The launch of the Ping i200 irons has coincided with what has turned out to be a year-long personal experiment.
It wasn’t planned but my ultimate irons test began this time last year. Back in December 2015 I had tested the then new G iron at Ping’s global HQ in Phoenix, Arizona.
Against the backdrop of those blue desert skies, under a warm sun, I had sent long and short irons alike soaring into the ether. The Trackman numbers were undeniably impressive.
I’d never put an iron like this into the bag before but I thought it was time to open my mind. My first chance to use them properly on the course came in Florida the following month and I’ve never hit more flushed irons.
I thought at that stage the Gs were here to stay. But after a couple of months back home in an English winter and spring, the trade-off gradually became apparent.
Into the wind, the high flight was costing me control. While downwind the ball just didn’t want to come down on occasions.
The other problem was the large heads. Specifically, I found the higher-bounce soles off-putting, exacerbated by the tighter lies we experience here in the UK. Especially on heathlands and links courses, which is where I play most of my golf.
Ping i200 irons review continues below
I duly went back to my trusty i models, though I did keep the G 5 iron in the bag as it continued to offer a reliable solution to shots of 200 yards, unless it was too windy.
That was until late summer and the introduction of the iBlades. How I loved (and still do) the aesthetics. So snug behind the ball, I found myself hitting chips with all the short irons where previously I had reached for my sand wedge.
Plus, good shots with these irons just feel that bit more rewarding.
I knew, that said, I was giving up a little length on my good shots. Frankly, it’s neither here nor there – four or five yards.
Much more significantly, though, I was less consistent. A thin or a little leaky cut was perhaps 12 yards short. That’s a lot – the difference for me between a green in reg and a bunker.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I’m now entirely convinced that I’m an i guy these days.
My Ping i200 irons are fitted with Nippon’s Modus3 shafts. The good shots feel great but then they always do. It’s the imperfect ones that are making the difference according to Trackman.
I’m not talking about total mis-hits – rather the type of shot you accept without being proud of. In truth, the kind of iron shot I hit more than any other.
I need these shots to find some part of the green. Based on the early Trackman numbers, that’s what I’m confident the i200s are going to do for me.
Ping i200 irons review continues below
Sitting them down next to the iBlades and outgoing i irons, they are somewhere in between. Closer to the latter, yes, but really testing the resolve of the traditionalist and the better player.
You are almost certainly going to be more consistent and longer with the i200s and the trade-off in looks, shelf appeal and precision has shrunk.
Compared to the i, there is a new classy finish, the top line is considerably thinner and the sole sits closer to the ground at address – these are key details to the discerning player. They have the effect of making the blade look more compact – even if is this little more than a visual trick.
And yet they are even more forgiving, say Ping, than the chunkier model they succeed. The MOI is higher – meaning those mis-hits go straighter and further.
Talking of shots going further, Ping have worked very hard to ensure that gapping remains consistent through the bag. It’s all very well having hot 9 and 7 irons but only if the 6 and 4 are similarly inclined.
That isn’t always the case but Ping have actually weakened the lofts compared to i in the mid irons to give you the best chance of even gapping.
It all adds up to a highly desirable package – whether you are a devoted i Guy, aspiring G Man or an iBlade purist seeing the bigger picture.
To view our main video review CLICK HERE