When Ping released its iBlade irons, our review called them “intelligent blades,” a fitting description of an iron that was designed to look and feel like a blade, but offer more forgiveness.
The Ping i200 irons are again blurring the line of blade and cavity-back irons. They’re made to have the forgiveness of cavity-backs, but deliver the clean looks and workability you’d expect from more compact irons. They’re so well rounded, in fact, that Ping expects 20-40 percent of its staffers will put the i200s in play in 2017, including Lee Westwood and Brooke Henderson… and many more Tour players will have them in play as part of a combo set.
The Phoenix-based company also has a few tricks up its sleeve with this release, including a “secret-menu option” for those who need a little boost.
Ping’s i200 irons (3-9, PW, UW) are available for pre-order today, and will sell for $135 with steel shafts ($150 with graphite shafts). Here are 10 things you need to know about them.
1) Workable AND Forgiving
How is it possible that an iron built for forgiveness can still be workable? Isn’t it impossible to both produce more side spin AND eliminate side spin at the same time? Not exactly. Marty Jertson, Senior Design Engineer at Ping explains:
“Think of iBlades as a sports car and [Ping’s] G or Gmax irons as luxury sedan,” Jertson says. “iBlades are more workable because you have more control over the face alignment and how the face returns to impact. The reduced torque pressure makes it easier for you to turn the face, but they still increase inertia around the center of gravity CG, making it the Holy Grail of blade irons… workable AND forgiving.”
Ping uses the same concept in its i200 irons, only to a lesser extent than the iBlades. While their compact head shape and thin top rails allow the golfer to manipulate the face as it moves through space, the physics of the iron’s design mean higher inertia around the center of gravity.
So if iBlades are intelligent blades, Ping’s i200 irons could be considered the sports cars of cavity backs.
2) “Smoosh Central”
You’ll notice a familiar look with i200 irons… something similar to Ping’s S55s irons, which have garnered a cult-like following.
Golfers liked Ping’s S55 irons because of their clean looks and sneaky forgiveness, according to Jertson, so Ping engineers wanted to maintain aspects of the S55 design while enhancing feel with the i200s.
The i200 irons, made from 431 stainless steel, have a soft feel that makes it seem like the ball stays on the face longer; or as Jertson calls it, “smoosh central.” That’s due to the materials and new construction.
Ping’s i200 irons have a thicker top portion of the face and a thinner lower portion, helping drop the center of gravity (CG) for a higher launch. It also gives the irons more ball speed on shots hit low on the club face, where most players tend to contact their iron shots. The i200 irons also have longer CTPs (custom tuning ports). They’re made from elastomer and have been moved closer to the face in the i200 design, helping provide golfers a squishy, yet powerful feel.
Overall, the club faces have a thickness of about 0.68 millimeters, which is about half the thickness of the S55 irons, according to Ping. That leads to both more ball speed off the face and more moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of ball speed retention in mishits.
3) A New Look, Down to the Details
The i200s are designed with straighter leading edges in the long irons (3-7 irons) and thinner top rails on the short irons (6-PW) than their i predecessors. The irons also have a shape that looks more rounded near the toe, along with a smoother transition area from the hosel to the club face. The more blended transition means they will appear to have less offset than they do.
The progressive look of the irons throughout the set will play well for golfers looking to create a combo set with the iBlades (short irons from the iBlade set for more precision, long irons from the i200 set for more shot height, forgiveness and distance).
Inspired by vintage blades, the i200 irons also have a longer ferrule than previous i irons for a more classic look. Little things like the metallic iron numbers are buffed to offer the look of precision, as well.
4) The Low-Toe Theory
Throughout Ping’s history, the company has designed irons with more weight in the toe section of its club heads in order to center mass in the head; without added weight in the toe, CG tends to be heel-ward.
Like Ping irons from the past, the i200 irons have cavities that are machined to move weight into the high- and low-toe areas. For golfers, that means a more forgiving iron, especially when hit off the toe, which is the likely miss for most golfers.
5) The Importance of Yardage Gapping
Ping looked to data from its Tour players and their past iron releases to develop iron lofts in the i200 iron sets.
The long irons, which have thinner faces, go about 6-8 yards farther than the previous i-series irons, according to Jertson. In order to prevent the short iron yardage gaps from being too wide, the short irons in the set are made with thicker faces, effectively reducing ball speed.
If you want more distance with each iron, respectively, Ping has something for you…
6) Sauced Up with the Power Spec
New with the i200 irons is a secret-menu option called the “power spec,” which systematically jacks the lofts on each iron.
“It’s like ordering animal style at In-and-Out,” Jertson says. “We’ll juice the irons with stronger lofts … golf’s supposed to be fun, right?”
Plus, the stronger-lofted irons are good for high-spin players looking to flatten out their trajectory. Here’s a look at the loft specs.
7) Full-On Swing Weight Command
A major part of club fitting is getting the correct swing weight, and Ping uses what it calls Custom Tuning Ports (CTP) to help golfers dial in those specifications.
“Swing weight progression is very important,” says Jertson. “If it’s 1.5 points light, that could definitely throw you off. [Golfers] need consistency, so tempo, speed and shaft have to match.”
As Jertson explains, you can hedge against a certain miss using swing weight. For example, if you tend to miss right you’ll want to make the head lighter, effectively lowering the swing weight and helping you to “get the club around” better, he says.
The CTPs used in the i200 irons range from 4 to 32 grams each, the “standard” being 10-12 grams. They’re longer from heel to toe than in previous Ping irons, which helps makes the clubs more forgiving. The tuning ports also have a dampening effect to improve sound and feel.
8) Ping looked to its wedges when designing the soles
Bounce, a term that’s mostly associated with wedges, is just as important in iron design. Generally speaking, more bounce means more forgiveness, so the i200s are made with more bounce than the iBlades and previous i-series irons. With a rounder leading edge that’s designed with 1-degree more bounce angle, the irons won’t want to dig as much, thus reducing divot size and depth.
The “hottest i-series iron was the i20s,” according to Jertson, and these irons will perform similarly through the turf.
Ping engineers designed the faces of the i200 irons with milling marks to help repel the water and grass that lowers spin and alters flight. At impact, the milling marks are said to create a more consistent trajectory by increasing friction, meaning less flyers and knuckle balls.
The iron’s finish, called Hydro Pearl Chrome, enhances hydrophobicity, or the ability of an object to repel water. The angle of the milling marks and the grooves is designed to do the same.
10) Custom Only
The stock AWT 2.0 shafts from Ping are made by Nippon, and increase in weight as golfers move from their long irons to their short irons. It’s a “very complex shaft thats very expensive with variable steps and variable wall thickness that’s great for the masses,” Jertson says.
There are also various aftermarket shafts available from Ping at no upcharge: True Temper Dynamic Gold, Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105, XP 95, and Project X.
i200 Specs (3-9, PW, UW)
- Stock steel shaft: PING AWT 2.0 (R, S, X)
- After-market shaft options (no upcharge): Project X 5.0, 6.0; XP 95 (R300, S300), N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X), KBS Tour (R, S, X), Dynamic Gold (S300, X100)
- Stock graphite shaft: PING CFS 65/70/80 (Soft R, R, S)
- $135 per club (steel shaft); $150 per club (graphite shaft)
Forum Thread of the Day: “Best driver for a short-hitting senior?”
Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from platgolf who is on the hunt for a driver suited to a senior player in the 240 yards off the tee category. Currently playing a Fusion 12-degree driver, platgolf is looking to change things up, and our members give their suggestions on the big-stick that could work best.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- stmike: “I’m in the same “senior” hitting situation, and tried a couple of different new drivers last year. The one that gave me the most success is the Callaway Epic 10.5. But we all have different swings, and what works for others may not be for you.”
- Markrip: “Sounds like your experience with the F8 weren’t good. You should try the F7. I have one, and the ball goes a long way. It also has an extra weight port the F8 doesn’t, and it really helps keep the ball from going right. I don’t use it in that setting because it makes the ball go way left for me. It also has draw settings with the loft adjustments if you needed that.”
- CarolinaGolfer2: “Titleist TS1 10.5 with the Fubuki 45g shaft beats them all for me, and I’ve played or demoed them all. Titleist got it right with the weighting in this one. Usually, I can’t stand ultra-lite drivers. But this doesn’t feel too light, and I picked up 3 to 5 mph swing speed with it.”
- golftejas: “You might demo a Ping G400 Max at 10.5* if you get a chance … this is a higher-spin head, so you might find it provides enough spin to provide good stability/accuracy/height for your shots. I’ve found this head to be extremely forgiving with good shot heights for me. And if you loft-it-up 1* to play at 11.5*, the face will be a little more closed to help with any right-miss tendencies.”
Sebastian Munoz winning WITB: 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship
Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 @9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 6.5
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow
Irons: Ping i200 (3), Ping i210 (4-PW)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI Hybrid 85X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)
Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth (50), Titleist Vokey Design SM7 sand (56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Valor
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Z Grip Cord
Danny Willet’s winning WITB: 2019 BMW PGA Championship
Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 60X
3-wood: Callaway Rogue (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X
Irons: Callaway Apex UT (18), Callaway X Forged (21), Callaway X Forged (5-9 iron)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold SuperLite X100
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (46 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Superlite X100
Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Tuttle
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
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