Pros: Everyone from PGA Tour players to mid-handicap golfers can play the i irons thanks to their progressive design (larger long irons, smaller short irons). They specialize in forgiveness, but also deliver a high trajectory and an impressive amount of workability for their class.

Cons: The long irons in particular will fly higher and farther than their predecessors, Ping’s i25, but they’re are not going to deliver the distance gains of similar-sized, hot-faced irons.

Who they’re for: The best fits are better golfers in search of more forgiveness and a higher trajectory, particularly from their long and mid irons. They’ll also work well for less-skilled golfers who want to play a relatively compact and forgiving set of irons, but still want some of the distance and forgiveness that game-improvement sets provide.

The Review

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Ping’s i irons ($135 per club with steel, $150 per club with graphite) irons have a satin-brushed finish, and are available in 3-9, PW, UW. Default color code is blue. Stock swing weight is D1-D2.

  • Ping’s Stock Shafts: CFS Distance Steel (Soft R, R, S, X), CFS Graphite (65 Soft R, 70 Regular, 80 Stiff)
  • No Upcharge Custom Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold (S300, X100), True Temper Project X (5.0, 6.0), True Temper XP 95 (R, S), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X)

When categorized, most would agree that Ping’s i irons are “Players Irons,” which GolfWRX defines as models that are not as large and forgiving as game-improvement irons, yet larger and more forgiving than blade or blade-like irons. But the i irons really belong to a smaller subset of the Players Irons category. Think of them as “Progressive Players Irons.”

Ping’s one liner about the i irons — “Players irons that anyone can play” — is rooted in their progressive design, which blends larger, wider-soled and more offset long irons with smaller, narrower-soled and less offset short irons. The effect is that the i long irons will carry farther than many players irons, particularly on mishits, and the average-size mid irons and blade-like short irons will give golfers more control over their trajectory.

It’s a salivating combination of forgiveness and precision, which can work for everyone from mid-handicap golfers to the best golfers in the world. The question, of course, is whether or not you should make the i irons your next set of irons. Here are three signs that the i irons might be the right model for you. They’re based on my summer of testing the irons against similar models.

1You want more distance, but you don’t want to sacrifice consistency and feel

Above: Golfers will be able to hit Ping’s i irons (left) farther than the company’s S55 irons (right) if they’re willing to consider a set of irons with a larger chassis.

The i irons will fly a little farther than their predecessors, Ping’s i25 irons, thanks to a new construction. They’re cast from 431 stainless steel, the same metal that’s used to create the company’s Glide wedges. That gives them a softer feel that should impress golfers coming from previous i-series irons, which have a 17-4 stainless steel construction that feels “clickier” at impact. No, the i irons won’t feel as soft as leading forged cavity back irons, but they’re close.

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The CTP of the i irons is located closer to the sole than previous models, and hidden in the cavity of the irons.

The real benefit of 431 stainless steel, however, is that it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than 17-4 stainless steel. That enabled engineers to improve certain structures such as the Custom Tuning Port (CTP), which allowed for greater precision in locating each of the iron’s center of gravity (CG) locations. The stronger metal also paved the way for slightly thinner faces on the long irons, which create a bit of driver-like face flexing at impact that catapults shots higher and farther than I expected. Ping_I_irons_specs

Want to know more about the technology in the irons? Click here. 

I saw about an extra 5 yards of carry from the 3, 4, 5 and 6 irons, which was the result of a slightly higher launch, lower spin, faster ball speeds and more forgiveness. It was welcome change that helped me shrink my long-game gaps — particularly the one between my longest iron and shortest metal wood.

I saw the extra distance carry over into my 7 and 8 irons as well. I’m very used to certain yardages, so after early testing I actually had those clubs bent 1-degree weaker to help me hit my numbers. The 9 iron and PW flew the distances I expected to see from the clubs.

To be clear, the i irons are not going to produce the ball speeds of players irons with hot faces — think Callaway’s Apex and TaylorMade’s RSi 2 irons. If that’s what you’re looking for, the i irons probably aren’t for you.

2You’re always switching between a long iron and a hybrid/fairway wood

I have a 20.5-degree hybrid, which I alternate with a 3 iron based on course conditions. With the i irons, however, I didn’t find myself wishing that I had the hybrid in the bag for certain shots. The 3 iron was nearly just as long as my hybrid — even on mishits — and much more versatile when I wanted to lower my trajectory or hit draws or fades.

At address: Ping's i 3 iron
At address: Ping’s i 3 iron.

That being said, the i long irons are not going to appeal to golfers who dislike offset or desire a blade-like look over the ball. Depending on how much you forward press the shaft, you might be able to see the wide sole of the 3 iron behind the top line of the club at address. If you start your set with a 4, 5, or 6 iron, however, you won’t have this problem. Their soles are not visible at address, and as I mentioned above, they’re still plenty long.

3You always thought Ping’s i-series irons looked a little clunky

Golfers familiar with the i25 irons will also notice that the i irons are considerably more attractive than their predecessor in the playing position, with less visible offset, thinner-looking top lines and a less mechanical shape that most golfers will call an upgrade.

If you’re a fan of the Glide wedges, you’ll also enjoy the look of the i short irons. Their look was modeled after them, so if you play Glide wedges you’ll barely notice a transition between your shortest iron and your longest wedge.

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At address: Ping’s i PW (left) and i25 PW.

The shaping of the i mid irons could be Ping’s best work. They’re not too big and not too small, with a sole design that will resist digging in soft conditions.

If you’re coming from more compact irons, as I was, you might think on first glance that the fairly wide soles of the long and mid irons might be a problem. After a few rounds of play, however, I found that the soles played effectively narrower than they look because of the trailing edge relief, which keeps them out of the way at impact.

The Takeaway

On more than one occasion my playing partners told me, “Good shot,” when in reality it was a “good miss.” That’s what the i irons are all about: making average or below-average shots fly closer to the intended target than golfers will expect for an iron their size.

The real charm of the i irons, however, is the way they help golfers without elite skills or top-tier speed execute better long iron shots, while still offering mid and short irons with the looks, feel and feedback needed to score on the most demanding courses. What became obvious to me after a several rounds with the clubs is this; why wouldn’t golfers with day jobs want longer-flying, more forgiving long irons that don’t budge on consistency?

So many PGA Tour players are going that direction. Why wouldn’t you?

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the i irons in our forum. 

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals.

He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

25 COMMENTS

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  1. Less accurate than the i25 and the feel is just not as good. Not sure where some of these ‘reviews’ are coming from. Get a set of i25’s before that option goes away if you really want Ping. The S55’s are also very sweet.

  2. I tried them today and felt they did launch nice and high and seemed forgiving. However I wasn’t impressed with the feel of the club. The shaft was a 70 gram graphite Ping shaft with a 7-iron head. As for feel I believe they have a little click feel that I’m not accustomed too. However most of the “feel” problem most likely wasn’t the club at all, but the range balls that I had to use when trying out the club. Bottom line is I liked the club. I’ll try to get a demo that I can play with so I can get the correct feedback.

  3. Coming from i20 then i25 I didn’t expect much difference. Those are great sets. The e1 are noticeably more accurate. It’s actually pretty strange how good these are. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone!

  4. Former i25 owner here. Just got a chance to hit these. Totally agree. They look waaaaay better in the playing position than the i25. At first, I thought these were nothing special, but wow, that look at address is such an improvement. Look more like an s55+ than a re-badged i20 clone.

  5. if ping just got rid of the UW and replaced it with a 2-iron at the top of the lofts….all the others would fall back into place and it would be a reasonable set.

    not amazing….just good.

    is good such a bad thing….?

    can’t blokes hit a club with a “2” stamped on the bottom of it these days…..?????

    must be the social media generation……

  6. I’ve been and still am a forged blade guy. But, after hitting and playing these I’m seriously considering keeping them in the bag. If I didn’t know these were Pings I’d say I was hitting a Mizuno. As a matter of fact I had one of my friends hit them and he said the same thing. IMHO these are the best feeling, best iron Ping has ever produced. I have the ZZ65 with Cushin inserts in them and I can flight them down no problem. I love the soft feel.

  7. Played a set with Modus 105. Swing weights were all over the place. D0 to D1. One iron was D2 and it was the 5 iron. Not sure what they were doing with long, super light, upright “stock” I series. And don’t understand why swing weights wouldn’t be perfect since they have weight port. Not better than i20 i25 in my opinion.

  8. All I will say is I had a set of Ping S56 irons with KBS Tour 90 shafts. Should have kept them. They were about a half a club short in distance compared to everything else I owned, but dead on consistency and forgiving. So why did I get rid of them….. oh I’m one of those guys who has to play a forged club. Still seeking something that works for me. Might give the i irons a shot …. who knows.

    Had 714 AP2 irons which were very good but you had to nail the sweet spot everytime. Now fooling around with Callaway Apex irons. And yes…. they have a very hot face but you will need to bend the 5-6 and 4 iron to “Std”. specs These irons are 3 degrees strong from “normal”

    I play to a 5 handicap. Hit the Aeroburner 10.5 driver about 260 and can hit the 7 iron 165 to 170.

  9. They look nice and all, but I actually prefer the look of the i25s…
    I think I will wait another release or two before swapping irons. The i25s are exceptionally consistent and forgiving

  10. I’ve been hitting S56s for the past 4 years and love them. Best irons I’ve ever used. Ping makes great stuff. My only problem with their irons is that the 3 and 4 irons are just not that great. They are automatic throw aways, replaceable with hybrids. I get lackluster distance with them and they are hard to get in the air. I also use a G25 driver with Di-AD 7x shaft. It’s bomb and very forgiving.

  11. I tried these and compared them to my i25’s. I actually like the look, maybe the color of the 25’s a little better, but I didn’t notice much difference in distance between the clubs? I hit my 25’s well and before that I had Eye 2+’s, there was a difference in distance there. Overall I liked the feel, maybe a little softer but not enough to get rid of the 25’s yet. I play to a 4 handicap and hit my long irons really well and I don’t use hybrids, I’ve played blades in the past and like them for what they are but I’m of the thought that if you put a slightly more forgiving club in a better player’s hands, then look out because nobody in this game is perfect. Overall another great club by Ping.

  12. After years of playing Callaway and TaylorMade irons I switched to a set of Ping I-20s two years ago and haven’t looked back. Looking forward to hitting the Ping i irons!

    • “anyone who uses the phrase “best irons I have ever gamed” is 100% pure KOOK! LET THE GIMICKS BEGIN!”

      1989-1992: Magique (cant remember model)
      1992-2004: Ping eye2+
      2004-2012: Ping I3+ blade
      2012-2015: Ping I 20’s
      Aug 2015-current IE1

      I will mess around with titleist, taylormade, and callaway (almost went with the x hot irons), but in the end I cant match the playability and forgiveness of the Pings.

      IE1’s are the best irons I have ever gamed, If that qualifies me as a KOOK so be it. It doesnt make it any less true.

  13. 1/4″ over length and 1 degree stronger (except the 8-iron which is 2 degrees stronger)… What do you expect for distance? Of course they are longer. Not apples to apples.

    Will we get a club that has the technology in the head, but is A) Not longer than the “standard” B) Not stronger in loft than “standard” and C) preferably without so dang much offset? That would be nice for a change. There are plenty of GI irons already out there. Give us a real players iron with modern tech for a change. IMHO, this set is a step backward from the I20 and I25 irons.

    • “Give us a real players iron with modern tech for a change. IMHO, this set is a step backward from the I20 and I25 irons”.

      Dolph, I get where you are coming from…. +4 HCP playing the gateway tour just waiting for your break. I on the other hand am a 3 handicap who hits poor long irons from time to time. These are the best clubs I have ever gamed…for my game. If you want a butter knife, dont rip Ping for making a fantastic club that really does improve “better” players game. The improvements arent just in length and lie. Ping has resisted that indurstry norm for a long time. I acutally play these irons (swithced from the I20’s I had for 3 years). There is no comparison, these irons are better in nearly every facet…..for my game. If you have a muscleback game, dont poo poo a great club for not fitting you, as I am sure you hit every long iron pure. your average scratch to 10 hcp will get benefit from playing this club, and it will still make them hit good shots giving the feedback needed to improve their game. I think your mentality is the reason so many new players quit the game… (what, you gonna play those shovels today?).

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