For players looking to maximize distance and forgiveness, the new Ping iBlade iron is probably not the club. They should try Ping’s G irons or the i irons instead.
Marty Jertson, Ping’s director of product development, said very clearly that iBlades are not for everybody. They’re for golfers who love to shape shots, seek maximum feel and don’t want technology to correct their shots.
Already in the bags of several Tour players, the iBlade takes the place of the S55 as Ping’s offering for pros, elite amateurs and players who aspire to contend in the top division of their club championship. Ping’s Glide wedges inspired the iBlade’s look, with clean lines and subtle branding and numbering.
The iBlades are cast from the same 431 stainless steel alloy used to make the Glide wedges and i irons. Each face is milled to ensure it is perfectly flat, and at its thinnest measures just 1.9 mm thick. That’s thinner than the face of the maximum-game-improvement G irons.
To soften feel and support that face, Ping filled the custom tuning port behind the hitting area with an elastomer that soaks up vibrations. Using the elastomer instead of more steel also saves weight, which allowed Ping to shift more mass to the outer edges of the head and increase the moment of inertia. While the iBlades are smaller than the i irons, which are designed for mid-handicap players, the 6-iron through pitching wedge in the iBlades have an MOI that is 4 percent larger.
“Tour players might not come out and say it, but they need it and deep down they want a little mis-hit protection,” Jertson said. “They want the feedback of the irons, acoustically and feel-wise, but they still wouldn’t mind if they hit it a groove or two low for the ball to still carry a bunker.”
The leading edges have been made straighter than the S55, and the topline is slightly thinner. The iBlade has minimal offset and the blade length is very similar to the S55, but the groove lengths were shortened to create more open space in the toe for a bigger mirror effect.
“It’s something that Bubba (Watson) picked up on right away when we showed the irons to him, and it helps with the proportions. It helps make the club look more compact at address without us having to actually change the size,” Jertson said.
The iBlades became available for pre-order Aug. 1 and come standard with True Temper Dynamic Gold X300 or X100 steel shafts and Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound black/white grips in 3-iron through pitching wedge for $162.50 per club. Several other steel shafts options, including Nippon Modus 105, Project X and XP95, are available with no upcharge. The iBlades cost $177.50 with graphite shafts.