Review by Editor: Ben Jackson
Backstory: About a month ago I got a set of Ping S56’s and have since fallen in love with them. Prior to this set of irons I had gamed Titleist AP2’s for two seasons, and though I was pleased with them, I was ready to switch things up a little bit. I was looking for an iron that provided a little more feedback and slightly less offset compared to the AP2’s, and the S56’s fit the bill very nicely. Needless to say, I am now a proud owner of what I think is one of the greatest sets of irons on the market.
Pros: From address all I see are nice sharp lines that scream control and workability. The cavity has nothing “extra”, simply a player’s club. The sole is thin, there is little offset, and though they aren’t forged, the feel is still amazing. From a performance stand point I can work the ball well, high, low, left or right.
Cons:To be honest, it is difficult for me to find any cons to these clubs. The worst I can say about the club is that because they are a players club, there isn’t a ton of forgiveness to speak of. Certainly more forgiving than a typical muscle back, but if your swing is off, you will notice immediately.
Overall: I am in love with this set of irons, and they are most definitely going to be my gamers for the 2011 season. Being my first set of Ping irons, I am immensely impressed, and am currently looking for matching Tour S wedges. Their playability is so amazing, it would be foolish for anyone looking for a similar club to not try them out because they aren’t forged. Go try them out, you can thank me later!
Look: The S56’s are real lookers in my eyes. The lines are classic and ideal to to look down upon from address. Nothing about them screams “flashy” or “tacky”, which I love, and are ultimately just a down to earth player’s club. Coming off an iron set that was polished on the heel/toe area, playing on a sunny day sometimes meant glare issues. That isn’t the case with the S56’s, and the tumbled finish also helps to define the position of the ball. Ping’s innovation in the S56 comes in the cavity, with a tuning port that helps control trajectory and tungsten in the toe to help with ball flight. Both of these amazing technologies are designed well in that they do not stand out at you in the form of plastic badges or bright letters. In short, these irons are all about one thing, and that is doing what they are supposed to do.
Performance/Playability: My favorite part about these irons is easily the performance they allow for. The first time I hit them on the range I was able to work the ball right, left, up and down on command. The leading edge, though on the sharper side, allows for proper turf interaction while the bounce insures a sufficiently sized divot. I found myself over and over again hitting shots more solidly and consistently than ever before. I have always used to have a problem with my irons in that I would hit them a mile high, even though I have always used Dynamic Gold shafts (high kick point which implies I should be hitting them low). Well I was pleasantly surprised when I started hitting 3 iron bullets off the tee, controlled pitching wedges, and flighted 7 irons right at the flagstick. This has helped me not only gain a few more yards, but consistency coming into the green on approach shots. More greens = more birdie putts = lower scores.
Feel: As I have mentioned before, these clubs are cast instead of forged. They are also, however, my first set of Ping irons, so I had some misconceptions based on my prior experience with cast clubs. Usually once people go forged, they don’t go back. Well I am having NO regrets about changing to a cast club. These are as solid of an iron as I have ever hit. They aren’t “hard” nor “clicky”, just solid. They provide plenty of feedback as to where on the face I made contact, or if I caught the ball thin or fat. Each swing with these clubs just makes me want to hit them again and again, because who isn’t drawn back to the game after a purely struck iron?
Bottom Line: I am a converted Ping fan. These irons are marvelous and were exactly what I was looking for. They give me 100% control, feel good, and outright perform. Never before have I been so keen to hit a 3 iron off the tee on a short par 4 or been so confident over an approach shot. Time after time after time these clubs have done exactly what I want them to do and then some more. To top it off when I have a question I know that Ping has one of the best customer service departments in the industry, so if I ever have a problem, question, or concern I know I will be taken care of.