Driver "Ping-i-ness"
Thanks for all the good input on last Friday’s article, guys. Looks like I kind of struck a nerve with the offset "expose." Seeing you guys get into the dialog really is enjoyable for me, so I thought I'd choose the last comment from that conversation for today's post ... and today's wedge winner. "jem_porter" shifted the conversation away from iron offset to drivers with his question:
"When people talk about drivers, I sometimes hear them refer to how "pingy" the clubface is. I think this refers to how much of a trampoline effect a given material and design produce when the club face contacts a golf ball. Is this an important consideration when choosing a driver? Or any other golf club for that matter, or are most modern drivers designed at about the maximum allowable "ping-i-ness"? And is there a measure of this ping-i-ness that the average golfer can understand?
Well, "jem", the "trampoline effect" refers to a club's COR or Coefficient of Restitution, and is regulated by the USGA to not exceed .830. Since that’s the limit, that's where most modern drivers have nested, so to speak. Modern golf manufacturers have pushed all USGA imposed limits on technology to the max, which has really created a pretty level playing field in driver distance, ball performance and groove geometry.

My guess is that what you hear other golfers refer to as “ping-i-ness” is the specific sound of the driver at impact. Many of them today I describe as sounding like a rock off an empty beer can. I’m an “old guy” (turning 59 in March, thank you very much), and the sound of many of the larger drivers just is more than I can stand. I grew up with the solid “crack” of a balata ball off a persimmon driver, and believe the sound the ball makes off the club is part of the joy of golf, as well as a source of feedback to you regarding how well it was struck. So for my own use, I evaluate any driver . . . and fairway wood/hybrid for that matter . . . very much by the sound of impact.

I won’t pick on brands, but some of the drivers out there today really sound “ping-y”, tinny, “beer-canny” or whatever you want to call it. Some are so loud you can hear a tee shot from a hole away. Maybe they work fine, but that just doesn’t add to my aesthetic enjoyment of the game. Call me square if you want.

For my own bag, I’ve become a fan of the Alpha drivers – partly for their very solid sound – and have two primary ones that I rotate between. My 9* 400 cc head with a UST ProForce V2 at 261 cpm is my choice for firmer courses or when the wind is blowing. When the course is soft, or it’s not as windy, or if fairways are narrower, I opt for the 420cc 10.5* with a UST AxivCore Tour Green at 265 cpm. Both are built to 44.75” length, but I typically grip down ½ to ¾”, sometimes more.

Sorry I kind of got off track there, and away from the topic, but I hope that answered your question “jem”. Please email me via the link below and we’ll get that new EIDOLON wedges spec’d out and on the way to you quickly. Congratulations.

And for you other readers, please send in your questions to “The Wedge Guy” via the link below. We’ll be giving away a free wedge every week.

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[ comments ]
bducharm says:
I'm with you Terry - the sound is very important! There have been studies about how sound impacts the quality of golf shots.
birdieXris says:
I'm still living back in the days where the "pingy" sound was a high pitched "tink". I love that sound. Far from the beer can sound these days.
bkuehn1952 says:
Hey, 59 is the new 30 (at least that is what I tell the youngsters).
dave1269 says:
Great post Terry!
I would argue that sound is everything in golf. Okay, maybe sight is rightly #1. I hate being near guys who use "tin can" drivers, especially on the range, the impact sound is very hard on my ears. I honestly believe that some drivers should be banned from the game simply because of the impact sound that is made.
With all my clubs, including my putter, the sound at impact tells me everything I need to know about the quality of the strike I just put on the golf ball. Very few things in life are as sweet as the sound of a well-struck shot.
Banker85 says:
the nike sumo sq drivers are the worst i have ever heard but really who cares. if it bothers you, here's a tip... DONT BUY IT! cry babies.
cicero says:
I wouldn't call myself old-school as far as my golfing sensibilities are concerned. But I understand what you guys are saying about the sound of the newer drivers. I've been playing the same 975D since I started playing, so that's the sound that I'm accustomed to and, frankly, wouldn't mind if every driver I played from now on sounded that way. One of the cool things is that I can tell just by the sound (and there's an obvious difference) when I really catch one.

That said, I'm also aware of the fact that I may be giving up 20 or more yards playing this club. I'd force myself to get used to the sound in order to play something that much longer and more forgiving. It's too bad that I'd have to, but I would..
Kurt the Knife says:
My Callaway BB Diablo has a very high pitched ring that sounds like steel on an anvil.
I dig it.
Balls end up inna woods but I like the sound of the farewell.
KVSmith59 says:
@banker - lol I have one of those. I don't care if my driver made the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard as long as the ball ends up in the fairway
Beekeeper45 says:
Gunna stick with my R5 for now, love the sound!!
newrider says:
Really like the sound of my Callaway FT-3
svj says:
i hate all callaway driver sounds... they all sound so dead, kinda bores me... then you got corba drivers, a couple of them were loud and that is why i play taylor made, right in the middle, not to boring and not loud...
philipb says:
@TheWedgeGuy Do you feel there is any proportion of your dislike for current drivers related to the sheer size of them? I know that it is definitely getting harder to produce a good sounding driver nowadays due to the size (especially for players who prefer the muted thwack). If one was offered... would you and other Ooobers in a similar situation prefer to play a larger 460cc driver that sounded the same as your current driver as opposed to your 400cc driver for example? I imagine a fair percentage would say no- as they do not see the added benefits of a larger more forgiving driver instead of a more workable traditional head that they are used to...
Backquak says:
I would love a new driver with all the new technology in a smaller head, something 400 or smaller would be great. I really don't understand why we have the bigger headed drivers, my 3 metal is my go to club when I start spraying the driver and it's way smaller, but I can hit it in the fairway and still drive it 250. I would love to have a 3 metal with a lower loft (I guess that would be a 2 metal) just to see if there is any difference.
Bryan K says:
I love the sound of my Ping G15, but part of it depends on the setting. I know that there is one course where the first tee box is set into a little alcove cut into a dense forest, and that sound is absolutely awesome. However, when I hit it at the indoor Sports Bubble, it's SOOOOO loud that it sounds like the shaft is going to break. In fact, I had people in the entire place staring at me, that's how loud it was. And it has broken before (which led me to get a free shaft upgrade), so it isn't an empty fear.
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
I bought the Nike STR8 Fit driver last summer. I don't like the sound has much as the first SQ I had. I also have the High Heat driver by Panda Golf(need to put a different shaft in it) & it has a "pure" sound to it IMO. All this golf talk is making me miss the game. Haven't swung a club in over two months. Poor me.
lcgolfer64 says:
Having been the owner of 2 Cobra Drivers, I can attest to the sound off the box when I lay into it! My first was the 2008 Cobra Speed LD (comes with ear protection, standard) and now currently the 'quieter' version S9-1 Driver,and matching 3 and 5W. The reaction from people I play with is generally Wow - that's loud!

The results are what I like about it though, not a lot of work for a decent drive that is long off the tee.
Banker85 says:
dont care about sound that much this is aresults game and whatever get us in the fairway works with me.

here is a thought... how much of the sound has to do with the ball you play. the softer balls with urethane covers vs. a rock pinacle i am sure make a difffernt sound. i think it is more the feel i can feel when i miss hit off the hosel or toe or strick it pure. screw sound give me results. i would hit a driver that farted everytime i hit it if it got me a good distance and in the fairway.
Banker85 says:
on a more serious note i like the smaller sized driver. pack it all into a smaller package and for me the smaller the face the better i feel i hit the sweet spot. my driver is 440CC not much les then the max but still to me smaller invokes more confidence. if only women saw it the same way. SIZE ISNT EVERYTHING.
Dusty23 says:
sound definitely comes into play with me, my first metal driver, a Wilson something ??, sounded horrible and played the same, a couple of drivers later i came across a Titleist 975 that even though i probably didn't have the skill for it, it felt and sounded like my old persimmon, solid. i moved up to a 905T Titleist later. Then on to a TM R7, Always steered clear of the Cobra line because of the sound and the indents on the crown, but when they came out with the ZL and S2 last year, gave them try and came away impressed by the look,performance and sound. Have an S2 in the bag, fairways too!
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