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This is a full review of the PING G430 SFT driver.
The G430 SFT (stands for ‘Straight Flight Technology’) is designed to straighten out slices and fades with a draw bias generated by a moveable tungsten weight in the heel.
While this is the primary focus of the driver, it’s also designed to deliver fast ball speeds, forgiveness, and improved sound over the previous generation.
How does the G430 SFT actually perform when put to the test? How does it compare to the G425 SFT and the other models in the G430 lineup? Who is it best suited for? Is it worth putting in the bag?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The G430 SFT is currently the least-reviewed model in the G430 lineup, but the reviews it does have are highly positive. The driver is praised for its slice-busting prowess.
What People Like
- square setup at address despite draw bias
- good distance
- fantastic forgiveness
- improved sound at impact
- sole weight is adjustable unlike the G425 SFT
What People Don’t Like
- not much appeal here if you don’t struggle with a slice
- busy crown can be distracting
The G430 SFT driver mostly has the same core technologies as the G430 MAX, namely:
- T9S+ Forged Face: a shallower and thinner variable-thickness face (VFT) generates more face flexion at impact and thus increases ball speeds
- Spinsistency: modifies the roll profile and optimizes face curvature, particularly low on the face, to reduce spin for longer drives
- Internal Ribbing: a new and improved internal rib structure combined with the increased curvature and stiffness of the sole, skirt and crown results in significantly improved sound at impact
- Crown Turbulators: a series of angled aerodynamic ridges on the crown that reduce drag for increased swing speed
The key differentiator is Straight Flight Technology. This consists of a moveable 22g tungsten backweight that adds draw bias, with 13 yards of shot correction in the Draw setting and 20 yards in the Draw+ setting.
The G430 SFT driver is available in a 10.5° standard loft at 460cc.
An included Trajectory Tuning 2.0 adjustable hosel, lightweight and aerodynamic, offers eight loft and lie combinations to fine-tune your trajectory.
Also available is the G430 SFT High Launch (HL) driver. This custom option combines a lighter backweight (11g) with a lighter stock shaft and grip; it’s designed so that golfers with slower swing speeds can boost their clubhead speed and distance.
There is an array of stock shaft options offered at no upcharge including (not limited to) the PING Tour 2.0 Chrome 65, PING Alta CB Black 55, Mitsubishi Kai’Li White 60, and Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60.
The stock grips are the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360, Tour Velvet Cord, and Lamkin UTx Lite (HL), all of which are compatible with Arccos sensors.
Below are the specs of the PING G430 SFT driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
The distance of the G430 SFT driver is decent, but my tests showed clearly that it’s the shortest driver in the G430 family.
This is not due to a lower ball speed or clubhead speed. Rather, it’s because of the significantly higher spin — I was getting upwards of 500 more RPMs compared to the G430 MAX. The high spin can help some slow swingers pick up distance, but the majority of golfers should not expect this.
It’s typically the case that length is a casualty of built-in draw bias, but fortunately, the G430 SFT does well in this regard and the drop-off in distance is not as large as I’ve seen with other drivers.
The G430 SFT certainly has excellent forgiveness as far as draw-biased drivers go. While draw-biased drivers tend to be a little less forgiving than their neutral counterparts, the dispersions are pretty tight and ball speed preservation across the face is great.
The G430 driver family as a whole is known for its incredible forgiveness, and the SFT model is no exception.
Does the G430 SFT have a slight edge in forgiveness over the G425 SFT? Yes indeed. There is generally more than enough forgiveness there to satisfy most high handicappers.
I was getting significantly higher trajectories with the G430 SFT driver than with the G430 MAX. This is not just because of the higher spin, but also because I tested the MAX in the 9° and the SFT is only available in 10.5°.
On average, I was seeing about 22 yards of shot-shape correction to the right (I’m left-handed) when the sole weight was in the Draw+ position, which is even more than what PING advertises.
It’s a cinch to to get the ball up in the air, but you should expect to see a higher descent angle and less rollout compared to the other G430 models. On the other hand, you might just be amazed at how the SFT turns you from a chronic misser of the fairway to hitting it down the middle with regularity.
As expected, workability is poor since any ball contact will strongly tend towards a draw shape.
The G430 SFT driver looks nearly the same as the G430 MAX, with:
- a splash of yellow accents
- an elongated shape from front to back
- a redesigned sole
- crown turbulators on the crown behind the face
- new ribbing and a new crown pattern
The main difference is a slightly altered back portion, where the weight track only accommodates the middle and heel positions.
There are no complaints here from me. The driver inspires plenty of confidence at address for struggling slicers.
One thing to note is that the G430 SFT doesn’t appear to sit closed at address like many other draw-biased drivers do; the face rests more or less square behind the ball. I prefer this because otherwise I find myself making compensations during the swing that can lead to poor results.
The Sound & Feel
There is little to no difference in sound & feel between the G430 SFT and G430 MAX. The only thing I would say is that the SFT sounds a tad lower-pitched, but that may have just been my perception.
PING drivers have historically had a loud, high-pitched sound that many golfers find unpleasant. With the G430 driver family, PING has implemented what they call the “sound solution”, resulting in a dampened, lower-pitched, and slightly softer tone.
Feel is solid and extremely stable, yet there’s an element of explosiveness that allows you to really feel the face flexing at impact.
Feedback is not very distinct; impact feel seems to differ the most in the toe region. I reckon that most people interested in a draw-bias driver will have no problem with this.
Where To Buy This Driver Online
Online availability of PING golf clubs is more limited than other manufacturers.
One of the best places to pick up the G430 SFT driver (new or used) is eBay. You can typically find deals here that you can’t find anywhere else.
You can get the HL (High Launch) version of the G430 SFT here.
If you’re looking for a modern draw-biased driver, the G430 SFT should be one of your top considerations.
You get the improved distance and sound common to the G430 driver family, and more than that, the right-to-left correction is some of the strongest I’ve seen in a draw driver. In fact, the improvements are substantial enough that I think upgrading from the G425 SFT is a viable option.
At the end of the day, the G430 SFT is well-suited to mid or high-handicap golfers who suffer from a persistent slice off the tee.
Are you interested in the G430 SFT driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.