Review: Ping G20 DriverFitting, to Factory, to Fairways Hit.
Having just reviewed the adjustable drivers on the market, it brought to mind a question: what are the manufacturers doing who do not at this time offer adjustable drivers? The Ping G20 certainly falls into this category. However, after experiencing my club fitting at the Ping Performance Center
to come up with a proper fit on paper (or the Ping NFlight Launch Monitor, to be more accurate,) it was time to take the G20 to the course and see what this fixed hosel driver can do.
The lack of an adjustable hosel did not pose a problem with the G20, as Ping was able to digitally measure a head for me that was one degree open at 9.5 degrees loft. It sits at address nicely without rocking closed, and it inspired confidence immediately with its rather large head size. It’s not so large to feel bulky, as the front to back dimensions are not overly elongated. The face height itself is just a hair more shallow than some previous Ping drivers, and this shallower face is complemented by a longer heel to toe length, making the effective hitting area of the G20 quite large. The alignment aid on the crown is more prominent this time and points the way quite well. (A complaint of mine was that the alignment aids on some of the Ping drivers had become so faint they were difficult to see at address under full sun, and this alignment mark has no such issues.) The charcoal grey head is a slight departure from previous Ping drivers, and it looks classy while it’s slightly lighter shade makes the head look all the larger.
I was really surprised how low spin the G20 proved to be during my fitting, even with the stock shaft. Ping really did a nice job with the stock TFC 169D Tour shaft which my driver is outfitted with. The X flex plays true to flex and is not difficult to load, while simultaneously providing a mid high launch and spin numbers around the 2500-2600 RPM mark for me at about 14 degrees launch height. The truest tests of the G20’s low-spin nature came during rounds with winds upwards of 30 MPH. Even into these winds, I was seeing excellent carry distances with no upshot, and distance loss, while expected, was not as severe as I was anticipating during such extreme conditions. I found the G20 to be especially easy to swing, thanks in part to the “high balance point technology shaft,” and the G20’s ample MOI (moment of inertia.) The heavy head weight (listed at 205 grams) does not feel especially heavy, and I found my swing to be on plane nicely with misses tending to be my usual low hook. This heavy head imparts a powerful strike on the ball, and elicits and fairly high pitched yet overall pleasing tone at impact. The G20 is a little louder than past Ping drivers, and the new titanium material meant to shift weight in the head likely has a lot to do with that. The impact sensation of the face is firm, but it does have a spring-like feel about it. The G20 feels like the head MOI does a lot of the work and keeps the misses contained pretty well.
Most of my rounds with the G20 have been quite successful, even during some tough conditions. The forgiveness is very ample and very welcome. Although I have not hit the K15 driver, which is reputed to be very straight, I could see its design influence with the external back weight placed in a neutral location at the rear skirt of the head of the G20. The effect is a very straight-hitting, neutral head which is then able to be worked as desired. I have had no issues hitting a draw or fade as intended. The distances I have seen with the G20 are consistently long, with the best of hits getting close to “all time bests” on familiar holes. Playing against a former club pro who was a long hitter, I kept up all day with the G20 during one round. With a friendly wager on the line, that was a relief (and allowed me to cash in at the end of the round.) I cannot stress enough how nearly automatic this club feels. Align the face to your target and swing. The G20 will do a lot of the work for you.
Overall, with Ping’s fitting abilities and an excellent end product in the G20, there is no concern that Ping will be surpassed by the competition due to a lack of an adjustable hosel. The G20 has been a joy to hit, and dare I say, may have supplanted my G10 as my favorite Ping driver, $300 aftermarket shaft and all. My G20 is set up to the same specs (45 inches, D4 swingweight,) and was very easy to make the transition from the G10. The large head is very confidence inspiring, and the very straight overall nature of the G20 had me expecting to hit fairways shortly after introducing it to my bag. The only slight difference with the G20 that is the higher pitch sound at impact, and a firmer feel to the face than some past Ping drivers, but the end result is more than worth this slight audible difference. From my fitting, to seeing the G20 come to life at the factory, to the multiple fairways I find myself hitting, I can wholeheartedly recommend checking out this newest Ping driver. The only “adjustment” involved may be to how very straight-hitting the G20 is. Michael White
Independent Equipment Reviewer