Do you need a new driver if you’ve added speed? This pro’s setup offers clues

Ping G430 driver 2023

Since gaining speed, Stephan Jaeger has made some adjustments to his driver.

Ryan Barath

Speed training is all the rage on the PGA Tour, and for good reason. With a better understanding of where strokes are gained and lost throughout a round, the old adage of “drive for show and putt for dough” has been replaced with “smash it and cash it!” (Sorry, still workshopping that one.)

With more professionals and amateurs leaning into speed training than ever before, one of the biggest questions I regularly hear is if players are also making big changes to their clubs — specifically to their drivers because of the added speed.

Wth Stephan Jaeger’s win at the Texas Children’s Houston Open and his much-discussed boost in clubhead speed and strokes gained off the tee in 2024 — 118.7mph and +0.46 (28th on Tour) vs. 114.4mph and -0.506 (186th) in 2021/2022 — we reached out to Ping to find out how, if at all, his driver has changed.

TheStack Swing Speed Trainer (Hardware + App Bundle)

$314 (was $349)
  TheStack Hardware 5 milled Stack weights enable 30 weight combinations between 0g and 300g Dual-purpose weight case / phone stand Highly engineered training club – Adult (41.5″) or Junior (38.5″) version (see Fitting Juniors) Speed radar not included. View all compatible devices here.  We recommend the PRGR TheStack App Training 2-year License included, accessible on iOS only. Dynamic speed training formulated by Dr. Sasho MacKenzie Guided workout timer for reps, sets, and rest intervals Custom speed metrics to track your gains Hands-free data entry using voice entry technology Includes access to Stack Putting (Beta) – Learn more Includes Single User License – Enables training and tracking for up to five local (i.e. family) users under one login. Multi-user Coaches License license sold separately. Access TheStack App from the App Store when your order arrives. Requires iOS 15.0 or later.
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In the case of Jaeger, the one thing that has remained a constant is his shaft, a ProjectX RDX Black 60g 6.5 that has been tipped 1″ to add some extra stiffness to the tip. The same goes for his iron shafts; no changes from his long time used X100 steel shafts.

Now, here’s where things have changed.

According to Ping tour reps, Jaeger has gone from using a driver at 10 degrees in 2022 to 8.25 degrees in 2024.

Ping G430 LST Custom Driver

The PING G430 LST Driver features an exclusive Low Spin Technology (LST) Carbonfly Wrap, a lightweight composite that covers the crown and wraps into the heel/toe sections of the skirt to save weight and lower the CG for more ball speed, less spin and higher MOI. The 8-layer, one-piece composite saves four grams and weighs 11.5g fully installed. A moveable 22-gram, high-density tungsten backweight influences shot shape ±7 yards between the Draw, Neutral and Fade settings. At 440cc, the smaller tour-style LST is available in 9° and 10.5° lofts (adjustable +/-1.5° and lie up to 3° flat from standard) and best fits faster swing speeds. THE DISTANCE DIFFERENCE. MORE BALL SPEED. A shallower, variable-thickness face is thinner to create more face deflection for generating faster ball speed for our biggest distance gains to date. THE SOUND SOLUTION A new integral rib structure and increased curvature of the crown, skirt and sole fine tunes clubhead frequencies to produce a desirable sound and impact experience. SPINSISTENCY A variable roll radius, with less loft low on the face, enhances spin consistency and carry distance. CARBONFLY WRAP Lightweight composite crown wraps into the heel and toe of the skirt to save weight and lower the CG for more ball speed with higher MOI. MOVEABLE BACK WEIGHT A 25-gram, high-density tungsten moveable backweight influences shot shape +/-10 yards between the Draw, Neutral and Fade settings.
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In a vacuum, with all other factors including clubhead speed and swing delivery numbers remaining constant, this type of loft change at nearly 2 degrees would launch his ball lower and with less spin. The reason for this, in the simplest terms, is that speed and loft generate spin, and if the speed goes up so does spin, which in the case of a driver can result in distance loss.

Ping driver optimization chart
Ping’s driver launch and spin optimization chart. Ping golf

So, to counter the potential added spin from Jaeger’s gained speed, and to keep his driver launch conditions in an optimal zone for maximized distance, the 2-degree change in driver lofts makes a lot of sense for him. And, for all you speed- and distance-hungry golfers out there, if you, too, have gained clubhead speed, it might be time to adjust your driver to a lower loft or find a fitter to help you get dialed into a new club all together.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a True Spec fitting location near you.

Ryan Barath Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.