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Ping i25 Driver, Fairway Woods and Hybrids

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i25 Driver

Ping’s new i25 driver has a center of gravity that is more forward than the company’s G25 driver to help golfers reduce spin on their tee shots. But discussion about the i25’s engineering feats will likely take a backseat to a more obvious change to the new club: black racing stripes that run from the top of the driver’s face to the back of its crown to help golfers set up square to their target line.

Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the i25 lineup in the forums.

Marty Jertson, director of product development for Ping, said it took the company three years to perfect the racing stripes because of the difficulty of placing straight lines on a club’s curved crown surface.

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According to Jertson, average golfers use a driver with a lie angle of about 58 degrees. But when they place their drivers in the address position behind the ball, their lie angle measures about 45 degrees. That’s why if you look at the racing stripes in most orientations other than the setup position, they don’t look straight. But they look perfectly straight at address thanks to the special tooling Ping created to stamp the stripe on the head and verify its proper placement.

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The i25 driver is not as forgiving as the company’s G25—its heel-to-toe moment of inertia is about 4700 g-cm2, while the G25 has an MOI of about 5500— mostly because of the i25’s shorter profile from front to back. But engineers were able to make a significant improvement in the top-to-bottom MOI of the i25; it’s 8 percent higher than its predecessor, the i20 driver. That creates more consistent spin rates on shots struck both above and below the sweet spot, leading to longer drives. The i25 also has 15 grams of tungsten weighting positioned on the rear portion of its sole, helping boost heel-to-toe MOI by 1 percent over the i20.

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Like Ping’s G25 and Anser drivers, the i25 is equipped with Ping’s Trajectory Tuning technology, the company’s slim, lightweight adjustable hosel that allows golfers to raise or lower a driver’s stock loft by 0.5 degrees. The driver is available in lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5, each with a 460-cubic-centimeter head that weighs 207 grams.

The stock shaft is Ping’s new PWR (performance, weighting, responsiveness) family, which is available in three different weights: 55, 65 and 75 grams. Each shaft has a specific balance point that keeps the swing weight of the club the same regardless of what shaft weight golfers choose. For example, an i25 driver built with a PWR 55-gram shaft will have a lighter total weight than one built with a PWR 65-gram shaft. But the lower balance point of the PWR 55-gram shaft allows both clubs to have the same swing weight.

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The stock shafts include: PWR 55 (R and S flexes), PWR 65 (R, S, Tour S and Tour XS) and PWR 75 (S, Tour S, Tour XS). The stock shaft length is 45.25 inches.

i25 Fairway Woods

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Like the i25 driver, the i25 fairway woods have a center of gravity that is more forward than the G25 models. That decreases the amount of spin the fairway woods produce, leading to a lower launch and flatter overall trajectory.

While the i25 fairway woods are made from the same 17-4 stainless steel as their predecessors, they offer faster ball speeds thanks their thinner and slightly taller faces. The saved weight from their faces, as well as their bodies, also gives the i25 fairway woods a 7 percent improvement in MOI over the i20 fairway woods.

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Like the i25 driver, the fairway woods have Ping’s patented racing stripes on their crowns, tungsten weighting on the rear portion of the soles and adjustable hosels. They’re available in three different lofts, S3W (14 degrees), 3W (15 degrees) and 5W (18 degrees), and offer the same PWR shaft options as the i25 driver.

i25 Hybrids

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The i25 hybrids are designed to be the most versatile hybrids the company has ever created thanks to their more compact overall shape and reduced bulge and roll.

According to Jertson, reducing the bulge and roll, or the curvature of the faces of the hybrids, gives golfers more control over their trajectory. For example, on a knockdown shot, Jertson said the 20-inch roll on the i25 hybrid will deliver less loft at impact than the 14-inch roll on the G25 hybrid, resulting in the desired lower-launching shot.

Like the i20 hybrids, the new models are cast from 17-4 stainless steel. But they have a more-forward hosel axis, adding offset to the clubs that will help golfers create a higher launch angle. For that reason, the lofts of the hybrids were strengthened one degree from their predecessors to 17, 19 and 22 degrees. A 26-degree hybrid has also been added to the lineup, and both it and the 22-degree model have a center of gravity that is positioned closer to their faces to help flatten their trajectories.

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While the hybrids do not feature the racing stripe that is on the crown of the i25 driver and fairway woods, they have a straighter leading edge and a more squared off toe that will help golfers with their alignment.

The stock shafts for the i25 hybrids include a PWR 80 (R, S and Tour S) and PWR 90 (S, Tour S and Tour XS), which are designed to create the same swingweight regardless of what weight or flex is chosen.

Ping’s i25 driver ($399), fairway woods ($249) and hybrids ($219) are currently available for pre-order, and will hit stores in mid-February.

 

Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the i25 lineup in the forums.

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45 Comments

  1. Geoffrey1992

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  2. Jim

    Jun 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I game the i25 with motore speeder 7.2 tour spec x flex and it is ridiculous . I also have that shaft in a g25 15 3 wood again disgusting long low flat bombs that run with the driver and the ability of low and long or high and long with the 3 wood im impressed

  3. JEFF

    May 16, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Demo day- My ANSER 9.5 Ahina 70 X vs i25 9.5 TS = ANSER wins by a lot!

  4. michael

    May 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I’m glad the i20 is still available for custom ordering. I really don’t like the “racing stripe” on the i25.

  5. Joel

    May 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I tried the i25 on the range at my club and loved it. When you hit it on the screws the ball explodes of the club. I was hitting pines at the end of the range on the fly. Look, feel, and sound was amazing.

  6. Hamish

    Mar 15, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I am ‘Bombing’ the i25 Driver 9.5 / 75 Tour Stiff.
    I am 105mph, fast tempo. The shaft is approx 45 3/8, D2, 264cpm.
    The club feels firm and stable but not boardy. I was going to get the stiff but the tour stiff was a better fit. I bombed some 300+ downwind today. Ha! traded the block solid, low launching adams xtd 10.5 and never looked back!…
    PING i25 all the way! their internal weighting MOI is better and the club feels more stable on off center hits. Ping are quality, not just the latest marketing design of others. Trade your R1 for the i25

    • Hamish

      Mar 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      I re-shafted to a Fijikura F1 65x @ 45.5 / D5 / 271cpm N1…and gained another 10yards and higher launch. Its a Monster Looong.
      Don’t listen to the naysayers PERIOD! get this combo

  7. JEFF SMITH

    Mar 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Ping has decided to go 100% china. Super cheap shafts and basically the same club as last year including the i25 irons. They make some really neet hats to with big dumb stripes….. looks like something you would win at a carnival!

    • Cliff

      Mar 6, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Until a few months ago I played I20 irons and G25 driver, 3 wood and hybrid. I am an 8 handicap with a driver swing speed of between 94 and 98mph average so I am by no means a big hitter with most of my drives carrying around 230 and running out around 240-250. Anyway two months ago I changed my driver, 3 wood and hybrid to Titleist 913D2 driver with stock 72 stiff whiteboard shaft, then 17 and 21 degree 913 hybrids with stiff shafts (no 3 wood now). Titleist goes both straighter and around 5 to 10 yards further carry and more roll out in each club. I love my I20 irons with standard regular CFS shaft however, my swing speed has gradually improved this past year. I tested in Florida last month on the Swing monitor the new irons and also the new driver against existing. The I25 irons with same CFS regular shaft went almost exactly the same distance, trajectory, spin rates so I can see the clubs have not changed other than looks and maybe tiny not noticeable improvements so if you have I20’s and you like them then don’t waste money on the new ones as they will not better your game. The driver however really did ping off the face and was slightly longer than my Titleist however the strike has to be very sweet in the middle and it didn’t feel so forgiving as the Titleist but it is definitely better than the G25 especially distance wise. I would recommend the I25 driver and I do like the “Naff” stripes but I wont buy it as my 913D2 is very similar and only a few months old.I have actually last week now upgraded my irons to Ping S55 with Project X 5.5 shafts and these are a different gravy altogether. lovely trajectory and extra distance on the range but really have to hit them in the middle so I just hope I am consistent enough and can get on with them in actual play otherwise they will be on ebay and my I20’s back in the bag! Hope this exhaustive message hasn’t bored anyone too much and may be of some help!

    • SBoss

      Apr 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Jeff, You don’t know what your talking about. My new Ping S55 irons are simply the best I’ve ever hit and the I25 irons are fantastic as well. I hit the XS I25 Driver and crushed it, hitting it 10-yards beyond my Amp Cell Pro, which is plenty long. I’m not as straight with the I25 driver so I need to find the right shaft before I buy it.

      I’m checking out the I25 19 degree this weekend and I’ll be shocked if it isn’t a great club. Ping makes quality equipment and their latest releases are a grand slam. I don’t care if they make them in China, Brazil, Nigeria, or East Bumble. I care about the quality of the equipment and it’s the best I’ve experienced in my 30+ years of playing golf.

      If your going to write a review, it might be a good idea to really know the equipment. And it really doesn’t matter where its made if it does a tremendous job and lasts.

  8. killerbgolfer

    Feb 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    How does the i25 driver compare to the Anser driver I’m currently playing? Which would be longer?

    • robert

      Sep 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      The i25 is longer! I have both and also the G25, and the old Rapture V2 driver, and the i25 is longer.
      It is always best you try different shafts and see which one fits you better.

  9. Ben

    Feb 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Forgive me if this is a dumb question but Golf magazine says the i25 driver face angle is slightly open. Anyone know if this is true? With those racing stripes as a aiming guide this seems odd to have an open face. Thanks

    • Joe Golfer

      Mar 16, 2014 at 1:14 am

      That’s a good point. If one changes the face angle slightly using the adjustable hosel, I wonder if that changes the appearance of the lines on top of the clubhead?

  10. Brian

    Jan 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I took a picture of the i25 driver so people could see how subtle they look in my fitting bay.

    http://pic.twitter.com/OiXtXlm7Lw

  11. Brian Cutler

    Jan 18, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I hit the i25 lineup this week and I fell in love. I expected I would, but the line exceeded my expectations.

    I gained 3 mph of ball speed on a 7 iron vs my i10. I also raised my low launch and lowered my high spin.

    I was blown away by the driver and my improvement in ball speed. I didn’t have the chance to hit the shaft that I will end up with, and once I get the final product it will assuredly give me a few more yards.

    My first ball with the driver was hit towards the toe, however it beat my best ball speed on existing driver.

    My existing driver was extensively custom fit in the fall. I assure you my G25 10.5+ Aldila Rip’d NV X 1/2” tip stiff was maximized for my game. My best ball speed on that driver is 170. I recall once seeing Tiger at 175 mph and have always hoped to get there. The G25 added 4 mph over my previous i20.

    So my first swing with i25 pwr 75 s shaft (I play an X with extra tip trimming) was 170.1 mph of ball speed. I look to the PING rep and tell him I missed it, and there’s more. I hit the next one a little better and get 173 out of it, then 175, then 177, 178, 178, 175…. I am in love! The spin rate was in line with my G25, and once I get my upgraded shaft I believe I will be hitting it 14-18 yards longer. Did I say I was in love?

    Also, I believe this stock offering is going to be a big hit. Anyone on plane under 100 mph clubhead speed can play the stock shaft. Players who come over the top and have excessively high spin might benefit from upgraded low spin shaft options. In my case I average 117 mph club speed and I along with liking the feel I gain confidence in playing an Aldila X shaft, often tip trimmed. As always though I was thoroughly impressed with the stock shaft.

  12. Jeff Smith

    Jan 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

    It will be tough to leave my anser driver and g25 fairways…….a racing stripe really?

  13. MJ

    Jan 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    If it helps me line up better I’m all for it! I want to know I am aimed where I think I’m aimed. I’ll try em. I know it will hit well. Ping makes quality stuff!

  14. Skippy

    Jan 4, 2014 at 2:46 am

    The i25 driver and woods are totally underwhelming. The driver is basically an adjustable i20 driver(not a bad thing), but with stupid looking racing stripes. The i25 woods and hybrids are a step backwards IMO.

    I’d be surprised if Ping sells even a 1/10 the amount of I25 as the G25.

    • Psimmons

      Feb 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Disagree. I compared the i25 side by side with the Covert 2.0, TM SLDR, and Big Bertha Alpha. The i25 was, by far, the best of the bunch. Most solid, best feel, best look at setup. You name it. It was at least 15 yds longer with 3-5mph better clubhead speed than any of the others. I wanted to like the others better because, quite frankly, I already purchased the Covert and Big Bertha and have not received them yet. I will be listing them both for sale immediately on Ebay and flip them for an i25 with the stock tour x-stiff. My clubhead speed ranged 117-121 and it flat out felt better. Covert and alpa feel spongy in comparison. I’m not a fanboy loyal to any brand. I game 4 different brands in my bag. This club is fantastic. The flat black paint scheme is great. Can’t say enough good about it. I wish I was wrong because it would save me a ton of dough, but I’m not. Maybe not for everyone, but if you carry substantial clubhead speed, this one is the one.

      • Psimmons

        Feb 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm

        Sorry, I said clubhead speed when I meant to say ball speed at the beginning of my post.

  15. Joe Golfer

    Jan 4, 2014 at 12:30 am

    It seems that most folks are not fond of the “racing stripes”.
    I gotta be honest. I sort of like them.
    But I’m just a guy who gets out a few times per month, shoots between 88-92 on most days.
    If it was some wild color, like orange or yellow, it would look terrible (Taylor Made). Or if the head was vivid red, then ugh (Nike).
    But the stripe seems to be a very muted color, allowing the clubhead to still look classy.
    Of course, if sales are poor, then those who dislike the stripes need only wait until the next model comes out.
    I’d like to see a bit more variety in the stock shafts that Ping offers than what they’ve been doing lately, especially with regard to lowering the torque values of their stock shafts and “no cost upgrade” alternatives. While I like their idea of using a high balance point shaft to keep the swingweight reasonable while using slightly heavier clubhead weights, I just don’t think the current shaft options are that great.

  16. cmasty

    Jan 3, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    The i25 Drivers and fairways are going to flop. The racing stripe flies in the face of ping’s traditional, loyal customer.

    The i25 irons on the other hand will do fairly well, to the extent that a ‘sequel’ type club can do well.

    • Brian Cutler

      Jan 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      The racing stripe is very subdued when it’s in your hand. I hated it at first in the pics. It grew on me instantly when I hit it.

    • Psimmons

      Feb 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Nope, wrong. The driver will NOT fail, trust me. Ping’s traditional, loyal customer will appreciate quality.

    • SBoss

      Apr 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      It’s not “flopping”…it’s a huge hit. I always say that it’s best to actually hit clubs before you make predictions. Because if a club is truly great, it could be pink with blue polka dots and it would sell like crazy. Smart players want performance.
      BTW, the racing stripes look great in person.

      • AC930

        Jun 7, 2014 at 12:38 am

        I didn’t picture myself liking the racing stripe. After all, the golf swing is circular motion. It is great though once I tried it… I need that stripe. There are a lot of great drivers out there but this I25 is going a mile for me – LONG. Straight into a strong wind it is amazing – the ball ignores the wind and flies straight. Thanks Ping!

  17. Mike

    Jan 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Go faster stripes, heh. What the heck? TM left graphics out in recent models so not sure why ping need to jump on the bandwagon now. The hybrid is still a classic club though but not too much different to the to i20.

  18. Matt

    Jan 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    LOL… Thought the stripe on top was a misprint/weird shadow until I saw the FW pics.

  19. LorenRobertsFan

    Jan 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    The I25/G25 face picture shows a non-adjustable driver for the G25.. Wrong label? It looks like an I20

    • John

      Jan 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      That means it’s doing its job. The hosel on the g25 and I25 is supposed to blend into the head like that. If you look at all the pics, you can see the plus symbol on some of them where you adjust.

      • LorenRobertsFan

        Jan 3, 2014 at 12:13 am

        They removed the pic but it was a long glued hosel. No big deal

  20. markb

    Jan 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    While I probably won’t try the i25 since I don’t see any reason why I should expect to see improvement over the g25, I like the muted racing stripe and I think it will aid set up alignment. I’ve tried painting alignment stripes on driver heads and it’s a two man job. First the users has to hold the club and hit it until he thinks he’s got the head correctly opened or closed to produce straight flight, then the 2nd guy has to lay down tape in a line that looks perpendicular to the eye of the guy still gripping the club, nudging the line this way and that around the curvature of the back. It’s tricky.

  21. jc

    Jan 2, 2014 at 11:37 am

    hit the g series AND the Anser series before you jump into the I series.
    A ping rep told me that Bubba and Hunter use the G series because it is more forgiving than the others.

  22. TJ

    Jan 2, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I really hope that the Rapture 3 wood does not have the racing stripe. I guess nothing a little matte black paint can’t fix.

  23. joro

    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Those designers must be great if it took them 3 years to figure how to make a straight line for the “racing stripes”, and why did the figure that would help. A straight back line promotes an over the top swing.

    • Psimmons

      Feb 11, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Graphics……TM put them on top, now everybody wants to. Simple as that.

  24. Come on

    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:34 am

    3 years to perfect painted stripes? Seems like something that could be done in a couple weeks by some intelligent fellows. Even by trial and error an auto body shop couldn’t take more than a couple months. I don’t think throwing out there that it took you 3 years to perfect stripes is something to be proud of.

    And I love how every advancement whether it’s MOI or forward CG is always about more distance, even if the primary purpose is accuracy or consistency. Heck, if you want more consistent distance learn to hit the sweet spot more often. Every 1 mph of swing speed increase is 2-3 yards gained… work on your technique and fitness and you’ll be able to hit that old driver in the closet farther and more consistent than any of these new clubs.

  25. GJR

    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I’ll say it..I’m actually interested in this BECAUSE of the racing stripe. I’ve never broken 80, but I almost never shoot above 90 either. One of my biggest issues is alignment. This looks like something that would be perfect for someone like me that struggles to get their body and club aligned correctly. Two years ago I narrowly chose the G20 over the i20 driver and I absolutely love my G20. It’s long and forgiving for me and I love the feel of it at impact. This new i25 has me curious and I’m sure I’ll be giving it a long look and multiple comparisons to my G20.

    • Fred

      Jan 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      GJR, what on earth are you doing here on WRX if you’ve never broken 80? From what I’ve discerned in my time here, everyone on this site is at least scratch or better. That’s a serious load of courage to admit that here, man. Bravo.
      Perhaps, someday you’ll get good enough to complain that you can’t get the Tour-only gear that your game demands.

      • GJR

        Jan 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

        Hey Fred,

        LOL.

        Now to be fair, I’ve only been playing golf for 5 years. I took it up when I turned 30 after playing baseball for 25 years so I’m still learning how to perfect my own swing and iron out a lot of rough edges. We can’t all be scratch golfers. 99% of us shoot 95-110 every time out. There is no way that only the 1% are posting around here. Besides, while I’d love to be a scratch golfer some day, I’d settle for just being the best guy in my foursome consistently. Happy New Year Fred.

      • Geoffrey Alter

        Jan 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

        That is very funny… You would think by most posts that everyone is that good. I myself play the I20, and I absolutely love it. I find it to be forgiving and beautiful to look at. Don’t see the need to upgrade for adjustability. I am not a scratch player, but do break 80. I also get annoyed by the paint of golfing testosterone displayed here from time to time. I find it mildly amusing as well. GJR, keep playing, learning and enjoying. I actually like to be the worst player in my group. A good way to learn. As a 5, I usually fall somewhere in the middle. And I don’t have any tour issue clubs… Although, I do find it a benefit to have my clubs fitted, and I do think getting the correct after market shaft is important. But you don’t need to spend 400 on a shaft to find improvement.

        • GJR

          Jan 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

          Funny you mention the $400 shaft, Geoff. I was at my local big box golf retailer last week and was hitting the Titleist 913D2 9.5 with three premium shafts – a Blue Mitsubishi, a Black Mitsubishi, and some black and green Aldila shaft. All three of them were on average, 15 yards shorter vs the Ping Answer 9.5 with the stock stiff shaft. I realize I should be hitting the same club face with all shaft options but I was expecting the Titleist driver to be longer because of the better shafts.

          • robert

            Sep 20, 2014 at 9:38 pm

            Ping has the best stock shafts. I have tried a few of the premium shafts.

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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