Ping i25 fairway woods
In some ways, creating a good fairway wood is more challenging than creating a good driver.
"What makes fairway woods so tough to design is that you have a really small window to get your launch and spin just right," said Marty Jertson, Ping's director of product development. "Even from a PGA Tour player's standpoint, if they get a fairway wood that spins a little bit too much, it just doesn't feel good and the ball balloons. If you get a fairway wood that just fractionally does not spin enough, shots will just fall out of the air."
With the release of the i25 fairway woods, Jertson and the team at Ping believe they have a club that could help more players achieve ideal launch conditions more often to make hitting tight fairways and long par-5s a little easier.
The i25 comes standard with an adjustable hosel system that allows golfers to increase or decrease the club's loft by .5 degrees. That may not seem like much, but it should help golfers hit shots to a specific distance, which is critical. It also should help players working with clubfitters create even gapping between their fairway woods and hybrids.
"Small changes in loft can have a big impact on ball flight and in maximizing your performance," Jertson said.
To help players hit shots to a specific distance more consistently, Ping gave the i25 fairway woods a 17-4 stainless steel face that features a variable-thickness design. By engineering the face to be thinner around the edges and thicker in the middle, Ping says the sweet spot in the new i25 fairway woods has been broadened so mis-hit shots go nearly as far as those struck solidly. Jertson said the i25's face creates about 1 mph more ball speed. The face also is slightly deeper than last season's i20, which should inspire more confidence at address.
Ping did not use tungsten in these fairway woods to lower the center of gravity, as it did in the i25 driver, but the company did redistribute discretionary weight strategically.
"We did put a little bit low and back, around the perimeter, to boost MOI," Jertson said. "But we put a decent amount front and center to optimize the CG placement."
Compared to the Ping G25 fairway woods, the CG placement is more forward, so golfers should expect a more boring trajectory and less spin.
Compared to the i20 fairway woods, Jertson said the i25 fairway woods create more ball speed because the taller face flexes more at impact. He also said players should notice the i25s are substantially more forgiving because the MOI is up 7 percent.
The screw positioned in the middle of the soul is not adjustable; it has been designed into the i25 to help clubfitters achieve the ideal swing weight.
The racing stripe on the matte black crown may look sporty, but it was designed to bracket the ball at address and help players aim the club more easily.
The i25 fairway woods arrive in stores in February. They will cost $275 and come standard with Ping's new PWR graphite shaft. Available lofts will be 14, 15 and 18 degrees.