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Greatest Ping irons of all time

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Ping Golf started as a family putter company simply working out of a garage. Today, it is one of the most forward-thinking, technology and data-driven golf companies in the world producing clubs in every category—all while still being 100-percent family-owned and operated. That’s something that can’t be said about any of the other major golf OEMs.

From a garage to an entire campus, which is what Ping likes to call its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, the company has produced some of the most iconic sets of irons ever made, and essentially invented game improvement clubs. And Ping still owns the title for producing the top-selling iron of all time. To look back at the history of Ping irons is to look at a timeline of constantly improving products and technology—and just like our other lists, some models stand out from the crowd.

These are the greatest Ping irons of all time.

Ping i3 (Blade & O-Size) – Released 2000

The Ping i3 makes its way onto this list for several reasons. It was the very first Ping iron to incorporate the CT—Custom Tuning Port—something that has become a staple in Ping designs. It was also the first series to offer both a smaller players version and a game improvement club in the i (eye) series with the i3 Blade and the i3 O-Size. The O-Size moniker was eventually retired with the introduction of the G series and the G2—a name that has become synonymous with easy-to-hit clubs.

As an “engineering” company first, the CTP allowed Ping to precisely control the clubhead weight without having to use tip weights in the hosels and up the shaft. Although it is common practice in club building, using tip weights shifts the center of gravity of the head closer to the hosel of the club (it is in no way a practical shift) or even noticeable, but from a design perspective, it exists, and Ping went the extra mile to reduce the effects.

The other thing the CTP did and still does to this day: eliminate unwanted vibration to improve the feel of the club. The i3 design was so popular, Ping only tweaked it with an improved sole when the i3+ launched two years later. The “Blade” head profile found a third life when it was brought back again years later with the i10.

Ping S59 – Released 2003

The S-Series forever changed the way better players viewed Ping irons. The irons that kicked off the revolution were the Ping S59‘s—one of the smallest, lowest launching, most workable Ping irons ever made (until the Blueprints came along).

It’s not that lower handicap players didn’t like previous Ping irons, because they had full PGA and LPGA Tour rosters that had no issue, but what drove the S59’s development was a demand from younger players who were part of Ping’s substantial college program for a more blade-like design—something Ping had never done before.

The key design element of the S59 is the stabilizing bar across the cavity above the CTP. It helps with producing a solid feel and precise distance control. Not long after the original S59, a newer version came along that was essentially the same club but with different aesthetics including a buffed sole and back along with for the very first time on a Ping iron—a ferrule!

A couple of  fun facts on the S59s

  • Bubba Watson famously used them for over a decade on tour. As a player with no shortage of clubhead speed that loves to work the ball, he found no advantage to the newer models that boosted MOI until the S55.
  • In 2004, Ryan Moore used S59s irons to accomplish one of the most impressive seasons of amateur golf in the modern era when he won the U.S. Amateur (USGA), the Western Amateur (WGA), the U.S. Amateur Public Links (USGA), and the NCAA individual championship.

Ping ISI – Released 1998

The Ping ISI represents a bygone era of Ping irons. They were one of the last designs released before the CTP was introduced, and they were also the last series of irons that were produced in three different materials at varying price points: stainless steel, nickel, and BeCu beryllium copper.

The starburst pattern in the back cavity created extra stability behind the thinner face to improve feel, and there are subtle design cues to the Zing with the oversized toe and heel pieces to boost MOI.

There was a second version, the ISI K, which only came in stainless steel and was a larger head shape to the standard ISI. There are still one of the most popular irons of that era, but like many Ping irons of the ’90s they forever lived in the shadow of the Eye 2 and the many versions that were launched.

Ping Rapture – Released 2006

The Rapture irons earn their place on this list for what they represent in Ping’s iron and company history. The Rapture irons were the very first Ping irons to utilize a multi-material construction by combining a stainless steel body, thin titanium face, and tungsten toe weight to create the highest MOI iron Ping had ever produced to that point. The entire Rapture line was introduced as a separate premium line of clubs in 2006 and also showcased Ping’s first carbon composite crown driver.

From a company history perspective, the Rapture irons were also the very first irons to be made overseas. Up until 2006, every single Ping iron was produced in Ping’s own privately owned casting facility Dolphin, Inc  (side note they manufacture products for several industries outside of golf and recently moved into a new facility just a couple of years ago when their previous plant was in the way of highway expansion).

Technology in the Rapture irons eventually trickled down to other club designs—like the S57’s, released in 2009, which had the same tungsten toe weighting to increase MOI in the much smaller shaped S-Series iron.

Ping Eye 2 – Released 1982

 

Buckle up for this history lesson!

The Ping Eye 2 is the best-selling set of irons of all time…period. I could write pages on this iron design and the simple brilliance of it. It was also the first Ping iron to be offered in beryllium copper (see title image).

The design was originally introduced in 1982 as the follow-up to the original Ping Eye iron, which got its name from the eye-shaped cavity that created the perimeter weighting. The Eye 2‘s were produced for over a decade and went through several iterations in shape, sole profile, and groove designs—the first being in 1984 when they upgraded from V to U grooves to increase spin consistency.

Then in 1985, Ping introduced what is known as the “square groove model.” The groove design itself is identical to the “U groove” with the only changes occurring in the spacing of the grooves on the face and a slight radius added. This reduced the surface area between the groove but did not change the distance between the inside edges of the grooves, which Karsten believed as an engineer was the proper way to measure groove spacing and not at the top of the radius—it was well within the rules of golf.

Unfortunately, the USGA and Karsten didn’t see eye to eye (no pun intended) on the grooves and this created one of the most monumental lawsuits in the history of golf. Here is the CliffsNotes version

  • After already being in production for several years with tens of thousands of sets sold, it was well documented that Ping Eye 2 irons seemed to spin a ball more than other irons. At the timem USGA regulations for golf equipment didn’t have a specific method to measure grooves, and Karsten measured from their vertical walls (see above graphic), while the USGA measured the groove from where the groove radius met the face. The variance between the two measuring methods was .005 inch, but the USGA still wanted to deem then non-conforming.
  • The famous shot that really caused this to get out of hand was an 8-iron from the rough hit by Mark Calcavecchia at the 1989 Open Championship at Troon that not only hit the green but almost sucked back—out of the rough!
  • Karsten decided to take the USGA to court and in August, 1989, sued the USGA and the R&A for $100 million on the grounds of restraint of trade. Karsten Manufacturing (Ping) settled out of court with the USGA  in 1991.
  • Karsten brought a similar $100 million lawsuit towards the PGA Tour in 1991 after they attempted to enact a local rule that Eye 2’s could not be played on tour. Both Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (who we should note didn’t use Ping irons) were on the side of the Tour. The Tour was seriously concerned about the financial damage the lawsuit would have if they lost.
  • Most of the golfing world had sided with Ping in the court of public opinion, and only six days before the lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial, Karsten Solheim changed his mind and agreed to settle out of court. No money, beyond lawyers fees, was ever paid, and in return Karsten only required the USGA along with the PGA Tour grandfather in the Eye 2 model in question, made from 1985 to 1989. This is why when the USGA officially changed the groove rule in 2010 some players went back to the last ’80s model Ping wedges because they were still conforming based on the 1991 lawsuit.

During all of this, Ping Eye 2 irons continued to sell extremely well, which is why, to this day, it’s difficult not to come across a set at either a local muni, used club rack, or even the odd club at a swap meet. They were seemingly everywhere and helped make Ping the company it is today.

Soon after, the Eye 2+ (Plus) model was introduced with an improved sole design, and with it one of the most famous wedges of all time was born. Check out the video below for the full explanation by yours truly.

GolfWRXers, what is your favorite Ping iron of all time?

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. mick

    Apr 27, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    PING I3 Blades. Still awesome !!!

  2. Growing in Ping Appreciation

    Apr 21, 2020 at 8:45 am

    I was never a fan of Ping irons growing up and thought they should be illegal. However, since seeing the progression of the iron development over the years and going to Phoenix to see the facilities, I have a tremendous appreciation for the family, the company and the engineering of the designs. I liked several models since 2000 but loved the i10 with ZZ lite. At the time, it was one of the best irons I had ever played. The S57, S56 and S55 were tremendous as well. Now, the iblade is my all time favorite iron! The iblade looks wonderful, is solid, soft, and glides through the turf exceptionally well for me. The trajectory is beautiful and the ball stops great. other than the fact I love to play blades and test new things, it will be hard to get these out of my bag. I may have to get a back-up set!

  3. BillyG

    Apr 20, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    When was the micro taper offered as the stock shaft in the Eye 2?

    • Shallowface

      Apr 21, 2020 at 7:56 am

      It never was the stock shaft, but it was an option they offered for years.

      • BillyG

        Apr 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm

        Thanks! I had a set of copper Eye 2 that had that shaft. I did not know the year because they were used. Thought maybe the shaft offering could help. Wish I had not sold them because they were 1-LW. Even had an old Dale Head Anser.

  4. M.Coz

    Apr 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Without the K-1 there may have never been any Ping iron business! They were dramatically different from anything ever made up to that point. Nothing was even close. Popularized investment cast irons, first really successful offset iron. The first playable and well used 1-iron that by itself found its way into golf bags everywhere especially on Tours round the world. I still have my set of K-1s that I used in College, mine are the flat soled Pre-Dot model. I haven’t played the set in over 46 years, although I continued to carry the 1-iron for many years afterwards. They had really light swingweights and they were a club longer than any other clubs at that time. Interestingly the Eye 2s were actually shorter in distance.

  5. Mark

    Apr 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I had Ping Eye-2 Red Dot 1-SW back in 83-88. If I remember correctly, I had to wait for them since Ping was backlogged. I eventually sold them to my friend who still has them. I go over to his house just to look at them from time to time.

  6. Chilidip68

    Apr 20, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Interesting that you have the S59 2 iron pictured. I have a set of the S59’s I played from ’03-’13. That 2 iron has “negative” bounce and I found it unplayable. The 3 iron was fine for me. I emailed Ping at the time and they said it was to help get under the ball but I think as a design it was a fail. Interested to hear anyone else’s experience with that. I get the concept but just don’t think it works.

    • Stanley

      Apr 30, 2020 at 9:24 am

      That’s pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t have have experience with these. But I can say that delofting a club tends to take away bounce. I wonder if the sole was designed specifically for the 2 iron

  7. Stump

    Apr 20, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    When I started golf, the Eye2 was the HOT club…I could barely afford a no name set of clubs and I longed to have a set of Eye2s. After 30 years, I finally bought a set of the old Eye2s. They are fun to take out occasionally.

  8. CaryK

    Apr 20, 2020 at 11:33 am

    One of the more interesting stories not mentioned is the Ping Eye2 +/no/+ model that had the highly desired square grooves with the new and improved Eye2+ sole and rear cavity design. They were only made from Nov 1989 to Mar 1990. So it was a VERY limited run. This model does NOT have the “+” symbol in the back cavity. It might be the holy grail of Ping irons. And it’s all part of the Ping lure.

    As an FYI, I still have a brand new (numbers matching; 1-LW) set of these historic irons in my closet!

  9. MikeB

    Apr 20, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Ping Zings were my very first set of brand name irons, even had the Zing2 driver. Also owned all three versions of the ISI irons, stainless, copper and nickel. The BeCu ones I had the longest, and shot my lowest round, 5 under 67 in the late 90’s. I remember playing on sand based soil for the first time, with the BeCu, in Santee, SC, and about cried when the softness of the copper met sand, oh my the “gouging” on the face! Being anal isn’t very relaxing, kept plenty of Coca-Cola on hand to keep them nice and shiny. Recieved a matching numbers set of EYE2’s BeCu as a birthday gift back in the early 2000’s, played them one time, then returned them. With the grooves, didn’t like the enhanced spin because everything kept coming up short, aside from that, they felt great but didn’t replace the ISI’s. Played the TiSI driver, cringed at the time paying I think $200, until the face caved, and was sent the TiSI Tec as a replacement. Was definitely a PING fanboy back in the day, still use on occasion for fun the 1A putter, and have Glide 2 wedges in the bag.

  10. David G Scheiffele

    Apr 20, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Still gaming the I3 Blades after 20 years. I may need to switch shafts soon, but they don’t look any different than after the first season of play.

  11. Bob Jones

    Apr 20, 2020 at 9:46 am

    When I bought new irons in 2000, it came down to the Ping i3+ and the Hogan Apex blades. Hogan won, but only because of looks. The i3+ were really good irons, too.

    • Mike arnokd

      Apr 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      They are Tanks. Great USA made irons.

  12. Keith Finley

    Apr 20, 2020 at 9:43 am

    ISI is not well-liked generally. It was supposed to unite the playability of the eye 2 and stability of Zing 2. It did not.
    For many people, the G10 and S58 are benchmark irons – and the last made in USA.
    My list (having owned 27 sets of Pings over the years… )
    Karsten 1 – ridiculously playable still, started it all.
    Eye 2 + – subtle improvements to the icon.
    Zing 2 – less ugly than Zing, still fun to play.
    G10 – loft to loft practically indistinguishable from new G series for most players.
    S56 – finally got the S formula right.
    Blueprint – just because.

    • Colin K

      Apr 20, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      I don’t agree at all on the ISIs. In fact, I think many people (including, the story goes, Karsten S himself) regarded them as the very best of the ‘classic’ Ping irons. They were a huge improvement on the toe-heavy Zings and the super-thick topline Zing 2s, and were the only Ping iron ever to be released in steel, BeCu and BeNi (as well as oversized, although the ISI-Ks were as clunky as the Zing/2s.

  13. Geoffrey Holland

    Apr 20, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I’ve had sets of k2s, k3+, and isi nickel. The best Ping club I’ve ever had though is your basic eye 2 1 iron, either steel or beryllium.
    I’ve never owned a Ping wood but I did probably hit the longest drive I ever hit the very first time I ever swung an old laminated eye 2 driver. Just ridiculously long.

  14. JB

    Apr 20, 2020 at 8:59 am

    How in the world are the S55’s not on the list???

    • Clay

      Apr 20, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      I have to agree here, I still have a set of S55’s in great condition and haven’t found anything that beats them. A limited few irons are as good, but not better.

    • gallas2

      Apr 21, 2020 at 9:18 am

      agree. S55’s are still used on tour (Mackenzie Hughs and others) and Champions tour (Scott McCarron). Also conspicuous is their absence are my all time fav Ping i5’s. Used by many tour pros including Calcavechia (who used them in part to set the tour record 9 birdies in a row at Canadian Open I believe….)

  15. Shallowface

    Apr 20, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I have a soft spot for the older Pings, particularly the EYE and the Karsten II. I just preferred the shape of those heads to the EYE2.

    I still regularly use the I3 O-Size irons and the original EYE2 Sand Wedge.

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Equipment

2020 TaylorMade P770 irons: Distance and precision redefined

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New 2020 TaylorMade P770 irons are here, and with them, a reminder that every club in your bag has a purpose.

A driver is designed to go as far as possible, wedges are designed to be versatile precision instruments, and iron sets are built for both. The new 2020 TaylorMade P770 irons from TaylorMade bring together the distance of the extremely popular P790 with the precision of a midsized player cavity to offer distance and control to an iron unlike TaylorMade has ever produced.

2020 TaylorMade P770

2020 TaylorMade P770 6-iron. Cavity view.

TaylorMade P770 irons: The origin story

The story of the P770 starts with two clubs—the P760 and the P790. Now, if my math is correct, the combination of the two clubs would actually create the 775, but in the world of irons, that model number was taken over a decade ago by another OEM, and if we’re being honest, 770 sounds better anyways.

2020 TaylorMade P770, TaylorMade P790 comparison.

2020 TaylorMade P770, TaylorMade P790 comparison.

Let’s start with the P790 and its ability to infiltrate the golf bags of players of all skill levels. According to TaylorMade’s fitting database, the 790 is a club that can be found in the bags of players from +4 handicaps all the way up to golfers looking to break 100.

What makes the P790 so functional and appealing to so many golfers starts with its looks and ends with its performance. The P790 has the clean appearance of a blade iron from the back, and from address, it maintains sharper line associated with a  players club.

But off the clubface, or should I say all over the clubface, you get ball speed and launch conditions normally reserved for a much larger game improvement club. This iron helped redefine what is now known as the “players distance” category, and whether you consider that title an oxymoron or not, it’s impossible to argue with its popularity.

Then we have the P760, TaylorMade’s first combo iron set, which combined the power of SpeedFoam-filled longer irons with the precision of single-piece forged short irons. These irons again found their way into the golf bags of mid-handicaps to players all over the professional tours thanks to their ability to offer extra forgiveness and launch in longer clubs while still maintaining a small player’s look and preferred feel.

Regardless of skill, one of the biggest factors in the playability of any iron relies on a golfer’s ability to create speed, launch, spin, and angle of descent—the below video featuring our own Brian Knudson testing the P790 Ti is the perfect example of how an iron with strong lofts, for example, can launch higher and descend at an angle to make them playable when you combine the right technologies.

The ultimate design goal of the P770 was to combine the best of both these irons into a small, fast, playable package using every technology available to the engineers and designers at TaylorMade. This iron is about precision without sacrificing distance.

If you are a golfer looking for maximum workability and shotmaking control that puts less of a premium on distance, then the P7MB or P7MC is probably more up your ally, but if distance is still a big part of your decision-making process for a set of irons, then buckle up.

The technology

A look inside the construction of the P770

A simplistic way to describe the P770 would be to call it a shrunk-down version of the 790, but doing that would not give justice to the actual engineering that went into this design. The reason is, you can’t just shrink down a golf club and expect it to perform the same as a larger club, because not only are the mass properties different, but trying to maintain additional ball speed would be like expecting a smaller trampoline to bounce you as high as a larger one with bigger springs—the physics don’t add up.

“Designed to deliver P790-like performance in a smaller package, the all-new P770 leverages forged hollow body construction to pack as much distance and forgiveness as possible into a compact player’s shape.” – Matt Bovee, Product Creation

From address, and looking at the sole and toe profile, the P770 has a much stronger resemblance to the previous P760 than the 790, but from the back and from a technology standpoint, its got the guts of the P790.

The key technologies are

  • A SpeedFoam-supported forged 4140 high-speed steel face attached to a soft forged 8620 carbon steel body. Since the hosel is part of the forged body, you get the full lie and loft adjustability of a forged club along with the ball speed of a larger one. The secondary benefit of SpeedFoam is it creates an iron that feels extremely solid while being a multipiece construction
  • The other part of the speed story is the Thru Slot in the sole which helps shots hit lower on the face retain more ball speed and helps create extra launch. This technology runs from the 3-7 irons.
  • Speaking of launch, the new P770 has 46 grams of tungsten in the 3-7 irons positioned as low and as far back as possible towards the toe to boost MOI and launch in the longer clubs while precisely locating the center of gravity.
  • The final piece of the puzzle that helps with both distance and distance control is the Progressive Inverted Cone Technology or IVT. It is positioned closer to the toe in the longer irons to help with common mishits and moves higher and more heel ward into the shorter clubs. This keeps ball speeds variances as consistent as possible through the set.

More photos and discussion in the forums.

Choose your own P700 Series adventure

This is the part where the whole iron series really excels. For a long time, it used to be OEMs would release a number of iron sets that catered to various golfers but didn’t really have any cross over potential as far as building combo sets because of the large differences between designs. To counter this, they would often design exclusive combo sets either catered to better players or to higher handicaps/slower speed players with game improvement irons paired with hybrid long irons.

From the beginning and by design, the entire P700 series has been built to be custom combo’ed for any golfer—an impressive design feat. This allows players of varying ability with different swing and player traits to get exactly what they need out of different parts of their set. They have even gone as far to make sure that no matter how someone is looking to build their set, they can get looks, offset, bounce, and performance to match up from club to club—they even have an easy-to-follow chart!

Pricing, availability, and specs

The TaylorMade P770 irons will be available for pre-order starting August 14th and will be be available in retail shops starting September 4th.

They will be available from 3iron to pitching wedge in right and left-handed with an A wedge option available to right-handed players only. An 8 piece set starts at $1399 (174.88 per club) with KBS Tour steel shafts and Golf Pride Z-Grip grey and black as stock.

P770 Stock Specs

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Equipment

2020 Mizuno E21 wedges: High performance reimagined

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New design, new construction, and a new way to look at what a high-performance wedge can be—these are Mizuno E21 wedges.

When talking about new clubs and the technology being utilized by engineers, the conversation eventually turns to mass properties and how adjusting them within the clubhead helps to create higher-launching lower-spinning shots. This is great when talking about drivers and fairway woods, but at the other end of your bag, high-launching, low-spinning shots are the enemy of great wedge play and distance control.

The key to hitting lower-launching, higher-spinning wedge shots is making contact below the center of gravity lower on the face. To help players achieve these optimal launch conditions, the Mizuo E21 utilizes multipiece construction to place the center of gravity higher in the head than ever before.

More photos and discussion in the forums. 

Mizuno E21 wedge technology

Mass properties play a massive role in the performance of any club. By design, wedges are the heaviest full swing clubs in the bag. This gives designers more mass to move around. To get the most of the Mizuno E21’s performance, the focus was to relocate as much mass higher and deeper in the head without sacrificing both looks and feel. The only way to do this was by using a hollow body construction.

The E21 wedge brings together a 1025 Grain Flow forged boron face and hosel with a 431 Stainless steel back, this helps the wedge maintain the soft and solid feel Mizuno is known for while also increasing groove durability. Don’t think that because a wedge is packed with technology it makes it a club meant for higher handicap golfers either—any golfer can benefit from improved wedge technology, the same way we can all benefit from hitting higher launching, lower spinning drivers.

More photos and discussion in the forums. 

The new E21 wedges even offer the exact same, if not thinner appearance from address than the Mizuno T20’s even though the back of each wedge looks extremely different—again, just like with drivers, something that looks different is different for a reason.

Soles designed for versatility

Beyond the new and improved mass shifting the E21 wedges provide, the most important part of the wedge is the sole, and Mizuno R&D pulled out all the stops when configuring the soles of these wedges to fit a wide variety of players.

They come in both a narrow and wide sole option, but unlike with irons where a wide sole is generally reserved for game improvement clubs, the wide sole models of the E21 have been configured for maximum versatility. Mizuno is not the only OEM offering versatile wider sole wedges, Callaway has the “X” grind, and Titleist with the low bounce “K”, to give you a few examples.

The wide sole E21’s have a lot of heel and toe relief along with a lot of front and back camber to keep the leading edge closer to the ground for those tight lies around the greens.

Mizuno Hydroflow Micro Grooves

Just like with last year’s release of the T20 wedges, instead of using traditional laser etching parallel to the milled grooves, Mizuno engineers took the concept of tread from high-performance tires and went perpendicular to the grooves and parallel to the direction the ball moves up the face to channel moisture away.

This directional tread has proven to increase spin on shots especially in conditions with moisture up to 1,200 RPM on a 60-yard shot. It’s not just about spin either: the more the friction created also means more control on launch angle and less of a “floating” ball flight. That’s how those low flying “zippers” really zip!

The other part of this groovy tale has to do with the reconfiguration of the grooves. Just like with the T20, the lowest groove on the E21 wedges has been shortened and centered. This puts it closer to the leading edge without having it disorient the look of the club from address and making it appear that the heel or toe is thinner on one side.

By bringing together the new CG placement with leading groove technology and reconfigured soles, Mizuno is once again changing the way players think about wedge performance.

More photos and discussion in the forums. 

Price, availability, and specs

The E21 wedges will be right-hand only and available this October with the exact date upcoming and priced at $200 per club.

The stock shaft is the KBS HI Rev 110 Wedge flex in black ion finish, along with a Lamkin ST Hybrid grip

Mizuno E21 wedge loft and bounce availability

More photos and discussion in the forums. 

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Equipment

2020 TaylorMade Spider FCG putter: Blade performance, mallet forgiveness

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2020 taylormade spider putter cover

If you love the feel of a blade putter but struggle with alignment and need the extra stability only a mallet can provide, then this could be the putter you have been waiting for—the all-new 2020 TaylorMade Spider FCG (Forward Center of Gravity).

Although the new Spider FCG doesn’t look like any Spider ever imagined by the putter team at TaylorMade, it is a Spider through and through thanks to its multi-material design, and it’s built to offer the extra stability synonymous with the Spider name.

2020 TaylorMade Spider FCG putter: It’s what’s inside that counts

The key to the new Spider FCG putter is the distribution of mass relative to the face along with the extreme heel and toe weighting to boost MOI. This isn’t a small tweak either, to offer you a direct comparison, the center of gravity of the standard Spider X is 3 times further back in the head compared to the new Spider FCG. This is why most mallet putters, including the Spider X from TaylorMade, rely on various hosel configurations to fit a player’s stroke—and even then they can only get so much toe hang out of these designs.

Tech/fitting note: The reason we don’t see many high MOI (low and back center of gravity) putters that also have more than around 30 degrees of toe hang is that the nature of high MOI designs makes them harder to open and close relative to square. For someone with a more gated stroke, this means a high MOI style of putter requires more manipulation to get back to square at impact oftentimes results in the face being left open causing a “push.”

To get the center of gravity as forward as possible, TaylorMade did a number of things to the weighting properties of the head, including using more than 100 grams of tungsten weight in the heel and toe of the putter and positioning the interchangeable head weight directly behind the face. The most clever design trick was removing as much weight as possible from the back of the head, but maintaining the shape from address.

“We tried to think of the top and rear portions of the putter as a canopy. It’s rigid, allows us to create a long alignment tool, but takes up a very small portion of the putter head’s total mass” – Bill Price

The face also plays a big role since TM is using a new CU29 PureRoll insert, which offers all the same roll enhancing properties as other inserts in the line except for the fact it is constructed of pure copper and weighs 25 grams, making it the heaviest insert TaylorMade has ever created.

This putter is all about TaylorMade expanding available options to golfers, because the Spider FCG offers greater toe hang than any other putter in the Spider family ever at 46 degrees (with the slant next), which puts it directly in line with the TP Soto at 47 degrees. It also comes with two other hosel options to give players with a less gated stroke a better fitting putter—while still offering a longer alignment line and more forgiveness.

“In developing Spider FCG, we sought insights from many of the top players on TOUR. We compiled that information to construct a clean and traditional mallet shape that performs in a non-traditional way. The result is an intelligently designed high-MOI mallet that’s built for golfers who have an arced putting stroke. Forward CG placement lets the toe release freely like a blade, while the mallet shape and perimeter weighting help maintain the signature Spider family forgiveness.” – Bill Price; Product Creation Putters and Wedges

Now Speaking to alignment, the Spider FCG has what TaylorMade is calling TruePath T-Sightline. It combines the perpendicular alignment from the face with the long line pointed at the target. Giving this a technological name might seem like a bit of a stretch, but when talking with TaylorMade’s Bill Price about the top’s contrast he noted

“White is the very bright to our eyes and by creating high contrast along the front of the putter it helps players set up more square to their putting line regardless of eye dominance.”

It’s been proven time after time that player alignment is very much attributed to their eye-dominance; some players use the leading edge while others use longer alignment lines on the top of the putter—the FCG with TruePath is offering both.

Price, availability, and specs

The Spider FCG will be available at retail and online starting September 4th with the retail price of $350.

It is offered in three different neck styles to help golfers varying amounts of face rotation in their stroke to find the right model

  • The L-Neck (aka Plumbers Neck) with 25° of toe-hang
  • Short slant next with 46° of toe-hang, which puts it in line with most blade putters on the market
  • Single bend which is close to face-balanced for those with limited face rotation

It will come stock with a KBS Stepless Black CT putter shaft along with a Super Stroke Pistol 1.0 black and white grip, with other grip options available through custom order.  The putter will come in both right and left-handed and will come in the stock lengths of 33”, 34”, and 35”.

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