Despite popular belief of mainstream golf fans, not all PGA Tour players use the newest possible technology, especially when it comes to irons.
One of the most popular “old” irons on the PGA Tour are Ping’s S55 models, which were released to the public in November 2013. PGA Tour players such as Bubba Watson, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Carlos Ortiz still have the irons in their bags.
The S55 irons were cast from 17-4 stainless steel, had a tungsten weight added to the toe section for greater forgiveness, and had a custom tuning port (CTP) made of thermoplastic urethane in the back cavity for a softer feel. Pros and amateurs alike are drawn to the head shapes because they have a blade-like look at address, but with a touch of added forgiveness.
While I was taking photos of Ortiz’s WITB at the 2022 Memorial Tournament presented by Workday on Monday, I was curious to hear why he still has the short irons in his bag; his mixed iron set includes Ping iBlade long irons (3-5) and S55 short irons (6-PW).
Here’s what Ortiz had to say about why he still uses S55 irons:
“I think a lot of guys are still using them, like Bubba. The way they used to make the irons I think were better back then. The (iBlade) long irons, I think they can help you get them up in the air and everything, but the (S55) short irons, you don’t need help getting them up or longer or anything, you just need something reliable…”
“I think it’s the metal, it’s just more consistent. You might not hit it as high or as long, but you don’t need that with the short irons, and I think that’s why a lot of people haven’t really changed. I mean, obviously a lot of guys have used these ones to start, but there’s a big difference between these and the new material. They look exactly the same, it’s just the metal. It doesn’t make any difference. See, the metal they use is completely different…[the iBlade’s], you hit it higher, with less spin, and longer, but it’s not as reliable.”
To Ortiz’s point, as opposed to the Ping S55 irons made from 17-4 stainless steel, the Ping iBlade irons – released to the public in 2016 – were made from a softer and stronger 431 stainless steel. The weight savings of the design, compared to the S55 models, allowed Ping to construct the faces thinner, thus creating more distance.
Like the Ping S55’s, the iBlades also came with a blade-like appearance from address, helping amateurs and pros alike achieve both workability and flight control. While most amateur golfers could use the extra distance and height, Ortiz still prefers the lower-flying control/reliability of the S55 irons.
Of course, Ping has even newer players iron technologies than the iBlade, such as the new i59 and Blueprint Forged models. For now, though, Ortiz and a number of other PGA Tour players are still holding strong with the original S55 irons.
And just to clarify, Ortiz hasn’t been using the same exact heads for 9 years. He changes them out for fresh iron heads when the grooves get low (he says he wears out the 7 and 9-irons the quickest), and he says Ping still has a supply of backups.
Lydia Ko WITB 2023 (September)
- Lydia Ko what’s in the bag accurate as of the the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
Driver: Ping G430 LST (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana GT 50 S
3-wood: Ping G430 Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 60 S
5-wood: Ping G430 Max (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana GT 60 S
Hybrid: Ping G430 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD HY 65 S
Irons: Titleist T200 (5), ProtoConcept CO5 (6-9)
Shafts: AeroTech SteelFiber fc 70
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 48-10F @49, 54-10F, 58-08F @59)
Shafts: AeroTech SteelFiber fc 70 (46), AeroTech SteelFiber fc 80 (48-58)
Putter: Scotty Cameron TG6
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Spotted: Amy Yang’s T.P. Mills Fleetwood putter
This week, we spotted Amy Yang with a rare putter in her bag at the 2023 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. The putter was made by legendary putter maker T.P. Mills and the head shape is called “Fleetwood.” If you are not familiar with T.P. Mills, the company was founded in 1963 by Truett P. Mills, Sr. who wanted to make a better putter than what was available. His original putters were crafted with basic hand tools in his garage out of of carbon steel. His son David is now crafting the handmade putters after many years learning and working with his father. The company still offers the classic Softtail, Huey, Ming, 8802, and many more putters from his shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The Fleetwood is considered heel-shafted and has a wide flange that blurs the line between blade and mallet. Amy’s Fleetwood features a single sightline on the wide flange and some “snow” stamping on the top of the bumpers. Those bumpers flare up at the toe and heel, pushing weight to the outside for added stability and a balanced feel throughout the stroke. The large back cavity has some snow stamping above “My Wand” text that is stamped and filled with white paint. The topline looks slightly rounded for a softer look and blends in nicely with the width of the putter. A half-shaft offset flow neck is welded to the head while the face features a shallow milling pattern and unique “Mills” stamping near the heel.
The “Super Bullet” sole contains a large oval cavity where material is removed to dial in the desired head weight of the putter. This main cavity is in combination with two additional round cavities out at the toe and heel area. Yang’s Fleetwood is milled from Swiss-German stainless steel, as that is what is stamped into the center of the sole.
A traditional chrome steel shaft is installed and the putter is finished off with a Rosemark 1.52 MFS (microfiber silicone) putter grip in a white and teal.
- Check out the rest of our photos from the 2023 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (LPGA)
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (9/27/23): National Custom Works wedges (Don White hand ground)
At GolfWRX, 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 – buying and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a set of National Custom Works wedges (Don White hand ground).
From the seller (@cronejt): “Wedges: 50, 54, 60. Wedge heads. Don White Hand Ground. Raw finish, rust can be removed if desired. Highly Custom 1 of 1 stamping. Paid $1200 ($400 per head) for the heads alone. Took same time as iron set 1. Club build was done by Mike at TXG in Toronto. Asking $1000.”
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: National Custom Works wedges (Don White hand ground)
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