PING G Irons Review: Has PING Started a Monopoly on Forgiveness?
Game improvement irons. It’s a term for a segment of clubs that is so specific, so segregating. The connotation is that only a certain range of players should game them, and that negative connotation makes some players feel ashamed, like less of a golfer if they have a game improvement club in their bag. Why? Because if you’re a better player, then you should play irons that are harder to hit? Oh, that’s right, golf is supposed to be hard. We disagree.
What’s the point of making these technical advances in clubs if it doesn’t make the game easier to play? Isn’t that the point? If you said, “No,” then we want to see the hickory sticks you’re swinging. There’s an undeniable need for clubs that provide the utmost feel and control, but the truth is more golfers should be playing game improvement irons than actually do.
Usual complaints about game improvement irons are they’re too chunky, or they feel dead on ball contact — the dead feeling is a universal complaint said even by players who have a more consistent wear pattern on the hosel than the face, but they’ve heard others say it, so they repeat it. Neither of those objections really fit The PING G irons though. Could they be the first legitimate offering in the game improvement segment to attract better players?
FIRST IMPRESSIONS of the PING G Iron
Before we start this PING G irons review, there’s one BIG difference about the PING G irons compared to its predecessors, and it’s a difference that might irk the PING G traditionalists, irked the way Corvette nostalgists were when Chevy got rid of the flip-up headlights. We’re talking about PING’s move to putting a ferrule on the hosel instead of the slash-cut hosel of old. We actually like the new look a lot better. It doesn’t have that ugly duckling look.
And chrome! On a PING G! The whole head is all around a lot brighter.
It would be unfair to call PING irons ugly, but it would also be inappropriate to call them pretty. PING has a very unique, distinct style that appeals to some and is completely off-putting to others. It is an acquired taste. But they have gone way outside of their comfort zone with the PING G irons and have made them more attractive to a wider range of players.
The PING G irons’ best angle is undoubtedly from above. The already thin-for-a-game-improvement-iron topline is ever so slightly beveled at the back, making it look that much slimmer. From the top, it has similarities to a players iron, the back is barely visible at address, and the sole is fairly narrow for traditional game improvement clubs. They are pretty, pretty clubs.
Strengthening lofts has become the largest variable in the distance equation for game improvement irons, and the PING G irons are no different, but they aren’t TaylorMade M2 strong.
FEEL & SOUND
We’ll start with the sound first. This is how you know the PING G irons are game improvement clubs. The sound when tapping a ball around is very unique and very hard to describe . . . flick the bottom of a porcelain coffee mug, and you might have kind of an idea of what it sounds like. But on full swings, it has a very loud crack to it, similar to the sound of a utility iron. Another unique PING characteristic, but it also sounds like the ball is exploding off the face.
There wasn’t an expectation for the PING G irons to have high-level feel, but for what they are, they might set the bar on feedback. Center hits feel almost like the ball isn’t there. Off-center hits will let you know in your hands that you missed, but you won’t be hugely penalized on the outcome of the shot.
Not impressing the ladies at the country club with your iron distances? The PING G irons can enhance your performance, and you don’t even need a prescription thanks to the COR-Eye technology.
We can see the COR-Eye on the back of the club, but the impact it makes is all on the face. The COR-Eye on the PING G irons made its debut with the PING G-Max irons, and it allows the club face to flex more, thus launching the ball higher with higher ball speeds. You don’t lose spin either with the tech. And a special metal treatment process allowed PING to create a much thinner clubface. That metal is called Hyper 17-4, and we’re not going to go into detail on the treatment process . . . information overload.
COR-Eye? Hyper 17-4? This is starting to sound like comic book science from Stark Industries. What does it do already?
Well, it goes far, that’s what it does!
It’s not distance through roll-out. The COR-Eye tech of the PING G irons helps launch the ball high and fast, and because it has a high trajectory — specifically in the long irons with their stronger lofts — the ball still lands soft, and that’s incredibly convenient. Convenient because you will have to adjust to new distances through your G’s compared to your old clubs, but you aren’t going to have weird gapping issues.
These irons do turn, too. Workability isn’t as jaw dropping as the distance, but these aren’t clubs that are made for shaping. The point is this: when talking irons, you can usually select two attributes from distance, feel, and control, but you can’t have all three. When looking at game improvement irons, the main considerations are distance and feel. Control is an afterthought because the concern is to just get it in play. The PING G irons will get it in play alright — the fact that you barely lose any distance on off-center shots is pure lunacy — but along with the forgiveness, they provide a level of safe ball control that we haven’t seen from a GI club before.
PING G Irons Review: Final Verdict
This is the part after our PING G irons review where we say, “The G irons are for ____,” but we don’t think that the G irons are for just one group of players. They have more feel than any other game improvement clubs we’ve played, they offer a consistent shot dispersion, and you hardly see a drop in performance from off-center hits.
Obviously seasoned ball strikers are going to want the feel of something forged, an entire set of the PING G irons wouldn’t do it for them, but what about in their long irons? If you’re a feel player that needs a little distance in the long irons, the 3-5 irons in the G set are long and still offer a high level of feel.
The PING G irons are the blueprint for what game improvement irons can be.