Ping's i20 clubs set to debut in February

The new Ping i20 series, which includes drivers, irons, fairway woods and hybrids.

The new Ping i20 series, which includes drivers, irons, fairway woods and hybrids.

Ping’s new club family, the i20, offers the latest in a long line of distinctive-looking offerings that date to the company's founding 53 years ago.

To some degree, Ping always has been known for its eye-catching products. The famous Anser putter was responsible for making the plumber’s neck part of golf's vocabulary. Before the popular Eye2 irons – with their non-glare, investment-cast construction – came along, virtually all irons were shiny and made of chrome-plated forged carbon steel.

The i20 family, which will be available in golf shops Feb. 9, includes drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons. All of these products except the irons feature a matte-black finish that is powerful looking and absorbs reflections.

Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim is known as a performance-driven engineer, and even he was raving about the finish. In essence, Solheim said if one touring pro saw a reflection in his clubhead, that was one too many.

So what is the difference between the i20 and the i15, the family it replaces in the Ping lineup?

First, let’s look at the driver.

“Even the best players in the world want forgiveness,” said Ping engineer Brad Schweigert, director of product design. “So we concentrated on forgiveness as much as distance. This driver is for anybody who is serious about their game.”

The i20 driver has tungsten sole weights to increase the MOI (moment of inertia, or resistance to twisting). It features a new aerodynamic crown to maximize clubhead speed. The 460cc body is made of Ti 8-1-1, a light, low-density titanium alloy.

Lofts are 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees. Two stock graphite shafts are available with the drivers as well as the fairway woods and hybrids -- Ping TFC 707D or Project X Black.

MSRP for the i20 driver is $385.

The fairway woods, according to Schweigert, are a bit smaller than those in another Ping family, the G20. The i20 is designed to launch a ball slightly lower with less spin than the G20.

Schweigert said Ping concentrated on building “more versatility into these fairway woods.” Because i20 is all about controlling the clubface, these clubs offer a large measure of workability for skilled players.

Lofts are 14, 15 and 18 degrees (strong 3, 3 and 5, respectively). MSRP is $255.

The hybrids, with an MSRP of $210, have a straight face and are designed to allow golfers to maneuver the ball. Lofts are 17, 20 and 23 degrees. MSRP is $210.

The i20 irons have a low-glare, satin-chrome finish. So who will use these irons and who will use the S56, Ping’s blade-style iron?

“The i20 will appeal more to players of all abilities,” Schweigert said. “We expect to see the i20 on Tour, but the S series irons will be our most popular iron out there.

“The i20 is a progressive set design. The long irons are longer from heel to toe. They have a higher inertia and are easier to launch up in the air.

“As we work our way into the middle irons, there is a little less length from heel to toe and a little less offset. They are easy to extract from difficult lies.

“The short irons are just fantastic. They are solid, and the distance control is really, really good.”

Ping has a new stock shaft for the i20 iron. It is called the CFS (Control, Feel, Stability). The stock graphite shaft is Ping’s TFC 169i.

MSRP for the irons is $110 per club with steel shaft and $137.50 per club with graphite shaft.

Although the i20 clubs won’t be at retail until Feb. 9, they can be ordered immediately from Ping dealers.

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