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Ping Anser Iron Review
Editor Review by Richard A.
Hit the sweetheart for feel and forgiveness. Ping launches the “Super Car” of Irons. Forged, milled, exotic material for weighting, CG and MOI. Touch of class with weight ports in the center of the head (typical to Ping) to tune swingweight without moving the CG away from the center of the face. The Anser is a special club for the serious golfer looking to enjoy a unique set of irons not many will see.
Made for a golfer that is looking to play with Aston Martin with a touch of forgiveness. A traditional blade player will shy away. The Anser has a wider sole and more forgiveness that will make some look for something more compact.
Sign me up brother. Sign this guy up. Normally I like a blade type head but after days of mashing balls I could game this right here and now. If KJ Choi plays G15’s I can game the Anser right?
Anser are forged from a single billet of 8620 steel. Spanked 3 times and then ground parting lines. Off to the machining center and milled one at a time. That is part one of a lengthy process that makes these irons very different that the majority of sets today. No cost was spared to build these unique high end technology packed sets.
Looks- The looks of the new 2011 Anser Forged irons are striking. Satin chrome finish with ox blood red and grey accents. Did I say ox blood? Yes I did. Just like the old English Doc Martin boots these irons scream character and have won our hearts. The size of the heads are on the larger side but not to the point I would mark them down because of it. Want a smaller head than play the S-56 irons. Reduced offset on these cavity backs over most of Ping’s irons are a pleasant surprise. The offset of the 5 iron is .17” compared to the i15 with .19”. This translates to a look that will give the better player confidence the fit the eye for some would rather have less offset.
The heel, toe and CTP cavity are all milled using a CNC machining center. This type of costly process drives the cost up but also insures the face thickness is minimal and meets tolerances post forging. By doing this Ping says they will be able to maintain the tightest standards as the forging dies wear over time. The result is visually appealing as you look at the cavity. Jewelry comes to mind as you look and see the machining cutter paths. The face and groves are machined also. At first it is hard to pick up, but after a few hundred balls you can see the milling marks on the face.
Performance/playability- We tested with Ping blade S-56 to see if there was a big difference between the 2 for playability. When the sole get wider as it is in the Anser you gain in performance on miss hits but you also lose some playability. Shaping shots on challenging lies becomes more difficult when you have an additional mass on the sole. After repeated days of demo we loved the sole design and had little negative effect on playability. I was puzzled and expected worst to be honest. Why am I able to nip shots that had bad lies when you would think the fatter sole would be having more of an effect on the hit? Looking deeper you can see it in the bounce for one. The bounce of the Anser 5 iron is -1.0*. I said negative 1 degree! Compare that to the blade s-56 5 iron with a bounce of +2.0 degrees. That makes a big difference when that head is screaming by at 85 mph and you have to go down after a ball with a bad lie. Great blend of forgiveness and playability here.
Other performance features are a bunch of very technical advanced engineering design enhancements. Some features I understand and some I don’t and will probably never quite grasp. Removing metal post forging via CNC machining allowed Ping to add more moment of inertia (MOI) in 2 directions. Left to right and high to low on the face for mishit in the two ways we can miss it. They added a dual cavity and covered the lower on with a high tech tungsten nickel sole. They say it softens the feel and positions the CG for higher launching shots. I didn’t notice higher shots as much. What I saw was a good solid trajectory.
Feel- I had the Anser and the s-56 in dynamic gold s300 and they were both at D2. Same setup and there were mild differences in trajectory and to be honest I didn’t see the difference. The feel was different between the two. S-56 are cast and the Anser are forged using a single billet of 8620. The forged Anser had a more muted feel and trying to put feel in words is like trying to write about the taste differences in food or wine. I will try. The Anser felt as if the event of the hit took longer than the s-56. Meaning at impact the feeling of the impact took longer to experience than the event of the s56. Another way to say it was the mid and bass ranges were accentuated and the S-56 had more mid and treble. Hope that covered it. LOL. Seriously the feel of the 2 were close but the Ansers are softer and more muted than the s-56. The same type of feel can be experienced hitting a Titleist AP-2 iron. While you don’t get that quick jump of solid soft feel you might experience through a true muscle back you do get a great longer more muted feel in the Anser. It is like you keep the ball of the face for a millisecond more than another Ping iron. Felt as if I was compressing the ball more and longer than a cast club. No click and more of a thud.
Overall bottom line- Years of hearing Ping fans desire for a forging and here it is. True jewelry and packed with technology. Looking for an option that isn’t a blade you need to put this model on the top of your list to consider. I am one lucky tester to be able to hit these side by side with Ping cast options. If you are serious about the game and want to have irons that very few will ever see then the Anser is the way to go. Softest Ping iron I have ever hit and looks to kill.
Here are a bunch of cool pics…
Here is a close up of the 5 iron using a macro lens to so the milling. I magnified it so you can see the detail. Hard to pick up when looking at it but you can see it clearly here…
I thought you might like to see the detail of the cavity. Real beautiful milling and graphics…
Here is some caparison pics of the Anser forged and the i15 in the 7 iron. You can see the reduced offset in the anser and hozel also. Look at the sole differences. Darn close in size. Looks like the leading edge is more blunted on the Anser…
Here is the same but with the S-56 to compare…