Published on January 2nd, 2014 | by 2nd Swing0
PING i25 Irons
Summary: A little cleaner look than i20, and the more dramatic progression through the set makes for better performance.
PING lead engineer Marty Jertson is quick to call the i25 irons an “evolution,” rather than an overhaul, of their predecessors the i20’s. (Hey, those irons even converted the famously-reluctant-to-switch-clubs Lee Westwood, a longtime PING Tour staffer, so it’s not like PING was in a rush to put i20 in the rearview mirror.) The specs of the two sets are identical — of course, that’s only to begin with if you’re getting fit properly — as is the stock offering of the PING CFS steel shaft.
Visually, the i25’s might have a slightly thinner topline than the i20’s, the cavities are a little cleaner and the Custom Tuning Ports appear to be set a little lower into the cavities (turns out, they are). The irons have a clean, balanced look that shouts performance, and precision machined face, grooves and back cavity: improved tolerance control over the critical features that affect performance. The satin finish really brings home the traditional, understated look.
The i25 irons are designed with a wide swath of the golfing public in mind, and especially the proficient to moderate player who is okay with a little offset. These players are likely proficient with their short-iron game but have weaknesses that show up in the long iron. Sure, there’s plenty of distance here, but, more importantly, distance control. The entire set, 3-iron through lob wedge, is engineered for what PING lead engineer Marty Jertson calls “functional distance gapping,” meaning that along with distance, the golf ball’s trajectory also changes from club to club. The higher ball flight of the long irons is meant to maximize distance and forgiveness, while the lower flight path of the short irons allows for more precise control on shots into the green.
It’s not just one design element that progresses throughout the set to effect these changes in ball flight, but several elements working together. Jertson calls it “progression taken to the extreme.” Not only do the long irons have bigger heads from heel to toe than their shorter counterparts, but they also have wider soles, more offset, narrower stabilization bars, and deeper custom tuning ports. With all those features to play with, and a very popular iron set to improve upon, it’s no wonder it’s taken two years since the i20’s to figure out how to blend them all into 11 different irons that complement each other.
Jertson talks about the complex interplay between features with the conversational tone of an expert, but we won’t overload you with technical details. What you need to know is that the tweaks gave PING engineers a precious few grams of weight to work the centers of gravity with, which they used to make the i25 long irons longer and more forgiving, the short irons more accurate and workable, and the whole set more progressive than i20.
With their slightly wider soles, the i25’s have what Jertson describes as an ample amount of “sole glide,” helping prevent unwanted digging or bouncing. “The whole concept of the sole configuration,” says Jertson, “is to glide through the turf if you don’t make your best swing or you’re a steeper swinger.”
Feel and Sound
This is admittedly a subjective category, but in each of its line PING places a lot of importance on achieving a unique feel and sound, another way of giving the consumer more options. The i25 irons are after a balanced approach between softness and stability. Jertson explains, “We wanted you to feel some of that audio feedback where you feel like you’re ripping your long irons, you’re getting some distance out of it, but not have it be clanky or too loud at the same time.”
Balance. Progression. Performance. There are reasons for players in many different walks of the game to get excited about the latest PING offerings. After a two-year wait, the i25 irons are now available for pre-order, and they’ll be officially launched in February with an MSRP starting at $800 for an 8-piece steel set. Whether you’re buying online or in a retail store, be sure to take advantage of the PING clubfitting process to get the most out of your irons and your game.