Will Tom Irwin be returning to his previous go-to second-shot club? You'll find out right here in the Ping G430 Max fairway wood review.
Over the years Ping have been my go-to brand for woods so I was very excited to be testing the new G430 Max fairway woods
Ping G430 Max fairway wood review: NCG Summary
I have played a lot of Ping fairway woods over the years and in many ways I think they are their strongest category.
I tend to be someone who views a 3-wood as primarily a second shot club for attacking par 5 holes, so often I am looking for something low profile, high launching, and versatile.
I tested both the Max and SFT for me the Max is my preference, it feels more versatile and I can flight it down more easily. Given the choice I think I would game the Ping G430 Max 3 wood.
- Really versatile
- Super forgiving
- Massively improved acoustics
- Consistent spin rates
- Not the longest fairway on test
So I am out there as a Ping fan. I just think when the chips are down, for your weekly game, straight out of the car, it is a Ping that I would pick up first. The looks nearly always appeal to me, simple, and confidence-inspiring and this is certainly the case with the Ping G430 max.
I have always liked the crown on Ping clubs, and this is no different. It does differ from the LST driver I tested. For starters, there are no turbulators, instead there is a matt black portion that softens into the carbon crown. This is the carbonfly wrap Ping are using in all their fairways. It wraps around the top of the club and into the heel and toe taking weight out of the crown that allows them to lower CG and provide higher launch conditions. It also looks cool.
The first thing I am looking for in a 3-wood is depth of face, and this sits really tight behind the ball. I instantly feel like this is something I am going to be able to launch easily due to the relatively low profile face. This suits me as someone who is primarily looking for a second shot club.
The only other things on the head is a small white alignment dot and some subtle, coloured lines at the rear both of these together help give an indication of face direction and really help with alignment.
As with the driver the acoustics are hugely improved here. Ping say it is down to that carbon crown. Regardless of the reason they sound so sweet. This is a massive tick in the box for me as in recent years this has been a negative for Ping versus some of the other manufacturers who have nailed their acoustics. This is well and truly put to bed throughout the G430 range of metals.
The head in the Ping G430 max fairway wood is adjustable by a significant 1.5 degrees. The 3-wood on test is 16 degrees and I can crank that to 14.5. I think this is really advantageous in a 3-wood where, depending on course or conditions, I can see myself using this functionality. There is nothing worse than never taking your fairway out of your bag on a windy links for fear of losing it in a cross wind. This would allow you to knock the loft down on such a day and bring the club back into play.
As with the driver the fairways feature Ping’s ‘Spinsistency’ technology. This reduces loft low on the face. I like this, as my bad shot tends to be thin and it helps me maintain ball speeds from less than perfect strikes. I think the data demonstrates this tech and is possibly another reason I have always been drawn to Ping fairway woods.
It is worth saying here that I injured myself running on the morning of this test, and my speeds with everything were down. The previous day I was consistently above 100mph with the SFT fairway but today with a torn soleus I am in the high nineties. That 2 or 3 mph club head is probably worth anything up to 7 or 8 yards. Regardless I am very pleased with this data.
The performance with these Ping fairways is so consistent. The max has no real bias, so I have small misses on either side, but the dispersion is super tight, both left to right and and front to back. As I have written before I am someone who is looking for a 3 wood as 2nd shot club and to be frank this dispersion is better than with my 7 iron. Incredible really.
I took all of the fairways on test out on to the course at Royal Obidos. I have to say it is the Pings that I instinctively reach for first. All of the brands offering this year have become more forgiving it is a huge focus as we reach the limit of face tolerances, but still nothing is quite as comfortable as a Ping metal.
The max fairways prove themselves to be super versatile out on the course, I hit multiple tee shots and am able to flight it both ways. This gives it the edge over some of the lower spinning or draw biased products which tend to favour a right and left shape respectively. I actually like if off the tee, the flight is more penetrating than I am expecting and it is giving up nothing to other fairway metals.
It is off the deck though that the Ping G430 max fairway really comes into its own, as is the case with other Ping 3 woods in the lineage, it picks the ball off the turf with ease. One particular shot stands out, an approach into a par 4 green with a false front. It is the Ping fairways that make the carry, others are producing lower flights and not quite climbing on to the front edge. This is why I would game the Ping G430 max fairway.
Ping G430 max fairway wood: The Details
Available: January 26, 2023
Right-handed lofts: 3 (15), 5 (19) 7 (22)
Shafts: ALTA CB Black 55 / 65 / 70 or ALTA QUICK 35 /75 or Ping Tour 2.0 Chrome 65 / 75 / 85 or Ping Tour 2.0 Black 65 / 75 or Project x HZDRUS Smoke Red RDX 50 / 60 / 70 or Mitsubusi KAI’Li White 60 / 70
More information: Ping website
To test this product we travelled to West Cliffs, a leading European golf course just north of Lisbon. The idea was to get some warmer weather and escape our frozen British courses. It, of course, rained. A lot. It was also very windy. But each of our test team were allocated a category of golf clubs, whether it be fairways, or a specific type of driver or irons.
We gathered data on a Trackman 4 or a FlightScope and we used Titleist Pro V1 balls for all tests. The samples we have are either fully fitted for our testers or ordered in our assumed specs. We are then able to optimise performance by swapping shafts and playing with the adjustability.
We also tested all of the product out on the course in a comparative environment with other products from the same category. We recognise that no testing process is perfect and just aim to be fair in our treatment, transparent in our process, and candid in our feedback.
You’ve probably spent a small fortune to get the set up that’s right for your game, so don’t forget to get specialist insurance from Golf Care to protect your clubs from theft, loss, and accidental damage. Plus, they even cover GPS watches, trolleys, and other golf equipment.
With 30% off annual insurance starting from just £26.59, and a free golf gift bundle worth up to £365 including 12 free Srixon balls, it’s a no brainer. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.