Lamkin Grips

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In the world of drivers, everyone knows the usual suspects and traditional names that come to mind. But one name may not always come to mind right away but with its latest offering, the K15, PING is looking to change that. I’ve been lucky to have had the chance to spend some time with this stick and I came away with some interesting thoughts and viewpoints. But did I like it and did it perform for yours truly? Did the Mr Ping Man bring me a dream? Check it out.

From the Company
The K15 will help you drive the ball ‘exceptionally straight’ aided by a PING innovation called Straight Flight Technology (SF Tec). The large profile 460cc head and a club face that is longer heel to toe combine for consistent performance across the hitting surface. The overall design of the club positions the center of gravity low and back to generate high launch and low spin conditions.

Look
As I said in my review of the G15 irons, PING is known for utilitarian, workman-like equipment and the K15 driver is no exception. Basic, clean, if not boring looks are what you first notice with this club however after you spend time with it those clean lines begin to grow on you. Instead of ‘boring’ you’re now thinking it’s ‘clean.’ Where you may have once thought ‘plain’ you’re now thinking ‘simple.’ With the amount of silver titanium that is on this club that isn’t covered with paint, decals, etc you could easily call this a silver bullet.

As mentioned before, the head is 460cc and while my eyes are not used to seeing such mass (I have had a 440cc driver in my bag for over 6 months now), I have to tell you that it didn’t appear that large. Sure its hitting area is 5% larger and the head has been elongated to provide more forgiveness and stability but it just didn’t seem that large at address. Optical illusion? Maybe. All I know is that it didn’t feel like I was swinging a U-haul at the end of a stick like previous 460cc drivers made me feel like. One interesting thing to note is that the SF Tec is slightly noticeable at address at the heel of the club.

The shaft is almost 46” long (45.75 to be precise) and while that has been traditionally an issue for me it turns out it really wasn’t. News at 11. The shaft is a not so flashy black/red/silver PING shaft but it seems to fit nicely with the not so flashy look of the driver so it’s all good.

For those needing an alignment aid on their driver (raises hand), the K15’s certainly doesn’t disappoint. Oh yeah it’s there and is actually a little on the distracting side in terms of its size. The good news is that you become used to it quickly. The bad news is that it looks like a tattoo your local college co-ed would sport on spring break. At least it’s there right?

Technology
PING’s latest technological goodie is called SF Tec. SF Tec concentrates approximately 10% of head mass toward the heel which helps square the face of consistently straight tee shots. A large 460cc head significantly increases MOI. Weight is saved by thinning the crown and re-distributing that wight to SF Tec’s external weight pad to optimize the center of gravity and create a high MOI. The larger surface area of the club face is 5% larger and is highly forgiving on off-center hits and generates faster ball speeds across the entire face.

Pictures from www.ping.com

Testing
After hitting and struggling a bit with this past year’s G15 driver, I was skeptical about testing this offering. Combine that apprehension with my love for smaller driver head profiles and you could accuse me of not having an open mind for this particular club test. Well you’d be half right. Apprehension? Check. No open mind? Never!

My first couple of swings were very awkward and adjusting to the larger profile of the K15 was slower than I had thought it would be but once I got settled in the club really started to shine. I mentioned a little bit ago that you could see the SF Tec technology at address and while this sounds alarming it isn’t. In fact it almost acted as a guide for me and promoted an inside takeaway. But this isn’t the only swing aid that this club comes with. In fact I think the whole club is a swing aid. The K15 promotes a nice and easy swing which helps utilize the full capacity of the SF Tec technology. It’s designed to help square the club at impact and you know what? It does. I found myself hitting straighter drives and even found myself hitting some great draws which is completely against my natural fade ball flight. If you swing this club too fast you may find yourself hitting more hooks. Swing it too slow and it’s a block party in your honor. However, if you get your Goldilocks on and swing it just right, well, PING!

Oh what a sound this banger makes. Yes it’s a ‘ping’ sound but not a wussy or tingy ‘ping’ sound. It’s a solid, cannon-like sound that just happens to leave a ping sound you hear from a perfectly struck tuning fork. The sound slowly fades away as your ball rockets into the horizon. When you catch the K15 on the screws the ball feels like it’s exploding off the club face with the slightest hint of compressing the ball as well. While the face didn’t appear to be overly ‘hot’, I think the best way to describe the feeling you get from catching the sweet spot on this is one of a crushing type feeling. You really feel like you’re crushing, even slaughtering the ball when you’re in the zone with this thing. Forgiveness you ask? Oh yeah it has it. The large head has the weight placed in all the right, well, places that really adds a lot of forgiveness. Off the toe yields considerable distance for a mis-hit which is good to know right Mr Consistency?

The ball flight was at times a little too high for my liking but overall it was acceptable. This may be in part to a higher loft than I prefer (10.5), the basic stock shaft, or a combination of both. Speaking of the shaft, I think this driver would be dynamite if the shaft offering was comparable to other companies who have stepped up their game by offering high-end stock shafts in their drivers. But hey, that’s half the fun of getting fit for a shaft/club right? The shaft wasn’t anything special to me as I didn’t get a lot of feedback from it. Most of my feedback came from the club face and the club head itself while the shaft was just along for the ride.

As an aside, I normally don’t comment on these things unless they really strike me but let’s look at the grip and head cover. The grip is one of the better stock offerings I’ve felt on any club that I’ve tested and wouldn’t hesitate to play a while with it on. The head cover, however, is about as user friendly as a cell phone in a pool. It’s poorly designed and a struggle to take off. That’s being kind too.

Overall
This club is a winner. Pure and simple. Want to beat the ball? Want to hit straighter drives? Want to actually work the ball a bit? This may be your next driver then. The Ping K15 should be on anyone’s short list who is looking to replace their current driver. The K15 surprised me so much and impressed me that much more that I’m going to do some serious pondering about head to head testing with my current driver which may entail a change at the top of my bag for 2011. For more information about Ping and other Ping products you can check out www.ping.com. The Ping K15 driver retails for $299.

T. Hanks

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  1. Ryan H. says:

    Thanks for the info, T. I didn’t get a chance to swing this at the THP Outing, but had the pleasure of watching another attendee rip balls downrange with it. It definitely sounds great and appears to be a very long hitting driver. I will be sure to take some swings with it in May

  2. Thainer says:

    Good on ya T.H Great review.

  3. Yoccos says:

    Great review Hanks!!!!!!!!!! I loved the description of the sound and feel. It’s spot on and more people should really give this driver a try.

  4. Puttin4Bird says:

    Good work T, I found very similar results when I spent quite a lot of time with this driver in my hand at the 2010 THP Fall Outing. Straight is the word of the day when it comes to this driver, I don’t know if I hit more than a couple of them off my intended line that day. I happen to love the size and the overall look and feel of this stick. Thanks for the review, you nailed it!

  5. OEM Kevin™ says:

    Nice write up Todd H. Sounds like this driver worked pretty well for you as it did me. Really enjoyed hitting this driver and came to actually like its look too. Love the alignment aid and color of the head too. Shaft could maybe use an upgrade but it wasnt terrible.

  6. Coolbreeze says:

    Nice write up about this club. I have never been a PING guy, just can’t really get over the looks but it sounds like they have a winner on their hands.

  7. 9-Iron Man says:

    Very in depth review TH! Very nice! This one that I missed entirely as well at the Outing, lookslike I need to track ‘er down in May and take some swings with it!

  8. Bridges says:

    Great review Hanks!!

  9. HoosierGolfer says:

    Nice review. I put on of these in the bag late last season but only got a handful of rounds in before the end of the season. Can’t wait to have it in pay this spring.

  10. Canio says:

    Excellent review!

  11. timothymcn says:

    So what is your current driver? Is it in real danger now?

  12. Hanks says:

    Tim- My current driver is the Nike VR Str8Fit Tour (440cc) It’s in danger but won’t know for sure until I get on a launch monitor

  13. JEFF LAMBERT says:

    Thanks for the review. I hit this late last year against my current driver and a hand full of others and decided the K15 is for me. This review helps. I have a low ball trajectory so I was glad to here your ball flight comments. I’t will be in my bag when the snow clears.

  14. Raider says:

    Thanks for the review. Another dirver I need to try.

  15. Alan Erickson says:

    The Ping K15 is not any improvement on recent Ping drivers. “SF Tec” is just another marketing term that really means nothing at all. The longer shaft makes mis-hit shot correction a joke. After I bought the club I struggled with whether I should get the shaft shortened or changed to a shorter brand name shaft with a softer tip. I live in Phoenix and want to use any Ping product I can. Decided it wasn’t worth it and took the club back to PGA Superstore who has a terrific return policy. Back with my Cobra S2 and happy. (The new Callaway Octane is less forgiving than the K15 so if you’re looking at that club for better performance, forget it.)

  16. Hanks says:

    Thanks for the post Alan. I think you’re selling PING and their technology a little short. The SF Tec is more than just a marketing term as you can actually feel the club face work to square to the ball with it on impact. By this same token, you must think that your Cobra S2 and it’s ‘9 Point Face Technology’ is just another marketing term as well then. The longer shaft of the PING is not necessarily supposed to help correct shots like the SF Tec is, the longer shaft is designed to help swing faster. This sounds more like a swing flaw to me more than anything else. I think you’re wrong about the Callaway Octane being less forgiving than the K15 too. My advice is to come down to a THP Demo Day where you can hit all the drivers you want and do a comparison for yourself.

  17. Ty Schimmel says:

    Great article and dead on!. Went to edwinn Watts yesterday tested the following clubs. Mizuno jbx800, Ping K15, Callaway octane all 10.5 regular flex. After hitting around six shots each the K15 displayed 2-4 yard more in distance and better acuracy. Made the purchase took the club to the driving range and I fell in love. The feel upon impact and the distance gain was tremendous. I can actully work the ball I have normaly had a slight fade in my game not only did this club iliminate the fade but I was able to draw with a slight closing of the club face!. Ping has a real winner with this driver. Of the other 2 drivers the mizuno came in second the Callaway I had trouble controling. And as hank pointed get another head cover it is a real chore getting it off or on, its a problem you don’t want to deal with if you are having a bad round or stressed out.

  18. Gil Thorpe says:

    Based on readin g a number of sparkling eviews I made the mistake of running out and grabbing a K15. Its not a bad club but as mentioned in the review it tends to launch high. I went back to my trusty R9 460 which, for me at least, is a bit longer than the k15, more consistant, has an ideal trajectory and better feel. So if I like my TM so much why would I even buy another driver? The same reason we all do. I’m a Ho.

  19. Peter Foster says:

    I tested this a few weeks ago in Toronto and agree it is a great club when swung slowly. Loved the sound, the trajectory was good, and the shaft length not problem, however I had a tough time keeping it from heading left if I put any power into my swing. A very relaxed swing gave an impressive result, but it just didn’t fit with my standard swing. The K15 fairway woods on the other hand….. wow. Bought them on the spot.

  20. Prm314 says:

    Great review..Just one thing. Ping does offer shaft options! I have a K15 with an Oban Devotion shaft..Factory upgrade. The shaft adds pure power to a straight shooter!
    Get fitted and prepair to go Long, very Long!

  21. mitch says:

    I currently play the Cleveland Launcher 460. Took this to my local pga superstore where I could compare it with the K15. Pretty big difference. Took 5 shots with each on the launch monitor. Every shot with my 460 was my typical baby fade. Every shot with the K15 was within 3 yards left or right of each other (and straight) and carry was about 17 yards further. Pretty big difference for me. I’m sure the distance can be attributed to my current club being 6 or 7 years old.

  22. Steve says:

    Great review. I’ve owned the G15, G20 and now the K15. The G20 was a disappointment. The K15 is just a great driver and has eliminated the right side for me. Driving was the weakest part of my game, it’s become an asset with this driver. I play to an 8 hc. The 10.5 regular is fine for my 90-92 swing speed. Launch angle is about 14 degrees and gives me a great ball flight. The driver is sold as a game improvement club for high handicappers, but I know a few single digit hc who would benefit.

  23. pat says:

    I have a K15 ping driver. It does hit the ball straight and is consistant. The only mistake I made was getting one with a 12 degree loft. The ball flies too high robbing of distance. I am thinking about getting a G20 but I am undecided as to either a 9.5 degree or a 10.5 degree loft. I am leaning towards the 9.5 as I read that due to design you can add another 0.75 degrres to the specified loft which would translate into an actual loft of 10.25 drgrees. Any comments?

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