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)
2021 Ping putter series: No name, all performance
As William Shakespeare famously wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and for Ping and its 2021 putter series, there is no fancy name for the new line, it’s all about performance—because they are Ping putters after all.
For the new 2021 putters, Ping engineers focused on creating optimal MOI and roll performance using multi-material designs and an all-new insert to create consistent ball speed around the face.
“We’ve engineered a lot of score-lowering technology into the 2021 putter line through extensive research and tour player feedback. All of the models are developed with higher MOI through strategic use of various materials, including tungsten, steel and aluminum, to provide the forgiveness and accuracy golfers expect from a Ping putter. The dual-durometer insert features uniform, shallow grooves to give golfers a soft, responsive feel for more consistent distance control with the precise touch they need to hole more putts.” – John K. Solheim, Ping President.
The putter lineup features classic and new putter designs which were developed through Ping’s tour-focused Putting Lab Design aka. the PLD program and made popular by Ping professionals including Viktor Hovland’s DS 72, and Cameron Champ’s Tyne 4.
Every model in the line is built using aerospace-grade materials to maximize the level of forgiveness and offer a superior quality feel and performance. The Anser, Anser 2, and Anser 4 combine a stainless-steel head with tungsten heel and toe weights to elevate the timeless designs to the highest MOI they have ever measured.
While in the Kushin 4, DS 72, and Tyne 4, a steel weight is used in the heel, and tungsten is used to the toe to optimize the center of gravity locations for each model.
The Fetch and Oslo H bring together a cast 304 stainless steel body with an aluminum sole plate to position mass around the perimeter of the heads to create highly forgiving mallet-style designs.
For the new CA 70 head, a stainless steel sole weight is used to lower the center of gravity of the putter which is mostly constructed of an aluminum body for more forgiveness
The behemoth of the new designs is Harwood which offers the highest MOI in the line thanks to its 6061 aluminum body and 93g worth of tungsten weights positioned in all four corners of the head.
Dual-Durometer Insert for Soft, Solid Feel
The 2021 Ping putters offer golfers a soft yet responsive face thanks to the use of PEBAX – an innovative dual-durometer material, which is also fitted with shallow grooves. The front portion of the insert is made softer for shorter putts, while the back layer is firmer and becomes engaged at higher speeds to help improve distance control on longer-range putts.
Just like with golf ball technology, multiple layers help with creating optimal dynamics at different speeds and Ping is using that same time of philosophy to improve putter insert design.
Price, specs, and availability
The new 2021 Ping putter line will be available in 11 different models including one in an armlock configuration and come in both right and left-handed. The models include
- Anser 2
- Anser 4
- Kushin 4
- DS 72
- CA 70
- Tyne 4
- Oslo H
- Tyne C
- Harwood / Harwood Armlock
The putter are each fitted with one of three original Ping designed grips intended to maximize the putter performance based on stroke fit.
The PP58 – A mid (87g) standard-sized pistol shape made of rubber and designed to help square the face at impact is the standard grip on the Anser, Anser 4, Kushin 4, CA 70, DS 72, Tyne 4, and Tyne C.
The PP60 – Another (86g) midsize option, pistol design with a rubber under-listing with larger flat surfaces for increased face awareness. A new rubber outer layer features a unique texture to enhance a golfer’s sense of touch. It comes standard on the Anser 2, Fetch, Oslo H and Harwood.
The PP58-S – An optional pistol-shaped midsized grip featuring a straight taper and predominantly flat surface to aid in clubface awareness.
All of the 2021 Ping Putters are priced at $270 usd except for the Harwood and Harwood armlock, which are priced at $380.
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/13/21): TaylorMade M5 driver head
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a TaylorMade M5 driver head. It’s in nice shape—you just need to supply the shaft.
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Drivers heads – TaylorMade M5 and TSi
What GolfWRXers are saying about Japanese brand Shimada iron shafts
In our forums, our members have been sharing their thoughts on irons shafts from Japanese company Shimada. WRXer ‘Erchuccc’ is interested in the iron shafts and would like a comparison to his Modus 105’s, and our members have been having their say in our forum.
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.
- BD14: “I’m currently gaming them on my CB301. I can’t compare them to the modus, but I get higher launch with them than my KBS Tour 90. Also, I normally play regular flex shafts (low swing speed), but I’m stiff in the Shimada Nine9. I find them very consistent for me.”
- kcsf: “I’d had Shimada tour lites in the past and found them to be very smooth and consistent. I know that’s a different model than you’re asking, but I think you’ll really find them to be fantastic shafts.”
- Vanbilxmchi: “I like Shimada NINE9; they feel very smooth; I think they are very similar to Oban CT. However, when I assembly them to my irons, it seems they have a bit smaller diameter to fit into 355 hosels. I have to use shim.”
- chicolax2: “Great shaft company. I play different shafts, the tours, however, I highly recommend the quality of the shafts from Shimada.”
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