WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The crown design of the modern-day driver typically receives very little fanfare. However, when it comes to PING's new G30 series driver that made its TOUR debut at The Greenbrier Classic, the crown happens to be the big story.
In search of a way to increase ball velocity, PING engineers worked with a research group at Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire, England to determine if there was a way to reduce drag by adding aerodynamic features to the crown of the driver.
During their research, the group found inspiration from the aeronautics and sporting industries, where turbulators are used on airplane wings and helmets to improve airflow and reduce drag.
Adding six turbulators to the crown of the Ti 8-1-1 head achieved the same effect during wind-tunnel testing, improving the club's aerodynamic efficiency by significantly delaying airflow separation during the swing.
"This has been four or five years in the making to get it to this point," said Dr. Paul Wood, PING's research engineering manager. "We spent countless hours working on the design of the turbulators, dialing them in and trying to determine how big and deep [the turbulators] should be, and the number we should have on the crown.
"There definitely is a stylization to the turbulators. We tried different combinations and designs on top of the driver, and six seemed to work the best. The nice thing is during wind-tunnel testing you can try things out and see how the driver reacts."
While the addition of a couple miles per hour in clubhead speed may not seem like much, consider this: during the initial G30 testing phase with Bubba Watson back in April, the two-time Masters champion saw an increase of two miles per hour in clubhead speed and four miles per hour in ball speed.
Those increases alone saw Watson add an additional 10 yards off the tee with the 460cc G30, when compared to G25 — a driver that has him leading the TOUR in driving distance this season at 313.1 yards.
Watson plans to put a custom G30 with a hot pink crown in play at The Greenbrier Classic. Angel Cabrera and Charles Howell III are a few of the other marquee names that have also decided to use the new driver.
While the addition of six turbulators, which Wood also noted help with aim and alignment, PING added an additional 1/2-gram to the crown, and engineers were able to save 4 grams of weight with the introduction of a thinner T9S titanium face that allowed them to position the center of gravity (CG) low and back in the head.
Along with a thinner face and the addition of turbulators to the crown, PING also increased the range of adjustability on the Trajectory Tuning+ Technology hosel, going from three loft positions — G25 allowed golfers increase or decrease loft by a 1/2-degree — to five positions in the driver and fairway woods while maintaining the same mass and diameter.
The lighweight hosel on G30 can be increased or decreased in loft 6/10 of a degree or 1-degree to optimize launch conditions.
Similar to the G25, a custom tuning port was also added to the rear portion of the sole that allows golfers to achieve a desired swing weight with after-market shafts.
The G30 driver will come in two versions. The standard G30 head and a G30 SF Tec (Straight Flight Technology) head. G30 SF Tec features weight closer to heel and lighter swingweights which, according to PING, help improve shot bend by 12 yards when compared to the G30.
PING's G30 standard head will be available in two lofts (9 and 10.5 degrees) and comes with the company's high-balance-point TFC 419D shaft (Soft R, R, S and X flex) that promotes "an increase in energy, momentum and inertia." The G30 SF Tec head comes in two lofts (10 and 12 degrees) with the same TFC 419D high-balance point shaft. Both drivers retail for $385.
The G30 series will also come in a fairway wood ($275) that has a uniform-thickness, high-strength Carpenter 475 steel face that's 44 percent stronger than 17-4 stainless steel and creates a thin but durable hitting area for maximum deflection.
Engineers were able to save weight by thinning out the face of the fairway wood, before redistributing it to optimize the CG and improve MOI for added forgiveness and an improved launch angle.
The fairway wood also has four turbulators on the crown that create a captured appearance with the ball, and help with aim and alignment.
PING's Trajectory Tuning+ Technology hosel allows the loft to be increased or decreased in loft 6/10 of a degree or 1-degree to optimize launch conditions, while a custom tuning port in the sole dials in the swing weight.
The G30 fairway wood comes in three lofts (14.5, 18 and 21 degrees) with PING's TFC 419F shaft.
Unlike the G30 driver and fairway woods, the G30 hybrid doesn't feature turbulators on the crown. Instead, the top rail on the crown was made flatter and the heel section higher to give the club a square face at address that helps with aim and alignment.
The hybrid comes with a thin 17-4 stainless steel face that's processed with a H900 heat treatment to maximize face deflection. Heel-toe weighting within the head elevates MOI for extra forgiveness, while additional weight in the lower portion of the sole creates a low-back CG that improves launch.
Progressive CG locations and offsets within the G30 hybrid line also provide efficient gappings and trajectories. The hybrid comes standard with PING's TFC 419H shaft in five lofts (17, 19, 22, 26 and 30 degrees) and retails for $242.50.
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