Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Simon Kallal0
PING i25 Driver Review
5 Handicap; Right-handed
Tends to miss left with Driver; High Spin/Low Launch
Avg. Driver Clubhead speed 102-104mph; Avg. Driver Distance 270-275
The new i25 driver is PING’s latest entry into the driver market, but it has some great new features that add up to a big winner for PING in 2014. While it is an i-Series driver– an overlapping step up from the G-Series — the focus isn’t on being a “players” driver; it’s built to fit a wide array of players and is ultra-forgiving for the player who has the occasional mis-hit.
The first thing I noticed with the i25 driver (and fairways) is the racing stripes along the crown. Initially the stripes grab your attention and I found my focal point at address to be towards the clubhead and not on the golf ball, more because this is something so unique and different that my eyes wanted to focus there. The racing stripes are intended to be an alignment aid for addressing the golf ball and for the vast majority of players this indeed will be the case. For my personal game, I set up similar to Zach Johnson with the golf ball out toward the toe of the club, which eliminates the assistance that the racing stripes provide.
To have the racing stripes not stand out too much, PING continues to use the matte black finish that has proven effective on both the Anser and G25 woods. This provides a very clean and appealing look. Along with the new shaft lineup from PING, the PWR series shafts, you have a club that has that matte finish from the grip down to the clubhead. For me, I love this look as my eye (as mentioned above) tends to get distracted by differences within the club, especially if the shaft is a different color. Lastly, PING continues to include the adjustable hosel into the i25 driver allowing for changes in loft (+/- .5° or more upright). What I really like about this is that it’s not distracting at all; the adaptor looks as though it is part of the club. 4.3 out of 5 stars.
I must say that the i25 feels fantastic. As a player who is not always hitting the sweet spot (and it showed the day of testing the PING i25 driver) I look for a club that offers some feedback to let you know that you’re off-center, but does not too much. I found that the club I tested (9.5°, PWR 65 Stiff) made the golf ball seem to jump off the face when the sweet spot was hit. The titanium alloy used on the face (Ti 8-1-1, used on previous generations of drivers, as well) just feels good, period. Even when I was off-center the club responded well, and the feedback was there to let me know that was not an ideal strike. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I think this is going to be a driver to bag for many players in 2014, especially those that are higher-spin players off the tee. With my current gamer (Ping G15 10.5°, Project X 6.0 – Blue at 45.25”) I typically have a spin rate around 3000-3100 rpm (with Bridgestone B300-RX ball). On the range with the i25 I had a spin rate near 2600 rpm (I was using Pro v1x Practice Golf Balls). Those 400 rpm helped both in the way of distance as well as accuracy. My miss is to the left and I work hard to do everything I can not to miss left. I found with this latest PING driver that instead of a hard draw, I was primarily straight to a slight draw ball flight. I did find that my launch characteristics were lower than I need for ideal launch, but that is to be expected due to a lower loft than my current gamer. That said, the center of gravity is lower within the i25 so the launch was not as low as I would have expected in an i-Series driver compared to my G15. The best thing to do for me (and for all players) would be to get properly fit for the driver. With the new lineup of proprietary PING shafts — the PWR 55, PWR 65 & PWR 75 (PWR stands for Performance, Weighting & Responsiveness) — each shaft offers unique weights and stiffness profiles to affect the ball flight. Even with a driver that likely would not be the proper fit for me, I still can say that the performance of this club is excellent and players of all levels will benefit. 5 out of 5 stars.
I think PING has a big winner with the i25 driver. From the alignment aid with the racing stripe to the solid feel coming off the clubhead and, most importantly, the fitting aspects with the shaft and loft options to fit players of all levels, this club is a bagger for sure.
Summary: From the racing stripe, to the solid feel at impact, to the fitting aspects of shaft and loft adjustability, this is a 2014 top performer.