Ping’s G430 Max 10K prototype driver could make Cam Champ even better
SAINT SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — When you’re one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, having a reliable (and consistent) driver is a necessity. The faster you swing, the smaller the margin for error. It’s a risk-reward game Cameron Champ is familiar with playing.
The three-time Tour winner has finished no worse than third in driving distance since he earned his Tour card in 2018. When you have an edge over the competition, you seek out ways to increase said edge whenever possible. Following a trip last week to Ping headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., Champ believes he has a new weapon that could give him that extra edge.
As Champ knows all too well, even the slightest miss can lead to a wayward drive with wild swings in spin rate. Having the ability to maintain spin at 128 mph is the dream. It was something he noticed right off the bat while undergoing testing with a Ping G430 Max 10K prototype driver that landed on the USGA conforming driver list on Monday.
Ping reps wouldn’t comment on the technology behind the driver, but it’s very likely Champ was the impetus behind the decision to get 10K approved by the USGA in advance of the RSM Classic.
“I’ve been pounding balls with it,” Champ told GOLF.com. “I was excited about it and wanted to keep hitting it to be sure. The feel is different than any driver I’ve hit. To me, it feels very soft coming off the face, you can really feel it. I’d go so far as to say it’s the softest driver I’ve ever hit. Different sound, too.”
It’s important to point out that Ping’s G430 lineup already has a max forgiveness model (G430 Max), which might make some question where the Max 10K fits in the bunch. According to Champ, the new driver is the perfect blend of two successful offerings: LST (carbon technology) and Max (forgiveness).
Ping G430 LST Custom Driver
“The look is a little bit different with the carbon [crown], so it’s not as shiny,” Champ said between shots on a cool Tuesday morning on the Sea Island Golf Club range. “Personally, I really like the carbon. The face is a little bit bigger than the LST head I was playing previously. But I’ve actually always favored the bigger style head.”
Champ also fell in love with another aspect of Max 10K that he hasn’t been able to replicate with another driver during his career.
“Even within the first few balls I noticed the spin numbers weren’t jumping,” he revealed. “With the misses, it was pretty interesting to see. For me, an ideal drive is around 2,500 to 2,800 [RPMs]. Even with a miss, the max for me was still around 2,800. It felt like the misses weren’t as bad and still felt like solid contact. And for them to be able to hold spin was huge. When you miss, you either get a bunch more spin or hit it off the toe and it has nothing. With all the balls I hit with it, it was impressive to see how the spin stayed pretty damn close to a good shot.”
At Champ’s speed, having the ability to maintain spin rates off the tee can lead to success on the course, which could make the biggest weapon in his bag even better. That could be good news for Champ, but not so much for his competition.
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