The initial prototypes of Ping’s new S55 irons were made about one-eighth of an inch larger than their predecessors.

That small of a change would likely go unnoticed in any other Ping iron line: the G-Series, I-Series or Anser irons. But it didn’t cut it for an S-Series iron, which has to fit the eye of a very particular group of testers – tour players.

“The [tour] players noticed immediately,” said Mike Nicolette, senior design engineer for Ping. “They all said, ‘I would almost prefer that it would be a little smaller.’”

Such is the crux of creating a “players iron,” whose target audience includes everyone from the best golfers in the world to single-digit handicappers. But unlike most golfers, that audience isn’t looking for more forgiveness, although Nicolette said that it wouldn’t hurt them. They place more value on an iron’s look, feel and workability.

That’s why there weren’t a lot of changes made to the S55 irons – their predecessors, the S56 irons, were already thought of as one of the best-looking, best-feeling irons Ping had ever produced. And for their size, the S56’s were extremely forgiving, and offered enough workability to find their way into the bags of countless professionals. But we’re talking about Ping, a company that prides itself on engineering, so of course there were some improvements that could be made.

In the playing position, the S55 and S56 irons look nearly identical, but as Hunter Mahan noticed when he tested them in the days before The Barclays, the S55’s feel different. That’s because Ping swapped the thermoplastic urethane (TPU) insert that was used on the company’s S56 irons for a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) insert, which Nicolette said is a more flexible material that is able to absorb more vibration at impact. For most golfers, that will translate into a softer feel.


Click here to see in-hand photos of the S55 irons shot at The Barclays.

The TPE insert, which Ping calls its Custom Tuning Port (CTP), is also larger in the S55 irons than the S56’s, meaning it takes up a greater amount of space in the center of the iron head. That freed up more discretionary weight for Ping engineers to redistribute to the perimeter of the irons, giving them about a 0.5 percent higher moment of inertia (MOI) than the S56’s.

One-half percent more MOI doesn’t sound like a lot, but according to Nicolette, it can make a difference. A 0.5-inch mishit with a 7 iron will fly about 1 or 2 yards farther with an S55 than a S56 iron, Nicolette said, which can big a big deal for a tour player aiming for a tucked pin.

According to Nicolette, the higher MOI of the irons won’t affect workability, as the S55 irons have a similar MOI to the S56’s “above the shaft axis.” Translation: it takes the same amount of energy for golfers to manipulate the club face to their desired position as they approach impact, the definition of workability.


Recent iron releases from Ping have seen the company release sets with progressive sole widths, which means that the long irons have wider soles than the short irons to help golfers hit them higher in the air. That is not the case with the S55’s, which have a sole design that is essentially identical to their predecessors.

But the S55’s do have an element of a progressive design. Nicolette said that the 4-or-so grams of discretionary weight the larger CTP freed up allows the S55 long irons to have a lower, more rearward CG to help golfers hit their long irons higher and farther, while the short irons have a CG that is located more forward in the head to make them fly a little lower.

Maybe the biggest change golfers will notice is with the lofts of the S55 short irons, which are strengthened about 1 degree. That will make them fly a little farther — about 4 yards, Nicolette said. But even though the lofts of the mid and short irons are relatively unchanged (the S55 6 iron measures 30 degrees, 0.5 degrees stronger, the 4 iron measures 0.25 degrees weaker), their lower CG should help them fly a little farther than their predecessors as well, which means golfers won’t have a problem with gapping.


Like the S56 irons, the S55’s are cast from 17-4 stainless steel. But thanks to tour player feedback, their overall size is a little smaller than the S56 irons.

“There’s about a coat of paint difference,” Nicolette said.

The irons will be available at retail Nov. 1 in 3-PW. They will come stock with Ping’s CFS shaft, and will be offered with KBS Tour, True Temper Dynamic Gold or Project X shafts for an upcharge.

Click here to see what members are saying about the S55 irons in the forums.

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  2. These look fantastic! Probably the cleanest looking of all of the s series. S56s were pretty great so im interested to see if these are noticeably better. I do like the look though so I am optimistic about that these could be going in the bag.

  3. In my personal opinion, I have never like the “feel” of Pings s56 although my playing partner swears by their irons. I think they are to clickey and don’t get the same feedback as I do from a forged iron. Not dissing Ping or anyone the plays them, just my personal opinion. My one question from reading this thread is to the Ping faithful. If you love your s56 set so much, why would you drop your hard earned money based on the new looks alone. A single digit HC won’t reap the rewards as much as they think from the .5 degree difference in MOI or the stronger lofts that will add 3-4 yards. When the 712 AP2 were released, I tested them and my numbers weren’t any different than my 710, although Titleist claimed they were better than the previous model. Ill do the same thing when the 714 are released this fall, but will have to buy a new set before the end of the year due to the wear on my faces. Ill test other brands as well as I don’t think I should paint myself into a box with an OEM unless they are paying me to do so.

    • Yeah I can see a little S58 in them. Honestly I only look at them at address so that is what matters most to me in looks. We will see if they have the performance to kick the S56s out of the bag when they get released!

  4. I have been playing Ping irons, with a little dalliance to Wilson for over 20 years. I enjoyed the look and feel of the S56 so much that I purchased 3 sets of the shockers – combining shaft type and length to get my ideal configuration, and mix of hot and cool weather optimum performance. I have loved these irons, albeit that I found them a little harsher than the best of the forged clubs, and tended to balloon the high irons somewhat. However their durability, playability and mid to long irons have been superb. I have struggled to think how I would find an ideal replacement. Until recently I was going move to Titleist CBs with Rifle 6.0 shafts. The S55 may now change that – strengthening the loft of higher irons, seems absolutely spot on – while to my eye the new look is much cleaner and more ‘forged/Anser’ like – but in a shape and size that still says better player, and sits nicely behind the ball. Sorry Titleist… love your woods, but think I may be on the Ping iron bandwagon for a while longer… Look forward to any feedback from people who will have tried the S55s vs the S56.

  5. These may be the best looking irons for the 2014 season. However, it looks like there is more offset vs. the competition which may defer “players” to a different set.

  6. Love these, they look awesome but I’ll be looking for S56 sets that hit the BST when these are released (or lower priced new S56’s). Still using S57’s now so figure it won’t matter if I’m one model behind.

  7. I’m not sure a lot of the tour pros will switch. The S56s are money. Widening the elastomer is like taking a step backward to the S57 with less feedback on mishits, and making it softer is going to make it feel like a Titleist AP2.

  8. I don’t think people understand what forging is. Forging does not make a club softer. The hardness of a club is determined by the metal used. What would you rather be hit with, an 8620 cast club or and 8620 forged club? I honestly believe that there is no advantage to forging a club, other than making it cost more. The technological advances in cast clubs are growing rapidly. Today’s cast irons allow players to work the ball and if they mishit, it’s not game over.

    • And I’m not sure you understand it, either… you say “Today’s cast irons allow players to work the ball and if they mishit, it’s not game over.” You seem to be confusing “cast” with “cavity back.” How you form the iron (casting or forging) into the right shape doesn’t make it forgiving or difficult to hit; the weight distribution takes care of that. You can easily make a blade that is cast and very unforgiving while making a forged cavity back iron that is a lot easier to hit consistently.

    • It was easier to forge blades because they were relatively simple. It’s more difficult to be as accurate if you forged a fairly dramatic looking CB. So they started to cast them, because it was easier to mass produce.

      I also think that casting is less expensive. Someone can correct me on this. You can also use harder metal with the casting process, which means it’s less expensive for material, which is why the cheaper irons are harder metal and cast.

    • if you could imagine being able to see all of the atoms/molecules that make up the metal in the head of an iron. in a forged iron those molecules are closer together because the material starts as a large, soft (hot) piece of metal and pressed down into its shape. cast irons start as molten metal and poured into a “cast” and hardens into its shape, which makes the molecules farther apart from each other. this is where feel comes in, the closer the molecules are together, the better the metal resonates and carries the vibrations up to your hands (this is what “fee'” is), thus most forged irons tend to “feel” softer. now enter “form forged”…this is where that molten metal is poured into the cast and actually pressed down harder instead of just letting it cool. mizuno does this actually, and then goes to the press forge to align the grain of the metal (grain flow forged) form forging has allowed companies to continue to forge golf clubs without charging ridiculous prices

  9. These look brilliant, BUT why oh why are they not forged???

    Once Ping took the plunge with the Ansers why not offer their tour club in forged, even as an option???

    I am not a fan of Ping irons, but the S56 was good, very good, but more than a tad clicky with a slightly harsh feeling

    These will sell in huge numbers though, and rightly so.

    • They’re not forged because PING INVENTED investment casting and has produced castings that rival the feel of a forging, are more forgiving, longer lasting, better finish, less expensive… the list goes on. They also softened the CTP which I was hoping for myself. Can’t wait to trick these out.

  10. “They also have slightly stronger lofts, which are likely the result of Ping’s ability to move more discretionary weight to the perimeter of the club head”…Since when did perimeter weighting have anything to do with stronger lofts? There is zero connection between perimeter weighting, which helps with forgivness, and stronger lofts. Weirdest claim ever

      • Care to elaborate? Why would perimeter weighting “allow” for more loft to be added more so then with a blade for example? Or any other iron design? There just is zero connection between the two

        • FWIW anytime I buy a new set of irons, I insist on 1.5 deg flat and 1.5 degree weaker lofts. I love hitting the ball high without having to dig out a huge divot, which then lands softer on the greens. WHo cares which iron goes which distance! So long as I know how far each iron goes, that is all that matters.

        • The perimeter weighting increases MOI and drives the CG lower, increasing shot trajectory– this allows them to lower the loft slightly to compensate for higher flight– it also puts lofts in line with competitors who unfortunately use claims of iron distance to drive sales.

        • Actually there is a strong connection. With perimeter weighting more weight is moved towards the sole putting more mass below the equator of the ball at impact with the distinct purpose of helping get the ball airborne. As a result with everything else equal a 32 degree blade iron will hit the ball noticeably lower than a 32 degree cavity back. So in order to get similar launch characteristics with a cavity back you strengthen the loft.

    • If you were familiar with physics, which evidently you are not, you could have thought that perhaps ping moved the weight LOWER and outside, which gives a higher launch and a higher moment of inertia. hence, the stronger lofts.

        • I’m thinking it’s simply a way to make the iron a little more forgiving on mishits so that the stronger lofts don’t punish you as much.

          Make the sweet spot a bit bigger and suddenly missing the mark on a stronger loft may not be the low burner that it normally would. Probably also helps with the longer shaft lengths that many irons have now, too.

  11. They look great. I was praying that they made these in the same finish as the G25 irons. If that were the case then it’d be a no brainer for me. I know that shouldn’t be a make or break issue but i thought they’d maybe step out on a limb and go for it. Even still, the last 3 S models have basically been the same club. Will be interesting to see if there is any vast improvement with this model, especially since it took them an especially long time to release it.

  12. Nice clean look with stronger lofts. I cannot wait until November to get these babies in my Latitude! It looks like I’ll be playing right on through the WV winter now.

  13. FINALLY!!! I have been waiting on this for months. I have literally been checking the internet everyday for the past weeks only to be disappointed every day with wild guesses and inaccurate renderings. Well, not anymore! :)

    4-PW possibly w/Pxi’s – +1″, White Dot, New Decade Mid-Size Grips. :)

    • Can someone explain the difference between the shafts these are rumored to come in? I have G15’s now with the standard ping shafts and I was hoping to get fitted for the S55’s. Id just like to have some knowledge when I go in for a fitting.