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PING i20 Driver Featured Review

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Editor Review By: topekareal

Pros:
Ping touts this driver as the low-spin , lower launching companion to the G20 driver. Check. Tungsten weights provide a higher MOI and increased forgiveness. At address, the 460cc head sets up much smaller and the matte black finish is wonderfully inconspicuous. This driver just begs to be hit…hard.

Cons:
This is the not the driver for someone who struggles to elevate the ball or wants adjustability. While delivering a nice penetrating trajectory, this is not the ball flight everyone likes to see and if you are in search of the high-launch/low-spin combination, other drivers might serve your needs better.

Bottom Line:
I’ve been waiting for this driver for quite some time. Reminiscent of other legendary deep-faced drivers, the I20 is more forgiving (thank you tungsten) and retains freakishly low spin numbers, while maintaining high ball speed numbers across the face. Given invention and innovation, driver technology is tending towards the later. Not by choice, but by necessity , our game was once filled with seemingly unlimited variables and is now being driven by the constants. OEM’s all offer drivers which are long, forgiving and come with a range of custom options. Where Ping hits the mark on the I20 is that they have produced a driver which is all business and somehow still all pleasure.

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Full Review:
A low density titanium alloy saves weight to allow Ping engineers to strategically place tungsten weights to increase forgiveness while optimizing COG for low, penetrating tee shots. The classically shaped head is 460cc and utilizes improved aerodynamics to promote increased swing speed and ball velocity. The matte black finish is unique and purposeful. In a market dominated by adjustability, Ping makes quite a case that a driver doesn’t have to require a toolbox.

Looks:
The looks of the I20 driver are classy, classic and a bit raw. The matte black finish on the crown helps hide the 460cc head and displays a tough, industrial look. Because of this approach, the head does not glare and actually absorbs light. Players wanting a stark contrast between ball and clubface at set up might be a little disappointed as the I20 has ninja-esque qualities as you know it is there and you can sense it’s power, but it remains rather enigmatic.
Some larger drivers look like an orange on the end of a toothpick and I think are the impetus for OEM’s to reintroduce sub-460cc heads. If this club is any indication, you can certainly offer 460cc of forgiveness in a visually smaller package. The rounded profile suggests more of a 400cc-420cc head. The traditional half-moon alignment aid is something I’d rather do without, but it isn’t distracting. At address it is at most a subtle hint and nothing more. The white scoring lines on the face sit in nice contrast to the black face and form a U-shaped reminder as to where the sweet spot on the club sits.

Performance/Playability:
One great leap for man….uh, I digress. As we know, great leaps are not the modus operandi in the driver world right now. Two custom-fit drivers should yield similar results and should differentiate themselves based on playing characteristics and other subtle refinements. I tested the 8.5* I20 at 45” in length, SW at D2, and had the GD-DI 6x tipped ½”. The face was dead square and lie angle was 1* upright (59*) After several range sessions the most noticeable points of comparison were feel (more in the next section) and launch angle. The I20 didn’t want to go left, ever (insert political joke here __________), and it took me a bit to get used to the more boring trajectory. Despite the difference in launch angle, on course results (with the 2012 Bridgestone B330) confirmed my range experience. The I20 did a phenomenal job taking the left side out of play for me. In terms of distance, the I20 was as long as anything I’ve had in the bag. Depending on how firm the fairways were I was pushing 300 quite often . Finally, I took the I20 to the launch monitor to see if we could put some hard numbers to provide empirical evidence:

I20 – SS – 110 – Ball Speed -158 Launch Angle – 12.2 – Back Spin – 3000 Carry – 264-268

Some like the performance of a BMW, some like Mercedes – Either way, you’re driving something special.

Feel:
I did not hit the I20 with either of the stock shaft offerings and we all know how much a shaft can alter the feel of a particular club. With the DI-6x at D2 the club felt perfectly balanced and I could feel the head during all portions of my swing. I really abhor clubs which are too light and at D2, this club felt poised and secure. At this point, I should probably try and objectify “feel.” I like a driver with a bit more Cee Lo Green and an ounce less Blake Shelton…that is, a bit more soul and a bit less twang. The solid “thwack” of a wooden bat is always preferable to aluminum. Again, I digress. The I20 is exceptionally solid and offers a feel of substance sure to please even the most discerning player. It may not be in my all time top 5 for feel, but that’s like being a step below Kate Upton. Are you willing to “settle” for Sofia Vergara? Anywho, this driver is a hot-knife-through-butter pure and the sweet spot is money (and there is a possibility it might not even know it) What’s more, is while both heel and toe hits lacked the feel a pure strike (as you’d expect), ball speed was still more than you’d hope for…or deserve! In summation, the feel is solid and hot, while resisting the urge to be too metallic or clincky. Think liquid metal.

Overall bottom line:
Ping driver fans have long lamented the passing of the Rapture V2. The 120 has everything needed to make them forget. Low spin with a piercing trajectory for the stronger player, this driver is forgiving, sufficiently workable and as deep as anything on the market. Paired with either stock offerings or a host of wonderful upgrades, the I20 might be the darkest place you’ve been hoping to be. Back in black…most definitely.

CLICK HERE TO DISCUSS THE PING I20 IN THE FORUMS

 

 

 

 

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Rob is a golf junkie that has been involved with GolfWRX since its inception in 2005. From designing headcovers, to creating logos to authoring articles to social media management to sales and marketing, Rob has done it all. Born and bred in NJ. Favorite golfers: Phil, Freddie. Favorite club: Driver.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Christopher

    May 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Hey

    I have tried this driver and absolutly love it! Can someone tell me where I can still buy them brand new, stiff shaft; 9,5° loft and in mat black?

    Much appreciated

    • john mcbride

      May 23, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Just got one at rend lake golf in Mt Vernon Il and they had a few left for 179.00 golf Galaxy had them for 189.00

    • caleb

      Jun 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

      I have a I 20 stiff shaft played with twice wanting to sell 10.5 loft … got the titleist 913d2

  2. Paul

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    i bought the I20 with a 707D stock shaft in it. I find it a little harsh on anything not dead center, thinking of switching the shaft to something a bit smoother.

    • paul

      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      I swapped the shaft to a ust axiv core tour green stiff and like the feel a lot better. Ss105. Definitely eliminates the hook. Hook is a pull and old draw swing is straight. Straight became a nice fade. 18 hdcp hit all fairways last round.

  3. ANTON

    May 23, 2013 at 11:22 am

    These reviews are meaningless. You must review the club with the stock shafts which I would buy. Adding a$300 – $400 shaft which I would not buy is just another way to fool the playing public. And you wonder why less people play now because of the costs !!

  4. Ron

    Apr 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I have the Ping I20 but i had a Nuchuk 110 gram extra stiff shaft put in it and i would not trade it for the worl. It is amazing.

  5. Ben Taylor

    Oct 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

    currently playing a g10 7.5 with fujikura 70 tour vista shaft, but looking to sell if anyone is interetesed?

  6. Jayr

    Oct 7, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Just demo’ed the i15 9.5 driver with prcrofoe shaft, one very serious golf club, was going for Titleist 909 now cant make up my mind.Fairway and rescue equally impressive.BTW Jez just doesn’t get through the ball(sorry) you will not benefit from these clubs.

  7. Wayne

    Aug 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Last year I had the i15 driver, great club. This year I tested and purchased the i20, great feel, LONG, and easy to hit straight and shape right. I bit more difficult to draw but it can be done with some work. It’s a monster.

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Equipment

Callaway launches new Chrome Soft, Chrome Soft X, Superhot balls (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)

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“The ball that changed the ball” is back.

Callaway announced new Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X balls for 2018, as well as a retooled Superhot, which it is offering in some bold colorways.

Chrome Soft

Callaway promises innovation at every level with the new Chrome Soft. That starts with a new Graphene Dual SoftFast Core. The company touts the new Chrome Soft as a fast, soft, high launch, low spin ball. But let’s dig a little deeper.

According to Dr Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Callaway, Graphene is an “atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms and was first produced in a laboratory at the University of Manchester in 2004 by Russian-born scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who went on to be awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.”

The material is stronger than diamond and 200 times stronger than steel, however, it’s also elastic and can be stretched a substantial amount. It sounds like Callaway thought the material was interesting and decided to see how to incorporate it into a golf ball, which is cool.

“We had to assess which part of our golf ball we could mix it with to get a strength advantage and where in the golf ball we would want it…We looked at various parts of the golf ball and the functions of each, and we quickly decided that if we were going to use a material that made any part of our golf ball substantially stronger it would be in the outer core, because its role is partly to allow the inner core to be soft. What we wanted to produce was an outer core that was much stronger, effectively a thinner but stronger ‘crash helmet’ for the inner core and that would allow us to make the inner core bigger.”

“If you think of this inner core as the engine of the golf ball, the inner of the new Chrome Soft is now bigger and softer because it is protected by the stronger outer core, which allows us to pump up the speed, pump up the spin-reducing characteristic of the soft core, and still retain the soft-feel benefits.”

Hocknell says the new Chrome Soft is similarly, well, soft to the original ball. However, feel around the green is crisper and there is a “clickier” sound on those shots. As expected, the new ball features higher ball speeds and lower spin on driver shots relative to the previous incarnation.

Chrome Soft balls are also available in yellow and Callaway’s Truvis pattern. $44.99/dozen.

Chrome Soft X

We’ll let Dr. Hocknell explain the reworking of Callaway’s tour ball for higher swing speeds.

“The X ball has undergone the bigger transformation of the two…In the new 2018 Chrome Soft X we have dramatically reduced its spin profile through the bag so, in many ways, it is similar to the standard Chrome Soft ball of 2017, but what you will find now is a firmer overall feel, while still retaining excellent spin properties around the green.”

“The differences between both golf balls are mostly focused on feel and then if you have a swing speed in the higher ranges – roughly 105mph and above – you might be an ideal candidate for the X, as its increased firmness will convert more driver head speed to ball speed, compared to standard Chrome Soft.”

Superhot

Callaway is also releasing a new version of its three-piece Superhot ball ($29.99/dozen). The new Superhot features improved aerodynamics for low drag and optimal lift, according to the company. Additionally, Callaway is introducing Superhot Bold colors in matte red, yellow, and orange.

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Titleist launches 2018 Scotty Cameron Select putters (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)

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Note: This story will be updated with in-hand photos from Demo Day as soon as possible.

Titleist has launched its new line of 2018 Scotty Cameron Select putters that have new “four-way sole balancing,” along with other refinements compared to its previous Select putters. Also, as we spotted earlier in January, the 2018 line includes a blast-from-the-past Laguna model.

The last full launch of Scotty Cameron Select putters came in 2016, with a line extension of mostly mallets that came in 2017. Now, the new 2018 line features seven new head shapes that include blades and mid-mallets.

Each of the new putters — Laguna, Newport, Newport 2 and Newport 2.5 blades, Fastback and SquareBack mid-mallets, and a heel-shafted, mid-mallet Newport 3 — are made with multi-material constructions. As with the previous line of Select putters, the new putters have either 303 stainless steel face inlays or 6061 aircraft grade aluminum inlays, and stainless steel bodies.

According to Titleist, refinements have been made to sight, sound and feel for the 2018 Select line. Here’s what Titleist has to say about each of those improvement categories:

  • Sight: “Contours and sight cues were refined to enhance alignment opportunities and instill confidence. Scotty focused on thinning topline appearances by giving each a slightly rounder radius. Plumbing neck dimensions, edges and angles have been squared up for a cleaner look from address.”
  • Sound: “Improved sound and feel are the result of up to 30 percent more vibration dampening material connecting face inlays with putter bodies. The connecting screws are slightly larger to account for the increased material and the surface compression necessary to produce the softer sound, while preserving the feedback demanded by the best players in the world to aid in distance control and diagnosing mishits.”
  • Sole: “For the first time ever, Scotty has introduced a four-way balanced sole
    design for a faster setup and easier alignment at address. The balance point of each 2018 Select putter’s sole has been shifted forward to account for the weight of the shaft and grip and their impact related to how the putter sits at address. This results in a putter that sits perfectly square at address to promote easier alignment on virtually any lie.”

Scotty Cameron says that this line of putters, and the refinements that went into them, are a collection of everything he has learned through his years of putter making.

“Everything I’ve learned from refining and redesigning Newport-style putters over the last two decades has gone into this 2018 Select line,” said Master Craftsman Scotty Cameron. “I always strive to raise the bar by incorporating new materials, milling and manufacturing techniques. I’m at the point with the Select line of putters that now I’m hyper-focused on the finest details. Tour players pick up on things most people don’t but those details can make a big difference in how a putter performs.

Scotty Cameron also discusses the four-way sole balancing design, and how it’s made to help golfers find better alignment.

“We’ve reengineered the sole to account for the shaft and grip weight by actually moving metal in minute increments to help the putter align perfectly. I call it four-way sole balancing because we’ve balanced the putter from face to cavity, and from heel to toe.”

The putters, which will sell for $425 starting on March 23, have a raw, stainless finish that is bead-blasted. They come with two, customizable stainless steel heel-toe weights, and Black/Silver Matador mid-size grips.

Below is a more in-depth look at each of the putter models, as described by Titleist. See what GolfWRX members are saying about the putters in our forums.

  • Newport: The iconic “three-step” Newport shape was designed to sit evenly at address and enhanced with four-way balanced precision milling. Updated graphics extend Scotty’s iconic three red dot theme to the face heel and sole.
  • Newport 2 (right- and left-handed): With subtle refinements to topline radius milling, the Newport 2 appears slightly thinner from address for a Tour-preferred setup favored by the world’s top players.
  • Newport 2.5: The Newport 2.5 employs softer milling of the flare neck that provides players with 3?4 shaft offset and higher toe flow, while incorporating the line’s four-way sole balancing setup and improved vibration dampening material connecting the face to the body.
  • Newport 3 (right- and left-handed): The heel-shafted Newport 3 brings together a teardrop shaped design with high toe flow. Flange milling has been smoothed for more sculpted contours with updated four-way sole balancing and improved vibration dampening. A left-handed Newport 3 option joins the 2018 Select line, offering a heel-shafted, higher toe flow small mallet option to the line.
  • Laguna: Scotty’s newest, re-engineered Laguna brings back a popular head shape with 2018 Select line technology, including a mid-milled stainless steel face inlay, four-way balanced sole milling and improved vibration dampening technology.
  • Fastback: The 2018 Select Fastback features a single milled flange line giving it a cleaner, Tour-preferred look at address while allowing for more vibration dampening material to be placed between the sole and the flange of the putter. The 6061 aircraft grade aluminum face-sole inlay has been refined to allow for weight to be distributed to the perimeter of the putter head for enhanced forgiveness.
  • Squareback: Scotty’s 2018 Select Squareback has a milled sightline for a clean look at address. The milled line versus prior pop-through alignment allows for more vibration dampening material to be placed between the sole and the flange of the aircraft grade aluminum face-sole. This design also extends our multi-material methodology with softer contours, subtle shape refinements and a new face-sole configuration.
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Bud Cauley WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge (1/16/18).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Prototype

3 Wood: Titleist 915F 3+ (13.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Aldila 80 Tour-X

Driving Iron: Titleist 718 AP3 (3 iron)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 AMT Tour Issue

Irons: Titleist 718 MB (4-9 iron)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue

Wedges: Titlest Vokey Sm7 (46-10F, 52-12F, 56-14F) Titleist Vokey Prototype (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T SSS-340
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Pistol Grip

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Cauley’s clubs. 

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