• PING has announced the G430 driver family in the U.S.A.
  • The lineup includes the G430 MAX, LST and SFT.
  • The new models offer more speed without sacrificing forgiveness.
  • Retail price is $550. Pre-sale begins today.

The PING G430 driver family (MAX, LST, and SFT)

If you’ve followed PING at all for the last several years, the basics of the G430 driver lineup will be familiar. With the G430 driver family, PING will again offer three basic models. There’s some nuance here as a not-so-secret menu offering provides a new option that actually gets us to four, though it would be a stretch to suggest it’s a unique model.

As has been the case going back to the G30, the G430 LST (Low Spin Technology) primarily targets the faster swinger looking for spin reduction. The G430 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) services the golfer who needs a good amount of draw bias baked in. The other one, which became the MAX when the G425 launched, is a relatively neutral and extremely forgiving option designed with a healthy percentage of golfers in mind.

As far as your performance headline goes, PING says the G430 lineup brings the biggest performance gains in G history. That’s saying something, especially when you consider the jump from the G to the G400 and the legendary (in my world anyway) G400 LST Driver.

the sole of the PING G430 MAX Driver

PING G430 MAX Driver

PING G430 Drivers – Player Testing

Cutting right to it … In PING’s player testing, the gains within each profile shook out like this.

To be clear, nobody is saying there’s a 100-percent correlation between your swing speed and a given G430 model. The idea was to segment testers by the average/typical player for each model.

So yeah, absolutely: some higher swing speed players will fit into a MAX. There will be more than a few sub-105 guys who fit into the LST. And, well, the SFT …  slicers come in all swing speeds.

Before we dig deeper, let’s look at the elements of the PING G430 that are a bit more subjective.

The PING G430 LST Driver

PING G430 LST Driver

Matte Black and Yellow Colorway

The matte part of this isn’t particularly surprising. PING has used matte black paint for as long as I can remember and, while not everyone loves it, it makes taking crown pictures a hell of a lot easier. Anyway, yellow is on trend again and, pulling from what PING’s Director of Product Design Ryan Stokke calls “funny science,” yellow apparently is associated with joy, happiness and optimism.

I’m not sure anyone made those associations with the NIKE SasQuatch or Sumo but the hope is that, this time around, joy and happiness will translate to increased confidence. And not for anything, yellow is also highly visible from a distance, which probably helps with TV exposure.

the PING G430 SFT Driver

PING G430 SFT Driver

PING G430 Drivers – Improved Sound

I’ll concede that not everyone agrees with me but I thought PING was in a really good place sound-wise with the G400. With G410 and G425, not so much.

It would be easy to say PING got the acoustics wrong with those models (and I think they did) but with just about everything else in metalwood design, sometimes sound and feel take a back seat to performance. Tuning sound is an extremely sensitive process and the internal structures that serve to manipulate frequencies and tune vibrations often bring with them a mass properties penalty.

Weights, sole graphics … every element of the design has an impact on the sound properties. “The sensitivity as you’re trying to move all those things around can go from you’re right on the precipice of greatness or going into the Sumo space,” Stokke says.

The trailing edge of the PING G430 MAX driver

Bottom line? Sound isn’t easy to dial in and, when push came to shove, PING traded sound and feel for performance in other areas (and in doing so perhaps moved a little closer to Sumo than it would have liked).

Since the release of G425, PING has significantly improved its sound modeling capabilities. With the help of some new internal structures, PING thinks it has tweaked sound frequencies and amplitudes to the point where most golfers are going to be plenty satisfied with the sound and feel of the G430.

Ultimately, that’s up to you to decide but the feeling around here is that the sound and feel are much improved.

a side by side profile view of the PING G430 MAX, PING G430 LST, and PING G430 SFT Drivers

Left to right: PING G430 MAX, LST, and SFT drivers

G430 Driver Speed

First, let’s acknowledge that it feels a little weird to hear PING lead with “speed.” “Forgiveness” is usually the central focus. I mean, even its lower-spinning LST models tend to be more forgiving than most.

But, hey, this is 2023, and everything is different (apparently). TaylorMade is talking forgiveness with Stealth 2 offerings so why can’t PING talk about speed?

Here’s the thing. Gaining speed with a driver isn’t really that difficult. Push the center of gravity forward (LOFT UP!) and you’re going to see higher ball speeds (and lower MOI). Getting more speed without giving up (or increasing) MOI? That’s a different thing entirely.

A good bit of the improved speed and distance of the PING G430 comes by way of face optimization. The company is still using a T9S titanium material but it has thinned the face a bit and made changes to the variable face thickness pattern that helps manipulate the way the face flexes. PING has also reduced the overall face height and made some changes to its transition design—the areas where the face meets the crown, sole and skirt of the driver.

The idea is to reduce energy lost to deflection and return more of the energy to the golf ball.

G430 Driver – Spinsistency

a closeup of the turbulators on the PING G430 driver where the crown meets the spinsistent face

Also contributing to more distance, the G430 MAX, LST and SFT are the first PING drivers to feature Spinsistency—a fun PING word which is an amalgamation of spin and consistency. Spinsistency is the result of the roll profile that PING previously used on its fairway wood faces. With the G430, the technology has found its way on to the drivers.

About Bulge and Roll

a view of the face of the PING G430 driver

Backing up just a bit: Every driver face has bulge and roll. Roll is curvature from top to bottom while bulge is curvature from heel to toe. On an off-center strike, the ball will effectively turn towards the center of gravity of the club. As it relates to roll, the result is more spin on low-face contact and less spin on high-face contact.

For a long time, drivers had uniform roll radii: they were symmetrical from top to bottom. That’s changed in recent years and now most companies have variable roll radii from the top and bottom of the face.

It’s a bit of an exaggerated example but think of uniform roll is basically a semi-circle while PING’s spinsistent approach with the G430 is more of an egg shape. The point is that the roll is more aggressive at the bottom than at the top.

The intent of the design is to reduce the variation in spin due to impact location. When spin is more consistent, distance will be more consistent as well.

Spinsistency plays a role in both distance and forgiveness.

the PING G430 Driver family

Secondarily, greater spin consistency gives fitters the option of fitting golfers closer to their theoretically optimal numbers.

Just to throw out an example, let’s say a golfer can maximize distance with 2,200 rpm of spin. In most cases, a good fitter will want to guard against the high-face knuckleball so maybe they fit closer to 2,500 or 2,600. Increased spinsinstency allows fitters to push closer to that ideal number and give golfers more distance for it.

As a side benefit, the tighter roll pattern at the bottom of the face increases speed on those low-face impacts. The ball is going to launch lower but when impact is a half-inch below center, 85-mph swingers are getting about an extra yard of distance. The 100-mph guys are getting 2.2 yards while the really fast guys (115+) are getting five more.

Each of the three models features a different bulge-and-roll profile. Again, that’s an acknowledgement that an LST player in all likelihood delivers the club to the ball differently than an SFT player.

It’s a conversation for a later date but PING has developed predictive models that allow its engineers to simulate the impact of tweaking CG position, MOI and face curvature.

Within the PING G430 driver lineup, the result of that research is three unique face designs but, as knowledge and capabilities progress, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could see multiple face profiles under each model, which could allow PING to tailor the club to fit a specific golfer—or at least a narrower segment of golfers.

G430 – MOI and Forgiveness

The tungsten weight on the rear of the PING G430 driver

There’s typically a trade-off between speed and MOI (the industry standard measurement of forgiveness) but, according to PING, that’s not the case with the G430 driver lineup.

For both the G430 LST and SFT, PING was able to move the center of gravity down and back. The result is a three-percent increase in MOI for the LST and 5.5 percent for the SFT.

With the MAX, PING actually pulled the CG forward and down but was able to keep total MOI roughly the same at about 10,000 g-cm2d. Technically, it’s about five points lower but I don’t think you’ll notice.

Carbon Fiber Crown – LST Only

the carbonfly wrap crown of the PING G430 LST driver

PING G430 LST Driver

The PING G430 LST (and only the LST) features a “Carbonfly wrap” carbon-fiber crown. Given how prevalent carbon fiber is across the industry, it’s only noteworthy because it’s the first time PING has used carbon since the Rapture driver. That was about 16 years ago.

The fact is that PING is really good at casting titanium so thin that, up until now, it hasn’t found much benefit from using carbon fiber.

The reality is that for all the weight savings associated with carbon fiber, when you factor in the support structures and glue to hold everything in place, the net gains are so minimal that PING hasn’t felt the juice was worth the squeeze.

the crown of the PING G430 MAX driver

PING G430 MAX Driver

It’s also true that PING’s extremely high MOI designs anchored by heavy weights at the rear aren’t conducive to the use of carbon fiber. The heavy weights coupled with the elongated profiles add stress to the club and that additional stress can cause carbon fiber crowns to separate from the body.

I don’t think it’s a big secret that many of PING’s competitors have had issues with carbon crowns popping off.

Rather than risk that, PING is taking a conservative approach and, for now, limiting carbon-fiber crowns within the G430 driver lineup to the LST. The smaller profile results in a more rigid structure with less risk of the crown separating.

the crown of the PING G430 SFT Driver

PING G430 SFT Driver

If all goes well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think carbon will eventually find its way into other PING driver designs.

The carbon-fiber crown results in a realized savings of four grams, which is a good bit of how PING was able to push the center of gravity lower in the G430 LST.

G430 Performance

When fitted to be launch-neutral, the G430 LST produced one mph more of ball speed with about 200 rpm less spin than the G425 LST.

That’s gets you upwards of seven yards of additional distance with an 18-percent reduction in PING’s stat area metric, which is basically the dispersion pattern.

Interestingly, when hit stock-versus-stock without normalizing launch, the G430 LST was still faster and launched higher but produced about 50 rpm more spin.

As noted at the start, the MAX and SFT were four and five yards longer respectively with similar dispersion as their predecessors.

a closeup of the rear weight on the PING G430 MAX driver

PING G430 Driver Movable Weights

For the first time, all three PING drivers will feature movable weights. The weights allow fitters (and DIY-ers) to dial up a bit of shot-shape correction to help mitigate a fade (slice) or a draw (hook).

The PING G430 MAX is neutral by nature and features a three-position weight (draw, neutral and fade). The 26-gram tungsten weight provides roughly eight yards of shot correction from one position to the next, which creates a bit of overlap with both the LST and the SFT.

The G430 LST is slightly fade-biased in the neutral position. The 22-gram weight provides about seven yards of shape correction between each of the positions.

A chart showing the trajectory tuning and offline comparison of the PING G430 MAX, SFT, and LST drivers

Finally, the G430 SFT marks the first time a movable weight has been part of the offering with PING’s slice killer.

The G430 SFT features a two-position 22-gram weight. As with the LST, there’s about seven yards worth of correction between the two positions. The Draw+ position is similar to the previous iteration of the SFT while the Draw position provides an intermediate option for golfers who don’t need every bit of draw bias the SFT has to offer.

PING G430 HL Driver

a PING G430 MAX Driver head

As the golfing population ages, the number of lightweight options continues to increase. With that in mind, it’s no particular surprise that PING would enter the fray. The intent of the G430 HL build is to maximize the potential of golfers with swing speeds below 85 mph.

There’s no particular voodoo or magical materials with PING G430 HL build. The objective is to take weight out of every component of the club.

To that end, the HL build replaces the stock 26-gram weight with an 11-gram alternative. The primary shaft offerings are ultralightweight PING ALTA Quick 35 and 45 and the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip gets swapped for a lightweight Lamkin UTx.

The result is a total build weight of 270-280 grams with the Alta Quick shaft options. With any of the Alta CB offerings, the total weight remains under 320 grams.

In player testing, PING tested the HL against the tester’s gamer. The results showed faster clubhead speeds, higher ball speeds and nine yards of additional carry. It goes without saying that, for a segment of golfers who average well under 200 yards, there’s the potential for significant gains on percentage.

With the G430 HL, PING is offering the same tech it offers everyone else but they’ve optimized it for slower swing speeds without adding an upcharge for their trouble.

PING G430 Drivers – Stock Shafts

a chart comparing the stock shafts of the PING G430 Driver lineup

The stock shaft lineup for the PING G430 driver family includes PING’s ALTA CB line, Tour 2.0 Chrome and the Tour 2.0 Black. The Black’s profile is said to be similar to the Ventus Black.

Third-party stock shafts include the HRDUS Smoke Red RDX and Mitsubishi Kai’li White.

The PING G430 MAX driver is available in nine, 10.5 and 12 degrees. The G430 LST is available in nine and 10.5 while the G430 SFT is available in 10.5 only.

MSRP for the PING G430 driver family is $630. Actual retail price for the G430 MAX and SFT is $549. The LST is $579.

Pre-sale begins now. Full retail availability starts Jan. 26.

For more information, visit PING.com.

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