|GolfWRX Top Rated|
Ping i irons are better than the i25 irons in every way, thanks to a switch to a 431 stainless steel construction that improves both feel and forgiveness. Their progressive design caters to golfers who are looking to hit their long irons higher, but still demand ultimate precision from their mid and short irons.
5 out of 5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?