Irons spotted in the bags of pros such as Hunter Mahan and Gregory Havret
There was a buzz last week as Ping's long awaited S55 irons were spotted on Tour being used by several pros at both The Barclays and Johnnie Walker Championship at the weekend and now we have some more details.
Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson were reported to have been testing the new model, which looks set to build on the success of the S56 irons, while Matt Baldwin, Gregory Havret and Brandon Stone all put them in play at Gleneagles.
Although there has been no official release from Ping as yet, their senior product designer Mike Nicolette spoke to pgatour.com about the new S55 irons and gave an insight into the changes and improvements that have been made.
“Players were extremely pleased with the performance and playability of S56, so we didn't want to completely redesign the iron. We just made incremental improvements in all aspects of the club.
“For instance we're always looking to make the head a little more forgiving. To driver up the MOI and CG, you have to make the head bigger. I got feedback from players saying, if anything, they wanted to see it slightly smaller. Therein lies a problem because the MOI typically goes down.
“I was able to find a way to make the head microscopically smaller – about a coat of paint smaller – but the MOI and CG is about a half per cent higher.
“The biggest change with regards to sound and feel is an improved Custom Tuning Port (CTP) insert that's made of a thermoplastic elastomer material instead of a thermoplastic urethane, which was the insert material we used on S56.
'The thermoplastic elastomer is more flexible and lends itself to dampening the vibration a little more. What the new material does is give the club a softer feel.
“The face is also thinner, but that's not something golfers will notice. We didn't go in there and gouge out 1/8 inch of face material; it's really only thinner in the cavity area, so we able to have a little bit of weight savings and move some mass out to the heel and toe to help with MOI.
“The place where I was able to really save some weight from the centre of the club was the CTP. It's a little wide, so that saved me three and a half grams that I could position more in the hosel and toe. We're just putting the mass in a more efficient manner.”
“The lofts are stronger than S56 in some irons and more in line with i20. We really kept the stronger lofts to just the shorter irons, which should give them a little more distance.”