It looks like the PING G20 driver, introduced in August 2011, is yet
another winner. PING is one of the top golf club manufacturers, and year
after year the company seems to come up with a highly rated driver.
As a general rule PINGs aren't the prettiest-looking clubs, but looks aren't everything. Although it helps to have a driver that has an appearance that inspires confidence while you're standing over the ball, high-level performance is even more important. And the PING G20 driver delivers that kind of performance. In fact, it's built to deliver a nice blend of forgiveness and power. Along the way, it also manages to have some reasonably-decent looks.
It's just that PING is about more than looking good. This is a club maker that believes beauty is more than skin deep. Function has always been more important to PING than flashy good looks (some of PING's early putters and iron sets are classic examples of this design philosophy - they were ugly but extremely good clubs). And, instead of making what amounts to essentially cosmetic changes, when PING releases a new driver it always ensures that it provides some substantial performance improvements. It does this by ensuring that the center of gravity is optimally-positioned, the design is aerodynamic, and the club head is stable and forgiving on off-center hits.
The PING G20 driver doesn't seem to be a revolutionary new club, but it does improve on its predecessor, the PING G15 driver, in several ways. For example, it has a higher Moment of Inertia and its larger face is more forgiving. The large hitting surface also promotes more power. External, non-adjustable weighting that moves the center of gravity down and back helps promote a higher launch and lower spin rates. The club head is heavier than that of the G15, and it delivers more force at impact. And, the lightweight, 45.75-inch stock shaft has a high balance point and flexible tip to promote faster club head speeds. It all translates into more distance off the tee. On an overall basis, the design of the driver can help average golfers play better.
The driver comes in 8.5-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12-degree lofts. I tried a 10.5-degree driver with a regular flex shaft. Its distance didn't knock my socks off like the Callaway Diablo Octane driver did, but it was longer than my own driver. The distance increase wasn't obvious like it was with the Diablo Octane, but on the average I did gain a few yards per drive.
Accuracy was good, and most of my drives were in the middle. I'll give it an above-average rating for accuracy, forgiveness and workability. I can't say I was all that fond of its sound and feel on impact, but it gave me consistent results. It's hard for me to describe the sound at impact; it wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't satisfying either. The feel was solid without being harsh, but I've hit drivers with a feel I like better than the PING G20 driver. I do have to admit that my off-center hits still felt pretty solid.
It was the same sort of story with the looks of the PING G20 driver. I didn't hate how it looked, but I didn't love it either. Earlier I mentioned the club's "reasonably-decent" looks, and that kind of sums up how I feel about it. The face sets up well to the ball. The sole of the PING G20 driver has a somewhat unusual shape, but the crown looks quite traditional. You can't see the unusual sole at address so it didn't influence my opinion on the club's looks one way or the other. The head is the maximum-allowable size (460cc) and looks every bit of it. Overall, the driver is a bit bulky-looking for my tastes, but it's nothing I can't live with.
The Bottom Line: Although I can't say the PING G20 driver is one of my all-time favorites, it gave me consistent, solid performance. In fact, it was solid enough that I suggest you consider giving it a test drive. It wasn't pretty but it wasn't ugly, either. It didn't blow me away, but it delivers such consistent results that it might end up occupying a spot in your bag. The PING G20 driver doesn't have any moveable weights, but it gets the job done anyway. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be helped by a driver that's this consistent.