There are fewer more exciting times in the bunkered office than when new gear arrives for us to try. So when the new Ping iBlade irons arrived ahead of the launch, we naturally headed straight for the golf course.
We always aim of to try new golf gear the same way you or any other golfer out there would. We don’t stand in front of launch monitors. Instead, we take it to the range or the golf course and hit shots of all different lengths and shapes to give you our thoughts. That’s exactly what we have done with the new Ping iBlade irons.
Let's start from the beginning. These irons made a great first impression when I lifted them out of the delivery package. Sleek and classy, the Ping iBlade has an appearance a lot closer to a traditional blade style than its predecessors have been and the simple but effective detailing really gives it an edge.
The topline is thin, as you would expect from better player irons, but it wasn’t so thin that it made the club appear difficult to hit.
The clubhead had a very clean look at address and the hydropearl chrome finish gives it an attractive and effective touch. Playing early in the morning, there was still some dew on the grass for the first few holes, but that proved no problem for the water-repellent finish.
Ping says its new irons offer the ‘softest, purest feel ever in a Ping iron’. While I haven’t tried every iron Ping has ever produced, I found these irons to be extremely soft across the full set, even the 4-iron felt really good from 200 yards out.
The credit for that is split, I believe, between the soft stainless steel and the elastomer insert sitting behind the face.
The really impressive part of the Ping iBlade design for me was the forgiveness. With smaller clubheads, the amount of forgiveness tends to decrease as there is less weight that can be moved. Ping has counteracted that by adding heavier tungsten weights into the toe of all Ping iBlade irons and it really helped, especially on the longer irons.
Hitting the 4-iron from both the tee and the fairway brought consistently straight results and, for someone who is liable to a wayward long iron, it was a real stand out.
On the shorter irons, the sole was moved nicely through the turf and gave a reassuring sound as it made contact with the ball.
My last note on the Ping iBlade irons goes to the distance. I seemed to be hitting these irons a little further than my current irons, but the key aspect for me was the consistency of that distance, even when I didn’t find the centre of the face.
These irons are undoubtedly aimed at the lower handicapper, Ping says as much, but I believe they have the forgiveness and the distance to be able to work for golfers outside of that category, too.
Ping iBlade – at a glance
• Already in the bag of Bubba Watson, the Ping iBlade irons are a straight replacement for its S55 irons.
• They have a more traditional blade-like appearance than their predecessors.
• The designs combine a simple shape with great feel and also impressive forgiveness.
Clubs: 3-9, PW
Stock steel shaft: Dynamic Gold S300, X100
Stock graphite shaft: Ping CFS 65g Soft R; CFS 70g Regular; CFS 80g Stiff
After market stock shaft options (no upcharge): Ping AWT 2.0 (R, S, X); Project X 5.0, 6.0, XP 95 (R, S), N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X)
Stock grip: Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound Black/White
More information: ping.com