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2013 Ping Anser Forged Review: The ultimate set of irons?

2013 ping anser forged irons 2011 ping anser forged irons

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#1 zakkozuchowski

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:28 PM


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By Zak Kozuchowski


GolfWRX Managing Editor


Background:


In golf, Ping is known as a company that produces high-quality cast irons for golfers of all ability levels – everyone from high handicappers to 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson. Despite the fact that five of the PGA Tour’s Top-10 ranked golfers in Greens in Regulation in 2012 used cast irons, some golfers are convinced that cast irons are inferior to irons that are forged.


While it is unfair to say that cast irons are always inferior to forged irons, cast irons generally have two distinct drawbacks. First, they often feel harsh at impact when compared to forged clubs, which tend to produce a softer feel. Cast irons are also tougher to bend, which can make it hard for golfers to dial in their lofts and lie angles.

Ping recognized the desire of many golfers to play forged irons, which is why the company released its first forged iron in decades in 2011, the Anser Forged. The irons were smaller than most Ping cavity back irons, which made them visually appealing to golfers who preferred the look of a compact iron at address. They also offered the softer feel that forged iron fans wanted


As expected, the Anser Forged were most popular in Japan and Asia, areas where forgings have a much broader appeal. But they were also well received by a small crowd of U.S. golfers who were anxious to finally try a modern forged iron from Ping. Ping received feedback, however that the average golfer had difficulty hitting the Anser Forged long irons high enough for them to be effective. This made the clubs suitable for a very small group of golfers – players who wanted a compact forged iron but didn’t need help hitting the ball higher.


In an effort to broaden the appeal of the Anser Forged, Ping re-engineered the irons for 2013. And they set the bar high, setting out to make “the ultimate forged iron.” Like the previous model, the new Anser Forged irons come with a steep price tag (expect to pay between $1300 and $1500 for a stock set). But if you can stomach the cost, you’ll have a set of irons that blend good looks and performance as well as any forged iron available.


Better looks and forgiveness?


The new Anser Forged are longer and more forgiving than the previous Anser Forged irons, especially in the long irons. Engineers made the soles of the long irons wider, which according to Ping senior design engineer Marty Jertson is the easiest way to make an iron fly higher.


But the added sole width came at a cost. Many good players hesitate to play an iron that has a visible sole at address. On the 2011 Ping Anser irons, golfers could only see the top line of the irons at address. But in the 2013 model, the sole is visible behind the top line on the 3 and 4 irons.


*2011 Anser Forged 3 Iron (Left) and the 2013 Anser Forged 3 Iron (right)

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Engineers also added more offset to the long irons, another visual aspect that some good players can find unappealing. Offset is the space between the forward portion of the hosel and the front of the clubface. For many good golfers, offset can be a bad word. This is because the more offset a club has, the higher a shot will fly, which can cause problems for good golfers who like to hit low shots.


“The more offset you put on the club, the more the clubhead wants to catch up with the shaft,” Jertson said. “[During the downswing] the head is lagging behind the shaft, but right at impact the head kicks forward and starts to lead the shaft. The offset increases initial launch angle.”


The long irons just don’t have more offset, they also have larger heads to make them more forgiving. Good players might balk at the looks of the revamped 3 and 4 irons, but once they hit them their aesthetics will become less important. Players tempted to replace their long irons with hybrids likely won’t need to with 2013 Anser Forged. The 3 and 4 irons have the distance and forgiveness of many hybrids, but offer the trajectory control and soft feel of a forged iron.


The larger size of the 3 and 4 irons are a special case, however. Jertson and his team felt the extra bulk was worth the added performance. But the rest of the 2013 Anser Forged irons get progressively smaller and have less offset throughout the set. That’s because there are plenty of ways for engineers to add forgiveness without adding bulk.


Big forgiveness, small clubhead


Contrary to what many good golfers believe, thick toplines serve a purpose greater than adding visual confidence at address for less-skilled players. Just as heel-toe weighting adds forgiveness to shots hit on the heel and toe, weight above and below the sweetspot adds forgiveness to shots hit in those areas as well. That’s why Ping thickened the toplines of the Anser Forged irons. But unless you took a caliper and measured the toplines, you wouldn’t know they were any thicker. That’s because Ping engineers shaped the topline in such a way that they could hide mass underneath it. This makes the revamped irons more visually appealing to good players and adds better performance on mishits as well.


Jertson said that all Ping irons are designed to provide maximum forgiveness for their size. Like Ping’s most blade-like iron, the S56, engineers added tungsten weights and the strategically placed bars in the cavity of the irons that add forgiveness and tune the center of gravity. But because the 2013 Anser Forged Irons are larger than the S56 irons, they were able to add forgiveness on a larger scale.


*2011 Anser Forged 7 Iron (left) vs. 2013 Anser Forged 7 Iron (right)

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Each of the 2013 Anser Forged irons have an enormous tungsten sole weight that moves the center of gravity lower and deeper for faster ball speeds. The bars in the cavity are also specialized for each iron -- on the long irons, they are thinner and extend horizontally for a lower center of gravity. On the short irons, engineers made the bars thicker and more vertical. This makes them more forgiving on shots hit above and below the sweet spot and helps golfers flight the ball as well. All together, the sneaky thick toplines, tungsten soles and strategically placed bars add a huge amount of forgiveness, making the Anser Forged irons play much more forgiving than their sizes indicate.


Miguel Angel Jimenez became the first to win with the 2013 Anser Forged irons at the UBS Hong Kong Open in November 2012 and Hunter Mahan put the irons in his bag at the World Challenge two weeks later. Both players were previously playing the smaller, less-forgiving S56 irons. That's a testament to how good these irons look, even to the discerning eye of a top tour pro.


Looks: The 3 and 4 irons are a bit on the chunky side, but the 5 iron though pitching wedge look like forged cavity back irons should. While the irons get smaller as they work down the set, they are all larger than blades. But they're not too much bigger than the S56 and forged cavity back irons aimed at better players.


Playability and Performance: This is where the Anser Forged Irons shine. They're not too much bigger than the top tier of players irons, but they are much more forgiving. The tungsten weighting and angled bars offer substantial forgiveness and fine-tuned trajectory throughout the set without added bulk.


Flight and distance: Long irons launch easy and won't balloon for better players with the right shaft. The mid-and-short irons offer workability, and are able to be flighted when necessary. Distance won't be a problem with these. No problems working the ball, either.


Feel: The irons are forged from 8620 carbon steel, but don't feel as soft as other forgings because of their multi-material construction and their deeply milled cavities. It's a "squish" feel at impact -- an improvement over the clicky sound of most Ping irons, but definitely not the buttery feel that some forged irons produce.


Cost: The key to getting more forgiveness out of a small, forged clubhead like the new Anser Forged is the deep cavities in the back of the club. They give engineers the ability to redistribute weight in the most optimal places. It took multiple forging and milling steps to get the Anser Forged’s 8620 steel as thin as necessary in certain areas, which is why they're so expensive.


Bottom Line: If you want one of the highest-quality, highest-performing forged irons on the planet, these irons are for you. If cost is an issue, consider Ping's i20, which cost around $1000.They don't feel as good or look as good as the Anser Forged irons, but they're slightly more playable thanks to a little more offset and a larger blade size


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#2 driverwedge3putt

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

awesome - ive delayed buying them for 2 years now but they are in the running for 2013!
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#3 Doc Mcstuffins

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

Hit them today against some MP64's (indoors that is). At least on the monitors I could work them both very easily. No issues there. The Anser feels thicker/heavier at impact while the 64's feel thinner and more knife like. I could happily play either, and as far as I'm concerned they are two of the best irons available this year.

I just have one contention with the PING's and that's the Price. At $1500 they should include PXi's as a no upcharge shaft along with everything else. If they did I might not have chosen the 64's over the Anser's.
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#4 cardoustie

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:04 PM

My bro has dropped his cap by three after moving to these
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#5 driverwedge3putt

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

before / after cap?

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#6 DblEgl

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

These were my irons of choice after trying most of the better forged irons this year.  I did have some initial problems
with the Ping fitting, but Ping's customer service went beyond the call of duty to make everything perfect.  I could not
be happier with my purchase.

I agree with the review totally.  Really nice irons.  Great job Ping !

#7 gregcindyh

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:23 AM

They sure look good, but at that price woudn't it be better to get a set of Miura irons...or are they close and a preference thing?
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#8 Redjeep83

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:51 AM

the 13 ansers look more sleek at address, the first ansers looked fat at address

Edited by Redjeep83, 01 December 2012 - 01:52 AM.


#9 oneaugusta

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:21 AM

I hit these a few weeks ago, very nice but way overpriced, They are priced like Miura's but not in the same league in terms of quality and feel.  Set them at $899 and that would get some attention
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#10 johnstitch

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

They are a very good set of sticks but availability is sorely limited in the UK as retailers won't stock them on price alone.  There is no reason whatsoever to charge $1500 for 8 irons when an equally well made set of Mizuno or Titleist's are $1100. Drop the price Ping and you will sell a lot more.


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#11 BrianL99

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:56 AM

 oneaugusta, on 01 December 2012 - 07:21 AM, said:

I hit these a few weeks ago, very nice but way overpriced, They are priced like Miura's but not in the same league in terms of quality and feel.  Set them at $899 and that would get some attention

Why do so many posters immediately bring up the price of PING Anser Forged club?  Who cares?  If you think they're over-priced or you can't afford them ... don't buy them.  PING has no trouble selling them at their price point and personally, I have (2) sets and love them.

As for Miuras, give me a break.  If they were such ...Hot golf clubs, people would be playing them.   In 30 years, I've never seen a set at a golf course or at a PGA tournament.

Edited by Asleep, 02 December 2012 - 07:51 PM.
language, see forum rules


#12 Redjeep83

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

 johnstitch, on 01 December 2012 - 08:03 AM, said:

They are a very good set of sticks but availability is sorely limited in the UK as retailers won't stock them on price alone.  There is no reason whatsoever to charge $1500 for 8 irons when an equally well made set of Mizuno or Titleist's are $1100. Drop the price Ping and you will sell a lot more.

yea I use to think the same thing but when I found out you could get any shaft upgrade at the same price then its really not too bad. Titleist or mizuno shaft upgrades are going to put you near the same price as the ansers.

#13 OrangeCrush

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:41 AM

I am with BrianL99 on this one in terms of people complaining about the price.  Do you complain that a Porsche costs 1.5x that of a Corvette when they are equally fast?  NO.  A 4-PW set of Ansers is $1250.00.  yeah that's not cheap BUT if I buy a set of MP-64's and want to upgrade the shafts not offered by Mizuno say Nippon Modus PRO 3.  Now I am looking closer to $1100-1150 buying the shafts, grips and having them installed.  Well I can get Ansers with those shafts covered under warranty for like $100.00 more.  That gap is a little closer.

Also I see WRX'rs buying 4-6-8 sets of irons in 1 season,  I know they sell the old ones BUT there HAS TO BE some sort of loss from each sale.  So if I lose $150.00 per set and I sold 5 sets.  That's $750.00!!!  So how is someone wanting Ansers the one wasting $$$?

The Ansers w/ Modus 3 in 5-PW and MP-64's/825PRO's 4-PW are my final 2 choices for irons so I LOVE them both.  All comes down to what you are willing to pay.

Edited by OrangeCrush, 01 December 2012 - 11:43 AM.

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#14 ladahl

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

Everytime I go into the local shop I pull out their 2013 Anser demo (blue dot)

I think these fit me perfect.  And super easy to hit.

I currently rotate CMB's and AR-1's

I really like these irons.
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#15 Tiemco

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:55 AM

 zakkozuchowski, on 30 November 2012 - 05:28 PM, said:


“The more offset you put on the club, the more the clubhead wants to catch up with the shaft,” Jertson said. “[During the downswing] the head is lagging behind the shaft, but right at impact the head kicks forward and starts to lead the shaft. The offset increases initial launch angle.”


Uhhhh, does this sound wrong to anyone else but me?


#16 PINGRebel

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:24 PM

 Tiemco, on 01 December 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

 zakkozuchowski, on 30 November 2012 - 05:28 PM, said:


“The more offset you put on the club, the more the clubhead wants to catch up with the shaft,” Jertson said. “[During the downswing] the head is lagging behind the shaft, but right at impact the head kicks forward and starts to lead the shaft. The offset increases initial launch angle.”


Uhhhh, does this sound wrong to anyone else but me?

Not to me, offset promotes higher launch angles.
Unless I'm not reading what your reading.

#17 Tiemco

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:55 PM

 PINGRebel, on 01 December 2012 - 12:24 PM, said:

 Tiemco, on 01 December 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

 zakkozuchowski, on 30 November 2012 - 05:28 PM, said:

"The more offset you put on the club, the more the clubhead wants to catch up with the shaft," Jertson said. "[During the downswing] the head is lagging behind the shaft, but right at impact the head kicks forward and starts to lead the shaft. The offset increases initial launch angle."


Uhhhh, does this sound wrong to anyone else but me?

Not to me, offset promotes higher launch angles.
Unless I'm not reading what your reading.

No, not about the higher ball flight, but how it's accomplished by the clubhead leading the shaft.

#18 Doc Mcstuffins

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:02 PM

Why attack people and say "if you can't afford them don't buy them"? The fact of the matter is people want them, but not at that price. Do you have any numbers regarding Ping not having any trouble selling them? Do share. I'm at my local Golf Galaxy's and Golfsmith's multiple times a week. I also know most of the guys that work there and they hardly ever sell a set of Ansers. Golf is a leisure activity and I can't imagine there are too many consumers that wouldn't bat an eye at that price, even if they can afford them. I for one am glad PING makes this set, and yes, they can charge whatever they want, but to say they have no trouble selling them isn't very accurate from what I've seen. Bottom line, is PING doesn't need to sell them in droves, that's what I and the G series are for.

BTW, you don't see Miura's in the wild, because like the Anser's they are $$$$. I would also say that Anser's are openly more available at retailers than Miura's are, and I have yet to see a set of Anser's in the bag at any club I've played at.
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#19 PINGRebel

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

 Tiemco, on 01 December 2012 - 12:55 PM, said:

 PINGRebel, on 01 December 2012 - 12:24 PM, said:

 Tiemco, on 01 December 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:

 zakkozuchowski, on 30 November 2012 - 05:28 PM, said:

"The more offset you put on the club, the more the clubhead wants to catch up with the shaft," Jertson said. "[During the downswing] the head is lagging behind the shaft, but right at impact the head kicks forward and starts to lead the shaft. The offset increases initial launch angle."


Uhhhh, does this sound wrong to anyone else but me?

Not to me, offset promotes higher launch angles.
Unless I'm not reading what your reading.

No, not about the higher ball flight, but how it's accomplished by the clubhead leading the shaft.

It could have been explained better, but CG does weird things to golf clubs.

#20 Doc Mcstuffins

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

 OrangeCrush, on 01 December 2012 - 11:41 AM, said:

I am with BrianL99 on this one in terms of people complaining about the price.  Do you complain that a Porsche costs 1.5x that of a Corvette when they are equally fast?  NO.  A 4-PW set of Ansers is $1250.00.  yeah that's not cheap BUT if I buy a set of MP-64's and want to upgrade the shafts not offered by Mizuno say Nippon Modus PRO 3.  Now I am looking closer to $1100-1150 buying the shafts, grips and having them installed.  Well I can get Ansers with those shafts covered under warranty for like $100.00 more.  That gap is a little closer.

Also I see WRX'rs buying 4-6-8 sets of irons in 1 season,  I know they sell the old ones BUT there HAS TO BE some sort of loss from each sale.  So if I lose $150.00 per set and I sold 5 sets.  That's $750.00!!!  So how is someone wanting Ansers the one wasting $$$?

The Ansers w/ Modus 3 in 5-PW and MP-64's/825PRO's 4-PW are my final 2 choices for irons so I LOVE them both.  All comes down to what you are willing to pay.

I wouldn't complain about a Porsche costing more than a Corvette, because as an exotic car fanatic, the cost is justified in the build quality, prestige, performance, and resale value, but I digress.

If you were to have an interest in Nippon Modus3's than yes, perhaps the difference in price between both sets would be minimal. I know because I play them in my S56's and just received a set of MP64's with PXi's. You just happened to pick the one shaft that is not available for custom build through Mizuno, and having a set built by a custom club maker isn't comparing apples to apples.

Now, if you were to go the route of a custom shaft like a Pxi that is available from both manufacturers the difference in price in a 4-PW set would be $1,119 for the Mizuno's vs. $1,512 for the Ping's. As a die hard Ping guy, even I'd have to say a set of MP64's with any driver of choice for the same amount as the Ping's would be the more attractive deal. :nyam:

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#21 Woodridge

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

My take on the Anser price is this. Guys who buy PIng irons are buying for performance, not for feel. I'd be stunned to see many, if any threads where folks rave about what a great feeling iron, their Pings are. On the flip side is JDM. Almost most every thread related to JDM focuses on feel. You'd be hard pressed to find threads in JDM where the focal point is how their JDM irons are performing. The feel and the status symbol aspect of those irons appear to be the reason people gravitate towards them. Back to PIng, the Anser line of irons is an outlier in that Ping is selling their reputation for performance while adding the feel of forged. Ping's typical customer has consciously made a decision that performance was more important than feel. Part of convincing those folks that the Anser is an upgrade from their I series or S series irons included pricing the Anser as a premium product. People will pay more, a lot more, for something that they view as a premium iron. Just ask any JDM iron owner.

Edited by Woodridge, 01 December 2012 - 04:31 PM.

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#22 J.W.

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:08 PM

 Woodridge, on 01 December 2012 - 04:31 PM, said:

My take on the Anser price is this. Guys who buy PIng irons are buying for performance, not for feel. I'd be stunned to see many, if any threads where folks rave about what a great feeling iron, their Pings are. On the flip side is JDM. Almost most every thread related to JDM focuses on feel. You'd be hard pressed to find threads in JDM where the focal point is how their JDM irons are performing. The feel and the status symbol aspect of those irons appear to be the reason people gravitate towards them. Back to PIng, the Anser line of irons is an outlier in that Ping is selling their reputation for performance while adding the feel of forged. Ping's typical customer has consciously made a decision that performance was more important than feel. Part of convincing those folks that the Anser is an upgrade from their I series or S series irons included pricing the Anser as a premium product. People will pay more, a lot more, for something that they view as a premium iron. Just ask any JDM iron owner.

I wondered how long it would take before someone got it.
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#23 inmens

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

I get back to this article because is so well written. As i see, 90% of golfers can't even feel the difference between cast and forged irons tho they sure can feel the difference between blades and CB.

#24 tomg1969

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

I don't play Ansers and aren't planning on buying a set, but every time I read another post that contains a comparison to Miura's because of the price point, I chuckle. I've had a set of Miura's. They are beautiful and feel awesome.....but from a performance standpoint they aren't anything special.
The Anser's are more technologically advanced and I have little doubt that will outperform Miura's in every aspect.
Doesn't mean that Miura's aren't good or even a better choice for some players for any number of reasons.....but pure performance is probably not one of those reasons.
Anser's are expensive.....buy them or not, but comparing them to Miura's is pointless. The only thing they have in common is pricepoint

#25 whiff

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:59 PM

Just bought a set & can't say enough good things about them.  I'm a 1 hdcp & coming from playing blades found these to be a nice compromise on forgiveness while still a great feeling iron I can easily work.


#26 hvilletn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:28 PM

Will be trying these and i20s in kbs c tapers

#27 Golfjunki71

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

The 2013 are much improved over the previous version.
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#28 Jack Pearsall

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:40 PM

Those look a lot like Srixon z-tx 2 irons.
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#29 wesr

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

These are great irons but a bit expensive compared to the rest of Pings offerings.

I do wonder why they are saying these are forged. Almost every 8620 club is cast on the market. Does saying "Forged" let them charge more? It's weird that their tour iron is 17-4.

#30 Foreleft

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:47 PM

Good review.  I am having an awful time finding anyone that even has a demo iron to try in the Anser 2012, and I have a few very high caliber Ping fitting operations around me.  Maybe I need to try harder.

That said, these appeal to me greatly, at least on paper.  I hit my i20's very well, but would like less offset in the 4 iron and slightly better feel.  Cost isn't a huge issue if they end up in my bag for a while.  As to the Miura comparison - couldn't care less, because I have never found a set of Miura that have the specs that fit my game.


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