Ping i20 Driver Review
Editor Review by Todd Hibbert-
Honestly, I’ve never really been a Ping driver guy. Not that I disliked Ping’s products — I actually wanted a few in the past. But in the end, I was just never moved enough to commit to buying and bagging one of their drivers. I came close with the very good Rapture V2. But comparing it to my then 9015D, the V2 couldn’t beat it on the launch monitor. And I didn’t see the sneaky long rollout I was getting with the 9015D. Same with the G15: similar launch monitor numbers, but real world I was a bit further from the pin. Not … quite … there…
Enter the i20. Where the G20 head had more “junk in the trunk” than I prefer, the i20 looks just right to me. I do like the flat black paint. It seems durable, too, as a friend’s son caught one on the margin of the face/paint for a popup when I let him try the driver with no resulting visible chipping. (Sometimes that shows up down the road, we’ll see). I’d prefer to not have the half-moon alignment aid on top, but it blends in for the most part. Paint & alignment aids don’t affect performance, anyway.
I requested the Graphite Design Tour AD-DI shaft for a few reasons. Richard and others had talked this shaft up for quite some time now. Hearing higher launch and knowing about the low spin characteristics of the i20, I felt the synergy would work.
Sound and feel with the i20 is nothing short of fantastic. I’m always referring back to my favorite S&F driver, the Tour issue R510TP “Titanium on the toe” for comparison. The 510s had weight ports, remember, but many tour heads ended up with some rat glue in them to recreate the sound/feel that had become preferred then.The i20 gets as close as any to that solid, muted thwack! sound I prefer. Ping nailed it here (hear?). Spot on.
Launch is a bit low compared to the 9015D, lower compared to the R11TP & MachSpeed Black, and much lower compared to RBZ Tour. This head is spec’d at 9.5*, compared to 9* or 9.5* in the others. This makes sense, because…
The i20 driver is a low spin monster!
I’m a higher spin player, always looking for help with lowering my spin. Why? For me, I think it’s because I’m not a great ball-striker. More glancing blow, more spin. For many here, it’s that plus added swingspeed. More speed, more spin. Whatever the cause, the i20 fixes it. Period. So much so that many will be able to go up in loft with good results. For me, the i20/AD DI knocked my spin down by about 10% over the 9015D/Altus — 300 rpm.
I need more on course to fully gauge performance. I’m hitting low draw rockets with this driver, which are appropriate for my swing at this time. I played a hit ‘n giggle (scramble) the other day using only a 90* to 90* swing — working on a feel — and I was out there 240/250 all day (2nd place). Well past my usual yardages with that drill. The ball really jumps off the face of the i20.
This is my first dance with the AD DI, and it is as advertised: higher launch/lower spin. The DI-6S (stiff) has a bit more waggle in the tip than I’m used to and may not suit everyone. If you like a shaft with a loady feel, this is it for you. Ping’s own TFC 707D has less of that tip waggle feel with similar low spin and a bit lower launch — good shaft. I might investigate the Kiyoshi as well: the guys at Redstone Golf Club have been talking up that shaft for months.
Short Par 5 into a 25 mph wind that was maybe 15 degrees from being directly into us. I neck a poor one left and hand the i20 to my buddy Tom to try. Tom’s swing was grooved all day, and he can put it out there 280-290 when he’s on & not over-spinning it. He caught it flush with just a slight bit of fade for the dogleg right and his drive held a straight low line into the hard, crossing wind ending up 270 yards from the tee. That ball was a good 15+ paces past his Ping Rapture V2/Blueboard drive he’d powdered out there just before.
“Wow. I wasn’t expecting that” he said with wide eyes.
Unexpected goodness, Tom … unexpected goodness.