Ping i25 hybrids
As clichés go, "You can't judge a book by its cover" is pretty popular.
According to Marty Jertson, Ping's director of product development, the G15 hybrid performed great, but because the club had an enlarged toe section and asymmetrical look at address, it turned some golfers off. With the new Ping i25 hybrid, Jertson said his designers were successful in repackaging the playing characteristics engineers loved in a more traditional-looking hybrid.
Made from 17-4 stainless steel, the i25 has a compact head with a non-glare, matte black finish. At address, players may see the club has a touch of offset, but it's a traditional look.
"We've created a club with a pretty small footprint from front to back, and moved the CG [center of gravity] pretty far forward," Jertson said. However, he said that because the CG position is still well behind the shaft axis, the i25 produces a much higher ball flight than its predecessor, the i20, while at the same time creating less spin.
"So really, we've got the physics of a G15-style hybrid in a totally different chassis," he said.
Even though the i25 hybrids create a higher launch angle, Ping wanted to make hitting the lower-lofted versions a littler easier, so the CG positions of each hybrid are in a slightly different spot.
"It sounds like something that's a lot easier to do than it really is," Jertson said. "If you were to look inside the 17-degree version, you'd see that it has a ton of mass concentrated in the back of the club. As you go up, the 26-degree version has a ton of mass concentrated toward the front, but we have done it in a way that does not impede the face responsiveness."
One of the knocks accomplished players often have with hybrids is the clubs play like miniature fairway woods instead of irons. Excessive curvature in the face from heel to toe and sole to crown can make working the ball more difficult. The i25 hybrids have been designed with a flatter face than other Ping hybrids, which should give iron-lovers more of what they want.
"It's more squared off, so for us, it provides more iron-style workability," Jertson said. "But you get the high launch of the wood-style hybrids."
Some manufacturers claim that railed or unique soles help their hybrids work more effectively through rough and sand, but Jertson said the i25 is efficient from a variety of lies because of its size.
"It's just way smaller from heel to toe," he said. "The blade length is smaller and the front-to-back depth of the club is smaller. We've reduced the surface area that is interacting with heavy rough and fairway bunkers."
In other words, there is simply less club to get snagged or impeded.
"When players get their hands on this club, they're going to be shocked at how high this thing launches the ball because it doesn't look like it should," Jertson said.
The 17-, 19-, 22- and 26-degree i25 hybrids will be available starting in February for $242 and come with Ping's new PWR graphite shafts.