom MOI.

That might not sound like much, but when you consider that the G25 was already the most forgiving driver on the market (based on MOI), it’s scary impressive that PING was able to squeeze a bit more playability into the new G30.

As a quick aside for those of you who, like me, haven’t been much of a fan of the sound produced by G-series drivers, the new material also produces a deeper, less poppy (less crap-like) sound.

“Our goal was not to make the most aerodynamic driver ever. The goal was to make the best driver ever” – Marty Jertson, Senior Design Engineer, PING

VS. The G25 Driver

PING-G30-driver-vs-g25-1

The G25 was damn good. Could the G30 actually be better?

Between the MOI bump and the potential boost in clubhead speed, PING is claiming that they’ve been able to squeeze a little more distance and a little more forgiveness over what was already a pretty good driver.

The G30 should square up a bit better, and that squaring should effectively reduce spin by about 150RPM.

We did some preliminary testing with the G30 side by side vs. the G25. Before you look at the data, here are some pertinent notes:

  • To account for the differences in loft between the two models, and 8.5° G25 head was set at 9° and tested against a 9° G30.
  • Stock shafts in X-flex were used for both models.
  • To collect our data, we used a Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor which requires a license for the desktop/simulator software in order to extrapolate roll and total distance. We don’t currently own the software, so reported distances are carry-only.
  • Foresight GC2 does not provide a swing speed measurement without the accessory HMT unit, which was not available to us during testing.

g25vsg30

In testing we saw an average increase in ball speed of 1MPH with the G30. With the differences in launch angle and spin rate, carry yardages were a push, but the numbers also suggest that with roll factored, the G30 would be slightly longer.

We also saw slightly better dispersion and yards offline numbers with the new model. Also worth a mention, using standard deviations in ball speed between the two clubs as the defining factor, the G30 was slightly more forgiving/consistent than the G25.

The preliminary results suggest a driver that improves on the previous generation, but probably doesn’t warrant an immediate upgrade, unless of course demo/fitting sessions reveal that you’re among the group that benefits significantly from those Turbulators.

Improved Adjustability

PING-G30-Hosel-adapter-1

PING has been the subject of some consternation by golfers who feel like their implementation of adjustability is a bit…shall we say, lacking.

Previous incarnations allowed the golfer to adjust loft or face angle (depending on how you look at it) by only half a degree in either direction (1° of total adjustability). That’s significantly less than…well…everyone else in the industry.

The new hosel allows for a full one degree of adjustment in either direction (with a .6° option in the middle, if you prefer something more akin to the original). For those keeping score at home, that’s 2° of total adjustability.

PING’s no compromise approach meant that the hosel improvements had to be made without increasing mass. Not only was PING able to get to 2° without adding mass, PING’s adjustable hosels add zero additional mass compared with their more traditional glued offerings. I don’t believe any other OEM can make that claim.

Straight Flight Technology Is Back

PING-G30-SFTec-1

Despite its age, the K15 (a dinosaur by modern standards) remains popular with PING fitters seeking to help golfers mitigate a slice.

While maybe nobody is going to come right out and say it, the G30 SF Tec is the effective replacement of the K15, albeit within one of PING’s signature lines.

The idea is to offer a club that offers significant slice correction without any attaching any stigma to the club. The G30 SF Tec doesn’t have DRAW stamped anywhere on it (it does say Turbulators), and there’s no offset either.

The shape is slightly non-conventional, and that will certainly turn some off of the SF Tec (myself included), but hell, if it corrects your ball flight, isn’t that all any of us should worry about?

PING-G30-SFTech-crown-side-1

Like the K15 the G30 SFT sits closed (PING uses the phrase rocks closed) – though not as much (2° vs. 5° in the K15), and offers a heel-biased CG placement and is designed to deliver the club face slightly closed to the path at impact.

The sum total of the design features results in up to 12.5 yards of shot correction.

For the guy who habitually slices, the G30 SF Tec will help you hit the ball straight. For the guy who already hits the ball straight the SF Tec model should allow you to hit the much-coveted draw, provided the obviously closed face (and that unconventional shape) isn’t too off-putting.

Custom Tuning Ports (CTP)

PING-G30-CTP-1

While you won’t find them retail any time soon (or ever, probably), PING offers CTP weights ranging from 4g to 17.5g which offer the ability to dial in your target swingweight with basically any aftermarket shaft, cut to any reasonable length.

Unfortunately, if you want to make any changes, you’ll have to send your driver back to PING and have them make the changes for you.

For better or worse, that’s just how they roll in the PHX.

Custom Tuning Ports are available for all clubs (drivers, fairways, and hybrids) in the G30 metalwoods lineup.

High Balance Point Shafts

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One of the features of the G30 series that most golfers will probably overlook is the inclusion of PING-designed High Balance Point shafts.

As the name suggests, PING was able to shift the balance point of the G30 stock shafts higher, toward the grip (effectively counterbalancing the shaft). They were also able to reduce the overall weight of the shaft, which allowed for an increase in overall head weight without impacting swingweight. Any aftermarket stuff that shifts the scale can be handled with those Custom Tuning Ports we just covered.

As some of you may already know, a heavier head has greater inertia and creates a more efficient transfer of energy than a lighter one. That’s a recipe for both distance and forgiveness, which is what most of us say we want from our driver.

High Balance Point Shafts are part of every club in the G30 metalwood lineup.

G30 Driver Specifications

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G30 Driver Stock Shaft Specifications

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Weight is calculated assuming a 45.25″ finished length

G30 Driver Tour Shaft Specifications

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*The Tour Driver ($30 upcharge) Shaft is designed by PING. It has lower torque than the stock shaft and has a stiffer tip to promote a lower trajectory. Finally, it offers what PING describes as a “Tour” look and feel (including a PVD finish). 

Pricing and Availability

PING G30 Series Drivers will be hit retail sometime in late July or early August. MSRP for the driver is $385. As previously noted, a Tour shaft is available for a $30 upcharge.

Wrapping it All Up

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Although the gains aren’t earth-shattering, we’re inclined to saddle the G30 driver with early favorite status for our 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test. The fairway will be a serious contender as well.

That said, I wouldn’t necessarily run out and replace your G25, but it’s certainly worth finding out if the Turbulators give you a boost (nobody at PING is suggesting they’ll work for everyone).

If they do…buy the G30. If they don’t, your G25 is still a pretty damn awesome club.

From my perspective, the improvements to sound and feel alone place the G30 significantly ahead of the G25. That’s purely an issue of personal taste. Quite frankly, the G30 is the first PING G-series driver I’ve ever loved. Performance notwithstanding, it’s actually the first I’ve even kinda liked.

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Given the exceptional performance we save from the G25 lineup, it’s not enough for the G30 series to be good. It has to be great. That’s the tradition, that’s expectation, and not surprisingly, that’s exactly what PING has delivered.

We are unquestionably impressed.

If there’s any issue for PING as far as the G30 series is concerned it’s this: With the subtle design refinements, performance gains, the Turbulators (which technically fall under performance gains), and the new Tour Series shafts (designed to perform like high-end aftermarket shafts), the lines between the G-series and i-series have blurred slightly.

If you’re the kind of guy (a guy like me) who has previously (and habitually) thumbed your nose at PING’s G-series, the G30 should provide more than enough incentive to get over yourself.

More PING G30 Coverage

G30 Fairways and Hybrids
G30 Irons

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Swing Over 100 MPH? Here are your Top 5 Drivers!

Swing Over 100 MPH? Here are your Top 5 Drivers!

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We know that not everybody, not even a majority of golfers, can generate over 100 MPH of clubhead speed, but there are plenty of you who can. It stands to reason that the higher swing speed guy (and often a lower handicap guy) might require something different from a lower, or even average swing speed guy when it comes to his driver.

That could mean lower spin. It could mean a more compact shape. And while lower swing speed guys might favor ultralite models to help raise clubhead speed, we’ve found that bigger hitters often get better numbers with shafts in the 75 gram range. Our higher swing speed players put 23 drivers to the test, and these 5 were the top performers.

 

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Adjustability, ball speed, and distance, the TaylorMade SLDR brings it all to the table. Pound for pound, the SLDR was the longest driver we tested this year. Whether you choose the standard 460 model, the 430, or the new SLDR S, you’re going to hit the ball a long way. Even with your above-average swing speed, don’t be afraid to try the 12° model.

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It’s the Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta, not the SLDR that produced the lowest spinning drives for higher swing speed players. Plenty well-known for their fairway woods, you should be paying attention to this Tour Edge driver as well. The XCG7 is unquestionably the best driver Tour Edge has ever produced. If it’s not on your demo list, it needs to be.

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Performance evolved. That’s how we’d label the PING i25. The i20 had a solid run as the one of the top performing drivers we’ve ever tested. 2 years later we find ourselves smitten with the i25.  The racing stripe alignment system is cool, but what we really like is that the i25 offers more forgiveness than you’d expect from a distance-favoring driver.

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You know the G25 is an outstanding option for slower swing speed players, but it turns out, it’s one hell of a driver for faster players as well. As they were for our lower swing speed guy, accuracy numbers are stellar, and the forgiveness of the G25 cannot be questioned. If playing from the short grass is your goal, the G25 will help put even the longest of hitters there more often.

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Do you love distance (and the color orange)? Sinister (creator of the Agent Orange driver) isn’t exactly a household name, but their driver showed that it can hammer the ball down the fairway with the best of them. For those not interested in lofting up, worth a mention is that the Agent Orange is the only driver on this list available in 5° and 6°.

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Top 5 Drivers for Slower Swing Speed Players

Top 5 Drivers for Slower Swing Speed Players

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When it comes to finding the right driver, it’s an indisputable fact that what works well for the guy who swings 110 mph, may not work for the guy who swing 85 mph or less. And you guys hovering around 85 mph, guess what? You are the majority.

Regardless of what you might have read elsewhere, not everybody hits it 300 yards. Hell…statistically, almost nobody hits it 300.

So how do you know what drivers offer you the best chance of success? You’ve come to the right place. We have all the data. We have the ability to explore all the numbers and figure out what really works for a given segment of the golfing population.

You lower swing speed guys…and perhaps more accurately, you average swing speed guys, our testing results tell us that these are the best 5 drivers for you.

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If you want distance, regardless of your swing speed, take note. The TaylorMade SLDR was the longest driver we tested this season. Sure, you might need to shelve your pride and take more loft, but the distance gains will help you get over it. With 12° and 14° models available in the original SLDR, and now a 16° option in the SLDR S, high launch and low spin – the recipe for extreme distance – has never been more attainable for the slower swing speed player.

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If you want to play the outstanding driver that nobody else has, the ONOFF Type D is for you. Not particularly well known in the US, ONOFF is a popular choice in Japan and parts of Europe (and was popular with our testers too). For those seeking outstanding distance and great feel in a more traditional package (and without all that complicated adjustability), you simply can’t go wrong with the Type D.

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When it comes to accuracy and forgiveness, nothing we’ve tested in 2014 can touch PING’s outstanding G25. Boasting the highest MOI of any offering from a large golf company, the G25 is the best option for the guy who has a tendency to venture away from the center of the face. You’ll positively litter the fairway with your drives and distance loss on less than perfect shots will be minimal. It’s an absolute can’t-miss driver.

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Some hear Nitrogen-Charged and think it’s a gimmick while others will have the good sense to put aside their pre-conceived notion and give this outstanding offering from PowerBilt a chance. While the PowerBilt was unquestionably the best offering among the smaller brands we tested this year, what will surprise many of you is that the Air Force One DFX bested offerings from several larger, and more widely-played companies.

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Lots of companies talk about ultralite performance, but Cleveland is the company that gets it right. While the 588 Altitude was an outstanding performer in general, for guys looking to fulfill the promises of a super-lightweight driver (whether for swing speed gains, or because you just like the feel), without feeling like you’r swinging a flyrod, they simply don’t come any better than the Cleveland 588 Altitude.

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

How much does the required 6 hours of professional driver’s training cost in California?

Question by Great Job!: How much does the required 6 hours of professional driver’s training cost in California?

I’m sorry this showed up in the golf section. Hope someone can answer!

I’m 16 and I’m getting my driving “lessons” online, I’m not attending driving school, unless that’s cheaper, overall.
I’m 16, and I’m not going to a driving school, I’m trying to get my permit online.