Review: Ping G25 DriverJust what is, “Bubba long?”
I have to hand it to Ping. In a time when golf marketing has been pushing promised gains of 10 to 20 yards every year, it starts to be tantamount to the boy who cried wolf. Can it be believed? While somewhat vague yet cheeky, the commercials promoting the G25 as being “Bubba long” are promising in that one of the longest hitters on the PGA tour is using Ping’s most forgiving driver like the rest of us may be apt to do. Forgiveness and distance will always catch my ear.
With the swappable shaft technology now available, we’re all probably more likely to try new shafts than ever before. I had two shafts to choose from with the G25 driver. The Aldila Phenom 60 stiff I had been playing in my Anser 10.5, and a newcomer in the Graphite Design DI7 stiff. Both shafts performed very well. In the end, I found the most consistency with the Phenom shaft. This was mostly due to it being slightly longer at 45.25” and a resulting swingweight with the G25 head at D2.5. The DI7 was cut just a little short at the Ping factory, unfortunately, and came to just barely 45” and D1, ¼” shorter and two swingweight points lighter than requested and was indicated on the build sheet. (I ended up trying the DI7 in my Anser head and loving that combination, so it all worked out very well in the end at least.)
The adjustable loft carries on from the Anser head with the same adapter, which is great, considering the rapid-fire changes companies are making with all these adapters and hosels year to year. Always nice to get at least a couple seasons out of a design. The great thing with the G25 and this system is the very balanced overall feel of this club. The lie angle feels good, and the effort to swing the club seems to have all the energy transferring down the line. I played mine in the “-“ 10 degree setting, which opened up the face just a tad more. The resulting shot shapes were very neutral with a slight fade tendency, while still able to turn over the G25 for a draw when needed. My miss tends to be low and left over the top, and I have not had many such shots with the G25. This balanced feel makes me align to my target and swing away. The heel section of the G25 is scooped out just a touch behind the hosel, and seems to provide the clearance for the head to sit nice and square to slightly open at address.
One aspect touted as an improvement over the G20 driver that I have to agree with is the hotter feel across more of the face. Distance seems to come very easily with the G25, with a pleasing metallic muted sound and feel. The face itself has highly visible white alignment markings contrasting the black face nicely and make the G25 easy to aim, along with the more prominent (and once again, functional) alignment aid on the crown. The G20 I always felt I got good distance out of, but it did not feel especially hot if you veered too much from the sweet spot.
On-course, success came quickly with the G25. My first round was a nice even par round where I barely missed a fairway. Subsequent rounds have all been right around par, with two one under rounds, and my highest round a +2 73 in 6 rounds with the G25. This is some of the most consistent golf I’ve played, and my game starts with being able to hit the fairway. The G25 has been doing this with a consistency that has been noteworthy. The forgiveness of this head is very helpful, and makes it a great choice for a wide variety of players. The only bad misses I had were due to over-swinging, with the resulting miss being mostly high right. I can live with that miss better than a low hook usually. Reminding myself to not over-swing and let this club do the work rewarded me with more fairways hit, and an assurance that the distance would be more than adequate. I’ve liked the G25 equally well when wanting to take a little off a drive as well for tighter holes. It’s just an easy to hit club with distance when you want to give it just a little more if you’re feeling frisky, and the accuracy you’d hope for when needing to hit that fairway. I have not seen any career long drives, but that is fine. Distances have been on par with the other big players in the market. As I get older, it’s interesting to ponder if drivers are still eeking out a little more distance every year, as I’m at least still able to get to those “long drive” spots on my typical courses. The G25 is at least keeping me long off the tee as I age. That’s a good thing. And when long distances with it are in the 320 yard plus range, well, this old guy appreciates that very much. That is not an average by any means, but exemplary of the distance the G25 can provide. My average drive is closer to 280 yards and I’ve been seeing that with good consistency, with the number of fairways going up as well. Those “disaster” misses are largely gone. Most drives are going in the intended direction.
What would I change? Not much. One thing I have noticed is slightly heavier head weights from some manufacturers. The G25 and Anser are listed at 205g stock weight. That may swingweight just fine with the stock backweighted shafts. But with the “swappable shaft” technology, people are bound to try different shafts which are going to result in differing swingweights. The plug in the back of the head is not removable, and I’ve seen people really struggle with a too-heavy setup when they swap shafts. Making this swingweight plug removable like many manufacturers would be helpful to adjust the G25 and Anser heads. Still, it does appear to be a type of plastic, which I imagine contributes to the sound tuning. In any event, if you can, order with the shaft and swingweight you desire from Ping to avoid any too-heavy surprises. The MOI provided by heavy heads is great, but not if it comes at the expense of consistency.
So, what is “Bubba long?” From my experience with the G25, it appears Ping is still perhaps eeking out just a touch more distance with each offering, with refinements in sound and feel and excellent forgiveness. The matte black finish on the crown and black face with white alignment give the G25 a muted look, which is great, given the longer face to back dimension. I’m not, and have never been a big “launch monitor” guy. From my observations on-course, I was happy with the easy launch height the 10 degrees provided, with adequate carry and roll out, along with the predictable shot shapes. Ballooning has not been an issue, with predictable slight distance losses into a wind. The G25 is a suitable driver for anyone seeking as much distance as the rules allow, with a forgiveness that is hard to beat from any manufacturer. I feel plenty long with this driver, and more importantly, I feel very confident standing over it on the tee. Just don’t expect me to paint mine pink! I’m playing some of the best golf of my life right now with many Ping clubs in the bag, and the G25 has been an excellent addition. Most importantly, I’d consider it an upgrade from their previous G series.
For more information:http://www.ping.comMichael White
Independent Equipment Reviewer