Ping i25 irons
Game-improvement irons need to be forgiving when a player makes a bad swing, playable with lots of feel when the same player makes a good swing.
That's a tall order, but Ping is replacing its i20, which appealed to players ranging from mid-handicappers to Lee Westwood, with a model it feels is even better, the new Ping i25 irons.
Each i25 iron is made from 17-4 stainless steel and has a pair of stabilizing bars on the back of the face. The bars on the long irons are thin, but they get thicker as they progress into the mid and short irons.
"The stabilizing bars do a couple of really good things for us," said Marty Jertson, Ping's director of product development. "Any time we can save weight in the face, especially in long irons, that's really good because we can put it in the sole and move the CG [center of gravity] back to create higher launch angles. The bars in the long irons provide a little bit of added stability so we can control face deflection, but they're really providing enough support so players get really good feel."
Jertson said that compared with other long irons in this category, the i25 long irons have a fairly wide sole, which was possible because so much weight was shaved from the face. The advantage of the wide sole is that it works through the turf more easily, so players should not have to worry as much if they fail to make perfect, ball-first contact.
"The long irons also have a decent amount of offset and are quite a bit longer from heel to toe, and we aggressively transition that down as you go into the short irons," he said.
The end result, according to Ping, is an iron set comprised of clubs that morph from forgiving and high-flying long irons into lower-flying, control-oriented short irons.
While many golfers are not aware of it, a club’s hosel adds weight and naturally moves the sweet spot towards the heel. To counteract this and reposition the ideal hitting area to the middle of the face, Ping engineered the i25 irons with a small piece of tungsten embedded in the toe. The tungsten also increases the moment of inertia (MOI).
"Using tungsten in our smaller, heel-toe weighted irons allows us to provide the forgiveness of a larger iron in a smaller package," Jertson said.
For years, many Ping irons featured a cartridge behind the hitting area that the company calls a custom tuning port. It's not adjustable by golfers, but fitters can insert different cartridges into the slot to optimize each club's swing weight. In the i25, Ping has repositioned the custom tuning port lower and deeper behind the face, dropping the i25's CG, which should make all the irons more forgiving.
"Compared with the i20s, the i25s are going to feel a little bit softer in the short irons and a little more lively in the long irons," Jertson said. "The set really has a progressive feel to it. It was something that we set out to do and is something that we're really happy with. A lot of it goes back to the variable stabilizing bars."
The Ping i25 irons are available in 3-iron through lob wedge and are sold individually. They will reach stores in February and cost $110 each with a steel shaft and $137 with a graphite shaft.