PING G430 – Key Takeaways
- Built for ball speed, distance and gapping
- ARCCOS data factors into design
- $170/stick in steel; $185 graphite
- Pre-sale/fittings start today. At retail Jan. 26
The new PING G430 irons are an anomaly. PING is adding in some badly needed distance while still focusing on playability and forgiveness. And there’s also a new emphasis on gapping.
Playability, forgiveness and proper gapping make for better golf. But distance is the thing that gets us all giddy in the hitting bay. And don’t think for a minute that PING doesn’t get that.
Want proof? The lofts on the new PING G430 are stronger across the board by as much as 2.5 degrees. But before you break out the riot gear and head to the streets, take a breath or two. There’s distance and then there’s playable distance. And there’s more to playable distance than simple loft-jacking.
And given its history, PING knows this better than anyone.
PING G430: A History Lesson
Page One, Chapter One of the official “Loft-Jacking Outrage Handbook” directs you to accuse OEMs of simply putting a “7” on a 6-iron, or even a 5-iron, and calling it “technology.” Page Two says when OEMs talk about simultaneously lowering the center of gravity or thinning the face, you shout “bollocks!” It then sends you back to Page One.
When Page One and Page Two don’t work, Page Three says to blame it all on the ego of golfers who aren’t as good as you.
In the home run derby that is today’s hitting bay experience, distance wins. And it’s a game PING has been losing. One fitter told us the PING G425, while a dandy performer, was a good 15 yards shorter than Stealth or Rogue ST Max.
That’s hard to ignore—especially if launch angle, descent angle and other playability factors are close.
So, yeah, the PING G430 irons are looking for distance. PING knows the G430 still won’t be the longest game-improvement iron. But it is hoping to at least close the gap enough to be in the conversation.
And it’s a conversation PING started roughly 50 years ago. Karsten Solheim broke new ground by noticing that perimeter weighting and a lower CG improved forgiveness and made the ball launch higher. And, once that happened, you could strengthen the lofts and make the ball go farther.
Hmm … Easier to hit, higher-flying and longer?
A half-century ago, this made us happy. Today, it puts the Loft Police on high alert and reaching for that handbook.
PING talks about clubs differently than other OEMs. Its engineers use terms like “impact experience, Hosel-X and playable distance.”
So just what do they mean by “playable distance?”
“The entire set needs to allow players to go out there and actually hit consistent gaps,” says PING Engineering Director Ryan Stokke. “They need to be able to play to their numbers and hit a max height and landing window.”
The PING G425 was finished second overall in 2021’s Most Wanted Game-Improvement Iron testing but was in the bottom half of the pack in distance. PING didn’t take part in 2022 but the top two irons for distance—the Rogue ST Max and the COBRA KING LTDX—finished near the bottom in overall performance.
Clearly, PING is trying to thread a very elusive needle here.
“We want to deliver distance in an even more playable way,” says Stokke, “and not just make that player see it and buy it but so they’re going to go out and play their best with that iron.”
To do that, PING is playing the distance trifecta: a combination of an ever-lowering CG, additional face flex and stronger lofts. But with an eye towards the decidedly non-sexy attribute known as “gapping.”
And all of it is derived from Arccos data.
There’s a reason PING (and others) are giving you free Arccos sensors and a 45-day free Caddie trial. Sure, it’s good for the stat-minded golfer. But it also is a motherlode of shot information for PING to mine as it develops the next generation of clubs.
Surprisingly, PING learned that no matter how far a golfer hits his or her driver, the numbers show the average approach shot starts around 150 yards from the hole.
“Every single group (of golfers) is sitting in this same space,” says Stokke. “In distance from the hole, a majority of their shots are in the 100- to 200-yard range. How do we take this distance iron and make it have the functional gapping to fit within that space?”
So in a world where 7-iron distance in the hitting bay is the Holy Grail, PING wants to at least be competitive there, but with the added benefit of proper gapping.
“Gapping is the least exciting thing. You can’t see it at a fitting,” says Stokke. “But if you’re playing golf, it’s going to affect your scores and your satisfaction. It’s hard to sell but it’s one of the most important elements of putting together a set of clubs.”
If you’ve been fitted for irons, did gapping even come up?
For its part, PING is using that data not only to juice up distance but to make sure the juiced-up lofts deliver on those 100- to 200-yard shots without too much of a spread on the short irons and too bunched of a spread with the long irons.
Faces and CGs
According to PING, the new G430 irons rely on a combination of “specology” and technology to close the distance gap while keeping good gapping.
Tech-wise, the new PING G430 irons feature a three-percent thinner VFT (Variable Face Thickness) face. First introduced in the G425, the new, thinner face enhances PING’s trademark Hyper 17-4 stainless steel.
“It’s still 17-4 stainless steel but we’ve elevated our heat treatment,” says Stokke. “By pushing the yield strength even higher, we can thin out that region and get more face deflection.”
Additionally, PING continues to lower the CG which, along with stronger lofts, is the biggest factor in gaining ball speed and distance. But there is a balancing act between CG and MOI.
“For every 50/1000th of an inch we move CG down, it’s roughly 0.6-mph ball speed improvement,” says Stokke. “And as we move 50/1000th of an inch, we see a four- to five-percent decrease in MOI.”
Stokke says PING’s research shows that 75 percent of iron shots occur in the center or lower portion of the face, so the CG-MOI tradeoff is worth it. For the record, PING achieved a lower CG by shortening the hosel. The G430’s MOI is actually lower than that of both the G425 and G410 but is higher than the G400.
About Those Lofts
As mentioned, the G430 lofts are stronger across the board versus G425., particularly in the short irons. The 37-degree 9-iron is 2.5 degrees stronger while the 41-degree PW is 3.5 degrees stronger. That prompted PING to add a fourth set-matching wedge to the G430 line, a 45-degree wedge to go along with the matching 50-, 54- and 58-degree wedges.
The hitting bay combatant, the 7-iron, is only one degree stronger at 29 degrees, the same as the Callaway Paradym but still 1.5 degrees weaker than Paradym X. PING’s Power Spec should even that up.
PING says the combination of the thinner VFT face, the lower CG and the stronger lofts are adding roughly three mph ball speed and 7.5 yards to the 7-iron. To its credit, PING says maybe one yard is coming from the new face, three yards from the lower CG and 3.5 yards from stronger lofts.
“It’s not about maximizing distance. It’s about conditions and speed,” insists Stoke. “What’s a good spin for a 7-iron? It depends on club head speed, the type of iron and landing angle.”
Stokke does say the G430 achieves a three-foot higher maximum height despite the stronger lofts. That will obviously lead to a steeper descent angle which helps stop the ball on the green with whatever spin happens to be present.
PING G430 Irons: Gaps and Fitting
Again, gapping isn’t a sexy story but PING’s going to tell it anyway. Arccos has provided PING with a ton of raw data and, while every G430 iron in the set is longer than the G425 by anywhere from six to 12 yards, the gapping is remarkably consistent. The gap between the 4- and 5-iron is only about seven yards while the gap between every other club in the set is 10 to 13 yards.
Based on those gaps and its Arccos data, PING is providing recommended set makeups based on 7-iron performance. For example, say you’re a mid-trajectory golfer with a 7-iron swing speed between 70 and 80 mph, your carry distance is 110 to 165 yards with spin between 5,250 and 6,000 rpm and a 35- to 41-degree descent angle. If you want higher flight to maximize carry, PING will recommend a 3-wood, 7-wood, 6-hybrid, a 6-PW set of G430s and the matching 45-degree wedge. If you’d prefer a lower flight for more roll, you’d ditch the 7-wood and 6-hybrid for a 3-hybrid and 5-PW set.
The recommendations are a nice guideline for fitters. PING is hoping it can help explain the importance of overall set makeup to game-improvement golfers who might otherwise be seduced by the longest stick in the barrel.
A Quick Word About Badges
As mentioned, PING talks about golf clubs differently. In their presentation to the MyGolfSpy team, Stokke and his colleagues spent a great deal of time discussing the new PURFLEX badge on the back of the cavity. It is, as you can see from the pictures, rather pronounced. Multi-material badges are critical to cavity-back and hollow-bodied distance irons, purely from the sound and feel standpoints.
If you didn’t have a badge, you’d actually have higher ball speeds and more distance. The problem is that they’d sound and feel like crapola. Badges aren’t just for decoration. They absorb sound and vibration, but they do so by restricting face deflection which restricts ball speed by as much as 3/10th mph compared to no badge.
In other words, the badge giveth and the badge taketh away.
PURFLEX is a 15-piece badge with seven distinct flex zones which allows the face to bend more than PING’s previous badges. Stokke says the new badge has narrowed the negative impact to the point where it’s almost negligible.
PING G430 Irons: Specs, Price and Availability
With apologies to Isaac Hayes, PING always dances to its own shaft tune (Can you dig it?). The standard G430 offering will feature PING’s proprietary AWT 2.0 in steel and the Alta CB Black in graphite. Aftermarket offerings include Dynamic Gold, Dynamic Gold 120, Dynamic Gold 105, True Temper Elevate MPH 95, Nippon Modus3 105, KBS Tour and the Project X LS and IO.
They’ll be available in the standard loft set as well as in PING’s stronger Power Spec and weaker Retro Spec lofts. They’ll also be available in PING’s lightweight HL offering.
The G430 will be available in all 10 PING color codes.
Pricewise, the new PING G430 irons are part of the new reality. The G425 sold for $137.50 per club in steel and $150 in graphite at launch two years ago. In 2023, the G30s will sell for $170 in steel and $185 in graphite.
Pre-sell and in-store fittings for the PING G430 irons start today. Consumer availability starts Jan. 26.
For more information, visit the PING website.
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