Ping i20 Iron Review

by   |   May 19, 2012
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Ping i20 Iron Review GolfWRX
Performance
Playability
Feel/Sound

Summary: This is a hit from Ping! Technology and a quality construction makes these an Editors' choice.

4.5

Easy to hit!


By Editor Todd Hibbert

GolfWRX was invited to test drive Ping’s i20 irons in late 2011, and after hitting them I told the design team they had a decided winner here.

An iron that will compete with the best cavity-backs in the game in design, feel, and performance.

Tour proven these heads are packed with as much technology engineers can add to an iron that still looks like a players type package.

An iron to compete with the last set of irons I had purchased & bagged — the 2008 AP2s.

In fact, I was naively wondering if Ping was going to have the production capacity to meet the increased demand I was sure would meet Ping upon the release of the i20 irons ( of course they do. )

It kept rolling through my head, though: you guys will need extra shifts to meet demand … have to take on more help … might have to re-open a closed factory …

You’re gonna need a bigger boat!

Such was my resolve after our initial testing.

Now it’s time to do some real world testing of the i20 irons — on my courses, in all conditions, with production samples. I’ve always found the proof is in bagging a set of irons and getting 15-20 rounds in with them to see how they perform over time with good & bad swig days, on multiple types of courses. Too often in the past I’ve had an intense honeymoon phase with irons that quickly, disappointingly wanes into indifference after a few weeks. Perhaps it just takes me a little longer to get to the heart of the matter. Perhaps I need to dot all the “i”s and cross all the “t”s. Lets call it thorough. Consider this my first installment in a rolling Editor Review of Ping’s new i20 irons ….. I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. Posted Image

ping i20 irons

A high-density tungsten toe weight provides forgiveness across the face for accurate results and a high-launch, low-spin trajectory.

And so it begins…

The i20s arrive with cute little protective socks on each one ( that are actually quite functional ),
and a pink tag letting me know a real person built my irons and checked the specs to ensure they matched my requirements.
Kind of like my own personal Ping elf.

Sky blue day today with highs around 50 gave me my first chance to hit the new i20s. I head over to Memorial Park Golf Course because it’s close.

I warm up with wedges and get to it. Off the bat I notice the head weight a bit more than usual. Coming from 130 gram Dynamic Golds to these 109 gram CFS shafts, I’m dropping a decent chunk of cut shaft weight. Now I ordered my i20s to swingweight at my usual D3, which may be a point or two too high if trying to match the feel of a D3 with DGX100s.

So I’d recommend you consider this, and maybe drop your swingweight spec. by a point or two, if you’re trying to match in the hand feel. Word to the wise. Does it make a big difference to me? No. We’re only talking 2/3 nickels worth of weight here.

ping i 20

A vertical Custom Tuning Port (CTP) positions the CG for optimizing launch conditions. Tungsten toe weighting elevates forgiveness.

So I’m hitting off the mats — Memo only has mats — and I’m liking the i20s fine. Feel/sound is as remembered. Loving them? Nope. Why? They’re new irons to me, with new shafts. They feel different than what I’m used to. Of course they do, they’re supposed to because they are different. Plus, I’m hitting off mats.

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Stabilizing bars and a thicker face ensure distance control and a solid feel. A ferrule offers a clean, high-performance look.

Range mats are no place to judge iron performance, imo. Mats don’t allow an iron to do what it does naturally, which is deflect down into the ground off impact. You don’t get the “down” part. And mats hurt over time. I know personally that I subconsciously alter my swing if/when I have a long irons session on a mat. My attack gets shallower — helps minimize the impact of beating a rod with a metal object on the end of it into an unforgiving surface repeatedly.

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The long irons are slightly larger, high launching, more forgiving, and have more offset. The smaller short irons feature less offset and provide exceptional control.

But this is the thing with new irons. For many of us they’re not going to be perfect out of the box. You have unfamiliar clubs in your hands. It takes time to adjust to the differences of your new dance partner. For some it’s just not an issue. For me, it takes a handful of range sessions and a handful of rounds to stop being conscious of my new “different feeling” irons and just point & shoot. Too many times I see guys with new irons one week that they traded in for something different a month later: “Ahh, they just didn’t suit me,” … “Liked them in the store, but awful on the course,” … “Couldn’t hit a fade/draw/high/low/stinger/knuckler with ‘em.” Well give it more than a couple of weeks, for crying out loud.

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Even though I’m purposefully down at the end of the range, a few folks around me are ohh’ing and ahh’ing about the i20s. I let a number of guys try them, then I go through my usual routine with new irons. I hit 10 or so balls with each iron, PW up to the 3-iron. They all get to get dirty. Posted Image I try not to judge much other than feel … I’ll consider the rest further down the road. ( By the way, feel is very good with these. )

ping golf 2013

Here are comparison Photos of the 2013 G25, the Anser Forged and the Ping i20′s

ping golf irons g25

From left to right… Ping G25, Anser Forged and Ping i20

One thing I’ve learned over the years trying/testing/reviewing irons is you just have to wait a while before making up your mind. Or as Diana Ross And The Supremes said, You Can’t Hurry Love.

Click here to go to the original thread in the forums

 

Review by editor George (beruo)

Pros: Feel, feel and feel. Performance and looks are awesome to

Cons: You can see the back of the sole from address on the 3 and 4 iron

Bottom Line: This is a hit from Ping! At first glance, the i20 irons are an obvious departure from the i-lines of the past. The most obvious of these changes are the use of the vertical custom tuning port (CTP) and stabilization bars in the cavity; carryovers from PING’s S56s.

Just a few short days after PING announced the G20 irons, interest immediately shifted over to what the i20s might hold. With nothing more than a low-quality TiVo’d screen capture of a wedge on a desk and lots of hearsay, WRXers speculated on what PING had up their sleeves. Last month PING had a few of us come down to put the rumors to rest and let us know exactly what we had to look forward to. And I gotta tell you, the buzz was warranted. Now, because of the interest generated on this site, PING is letting GolfWRX showcase the i20 lineup!

At first glance, the i20 irons are an obvious departure from the i-lines of the past. The most obvious of these changes are the use of the vertical custom tuning port (CTP) and stabilization bars in the cavity; carryovers from PING’s S56s. The stabilization bars help improve feel along with a thicker face in the impact area, while the vertical CTP construction allows for a lower center of gravity and different options for weight positioning.

Another key feature to the design of the i20s is PING’s blended set concept. As was the case with the i15s, the i20s are noticeably longer heel to toe in the long irons, gradually decreasing in size to the wedges. This time around, PING made the top rail thicker in the long irons transitioning toward a thinner topline in the wedges, dramatically increasing the MOI where golfers need it most.

Great discussion thread in the forums about the Ping i20 irons

Along with the tungsten weighting in the toe, these three features increase the MOI across the horizontal axis by about 3% throughout the set, and between 4% (PW) and 12% (3iron) more vertical axis forgiveness over the i15 irons. Given the greater headweight and smaller size that irons have compared to drivers, that increase is substantial. Basically, the i20 irons provide golfers a pitching wedge that has almost the same workability as the S56s with a 3 iron that’s even easier to hit than the i15 counterpart.

New to the i20s is the variable cavity pull construction. Here, PING moved the center of gravity down and toward the front in the wedges to give players a more piercing trajectory, progressively pulling the COG back to elevate ball flight in the long irons. This feature makes the clubs more user friendly while maintaining workable distance control throughout the set, prioritizing accuracy in the short irons and forgiveness in the long irons.

The last key design change in the latest i-iron, is the decreased moment of inertia around the shaft axis. In keeping with the varying nature of the blended set design and the cavity pull construction, PING decreased the axis MOI in the i20s by 14% in the 3 iron and 22% in the pitching wedge over the i15 irons (with the middling 7 iron coming in with a 20% decrease). This makes it easier for golfers to manipulate the club through rotation, working the ball left or right as needed, while not losing forgiveness off mishits.

To accommodate all these new features, the differences in how they’ll cause the ball to react, and the adjustments that golfers may make, PING adjusted the sole design so that turf interaction wouldn’t detract from the clubs’ utility. Changes include more material in the heel to decrease digging, more bounce, a slightly blunted leading edge, and a little trailing edge relief. These changes were needed because when the lower the center of gravity is placed, the more the clubhead wants to deflect down into the ground when impacting the ball (which is why you don’t take divots on practice swings).

In standard PING fashion, the i20 irons will be available both lefty and righty in 3-9, PW, UW, SW, and LW configurations. The standard shaft offering will be PING’s proprietary CFS shaft.

For those new to this shaft, it’s based on the ZZ65, but has been expanded from the original hard stiff flex. One of the characteristics that made the ZZ65 unique was the thicker tip section, which reduced tip action at impact and flutter immediately after. In the Stiff flexed CFS, PING extended the tip by an inch to bring the stiffness to the current industry standard. Short irons get slightly less tip reinforcement to help with feel. The X-flex CFS shafts have a tip that is 1″ shorter and 5 grams heavier, while Regular and Soft Regular CFS shafts have no tip reinforcement to help activate the tip.

I am REALLY looking forward to these irons. My impressions were…very favorable.

Great discussion thread in the forums about the Ping i20 irons

2012 PING i20 Irons with Mike Nicolette

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17 Comments

  1. sammy

    April 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    How would these compare to the original ping anser forged irons? Thanks for any replies…

  2. Mario

    April 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Got some great advice on this forum in the past so wanted to post my 2 cents: Recently got fitted for a set of ping i20′s and have used them now for about a month and have been very impressed. I was gaming a set of adams idea with hybrids before but outgrew them as my game improved. Tried a bunch of other options including Mizuon JPX, Rocketbladez, Ping g20, and Adams CMB. Nothing could compete with the feel, workability and overall performance of these clubs. They are feel great with a solid hit and are surprisingly forgiving. The stock CFS shaft (I got fit it in stiff) is also solid. I ended up getting fitted for orange dot, -1/4″. I have always had a bit of an issue with hooking the ball and these clubs have completely eliminated that issue. If anything, I hit a nice solid straight shot with workable draw or fade. At any rate, am loving these clubs and look forward to gaming them this season.

  3. Wayne #2

    March 15, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Stuart, I”m making a similar decision and confronting similar questions. I am looking to replace my long time Ping i3+ irons and have been trying the Titleist AP1, the JPX 825 (the 825 Pro version is not available in LH), and the G25, all good clubs. I am a 16 index and not confident as to which level of a Game Improvement club I should be getting. I had it narrowed to the 825s and the AP1 until I tried the i20s today. I had not tried them because I thought they were too much of a “Better Player” club but I found them more solid and more forgiving than my i3+ irons plus they were consistently longer and just as forgiving as the other new candidates. I believe my high 16 index is caused more by my inconsistent chipping than ball striking iron play so maybe that is why the i20 worked for me. I would think with your 13.5 index they would be plenty forgiving and may offer more room to improve and work the ball. I have pretty much made my decision but if I had not tried the i20s I would be going down the 825 path. I am going to hit the i20s a few more times before pulling the trigger just to be sure. The Mizuno MP59 might be a possibility for you too.

    • Stuart

      March 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you, Wayne. It sounds like we have similar games. My chipping definitely could use some improvement. I think I am going to pull the trigger on the i20s this weekend. They have the added benefit of allowing me to stay with Pings, so I am familiar with the feel etc. and can even switch in a G20 4 iron for an i20 4 iron if I want to experiment a bit with a mixed set. I also like that they have a slightly lighter standard shaft than the Mizunos (99g vs 113g), which is the same that I am currently playing with. The fact that they cost $100 less doesn’t hurt either. I have heard conflicting opinions on which irons are more forgiving (825 Pros or i20s), so I am going to assume they are similar enough that it won’t make a difference. I actually found that I made better contact with both of these irons than my current “game improvement” G20s, and they should be easier to hit out of the rough (where I spend too much time as it is). Good luck!

  4. Stuart

    March 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I am trying to decide between the Ping i20s and the Mizuno JPX 825 Pros. I like both of them more than my current Ping G20s, which have a huge sole, and am making better contact with the ball more consistently with both of irons. Since I am only a 13.5 index, I think I should get the irons that are more forgiving as I will likely be happier with them in the long run (and on the course rather than the range). Which irons do you think would be more forgiving the i20s or the 825 Pros?

  5. Dave

    December 3, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Just purchased a i20 used set for 375. Putting extensions in for 1/2 inch height and new Winn grips. Good choice?

  6. spuddy09

    December 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I got fitted at a Ping studio in Florida, yesterday. I hit numerous shots with the i20 7 iron using different shaft combos. I then compared these to my current 7 iron, a TM R7 TP with Project X 6.0 shaft. The results were unbelievable! My average carry distance increased from 160yds to 182yds! The dispersion also narrowed.
    I didn’t see a massive increase in distance with the Ping Anser 9.5 Driver, but the dispersion was so much better than my current Driver, that I ordered both the irons and the Driver. The fitting was performed using a Trackman. I have a Flightscope X2 at home and he stats were comparable with my old setup. I can’t wait to take gese babes to the course!

  7. killerbgolfer

    November 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve gone through a ton of irons the last few years. Titleist 755, AP1, AP2, PING i10, i15, G15, some callaway, and a srixon. These are the best hands down. Great feel for a cast club, and forgiveness even though they don’t set up huge behind the ball. I haven’t noticed any more length, but the dispersion is definitely tighter. As always, get fitted.

  8. Anchor44

    September 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I typically buy new irons every couple of years and have had at least one set of everything except Titleist and Nike. I feel Titleist may be for someone better than a 10 handicap and since Nike signed Michael Vick I won’t even hit a Nike ball.

    I recently bought ping I20s and they are the best irons I have EVER hit. I’m so impressed with them I’ve also bought the 3 wood and 3 hybrid I20. I don’t find them to be any longer than other irons but my ball striking and accuracy are much better.
    I don’t see myself getting rid of these irons for a loooong time.

  9. Chris

    August 26, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Very solid. Switched from years of playing S59 w/ ZZ shaft. Tried the S56, but didn’t feel near as solid as the old sticks. Got the i20′s with CFS hard stepped once, and they are SOLID.

  10. Thor

    August 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    To Dario:
    That was one of my intial concern. I measure the whole club to be 412 grams compared to my old ISI-K at 428 grams. However they are both rated D0 in Swingweight. The strange thing is that when I weight it on my finger the new I20 seems to have equibrium point half a centimeter lower than my old ISI-K and the length of the club in question is definately the same. I think though that the I20 swings a little faster for me I feel but lesser offset and higher ball flight which makes the direction and distance quite similar except that the ball is stopping in a much more reliable way – that is quicker, allows for aiming more for the flag itself rather than in front of it with more roll on the ball for greater dispersion to the shot you had in your mind.

  11. Thor

    August 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I have been playing Ping ISI-K for 16 years. I have bought several new iron sets but I have always felt that I had to return to my old set of irons. I just bought the new I20 irons and it is remarkable how similar it feels to my old ISI-K. I felt the similarity in the golfstore and went on the course with it and it really proved to be remarkably similar in feel,distance and shape for me. The difference however is that the I20 never digs taking big turf as the front end is rounded, which I feel is an improvement as I play courses where certain part of fairways may be quite dry and hard. Furthermore, Im really happy about getting new clubs which spin more for me on the 6-9 iron where my Teitleist Vokey takes over from PW-LW and that was the main reason for my purchase as I want my on green shots to really sit and my old irons simply couldn’t take more makeover moves on the grooves. I feel the I20 irons are really really good as replacement for those who are playing good golf with the older Ping equipment and have had bad experience with changes so far. Thank you PING.

  12. Wayne

    August 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I forgot to mention, after buying my set of Ping i20 irons and my game returning, just last week I had my first HOLE-IN-ONE at my home course. 4 iron from 188 yes, small high draw one bounce, rolled 2 feet into the cup, what a great day to say the least. Ended up shooting 73, LOVE my i20 irons.

  13. Wayne

    August 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Played a lot of Ping’s over the years, i3, G2, G5, i10. Switched to Titleist Ap2 forged and loved them but could not master them, thus my cap increased to 6-7. Tried the i15 irons, hated them, I mean HATED them. Purchased the Titleist Ap1, ok, but could not control flight the ball, only high and straight (which they were designed to do).
    This spring I went out with the intent of buying AP2′s again but did not like the stock shaft so after reading some Ping reviews regarding the i20 line I thought I would give them a whirl. All I can say is WOW, best Ping iron to date in my opinion. Purchased a set on the spot, along with i20 driver, fairways and 17, 23 hybrid. My game has returned, cap falling back down, currently a 3.4 index.
    One of my buddies who has played Mizuno blades for past 4 years just hit my i20′s, he is buying a set, so that says a lot.
    Great job PING, these irons are awesome.

  14. Roger

    July 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Just ordered i20 set (CFS R shaft with cushion inserts) to replace i15 set (R graphite). I loved my i15s, but kept shearing the heads off at the hossel ( every club P-5 — twice each). My question is – would the axis MOI reduction lessen the stress at the the shaft insert ? I am a single digit handicap, so it’s not miss hits. In structural design the higher the MOI – the more concentrated and higher the developed stress.

  15. dario

    June 19, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I would like to make my set of I20 a little heavier, without making the shaft longer, or pastering lead tape all over the club…………….is is possible to request Ping that they maybe make special “back bars” as currently on the irons, out of different material to increase the clubhead swingweight?

    My set has the standard CFS shafts

    thx

  16. Jim Laney

    June 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Started with the driver and 3 wood. Then added 17 and 20 degree utility clubs. Just added 4-gap wedge irons with the Nome putter. Have not played Ping since the Eye 2 Bery days. I am a believer now. I20′s are the “Real Deal”.

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