The PING G15 Driver: Maximum Forgiveness, Maximum Performance? You may have seen me say this in some of our other golf club reviews, but it bears repeating: for a lot of good reasons, most people consider PING, TaylorMade and Callaway to be the "Big Three" in the golf club industry. Sometimes, though, TaylorMade brings out so many new clubs it makes it hard to keep them all straight. And Callaway does lot of advertising.
PING prefers to rely on the excellence of its clubs. The company doesn't advertise heavily, and it doesn't introduce droves of new clubs. Typically, the new clubs PING introduces are significantly better than their predecessors, providing far more than incremental improvements.
When the PING G15 driver first came out, I started hearing that the company had created something special. Although I've recently fallen in love with one of the company's newly-released Scottsdale putters, I've never really been much of a "PING person." I couldn't help myself, though - there was enough talk about this driver that I had to try one for myself. I wanted to see if it was as long, as forgiving, as accurate - as all-around wonderful - as the buzz was claiming.
I'll start my review by saying that I was very impressed with the PING G10 driver when I evaluated it. In many ways, the PING G15 is its successor. Like the G10, the PING G15 is a 460-cc titanium driver targeted at golfers who want maximum forgiveness. While the G10 is, in my opinion, a great club, the improvements PING unveiled in the PING G15 driver make the G10 almost pale in comparison. This thing just might be the most forgiving driver PING has ever developed.
The face of the driver is slightly larger than the face of the G10, the head has been lengthened from front to back, and the weight saved by using an ultra-thin crown has been repositioned in an external sole weight. These changes give the club a higher Moment of Inertia (MOI), greater consistency across the hitting surface, and a center of gravity that is optimized to reduce spin and produce higher trajectories. Taken together, they promote greater ball speed and forgiveness, increasing the potential for longer, more accurate drives.
The PING G15 driver is also attractive, at least to my eye. I've never been impressed with the looks of PING's clubs, but this one is different. Its black crown has a subtle alignment aid, its sole is silver, black and red, and its two shaft choices are in coordinating shades of red and gray. Lengthening the head from front to back (to increase the club's MOI) has caused it to be a bit more triangular-shaped than the rounder G10. White grooves score the club face except in a V-shaped area which indicates the club's sweet spot. The overall result is a clean, confidence-inspiring look.
Available in 9, 10.5, 12.0 and 13.5 degree lofts, I tested the 10.5-degree version of the club with the 47.5" PING TFC 149D graphite shaft (the other stock shaft option is the 47.5" Aldila Serrano 60 graphite shaft). When I hit it solidly, it sounded like a whip cracking. Although confidence-inspiring, the sound can be deceptive because it made me think I'd hit the ball farther than I actually did.
How well you hit this driver will be strongly affected by whether you've been fitted. My own driver is a 10.5-degree loft, and I always try to stick with that loft when I'm evaluating clubs for these reviews. I learned that a 10.5-degree PING G15 driver will launch the ball much higher than I'm used to. If I had been fitted, I might have learned that the 9-degree loft would have been more appropriate for me.
This neutral-faced driver gave me a predictable, pleasant little draw. I did, however, find it difficult to intentionally hit a fade. The distance I lost on off-center hits was minimal, usually less than 10 yards. A draw-biased version of the PING G15 driver was discontinued with the launch of the PING K15 driver, which meets the same need.
The Bottom Line: I liked the way the PING G15 driver performed and would be happy to add it to my bag. It's long, straight and very forgiving. The ball flight might be too high for some players, and its tendency to produce a slight draw might bother players who worry about hooking. But, if its characteristics suit your swing, the PING G15 driver could be perfect.