First and foremost I want to thank PING golf and GolfWRX to test and review some of the latest and greatest offerings from PING.Thank you Rob from WRX and Mike from PING especially.
Just a few things about myself before I get into the review. I am a golf enthusiasts, as many guys are here on WRX. I have been golfing for about six years now (former baseball player) and take it serious, but always enjoy my time on the course. I carry a handicap index of 8. Some strengths of my game are wedge play and iron play.Woods and hybrids had generally given me trouble until I stumbled upon the i15hybrid.
Pros: The matte black finish is both functional and great looking from address.It eliminates glare that most other club heads don’t. The black face really helps the ball stand out when lining up the club at address. The stock shaft offering is a solid stock offering with no up charge. Solid feel and sound at impact. Great off the tee and deck, as well as, out of the rough.
Cons: I had trouble getting my ideal ball flight. May not be an issue with all golfers, but it was for me. Longer stock length than I am used to. Really not many things wrong with this club, I mean that.
Overall Bottom line: PING has another nice offering. Doesn’t appear to be as easy to hit and as forgiving as the G15 that I own. The all black stealth look is sure to attract many people. There are other all black clubs on the market,but none others have matte black glare free finish which is great. The sound and feel are very nice at impact, and mishits come with good feedback for the user. In my opinion this is a club that would be great for a mid to low handicapper and someone looking to lower their launch.
Look (5 stars)
This is obviously the first thing anyone notices about the club is the look and this club is a beauty, black beauty. The matter black finish is flawless and gives the club a great clean/mean look. Match that with the Project X black shaft and you’ve got yourself one stealthy club.The club has some nice clean lines and a great shape to it. The club sits flat at address and appears to be pretty low profile. The club compares quite favorably to the i15 fairway wood in appearance. The head is nice and compact and appears to be slightly smaller than my g15. I personally just can’t get over how nice the club looks. It is very appealing to my eye and should be great on sunny days. With more play, so far the finish is holding up nicely. No signs of dullness, and no ball marks on the face, even after hitting off a sandy grass range.
Performance/playability (4.5 stars)
I finally got the club working yesterday. I was able to turn it over when needed. I could cut it no problem. And when a straight ball down the middle of the fairway, I had no problem hitting the shot I needed. The club is most definitely one of the longer fairways I have hit. In one full day of testing, in all ways off tee, off the deck, and out of the rough this club has outperformed all others I have owned or bagged in the past. I would say this is more of a players club with some forgiveness. The ball jumps off the face. Even when I thought I mishit it some, the ball straightens out its flight and ends up where I needed it to. No bad misses that aren’t controllable or playable. I would say the club has plenty of forgiveness. Great club and it is staying in my bag for 2012!
EDIT (4/17): Played the club last night on a short par 4, thought I mishit a weak fade into the trees down the right side, but ended up with one of my best drives on that hole. This club is LONG, and much more forgiving than originally anticipated.
Feel (5 stars)
As with all the PING clubs I own, the feel is sweet. Solid and sweet. The club offers, like the driver and hybrid, a nice muted tick sound on impact. I am not a fan of the tingy/tinny sounds of some clubs. The i20 fairway wood offers none of that.The sound and feel of the i20 fairway make for a great combo. You can feel mishits, which in my opinion is good/important. The club offers good feedback on mishits letting you feel where the mishit occurred. The feel is right up there with the g15 but a little more harsh on mishits. The feeling I got was a dull almost a thud, think of punching a punching bag. The sound I got last night seemed to be a bit different. I got more a metallic sound to it almost like a muted tink sound. The project X black shaft feels smooth and has a nice kick to it. Not sure on the overall weight of the shaft, but it feels lighter than what I had been playing.
Overall bottom line (4.5 stars)
All in all, I love the look of the club how could you not?! I love the sound and feel of the club. The club produces just the ball flight I was looking for. Had some great drives off the tee on shorter par 4’s where accuracy is key and this club helped me do so. This is where I mainly use fairway wood, but I would like a higher launch for long par 5’s and long par 3’s. Again no problem for the i20 fairway wood.I would recommend this club for a more consistent player with a good long game. I think a more experienced player would maximize the benefits of the club more than the average golfer would. The club took some getting used to as it is longer in length than my current set up. (SEE BELOW)
UPDATE (4/19): I played 30 holes yesterday with the i20 fairway wood in the bag and had a good range session. It has officially knocked the G15 out of my bag! This club is the real deal
In addressing the fairway woods, PING had a more difficult time making improvements over the i15s as those woods were relatively popular. PING wanted to better optimize trajectories, maintain a compact head shape, and make the club more forgiving yet still maintain workability.
To address ball flight, PING lowered the center of gravity and moved it back. The COG on the i20 fairways is now lower than the G15 fairway and further back from the face than the i15. This makes for a more forgiving club than the i15 fairways, yet provide better players a lower spinning option than they’d find in the G line.
To maintain workability, PING again departed from the fade bias of the i15 line, opting to for neutral weighting, and decreased the inertia around the shaft axis by 17% over the G20 fairway. Like the driver, this makes it easier to rotate the club to square, turn it over, or otherwise manipulate the face with finer resolution. Inertia around the COG is still relatively high, so the club is more forgiving than its predecessor, but like a car with a racing suspension, somebody used to driving a big rig might be surprised by the responsiveness!
Like the driver, the i20 fairway is available in a very appealing matte black on black finish with a subdued gray alignment aid on the crown. The smooth sole with smaller footprint makes for a versatile club from either the tee or off the deck.
The i20 fairway wood will be available in 3S (14º), 3 (15º), and 5 (18º) in both dexterities. Stock shafts include the new proprietary TFC 707F (R, S, and X flexes) and Project X Black (5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 flexes). The Project X option is targeted towards players looking for a lighter shaft that will provide a bit more spin and kick than the TFC.
Per Ping Press Release:
i20™ Fairway Woods
The stainless steel i20 fairway woods are versatile performers, helping launch the ball with ease from all turf conditions and off the tee. When the ball is sitting down, the i20’s compact shape ensures the head will glide through heavy grass and launch the ball high and straight. Its neutral head rotation promotes square impact. The traditional head design makes aiming easy, and a matte-black, non-glare finish provides a distinct head profile. Golfers can optimize their ball flights with their choice of stock shafts: the PING TFC (Tip, Flex, Control) 707F for a low-spin, boring trajectory, or the lighter Project X Black by True Temper, offering mid spin and a higher trajectory.
-Fairway woods available: 3S (14º), 3 (15º), and 5-woods (18º)
-Stock graphite shafts: TFC 707F (R, S, and X flexes) and Project X Black (5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 flexes)
-U.S. MSRP: $255