ping g20 driver reviews

"If you only read 1 driver review the rest of this year...this should be the one.  Not only does this driver perform well but Ping drivers are often overlooked when golfers are buying a new driver.  So...why are they overlooked...and why should you be trying this driver for your bag?  Read our review to get the answers."

PING G20 Driver

(Written By: GolfSpy T) Listen up all you chowderheads because I'm about to drop some serious knowledge on ya'll. Year after year PING manages to produce one of the top 2 or 3 drivers in the market. That's a true story. And year after year, apart from a legion of devout PING loyalists we wonder if the rest of you bother paying attention. Yeah, they're not always the best looking club, so what?  Are you the type of guy who wanders around the hardware store looking for the prettiest hammer, or do you want a tool that will flat out pound nails? You want paint...go take a nap. You want performance, read on.

Tell Us What You Think!

  • How much do "looks" play a part when you purchase a driver?
  • Have you hit the Ping G20 driver?  If so...what were your thoughts?

The Marketing Angle

Letter for letter there's really nothing revolutionary about the G20. According to PING, the G20 features:

  • Aerodynamic 460cc head with a larger face to create forgiveness and power across the entire hitting surface.
  • External weight to help promote high launch and low spin.

It's fairly standard language for a new driver, and under other circumstances I might have fallen asleep reading it, but, PING has an outstanding track record of actually improving the performance of their drivers with each new release. With PING it's never about the paint, or tinker-toy adjustability, it's always about trying to help the average golfer perform better, which while seldom eye-catching, they never fail to produce a tool that can't get the job done.

 

How We Tested

The 6 golfers for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf.  As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is now viewable in the interactive portion of this review. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score.  As a supplement to our 6 performance testers, a subset of additional golfers were given the opportunity to test the PING G20 Driver and provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, feel, sound,  perceived distance, perceived accuracy, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase).  This information, which we also collected from our performance testers, is used as the foundation for our total subjective score.  Testing was done using a 9.5° and 10.5° drivers in regular, stiff, and x-stiff flex.

PERFORMANCE SCORING

Distance

Where distance is concerned, the PING G20 is sneaky long (260.58 yards average as a group). It's so sneaky in fact that the majority of our testers failed to actually notice how far they were hitting the ball. From shot to shot most of our testers would likely have told you that the G20 was average at best (a couple actually told us they think it's shorter than most drivers). Of course, this isn't my first rodeo, and I had a sneaking suspicion that when I pulled the distance numbers from the launch monitor there would be some surprises.

As it turns out, for 2/3 of our testers, the G20 proved to be one of the 3 longest drivers they've tested this season (including 2 longest overall). No other driver we've tested this year comes close to matching that distinction. And those guys who thought it was among the shortest...shocker...they're both in that 2/3 that saw their best results of the year with the G20.

Are you paying attention now?

MGS Distance Score: 94.84

Accuracy

Look, I'd love to tell you that from an accuracy standpoint the PING G20 proved to be every bit as straight as it long. It didn't, in part due to the fact that it's stupid long. That's not to say our testers were spraying balls around like crazy...they weren't. The reality is they were on average (16.43 yards from the center line) only slightly more on target than with most other drivers we've tested.  More on target is good, and the G20 most certainly isn't a liability when it comes to hitting the center of the fairway, but it's not quite the PING K15 either.

MGS Accuracy Score: 88.63

Consistency

As you'll see below, our testers didn't think much of the G20 where distance is concerned, and there's a couple of reasons why. First, as you'll see below, nobody loved the sound and feel, which means absolutely nothing where actual performance is concerned, but actually can influence people's perceptions. The 2nd reason why the subjective numbers are so incomprehensibly off the mark that I damn near checked our launch monitor for damage is that consistency breeds a sort of contempt among golfers constantly looking for more distance.

Hit the ball all over the map, but crank one 15 yards longer and the golfer's mind goes haywire and assumes he's got the longest driver of the year in his hands. Hit the club consistently longer than most anything else, but without that single +15 yard outlier, and suddenly no one is impressed. Really? I'm about to smack somebody.

MGS Consistency Score: 95.00

Overall Performance

The numbers say that the Ping G20 is one of the top 2 or 3 drivers we've had in for review this season. Hell, you could argue that based on where it ranks for our individual testers it's the best of the lot. We might be splitting hairs here over what's truly the best, but personally I've only thought enough of 2 drivers this year to put them in my bag and take them out to the golf course. The Ping G20 is one of them.

MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 92.06


SUBJECTIVE SCORING

PING never has and probably never will be known for producing flashy clubs. While the G20 lineup is far from ugly (we've definitely seen worse), I think most would agree that function is a higher priority for PING than flair. With that in mind, I had a pretty good idea what our subjective surveys were going to look like, what I didn't know is they'd make me want to slam my head into a car door as many times at it takes to start thinking like our testers.

Looks

While the PING G20 does have externally visible weighting, they've managed to tuck it in just enough so that it's not visible at address. It's an excellent compromise that will still appeal to those guys who want to see their technology, and won't offend those of us who don't. As is typical for PING, there sole graphics while prominent, are not flashy, and while I'm not a tremendous fan of the alignment aid on the crown (seriously...what is that thing), it serves its purpose just fine - even if it does make me want the old crescent style back.

Where shape is concerned the G20 looks every bit of its 460CCs (that's a nice way of saying it's bulkier than most). As I mentioned, one tester was a bit put off by the size, but for the most part nobody else had much to say about it. Finally, at address the face appears to have less bulge and roll than other drivers (this is true of the K15 as well). While it doesn't matter one way or the other, if your accustomed to a more prominent rounding of your driver face, the G20 will appear flat by comparison.

In general, while not a single tester was smitten with the design, none were disgusted either.

MGS Looks Score: 86.00


Feel

Perhaps its just my perception of things, but over the last several revisions, PING drivers have drifted away from the type of feel I'd associate with Titleist and TaylorMade (TM has drifted a bit themselves), and moved towards a more solid (though not harsh) feel at impact. While I personally prefer the G10 in this regard, there's nothing necessarily unpleasant about the G20. Like the K15, it's just a bit different then what I remember from PING.

Though not a single tester commented directly on the feel (or sound for that matter), the majority ranked it on the lower end of average.

MGS Feel Score: 77.94

Sound

We've talked before about sound and feel being almost the same thing. In the case of the G20 they are pretty much are. Just as with feel, I would again suggest that PING had drifted away from a sound that I would describe as...well...a PING, and over the last couple of years has become a bit more of a pop. We're a long way away from Nike or older composite territory, but once again, I'm more fond of earlier models.

MGS Sound Score: 77.94

Perceived Distance

Look I don't want to sit here and call our testers morons, but hypothetically...what would you call a guy who hits a series of shots, gets to see every bit of data from those shots, and when that data shows he's hit a driver (let's call it the G20) longer than any club he's hit all year, declares that it's 5-10 yards shorter than most anything else? Seriously?

Truth is our testers aren't morons (probably), but those who circled the lowest numbers most definitely got it wrong. The problem is that the average golfer sees what he wants to and not what's actually happening in front of him. This is exactly why data matters. It's why the subjective score only counts for 10% of the total, and why perceived distance and accuracy are going away in the next revision. It's also why I need a beer(s).

Trust the data...it's where reality lives. Perceptions and subjectivity are nothing more than just that.

Tester Perceived Distance Score: 77.94

Perceived Accuracy

What invariably happens when our testers under-estimate distance is that they tend to either over-estimate accuracy, or basically nail it. In this case they basically nailed it. While I don't think any of our testers would tell you the Ping G20 is the most accurate driver they've ever hit, most would probably tell you it's above average. That's how I would assess things anyway. As I said, it's a relatively straight hitting driver, but it's not quite the K15.

Tester Perceived Accuracy Score:  88.69

Perceived Forgiveness

There's reality (close a face and the ball flies low and left, open it and the ball flies high and right), and there's the stuff golf companies tell you (almost slice-proof, never hook, etc.). Until the USGA decides to allow gyroscopes in driver heads there are always going to be big misses. All you should realistically hope for in terms of forgiveness is that a driver can maintain a healthy percentage of its distance capabilities when you hit the ball high on the face, or low on the heel, or high on the toe. Everything else is a pipedream.

Of course, once you get past MOI numbers and things like that, forgiveness is basically all subjective anyway (how far a golfer thinks he hit the ball, based on where he thinks he hit it). For my money, the G20 is a solid A- where forgiveness is concerned (at least that's what I told the guys as I chased a mis-hit 20 yards past them), but hey, our testers say a solid B, so we'll go with that.

Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 86.00

Likelihood of Purchase

It's not that the LOP score for the G20 is the lowest we've seen (far from it), but at the same time it's inconceivably low considering the actual performance numbers. Yeah, looks count, and so do sound and feel, but none of the numbers anywhere as low as LOP score. We're talking about a driver that the numbers say should go in the bags of half our testers and yet... What is it going to take for golfers to get serious about performance? Can somebody hand me a can of white paint?

Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 72.56

I've been frustrated by the results of our subjective surveys before. Most often the numbers come back low for an average club, but the results of our surveys for the G20, in my opinion anyway, are nothing less than a travesty. I'm by no means a PING fanboy (currently zero PING clubs in my bag, although I have played their fairway woods and hybrids recently as this season), but it's well past time golfers took note of exceptional performance bundled in admittedly ordinary packaging.

TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 75.36

CONCLUSION

Our testers aren't actually morons. They're enthusiastic golfers, who get genuinely excited about a good deal of the equipment they test for us. Like most anybody else, sometimes they just get it wrong. For whatever reason, the PING G20 just didn't get the guys all worked up (although you'd hope that after having a chance to review their actual numbers they'd rethink their positions). Each of us uses his own weighting scale to determine what's really important to us as golfers. Some willingly admit that they value distance above everything else (including common sense). The smartest guys place the premium on accuracy, while still others get so wrapped up in labels and paint schemes they forget about getting as far up the fairway as they possibly can. How good does your driver look from the woods?

We have a scoring system that is absolute and so I must abide by it. But if you want the honest opinion of a guy who has tested every driver to come through the doors at MyGolfSpy over the last 2 seasons; even if it doesn't have some of the intangible lure of some of the others, the PING G20 is absolutely one of the top 3 drivers we've ever tested.

One guy's opinion...this score should be plenty higher!

MGS TOTAL SCORE:  89.70

 

Tell Us What You Think!

  • How much do "looks" play a part when you purchase a driver?
  • Have you hit the Ping G20 driver?  If so...what were your thoughts?

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