PING Golf Irons Reviews
G400 irons offering enhanced G performance in an i-series visual package
PING G400 Irons Customer Review
PING G400 Irons
G-series irons have been an incredible success through the years, as PING has time and again delivered golfers with an iron that has offered industry-leading playability.
Given their unwavering popularity, in advance of the release of the brand new G400, we asked PING Director of Product Development Marty Jertson what the blueprint was when it comes to creating a G iron.
“Our G (series) iron, we like to think of it as a game-enjoyment iron,” he said. “This iron is a lot of fun to hit, and there’s a lot to this iron. What we’re out to produce with this product is an iron that goes high, goes far, and gives you a lot of stopping power, but also feels really good for a distance-minded iron. That’s a really unique combination.”
Based on its early reviews, it appears as if the G400 has checked all of the boxes that Jertson mentioned and that PING has actually taken G-series playability to new heights, while also improving look, feel, and acoustics.
“We were on a mission with this iron to produce distance but do it in a very unique way that gives this iron a direct competitive advantage in that it does several things that other distance irons on the market simply don’t do,” said Jertson of the G400. “Number one, it goes really high, so you can hit towering iron shots. It doesn’t have hot spots, so even though it’s hot you don’t have those impacts on the face that go flying ten or fifteen yards over the green. And for a distance iron, it feels amazing.”
The increased distance and higher launch conditions that the G400 irons are offering players are a result of the combination of COR-Eye Technology and a new Toprail Undercut Cavity.
Working in unison, they allow a clubface that’s 40 percent thinner thanks to the use of Hyper 17-4 Stainless Steel to flex 18 percent more at impact when compared to the G iron, with the result being faster ball speeds and higher launch.
It would seem obvious that the increased flex would create additional speed, but how does PING use the additional flexing of the clubface to increase launch?
“It all comes down to the flexing mechanics, and the way the face moves in that diving board behavior allows us to achieve that unique combination of high launch and the appropriate amount of optimized spin so you can achieve that landing angle to stop (the ball) on the greens,” Jertson said.
What makes the effortless, high launch conditions all the more impressive is that the G400 lofts are actually slightly stronger when compared to the G.
“Even though the lofts are a little bit stronger than the G, the peak trajectory is about five percent higher,” Jertson added. “We’re getting more dynamic flexing of the face to launch the ball up in the air.”
But PING understands that loft alone can’t be the only pathway to distance, which is why engineers made sure that the G400 irons spin enough to optimize performance and provide workability and consistency along with the launch and distance they provide.
PING also hasn’t compromised when it comes to the forgiveness that G-series irons have been known for, and the G400 is actually more forgiving than its predecessor.
Amazingly, those MOI gains have been accomplished in an iron that has a much cleaner, more compact profile than the vast majority of its competitors in the game-improvement space.
“We’ve saved weight from the (thinner) face; the iron is higher inertia by about four or five percent compared to the G, so it has tons of stability,” Jertson said. “But you look at it in the playing position and a lot of players look down and think this is an i-series iron. The iron still has size to it but it looks very clean and very inspirational in the playing position. This iron is going to have a very broad appeal to it.”
Adding to aesthetic value of the G400 irons is a new Hydropearl Chrome finish, which PING has also utilized most recently in its iBlade and i200 irons. In addition to offering an elegant look, the Hydropearl finish offers playability advantages, as its reduces friction through the turf by 40 percent, which helps produce more consistent results in wet conditions or from more challenging lies in the rough.
Additionally, a full cavity badge has been implemented in the design to produce the G400’s soft, crisp sound and feel, something that’s not typically found in most game-improvement irons.
In terms of shaft options, PING is offering its proprietary AWT 2.0 steel shaft as a stock choice for the G400 irons, as well as the new Alta CB as a premium graphite offering.
For players who need a different profile, however, PING has several premium aftermarket shafts available at no upcharge, including the Nippon Modus 105, Project X, KBS Tour, True Temper Dynamic Gold, and True Temper XP 95.
Also new for the G400 irons will be a new stock grip, as PING has chosen to go with the highly popular Golf Pride Tour Velvet.
Add more versatility to your bag with the G400 Crossover
TGW Customer Review of the PING G400 Crossover
PING G400 Crossover
For most recreational golfers, the toughest clubs to hit would be long irons, as they’re typically not very forgiving and difficult to elevate the ball with.
While technological advances have made traditional long irons more player-friendly in recent years, the trend for the last decade plus has been that average players have moved away from long irons, with more lofted fairway woods and hybrids emerging as the most popular replacements.
A new trend, however, has materialized in the last couple of years as well, as utility irons have become an increasingly popular option when it comes to replacing a long iron.
The majority of the game’s most well-known manufacturers now offer something that would equate to a utility iron, and PING has been ahead of the curve with its Crossover club.
The original G Crossover proved to be extremely popular with players. PING engineers, however, decided to make several changes in designing the new G400 Crossover to both improve performance and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
“Hybrids are serving their purpose in the marketplace, but some players just, for whatever reason, don’t get along with hybrids,” PING Director of Product Development Marty Jertson said. “If they’re looking for a club to give them more distance control precision like an iron but they can’t hit their long irons high enough with enough ball speed, the Crossover is the club for them. It merges the distance control and accuracy of an iron with the ball speed and distance of a hybrid combined.”
The most notable change in terms of the G400 Crossover would be its streamlined look, as its overall profile, topline, and sole are thinner and more compact when compared to the G.
PING felt the trimmed-down footprint would prove to make the Crossover more pleasing to the eye of players, but thinning out the sole also has specific performance advantages.
“The sole is more hybrid-like,” Jertson said. “We’ve reduced a little bit of the bounce angle so we’re getting better surface contact through the turf. We’ve really upgraded the turf interaction.”
Also new and helping to improve turf interaction with the G400 is PING’s Hydropearl finish, which has been utilized with the company’s most recent iron releases. It replaces the black finish that was used with the G Crossover, and the Hydropearl finish offers 40 percent less friction through the turf to create more consistency in wet conditions or from poor lies in the rough.
It should be noted, however, that one thing PING engineers were cognizant of when streamlining the look of the G400 was that they didn’t make the club more difficult to hit.
Not only did that not happen, but the G400 Crossover is actually more forgiving than the G.
“While making it thinner, we didn't want to sacrifice on the forgiveness and the accuracy,” Jertson added. “In fact, this club goes a lot straighter than its predecessor, and one of the ways we’ve done that is through (20) grams of tungsten weight in the low toe. This allowed us to, while thinning the club, still keep the inertia very, very high.”
Also part of the design strategy was to give players the workability they would more typically have with a traditional long iron, which is why the G400 Crossover has iron-like gearing.
More specifically, the CG has been positioned more forward, with the result being 40 percent more spin and 45 percent less shot bend, a combination that allows players to better control their golf ball and play shots to specific yardages.
That said, the G400 Crossover also has been designed to give players the higher launch conditions that they would usually see from a hybrid.
“It’s a flat-face club. We wanted to make that one of our design goals,” Jertson explained. “But players are shocked at how high this club goes. It’s definitely not a driving iron. This thing produces towering shots. We’re seeing trajectories that are twenty percent higher max height than the G Crossover.”
How have those higher launch conditions been achieved?
Said Jerston: “Very similar to the G400 irons, the cavity in the back allows the face to flex in a launch additive manner, so we’re getting higher launch angles, higher peak trajectory, and more stopping power.”
One other change that players who played the G Crossover can expect when it comes to the G400 is improved acoustics and feel, which could best be described as softer but more solid and crisp.
“The Crossover goes far, and it also feels amazing, just like the rest of the G400 family,” Jertson said. “Compared to its predecessor, players are going to be very excited with the impact experience with this club, not only through the turf but also the auditory feedback.”
G400 Crossovers are available in lofts of 19, 22, and 25 degrees. For players looking to replace other clubs in their bag, PING recommends that the 19-degree model replace a 3-iron or 7-wood, the 22-degree model replace a 4-iron or 9-wood, and the 25-degree model replace a 5-iron.
The stock shaft for the G400 Crossovers is the Alta CB 70, which is a counterbalanced design that enables a heavier clubhead to maximize energy transfer at impact, and the stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet.
Breaking down the comprehensive choices in PING’s iron lineup
You’ve made the decision to get new irons this year and you’re going with or at the very least seriously considering PING.
Good choice. After all, PING has been an industry leader for decades when it comes to delivering exceptional iron performance and also has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to customization options and fitting, most notably with its Color Code system for lie angle.
The big decision now is to decide which PING iron is going to help you optimize performance on the golf course.
In its current lineup, PING has four unique options to choose from -- iBlade, i200, G, and GMax -- each of which will have different attributes in terms of look and performance.
TGW has detailed information about these irons, including playing reviews, below on this page, as well as at each iron’s respective product page.
But we also wanted to give you an overview of the current lineup and how PING positions each of its iron offerings, and for help with that we caught up with PING Director of Product Development Marty Jertson.
Here’s a quick summary of the current PING lineup and the player profile that each iron was designed for:
iBlade: PING’s iBlade would qualify as a true players iron, which isn’t surprising when looking at it. After all, these are irons that feature compact blade shapes, thin toplines, minimal offset, and thinner soles for enhanced workability. This is an iron that was designed for control, but it also offers more forgiveness than one might expect at first glance, and its thin, responsive clubface generates impressive distance. The iBlade, which also delivers exceptional feel, would be a great option for elite ball-strikers and low-handicappers who value the ability to shape shots, but there’s enough forgiveness built into the design that this iron could also be a good fit for the mid-handicap player who wants the look and a feel that a blade provides.
Jertson says: “The iBlade, it’s kind of our sports car, tour (iron), ultimate in workability. You have to be on your game a little bit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it has plenty of forgiveness to it, but that’s kind of our sports car club.”
i200: The newest addition to the PING iron family is the i200, which is an incredibly versatile iron that will prove to fit golfers with very different profiles. First and foremost, this is a set of irons that delivers impressive playability, most notably as it relates to distance, launch, and forgiveness, the latter of which has been achieved through enhanced perimeter weighting. But these are irons that also have a classic, compact shape, and they’re exceptional in terms of feel and acoustics. The i200, which has also earned accolades for its outstanding turf interaction, is already getting significant play on multiple professional tours, but there’s also enough technology under the hood with this iron that a mid-handicapper could easily play it and maybe even some higher-handicappers who place a premium on look and feel.
Jertson says: “The i200 is one step above (the iBlade) in size, so it’s going to give that good mix of workability -- you can still work the golf ball a little bit -- but you start to bring in more distance, a little more power, that muted feel.”
G: As is the case with the i200 irons, PING’s G irons are also a versatile offering that will fit a wide array of players. Where the G irons excel is in terms of distance and forgiveness. A specialized heat treatment allows for a thinner clubface and COR-Eye Technology allows the face to flex more for faster ball speeds from all impact points. The G’s Custom Tuning Port has also been connected to the sole to create a deep center of gravity that increases MOI and launch conditions. These irons do have a larger overall profile than the i200 or iBlade, but the look is still clean and a damping badge has been used in the design to soften feel. G irons will be a great choice for mid- and high-handicappers in search of more distance and forgiveness, but their look is clean enough that some lower handicappers simply won’t pass on their performance benefits.
Jertson says: “The G iron has more distance and flex from the face. It starts to get quite a bit bigger, more inertia, more forgiveness to it, a wider sole. But the face is going to flex a lot and launch the ball really high.”
GMax: Much like the iBlade is a true players iron, the GMax is a true game-improvement iron. This is the largest iron from a profile standpoint in the PING lineup, and it will deliver a more explosive sound at impact than its stablemates. The GMax is also a monster in terms of distance, as it creates the fastest ball speeds in the PING lineup thanks to an incredibly thin clubface that offers significant flex at impact. The high ball speeds, however, are protected on mis-hits thanks to proprietary COR-Eye Technology, and a low, deep CG placement gives players incredible launch conditions. GMax irons also feature a progressive design in terms of loft, length, and swing weight to optimize performance through the set. This iron is going to be the perfect choice for higher-handicap players who need more distance and higher launch to hit and hold more greens.
Jertson says: “We have an iron that’s even higher forgiveness and more distance-minded (than the G), which is the GMax. That’s going to be a lot bigger iron, so wider sole, bigger, even more flex off the face.”
PING i200 irons offer players versatility, style, and performance
PING I200 Irons at the 2017 PGA Show
PING has had tremendous success through the years with its i-series irons and is set to continue that tradition with the newly released i200.
From a design standpoint, there were a lot of boxes that PING wanted to check in creating the i200 irons.
“One of the big goals with this iron is to create an iron that goes plenty high, plenty far, but has a lot higher inertia or impact stability,” said Marty Jertson, PING Director of Product Development. “You don’t have to hit it perfect to get the performance out of it.”
Equally important for PING was to deliver the performance that Jertson discussed in the form of a compact, traditional clubhead that would appeal to better players as well as mid-handicappers.
As such, i200 irons have minimal offset and thin toplines, and the overall blade size is only slightly larger than PING’s highly popular players iron, the iBlade, which was released last fall.
“It’s a very understated look and form and design of the iron,” said Jertson in describing the i200. “Very strong, powerful, but it has a lot of horsepower under the hood technology-wise.”
As mentioned, one of the performance features that differentiate the i200 from other irons in its category is the impressive level of forgiveness it provides, which has been accomplished in a few different ways.
First, a thinner clubface design and a deeper tuning port have enabled discretionary weight to be redistributed toward the hosel and toe, which keeps ball speeds high from impact points across the face.
“Reducing the face thickness by about thirty percent allows us to get a little more flex out of the face,” Jertson said. “But it also helps us save weight (that) we can move to the perimeter for improved launch conditions and stability. That’s allowed us to boost the inertia of the iron by seven percent compared to the previous (i-series) iron.”
Additionally, bounce has been added from a design standpoint to the sole and the i200’s leading edges are more contoured, a combination that provides enhanced turf interaction, which leads to better results on strikes that aren’t necessarily perfect. That combination also gives players ample ability to work the ball left or right as needed, as well as control trajectory.
Also key among the performance benefits of the i200 irons are the naturally high, effortless launch conditions that exist with the long and mid irons.
A thinner clubface that flexes more at impact helps aid in the high launch conditions, while also creating more ball speed, but Activated Elastomer positioned behind the face also helps by supporting the additional flex.
The Activated Elastomer also plays a significant role in providing the type of soft feel that some might find surprising in a cast golf club, even one that has been created from soft 431 stainless steel, as it dampens unwanted vibrations at impact.
“This is our best feeling iron we’ve ever launched,” said Jertson with no hesitation. “A lot of players describe it as if the ball kind of feels like it stays on the face for a very long time.”
While the long and mid irons have been designed to deliver distance and higher launch, the compact design of the short irons has been designed to help players control trajectory and better take advantage of their scoring chances.
Also of note, the i200’s hydropearl finish not only provides an elegant look but also helps repel moisture, which contributes to more consistent results in wet conditions.
PING’s i200 irons come standard with PING 5L grips and with two stock shaft options, the CFS graphite, which varies in weight between 62 and 78 grams depending on flex, and the heavier AWT 2.0 steel, which weighs between 98 and 119 grams depending on flex.
Of note, the AWT 2.0 has been designed with a steeper weight progression and variable step pattern to create height, speed, and stability in the longer irons but trajectory control and enhanced feel in the shorter irons.
For players who need a different profile, however, PING offers some of the most popular premium iron shafts on the market at no upcharge, including the KBS Tour, Project X, True Temper Dynamic Gold, and Nippon Modus 105.
TGW Staff Writer
Before its release last summer, I had the chance to test the PING iBlade, which turned out to be one of my favorite irons of 2016.
Upon hearing that PING was releasing the i200 iron for 2017, I immediately thought that PING had set itself up for quite a challenge given that it had set the bar so high with the iBlade.
And I was wrong.
Having had the chance to test the i200 irons for the last couple of weeks both on the range and on the golf course, all PING has done is set the bar even higher.
If the i200 irons are on your radar this year, here are some thoughts based on my experience about what you can expect.
Building on the elegance that the iBlade has aesthetically, the i200 is another home run from PING in terms of look, as these irons have the type of clean, classic shaping that will appeal to a wide range of player.
While the blade lengths are compact, the toplines are thin, and the offset is minimal, there was nothing about this iron that gave the impression it would be difficult to hit. In fact, at address, it was quite the opposite, as the way these irons framed the ball gave me confidence that I was going to hit good shots.
More specifically, you could easily see that there was enough mass included in and around the cavity that these irons would deliver trademark PING forgiveness. But at the same time, that mass is beautifully hidden at address.
Finally, PING also deserves credit for keeping the stamping on these irons to a minimum, which adds to their visual appeal, and the hydropearl finish is the perfect complement to the head shape.
As someone who has mostly played forged irons and enjoys the soft feel that they’re known for, I’m typically skeptical about what I’m going to get from a feel standpoint in a cast club.
The i200s, however, delivered on PING’s claims that this is the best feeling iron it has ever launched. Truth be told, the feel was outstanding, and I can say in all sincerity that the i200 offered a slightly softer, more muted feel and sound than the iBlade, which came as a pleasant surprise.
The combination of the soft 431 stainless steel clubheads and the elastomer that has been positioned behind the hitting area work tremendously in unison to eliminate vibration at impact, and the acoustics are solid and crisp.
Best of all, while that solid feel is maintained even on mis-hits, the i200s still provide feedback about the quality of strike, which is valuable for players of all ability levels.
One thing I know about any PING iron I test is that it’s going to be extremely forgiving. After all, nobody does forgiveness any better than PING.
And the i200, not surprisingly, delivered on that front, as the enhanced perimeter weighting utilized in the design was effective in maintaining ball speed on shots struck toward the heel or toe. Equally impressive was how well these irons performed from a dispersion standpoint on mis-hits, as the ball simply didn’t want to stray very far offline.
The i200s also delivered in terms of distance and launch, which was one of the ultimate goals that PING engineers had for these irons.
Most notably, the long and mid irons were sensational in terms of being able to launch the ball high in the air with ease. That said, the naturally high ball flight also proved to be extremely stable even in some challenging, windy conditions that I encountered during a couple of my testing sessions.
From a distance standpoint, the i200 delivered impressive numbers. The lofts are slightly stronger than my current iron set, but in using Trackman I was routinely picking up 8-10 yards of carry distance with the long and mid irons and 3-5 yards with short irons over what I’m used to.
That said, and this is a testament to PING, I expected the distance, launch, and forgiveness that I was seeing with the i200.
What I was most interested in from these irons was whether or not they would provide the workability that as a pretty good player I’m looking for. And on that level, the i200 delivered again.
Both on the range and the golf course, I had no problem flighting shots down and working the ball left-to-right or right-to-left. The short irons especially proved to be quite versatile in terms of shaping shots.
And finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the effectiveness of the i200’s new sole design, which features additional bounce and a more contoured leading edge. Each iron moved through the turf effortlessly and even when I was slightly off from a contact standpoint I saw minimal losses in terms of performance.
Plain and simple, the i200 is another fantastic iron from PING, which continues to shine as a company by staying true to what it does best.
And in addition to being a great iron, the i200 is also one of the most unique irons I’ve tested, as I honestly believe almost anyone could play this iron and enjoy tremendous success.
It’s no surprise to me with its sleek design and ample workability that this is an iron that’s being played on Tour. But in my opinion, its performance attributes and the incredible forgiveness it provides make the i200 a legitimate candidate for players with handicaps into the high teens as well.
Add it all up and there’s little doubt in mind that the i200 is going to be lauded by many as one of the best irons of the year.
PING iBlade: Checking All The Boxes For A True Players Iron. And More…
S55 irons have been a game-changer for PING since they first started making their way into golfer’s bags in the summer of 2013. All told, they’ve racked up 45 professional wins to date around the world and been lauded by pundits as a true players iron from a company that’s been known primarily for its game-improvement offerings.
But PING’s engineers felt they could create a superior product for better players and set out to do so this time in the form of a true blade, with one important caveat.
“We wanted to design a blade iron,” said PING Design Engineer Cory Bacon, “but we wanted to do it the PING way.”
What exactly does that mean as it relates to the new iBlade?
“Under the hood, there’s a lot of technology that’s going to give this iron great playability,” Bacon went on to explain.
His answer would hardly qualify as surprising given that PING has built its reputation, as well as an incredibly loyal customer following, in large part thanks to the forgiveness and playability of its products.
The starting point for the iBlade in terms of its look, feel, and performance began with significant research prior to the design process unfolding.
“When we were designing the iBlade, we did a lot of research on the front end in terms of understanding that customer and what they’re looking for,” Bacon said.
PING’s research phase then carried over from the feedback it received from the golfing public to the wish list that came from its stable of professionals, including the likes of Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, and Hunter Mahan, among others.
Their wish list wasn’t overly long, but it was quite specific and non-negotiable.
“The big thing with (tour pros) is they want it thinner,” Bacon said. “They want a really thin top line, and then they want that muted, soft feel at impact. But they still want the workability and forgiveness. Even the best players in the world who rarely miss the sweet spot want some forgiveness.”
As for the design process, PING engineers didn’t have to look very far to get that aspect of creating the iBlade underway. In fact, they didn’t even have to leave their offices.
“I think the inspiration, which is pretty apparent, is our Glide wedges,” Bacon said. “We wanted to use that shape and design language. We started there because it looks simple but the design is playable. It looks really good, but it’s functional at the same time.”
Cast Design, Forged Feel
As the look of the club was refined, including thin toplines, minimal offset, compact blade shapes, and straight leading edges, PING then began to incorporate ways to improve the feel, performance, and playability of the iBlade as compared to the S55.
Several technological advances have been incorporated in the iBlade but what might stand out most is its softer feel. Creating a soft feel and muted sound in a cast club that rivals what forged clubs typically offer took quite a bit of experimentation.
It was achieved through the creative use of 431 stainless steel in the construction of the clubhead and what PING is calling Activated Elastomer behind the clubface, as those two components combine to create the type of feel that would be expected from a blade.
In terms of the 431 stainless steel, it is softer than 17-4 steel, which helped with the iBlade’s feel. Additionally, the 431 steel is also significantly lighter than 17-4 and just as strong, which allowed engineers to move four grams of discretionary weight to increase MOI.
The elastomer, however, is what PING believes is the true differentiator in terms of the improved feel of the iBlade.
“I think the big reason it feels so good is what we’re coining the Activated Elastomer,” Bacon said. “When you make contact, the ball is literally squishing against that plastic. That’s driving the great feel of this iron.”
More Distance Without Sacrificing Workability
Also significant in the iBlade in terms of its technology is a remarkably thin clubface that’s creating faster ball speeds and significantly more distance, as much as six yards in some clubs when compared to S55.
“The face thickness on our S55 is .135 and this is .068, so it’s almost twice as thin,” said Bacon of the iBlade’s clubface. “This iron actually has a thinner face than our G Iron. You don’t see that in a players iron very often.”
Engineers also were cognizant of making sure that the iBlade still provided players with plenty of workability, which isn’t always easy with a design that has high MOI as it relates to the center of gravity.
That’s actually one of the main reasons that most game-improvement irons usually don’t offer as much in the way of workability as players irons, because of their higher MOI construction.
While the weight saved by using 431 steel helped increase MOI and forgiveness, as does the use of tungsten weighting in the toe, PING engineers were still able to maintain workability in the iBlade by focusing on what matters most in that aspect of creating an iron.
“We wanted to have the workability in the design for situations where you have to work the ball,” Bacon said, adding that workability is a must when it comes to performance for better players. “It’s the MOI about hosel access, not CG, that’s really the big driver for people to manipulate face angle. Our goal was to keep (workability) about the same as the S55, and we’ve been able to do that.”
Gapping Issues? Not Anymore
One of the few knocks on the S55 and one area where PING readily admitted that improvement was needed was in terms of yardage gapping. The loft structure of the S55 sometimes led to gaps between clubs that were too large or too small.
That problem, however, has been fixed when it comes to the iBlade, and how it’s been fixed might come as a shock in this day and age of club design.
“The one thing that you’ll notice is that the lofts are a little bit stronger in the long irons,” Bacon explained. “We also made a pretty unique move in this industry by making the lofts weaker in the 7-PW, which you don’t see very often because everyone is chasing distance. But these irons are going to be more playable because these lofts are more progressive.”
The Waiting Game...
PING IBlade with Louis Oosthuizen
Given all of the work that went into the finished product, it’s no surprise that PING is anxious to see how the iBlade is received. That said, the early returns have been overwhelmingly positive.
In what’s a rarity for professional golfers, several PING staffers switched to the iBlade during the middle of their season, providing evidence that this iron is the real deal.
Additionally, early testing with recreational players has also yielded promising results, which has everyone at PING encouraged.
“We’re definitely excited, Bacon said. “The feedback (compared to S55) has been more forgiveness and equally workable. But hands down, what everyone is noticing is how soft they feel.”
TGW Staff Writer
Chris Wallace has more than 15 years of experience as a sports writer and editor. He started his career in the newspaper industry, winning three Virginia Press Association awards at the Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he covered college sports and golf on a local, state, and national level. Wallace also spent nearly 10 years working for Rivals.com, and he later managed and created content for the GolfChannel.com Instruction Blog. His work has also appeared on GolfAdvisor.com and in Carolinas Golf Magazine. Wallace was a three-year captain of the golf team at his alma mater, Lynchburg College, and spent two years serving as the assistant men’s golf coach at the University of Virginia.
While PING’s new iBlade irons are brand new to the market, I had the good fortune of being able to take these clubs for a test drive a couple of weeks early at Willowbend Golf Club in TGW’s home base of Wichita, Kansas.
My use of the term “test drive” wasn’t without consideration, as these are irons that could be compared to a race car. They’re incredibley sleek in appearance but at the same time they’re powerful and have been built with plenty of technology in terms of the performance and playability that they ultimately deliver.
If you’ve been awaiting the release of the iBlade, here are some more detailed thoughts based on my experience that might help you make a decision.
TGW Review on the PING iBlade
In a word, gorgeous. This truly is a sharp looking iron, and I can’t imagine it not passing the eye test of even the most discerning player. The utilization of the Glide wedge as a starting point for shaping the iBlade was certainly obvious. But that’s a good thing, as visually, both in hand and at address, the look is understated and elegant at the same time.
There’s also no mistaking that this is a true players club The toplines are thin and there’s minimal offset through the entire set. And the hydropearl chrome finish only enhances the overall look.
Especially pleasing to my eye was that the short irons were not bulky, an issue I often find even in players irons. Additionally, the long irons didn’t feature significant increases in offset for the purpose of playability, which has been generated through technology that doesn’t compromise appearance.
When I first found out that the iBlade wasn’t forged, I had some initial doubts about whether or not these irons would feel like a traditional blade. And by that I mean have a soft feel at impact, with a quiet, muted sound from the strike, which is important for any club in this category, as the players who are going to go this route in an iron won’t settle for anything less.
Any doubts that I had, however, were quickly erased. I’ve played forged irons exclusively for the last two decades and from a feel standpoint I never would have known that these irons weren’t forged had I not been told so before testing. PING’s engineers deserve a great deal of credit for their use of 431 stainless steel and elastomer behind the clubface in the design, as the iBlade earned high marks in my book for its feel and sound at impact.
Also noteworthy in terms of feel was that shots not struck off the center of the clubface weren’t as harsh either in the hands or from an acoustic standpoint as you often find in a muscleback or blade design. That said, there was still ample feedback provided on mis-hits, a quality that good players always value in an iron.
TGW Customer Review on the PING iBlade
As good as the iBlade looked and felt, it most exceeded my expectations in terms of performance. These irons were designed to naturally produce a high ball flight, with the goal being to help players stop the ball on the green more easily. With that being the case, I wondered how they would fare from a workability standpoint. However, once again, my concerns were quickly erased.
Without question, these irons, even the long irons, were easy to launch in the air. But it was equally easy to flight the ball down when I wanted to. During testing, I was hitting into a 15-20 MPH wind that was shifting between straight in and into and out of the right. Even flighting down short irons into the wind was no problem, and I was also able to shape shots, either by letting the ball ride the wind or holding shots against the wind. The ball flight was also extremely stable, even on full shots that were launched higher into the wind.
Also of note, I mentioned earlier that the feel on mis-hits with the iBlade was impressive, and the performance was as well. I noticed very little in the way of distance loss and the dispersion was still tight even when the strike wasn’t pure, which was impressive given the wind conditions during testing.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention the long irons in this section. I can say in all sincerity that these were among the best long irons I’ve ever hit. The ball exploded off the face, they were easy to launch way up in the air, and the ability to hit knockdown shots was there anytime I wanted it. For someone who has something of a rocky relationship with hybrids, these long irons could stay in my bag without feeling like I was sacrificing anything in the way or performance or versatility
I’d guess if you’ve read this far you’ve already come to the conclusion that I was impressed with these irons. And it’s true; I was. In terms of a true players iron, the iBlade checks all of the boxes as it relates to look and feel. And from a performance standpoint, it delivers exceptional playability.
What I would add at this point is that while this club would no doubt be categorized as a players club or a blade, I don’t envision this being an iron that will only work for low-handicap golfers. With the way it performs and the forgiveness it offers, I believe the iBlade would be a great option for mid-handicappers as well, especially those whose games are trending upward.
Overall, this is an iron that I expect is going to prove to be a huge success for PING, and it should be excited about what it’s accomplished with this product.
PING G Irons
Ping G Irons
PING G Irons: Excitement abounds at PING when it comes to the new G iron, which from a performance standpoint delivers on three desirable levels -- more distance, higher launch, and maximum forgiveness. That said, while the G plays like a game-improvement iron, it has the clean, compact look that you'd see in a players club, with a thinner topline and sole, as well as a satin-blast finish and fairly minimal offset. PING uses its COR-Eye Technology to deliver on the promise of more distance, as it was able to thin out the perimeter of the clubface and the sole to improve ball speeds across the face. Heat treatment also allows for the 17-4 stainless steel to be 40 percent stronger, which also contributes to being able to make the clubface thinner and faster. Additionally, engineers connected the Custom Tuning Port to the sole, which created a deeper center of gravity. The result of the deeper center of gravity is higher launch angles and increased MOI, which improves forgiveness. In terms of offering golfers an added feature in a club that performs like a game-improvement iron but looks like a players iron, PING also uses a dampening badge in the cavity to promote optimal feel and sound at impact. The proprietary AWT 2.0 shafts that come standard in the G irons also have performance benefits, as the shafts in the long irons are lighter to create higher launch and distance, while the shafts in the short irons are heavier to promote trajectory and distance control.
"What we've done with the design has been able to deliver forgiveness and a lot of distance to the golfer." Ryan Stokke - PING Design Engineer Manager
"On mis-hits I'm going to see a tighter dispersion. That might give you an extra 2 or three greens a round." Barton, TGW Customer 2 hdcp.
PING Crossover Hybrid Iron
PING Crossover Hybrid Irons: In what is a brand new iron category for PING, the Crossover serves as an alternative to a hybrid depending on a golfer’s needs. If you think of a hybrid as a combination of a fairway wood and an iron, PING takes things a step further as the Crossover combines the playing advantages of a hybrid with that of an iron. Oh, a driving iron, you’re thinking. Not at all. The Crossover, unlike traditional driving irons, is designed to deliver the launch conditions of a hybrid but maintain the level of workability that irons provide. That combination was achieved in several ways. First, a wider sole allowed the CG to be moved back, which creates the high launch angles golfers are accustomed to with hybrids. But the Crossover also features a flat face, which gives players an easier time in shaping shots and controlling trajectory as needed. Additionally, extreme heel-toe weighting creates a higher MOI and max forgiveness. The Crossover comes in lofts of 18, 21, and 24 degrees and features a black PVD finish that serves dual functions. It gives the Crossover a visually smaller profile that one might expect in an iron, but according to PING engineers, it’s also a finish that has traditionally delivered good turf interaction.
"Taking the combination of the good qualities of a hybrid, but also the workability a player gets with an iron." Ryan Stokke - PING Design Engineer Manager
"That thing's hotter than a pistol. It goes a mile in the air and it's a very piercing ball flight." Barton, TGW Customer 2 hdcp.