By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
PING's G25 driver won't turn a golfer into Bubba Watson overnight, but thanks to a few game-changing improvements, the company's latest driver is helping amateur golfers maximize distance by doing the same way the pros do — launching the ball higher and faster with less spin.
To achieve achieve the preferred launch angle, PING engineers moved the center of gravity (CG) substantially lower (0.050 inches) and deeper (0.150 inches) in the head than the previous model, G20.
The adjustment improved G25's MOI by 10 percent (heel-toe) and 17 percent (top-bottom) — G25's MOI is within 5 percent of the USGA's legal limit — when compared to G20, making it more forgiving on shots hit off-center.
Improving the MOI also increased the club's perimeter weighting and dynamic loft.
For those unfamiliar with the term "dynamic loft," it's the amount of loft that's on the club face at impact. Angle of attack, how the shaft bends and the club head is released all play a part in dynamic loft.
By increasing the dynamic loft on G25, golfers are able to optimize their trajectory and carry without having to go up in loft. In fact, PING Director of Product Development Marty Jertson noted that golfers who tested the driver actually went down in loft and picked up additional ball speed.
"The reason G25 works really well for the best players in the world, as well as for the average golfer, is because we're optimizing it for everybody," Jertson said. "What I mean by that is we designed it where you can launch the ball really high without having to add more loft.
"From a club design standpoint, we're trying to get everyone to be a little more like Bubba Watson and use a lower lofted driver, but still be able to launch it really high."
Watson has a driver hang time of 6.4 seconds — the amount of time the ball stays in the air — which doesn't seem all that surprising considering the former Masters winner has ranked inside the top 3 in driving distance on the PGA TOUR over the past seven seasons.
What is surprising is that Watson only has 8.2 degrees of actual loft on his driver, which makes him a perfect example of a player who's getting the most out of the driver's dynamic loft.
Of course, Watson's isn't the only notable PING staffer using G25. TOUR winners Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood, Angel Cabrera and Billy Horschel also have it in the bag at the moment.
PING also spent considerable time fine-tuning the adjustable hosel, making it the same diameter and mass — the loft sleeve is made from high strength aluminum and features an adjustable titanium screw — as the hosels on PING's non-adjustable drivers to ensure it wouldn't be a distraction to players at address.
"We wanted to do the adjustability in a way that was simple and didn't require a user's manuel," Jertson said. "We put a lot of engineering and effort into making it look like the driver isn't adjustable at address. The adjustable sleeve is very sleek and we didn't have to grow the outer diameter."
Unlike most of today's adjustable that go up or down at least 1 degree in loft, PING's Trajectory Tuning allows golfers to add or subtract one-half degree from the standard loft setting.
"When you start to add in more than 1 degree of adjustability, meaning plus or minus a degree of loft, you start to change the CG characteristics of the head relative to the golf ball," Jertson said. "So if you take a driver and use adjustability to go to 2 degrees, you're actually moving the CG a lot lower, so you're kind of reducing spin, and vice versa. You can see there are some negative tradeoffs you're inherently passing along to the consumer."
Another notable feature is the stock 45.75-inch high-balance point PING TFC 189D shaft that comes with the driver. Engineers took mass out of the tip of the shaft and added more under the handle, which allowed them to add 5 grams of weight to the head compared to a traditional shaft, and still maintain the desired swing weight of D3.
Why is this important? PING believes the momentum of the clubhead, at impact, is crucial because it controls the ball speed. While others have gone lighter, PING has gone slightly heavier in the head, giving the driver more momentum and an improved MOI at impact.
"Physics of the impact is that momentum controls the ball speed more than the energy," Jertson said. "I would compare it to a Volkswagen Bug driving 100 miles per hour and it crashed into a wall, and a Mack truck going 99 miles per hour crashing into the wall. The Mack truck is going to do more damage than the VW, which is lighter but just going fractionally faster."
An ultra-thin crown — that comes in a charcoal, non-glare matte finish — and body made of 8-1-1 titanium and a variable-thickness 6-4 titanium face insert also helps increase off-center ball speeds.
"If we could only design one product family, it would be G25," Jertson said. "It's just one of those lines where the best players in the world get a lot of the driver. But at the same time, the average golfer is also going to see benefits with the high MOI and dynamic loft. You're always hoping to make a club that's beneficial for all skill levels, and I think we did that with this G25."
PING's G25 driver is currently available in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12-degree lofts and comes with a TFC 189D shaft in Soft R, R, S, Tour Stiff and Tour X-Stiff flexes.