Pros: It has everything by the truckload, minus workability.
Cons: Only 4 loft options, and plays by itself.
The fight for the top spot in the drivers scene is a close and crowded one. Me and Ping have always had a special bond one way or another, but so far the best Pings in my book were still the trustworthy I3+ Oversize irons, always a tough crowd pleaser.
When it was time to try out Ping drivers, I can only look back at the TiSi Tec and IsI versions as something really good, but never good enough. Perhaps the grip/shafts combos were never really fitted for my taste, but the heads always left a pleasing, sweet sensation in the hands and arms.
Now comes the G2 fever: G2 Irons, G2 Hybrids, G2 Putters, G2 HL irons, G2 drivers (I'm still sure that a G2 ball and a G2 Wedge will soon jump out of nowhere to extend the haunting), and lets face it, they have had a very successful history so far, notables and leaders in almost all categories (and this is without all the unnecessary and uncalled-for bias and rear-end-kissing that Ping got from Golf Digest magazine on the Feb-2005 issue), and all this tells a lot about Pings commitment to great feeling, high performance clubs. These guys know a bit or two about golf after all.
The G2 Driver in this review is the 460cc version, because there is ANOTHER G2 driver called the EZ, which is only 400cc big but 15.5? of loft, aimed at slowed-tempo players who need all the help they need launching the ball (seniors more likely).
The 460 cc G2 comes in 4 loft options only: 7.5?, 8?, 10? and 11.5?. The stock shaft is among the best "stocks" I've ever seen but its still too "generic" for the vast majority of mid and low handicappers. But wait a second: Aldila, Grafalloy and Fujikura are custom options that can fit the needs of almost any player, of course this at an additional cost. The review here covers a 45in. long 460 G2 armed with a R flex Grafalloy ProLaunch 65, at 10? loft.
Super easy swinger, this stick almost drives itself up and down. The help from the superb ProLaunch shaft is immediately noticeable, as the clubhead behaves like a dream: no wobbling, no whippy action, always on-plane, and the urge to blast the ball out of the tee. The "ghost" ball at the top serves as a unique alignment aid, I wish more drivers had this feature. Although the cosmetics are a bit too cheesy for my taste, some players find them absolutely gorgeous.
If you expect the G2 to play like a TiSi Tec on steroids, you are on for a big dissapointment: the G2 is a completely new shape and concept. It looks a lot like a Cleveland Launcher from certain angles, but in general this clubhead has nothing to do with the old TiSi. Such a massive face invites you to some serious ball-spanking, and it actually spanks the ball pretty hard for such a civilized design.
I admire the consistency of play that this driver offers for all players.You can hit it hard, not-so-hard or REALLY hard and the ball will always give you a long, high drive inside the fairways. Slices occur when you really hit the ball in a terrible way, but this drivers forgiveness factor is as high as they come. This translates into a stick that you learn to trust early into the round, so expect to fall in love with it really soon. The sound is a bit hollow but every bit as "Ping-esque" as ever. The Callaway HX Tour I use almost sounds as if the face was cracking, but this will give you an ideal feel for the resulting shot. I give this driver really high marks in feel, distance and launch angle. Workability is close to nothing, but you will rarely miss this attribute when all you are getting is fairway after fairway, and without too much effort, I might add.
This club really turns up the heat in the race for top driver of the year. While I would love a bit more total distance, and some way to fade the ball easier, the way this Ping drives the ball is absolute heaven for those lacking distance and precision. This one will almost allow you to walk away with murder, as mis-hits lose little distance and it is quite difficult to slice or hook the ball out of bounds. When you also consider the $299 price tag for a stock G2, I say it is right in the spot where you have to be really good to survive. I say the G2 is much better than other "new wonders" like the R5, the McGregor V-Foil, the Adams Redlines, the Cobra SZ, and very close to the Nike Ignite.
I think this Driver has a lot of love potential towards seniors and high-handicappers,as it is almost ridiculously easy to hit it right (as in GOOD), and at the same time it has no way to offer a decent level of workability, so good players will not like this at all. The loft plays about 1? softer than indicated, so if you need more plying power on your drives, and clear those high trees on the right on that dog-leg, the G2 is a big bundle of joy.
By all means test drive this one.