A hugely impressive driver that does a great job of balancing distance with consistency. This is a low spin driver with a truly broad appeal that has the high tech looks and powerful feel to match the all round performance.
Inviting, high tech look at address
Improved sound and feel
Some may feel there is too much going on at address
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The last time we saw a new driver from PING was two years ago, when the excellent G425 range landed at the start of 2021. Since then the brand’s engineers have been hard at work trying to find improvements to build into the new range and in the G430 LST driver, PING has introduced a new technology called a Carbonfly warp.
WATCH: Gear Of The Week show discusses the new TaylorMade Stealth 2, Cobra Aerojet and Ping G430
While there are three versions of the driver (the G430 Max and G430 SFT complete the line-up), the low spin version of the new driver is the only one that features a carbon crown. Eight layers of carbon wrap across the entire crown and into the heel and toe of the driver, saving weight that, the designers say, can then be used elsewhere to boost the overall performance on offer.
We wanted to see for ourselves whether this was one of the best golf drivers of 2023 so I tested the PING G430 LST using a GC Quad launch monitor at Foresight Sports European HQ, using Titleist Pro V1x golf balls. I also hit it on the course at Prince’s Golf Club.
Before we get to the performance, the first thing to talk about is the new aesthetic. That this is a high tech, premium driver is clear as soon as you put the G430 LST down behind the ball. PING’s trademark turbulators are combined with a two-tone finish on the crown where the leading edge is matte black and the rest has a modern, carbon effect with some very subtle, smart yellow and grey colouring around the periphery. Whilst this might not appeal to those who want something very clean and classic to look down on - the Titleist TSR4 driver and Srixon ZX7 MK II are both good examples of that - I loved the more techy look of the LST.
As you might expect, it has the smallest profile of the three models down behind the ball. The head itself is 440cc but, despite the more compact profile, PING has done a good job of making this look inviting, not intimidating, at address. It has a similar profile to the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver.
The data chart below shows how the PING G430 LST performed up against the other two drivers in the new family. I had the same PING Tour 2.0 65s shaft in the drivers and they were all set to 9˚.
The two key numbers that jump out to me are the ball speed and the spin. At 167 mph, the ball speed is up there with the fastest I’ve had from any of the 2023 drivers, including the impressive Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond and the Cobra Aerojet driver. Despite the extra speed, the spin was down versus both the Max and SFT versions of the G430 (as you'd expect). This delivered a strong flight and plenty of distance.
What I liked most about the G430 LST - and this was something I noticed on the course as well as on the launch monitor - was that despite the speed, compact look and relatively low spin performance, it was still just as user-friendly as you’d hope from any PING product. Some low spin drivers can be fairly hard to hit, with mis-strikes costing distance and accuracy. That particular trade-off doesn’t appear as big here. This might be the version you’ll see being used most on Tour, but to my mind it has a very broad appeal. It isn’t intimidating to look down on and there’s enough forgiveness to benefit a range of abilities.
The final element to consider is the feel. With the new G430 drivers, this is an area the brand has looked closely at and has introduced a new rib structure within the head to improve the sound. To me, this change has resulted in a more powerful sensation through impact. It isn’t as muted through the ball as, for instance the new TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, but it strikes a good balance of feeling powerful yet easy to launch.
All in all, PING’s new G430 LST is a hugely impressive driver. If you are in the market for a long, forgiving driver that will help you control your spin, this is well worth considering.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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