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FIRST LOOK – PING i25 Metalwoods, Irons, and More

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“The new metal woods and irons carry a common theme of increased distance but are engineered with the improved consistency, forgiveness and feel that we design into all PING clubs” – John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO

Let’s face it; PING can be a little boring. They don’t throw huge launch parties. They don’t make bold distance claims, and product releases generally come at a tortoise’s pace. I mean, my god…it’s been 2 WHOLE YEARS since the i20! How crazy (by TaylorMade and Callaway standards anyway) is that? Those guys will probably give me two more stories this month? PING…I’ll be lucky to get two more this year.

With all the fanfare of a typical PING announcement – that is to say there isn’t much – the Phoenix, Arizona based company let it be known that the 2-year old i20 series is getting an upgrade. In addition to the new i25 line, PING also announced a new hybrid/iron set (the Karsten), and a handful of Karsten TR Putters.

From an equipment writer’s perspective the PING way would border on intolerable if not for the nearly indisputable fact that each and every PING product is always better…even if only slightly so…than what came before it. The G20 was better than the G15, the G25 is unquestionably better than the G20 (by many accounts the PING G25 is the most forgiving driver on the market right now), and so the reasonable expectation is that the i25 is better than the i20, which is pretty damn impressive considering the i20 remains one of the best drivers we’ve ever tested.

Come to think of it, consistently improving performance almost completely devoid of hype is probably something we should all get excited about it.

PING I25 Driver

From our perspective (and hopefully some of yours), the most compelling thing we can tell you about PING’s i25 driver is that it is indeed mystery driver #13 in Our Upcoming 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test.

PING, however, would probably appreciate it if we shared a few other noteworthy bits about their upcoming metalwoods line.

Performance

PING i25 Driver-4

While the PING i20 Driver was generally regarded as being for better players, or at least higher swing speed players, PING is doing what I think is a better job of defining the i25 player.  The reality is that depending on a variety of swing characteristics, golfers of all ability levels, and even different swing speed ranges, could benefit from a lower spinning driver like the i25.

The limiting fitting factor of the i25 is loft. PING maxes the i25 Driver out at 10.5°, and while it probably would never have been a huge seller anyway, the lack of a 12°/HL option is a bit disappointing.  Beyond that, for golfers looking for a bit less spin (compared to the average driver), a flatter ball flight, and more roll, the i25 looks pretty sweet.

Essentially the guy we’re talking about is a mid to high spin golfer who may not want to eat the loss of forgiveness that comes with some of the other low spin drivers on the market right now.

To maintain MOI, or in this case, actually improve it compared to the previous model, PING has strategically placed tungsten weights at the perimeter of the golf club. To an extent, it’s boiler plate stuff, but the takeaway here is that you don’t necessarily have to trade ball speed for forgiveness.

Racing Stripes

PING i25 Driver-9

For me, the most intriguing aesthetic design element of the i25 is the racing stripes PING chose to put on the crown. PING has traditionally shied away from doing much of anything flashy with their drivers. Simple and understated is generally how PING does thing, so it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the stripes represent a step of sorts outside of the traditional PING box.

Rest assured, the stripes actually serve a purpose. As you might guess, they’re designed to improve alignment. PING says the graphics can come into play at setup (initial alignment of both the clubface, and the body towards the target), during the takeaway, and even at impact.

For whatever it’s worth, while I’m not ready to speak to any actual benefits of the racing stripes, as far as semi-elaborate crown designs go, the i25’s are exceedingly well done.

We’ve seen similar striped designs before (Geek’s No Brainer springs to mind), but the difference here is that stripes are muted, and contrast only slightly from matte black paint on the rest of crown. None of the guys participating in our Most Wanted Driver test have had anything negative to say about them, and quite frankly, my personal take is that the stripes are a huge improvement over what I’ll continue to describe as the Klingon Battle Axe alignment aid found on the G Series.

Change the Shaft, Keep the Swingweight

PING i25 Driver-16

Also introduced with the i25 driver, fairway, and hybrid is PING’s new PWR (Performance, Weighting, and Responsiveness) Shaft. The shafts, available in 55g, 65, and 75g, are available in different flexes and profiles to fit a wide range of golfers.

What differentiates the PWR series from basically anything out there on the market is that it gives golfers the unique ability to move between different weights, flexes, and profiles without altering the swingweight of their driver.

“With adjustable clubs, fitting for shaft weight has been limited because of its effect on swingweight. The PWR Series overcomes that by varying the CG location of the different weights so we can offer options that optimize ball flight while providing a better-feeling, more-responsive shaft”. – John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO

You can order your i25 at your preferred swingweight and know that you can mix and match any shaft in the PWR series without changing the way the club feels in your hands.

PING i25 Driver-18

PWR Series shafts are available in the following weights and flexes:  Stock graphite shafts: PWR 55 (R, S); PWR 65 (R, S, Tour S, Tour XS); PWR 75 (S, Tour S, Tour XS). Each weight is differentiated from the others by the color of the graphics (55 – Red, 65 – Black, 75 – grey).

The i25 driver is available in lofts of 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°. The PWR Series shaft (your choice) is stock. While others continue to push the upper limits of what’s controllable, stock length for the i25 is more playable 45.25”.

MSRP for the i25 Driver is $440, but you can expect the actual street price to be less.

i25 Fairway Woods and Hybrids

As you might expect, PING is also releasing i25 Fairway Woods and Hybrids.

The i25 fairway offers a compact design that PING describes as “hot off the tee” (that’s about as ostentatious as PING gets). It features a tall face and internal weighting designed to help boost MOI.

The i25 Fairway Wood is available in 14° (Strong 3W), 15° (3W), and 18° (5W). Stock shafts are the same PWR series found in the driver.

MSRP for the i25 Fairway Wood is $275, but again, street price will be less.

PING_i25_fairway_3-15PING_i25_hybrid_19

The i25 hybrid, which we assume is also hot when used off the tee (or anywhere else) has what PING is calling a more-forward hosel. Let’s call it what it is…offset. It offers reduced bulge and roll, a straighter leading edge, and a more squared-off toe.

Add to that an overall compact design, and what you really have is a player-centric hybrid with more forgiveness than you might expect.

To give you every bit of possible distance while still maintaining consistent gaps, PING placed the CG back in the lower lofted hybrids (higher launch) and more forward in the higher lofted clubs (lower launch, less spin).

Like the driver and fairway woods, the i25 hybrids feature PING’s PWR shafts (80g and 90g) and also maintain swingweight across all weights and flexes.

The i25 Hybrid is available in 17°, 19°, 22°, and 26°.

MSRP for the i25 Hybrid is $242.50, but (and stop me if you’ve heard this before), actual street price will be less.

Both the fairway and hybrids are made from 17-4 stainless steel. The fairway woods leverage the same +- ½ degree adjustable hosel system as the driver, and also feature the racing stripe crown alignment design.  The hybrids aren’t adjustable, and because of the comparatively shallow depth, there’s not enough room for the racing stripes to be beneficial, so PING left them off.

i25 Irons

PING_i25_iron

Slotted between the s55 Irons and the G25 Irons in PING’s current iron lineup, the new i25 irons are designed to strike a balance between control and forgiveness.

The long irons feature larger heads with broader soles to promote higher launch and more forgiveness. What PING calls narrow face-stabilizing bars increase velocity.

The Mid and short irons are comparatively more compact, have narrower soles and less offset. Wider stabilizing bars are designed to produce a lower, more controlled ball flight with better feel.

Irons with pronounced performance and feel differences between the long and short irons are becoming more and more common as manufacturers work to build individual irons better suited to the task at hand. Basically, the ideal ball flight differs dramatically from a 5 iron to a 9 iron, as does the amount of forgiveness necessary to make the iron playable.  PING and others are starting to explicitly account for that.

Manufacturers are placing more emphasis on these distinctions and are showing a willingness to compromise on the continuity of the set as a whole if the end product achieves the desired result.

As we’ve come to expect from PING, the i25 irons are bulkier than you might find in similarly placed irons, but the PING way has always been one of performance before appearance, and while no doubt prettier designs will appeal to many, I suspect that for the guy who likes (or even tolerates) the aesthetic qualities, the performance will be tough to beat.

PING i25 Iron Specifications

PING-i25-iron-spec

Stock Shaft: PING CFS (Steel), PING TFC 189i (Graphite)
MSRP: $110/club (steel), $137.50/club (graphite)

Karsten Hybrid/Iron Set

PING_Karsten iron

Perhaps the most intriguing of the products announced today, if only for the fact that it was more of a surprise than everything else, is the Karsten Hybrid/Iron set. While your initial assumption might be that it’s a direct replacement for the super game-improvement K15 set (that was my thought), that’s not really the case.

PING isn’t using the phrase Super Game-Improvement with the Karsten. Instead, PING is emphasizing the fact that the Karsten is designed to be a true distance iron, which makes it a first for PING.

It almost goes without saying that distance irons like TaylorMade’s SpeedBlade, Callaway’s X2 Hot, and Cobra’s BiOCell are part of  the biggest trend in the iron market right now, and PING hopes that their offering will appeal to that same broad audience.

PING_Karsten hybrid

According to PING, unlike those other distance irons on the market, their new irons are engineered to provide predictable distance control, and an extremely high MOI; offering forgiveness and feel not usually associated with the distance category.

While the Karsten’s head sizes are similar to the K15’s, that’s really where the comparisons end. The Karsten provides higher ball speeds and higher launch, which provide greater distance, and steeper descent angles; producing shots that basically stop where they land.

Made from 17-4 stainless, the Karsten features a wide sole design, and a deep center of gravity. Like other PING designs, the Karsten features a polymer Custom Tuning Port (CTP) which helps reinforce the thin face that provides those ball speeds I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The hybrids have a deeper profile and are designed to blend in perfectly with the irons while maintaining consistent distance gaps.

Like the i25 irons, the Karsten features a progressive CG design with lower lofted irons launching higher and with more spin than their higher lofted counterparts.

Finally, an extreme (PING’s word) amount of internal heel and toe weighting raises the MOI to provide maximum performance, even on those shots that might not be struck with the sweet spot.

What we’re talking about is a textbook PING iron designed to go farther than anything they’ve designed before.

Karsten Hybrid/Iron Specs

PING-Karsten-hybrid-iron-set-spec

Hybrids are available with graphite shaft only, and are not sold separately.

Stock Shaft: PING CFS Distance (Steel)/ PING KS401 (Graphite)
MSRP: 106.25/club (Steel), $125/club (graphite)

Karsten TR Putters

Karsten TR_Anser 2

Finally, PING is introducing 5 new putters featuring their popular TR (True Roll) Technology. It’s probably safe to assume that GolfSpy Dave is going to take a deeper look at these in the near future.

For now, we’ll just mention that the Karsten TR Series features a copper PVD finish, and includes models to fit all stroke types (Straight, Slight Arc, and Strong Arc).

Models include: Anser 2 (345g, Slight Arc), B60 (345g, Slight Arc) , PAL (360g, Slight Arc), Anser 5 (365g, Straight), and Zing (350g, Strong Arc)

MSRP for each putter is $162.50. Add $35 for adjustable-length models.

More Coming Soon

As we’ve already mentioned, the PING i25 Driver is part of our 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test, and as we get deeper into 2014 we fully expect to be taking a closer look at this entire new lineup from PING. Stay tuned.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

golfer4life January 2, 2014 at 9:35 am

Talk to someone that was out at Ping and said the I25 metal wood lines are really good. (that was all he was able to try) He was loving the driver.
Refreshing to see that the idea of believing your products are good enough that you don’t have to flood the golf community with endless claims and hype to sell products is still alive. Just let people know they’re coming out and let the clubs do the talking.
Hmm, are they impact marks on the putter? Looks like someone was eager to test drive it ;)

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Dave Wolfe January 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

Not impact marks, that is the variable depth grooves. This time they are milled into the face rather than an insert. Can’t wait to try these out and report back to you all!

I REALLY need to hit the i25 stuff too!

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Albert Sewill January 2, 2014 at 10:26 am

Any info on the new rapture 3 wood? Is this already a planned, separate article?

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GlobalGolf.com January 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

Agree with golfer4life ^^. It is interesting to see a golf company not put product out every year and not pump it full of claims. They have such a following of PING purists that don’t stray from the product, which is why I think it works for them.

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blstrong (SeeRed) January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am

Not a PING purist, but certainly a PING convert since the i20 series came out. Had not considered even trying anything against my i20 driver- until now.

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Christopher January 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Looking forward to seeing more of the putters. The ‘racing-stripe’ looks dreadfully cheap, comparing it to the rest of the club.

If you can adjust the face-angle wouldn’t the alignment aid be pointing in the wrong direction?

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Fredz January 5, 2014 at 8:30 am

…the loft is adjustable …that’s why it’s +/- instead of L/R ;)

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RON January 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Why does ping i line of irons have to have a cheap plastic insert in the back, they already have the tunning port under the cavity which is fine not bad looking but they always have put a plastic cheap looking insert right in the middle of the back of the club, you know enough is enough with this insert crap, its starting to get old and rediculous now totally not needed, why cant they understand people dont like that stuff in the back of their clubs, again thats why s55 looks much better.

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Ola January 3, 2014 at 3:39 am

Mostly for sound due to thinner faces. You see it in titleist ap2, callaway apex, mizu o jpx pro:s etc.

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Freddy January 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I think at the next PGA Show, the Ping product that will attract more buzz is the new Ping Rapture all titanium 3 wood. Words from Phoenix saying it is a blast to hit !

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RAT January 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

When will these be out in Kmart?
Cheap and lazy design work.
Grow some and design something that says New and Better, copying the race car look from TM
just ain’t going to cut it!

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Leftienige January 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

While I agree that Ping are never going to win “most radical design ” award , talk to people
who’ve used them since the 70′s , and you’ll find they play MUCH better than they look .
Keep buying this months hot-dog clubs , and if you play in official comps you’ll be surprised how often the winner has tatty old Pings –
they just do the job !

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Dwayne January 2, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Wouldn’t be nice if these golf manufacturers could standardize on hosel adapters? Like they do with door hinges, garden hoses, light bulbs, etc.

This would then allow for standardization of shaft adapters, and would open a whole new world of easy club selection for the masses who don’t have the money and/or access to fitting. You could pick a head, then a shaft that would plug right in, test it, don’t like the Brand TM head, then try that shaft with a Brand P head instead.

Maybe we could even pick out a grip

Nahhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Fredz January 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

no manufacturer would ever entertain this ($$$) …find a decent clubfitter

also PING spent a lot of time to engineer their adaptors and hosels to be balanced and not compromise the MOI of the clubs

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golfer4life January 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Dwayne. They tried that with shaft co’s. a few years back. I think Tom Wishon (not positive on that) was heading the pack to get them to standardize a way of measuring shafts. From the way I heard it, all the big players got together and everyone thought their way was the best and nobody wanted to compromise how they did things. So everyone just took their ball (or shafts I guess) and went home.. Bottom line is nobody is interested in making things better/easier for fitters and consumers that’s not offered through their company..
It should would be great for it to happen someday though!
cheers
G4L

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Harry Rizzi January 3, 2014 at 6:23 am

Beautiful driver again my Ping. Love the matte black\greyish finish.

And those racing stripes are very nice!

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Sluggo42 January 3, 2014 at 9:43 am

As a proud i20 player (driver, hybrids), I can only say ya baby. The racing stripes… Well… One side of me remembers my youth and makes me love them. The other side likes the pure clean dark evilness the the simple flat black on the original provides.

As far as performance goes, I can only hope the new one equals the old one. Never had a gripe with that, but rather many comments asking what the heck was that! The sound of a well struck drive was better than most.

I have the project x shaft, I hope the new shafts are as good…
Can’t wait for the driver test to see how this one stacks up to the rest. I’m guessing top 3?

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HackerDav31 January 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Ping is such a pure company. They have the luxury or not being publicly traded and can make choices to keep them pure. I’ve always loved their brand and their product for that reason. I will say I’m not a big fan of the stripe on the top, although it does validate the TMaG claims of alignment that we saw in the R1, albeit a lot more subtle and more cleanly executed. I always find Ping a little odd in terms of design though. Some product ranges, like the i20 and now the i25 are so clean and technical looking, while those Karsten hybrids and irons look very cheap to me in the photos. I don’t see a lot of consistency in their design language, but I’m sure that like all their other gear, they perform…

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Joe January 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I am looking forward to hitting the i25 this spring. I hit the i20 this past fall and fell in love. The only thing that kept me from a purchase was the anticipation of the i25. Pings aren’t the prettiest, but far from the ugliest, and their performance is generally at the very top.

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Flaglfr January 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Pity…..
I must say the irons, putters and hybrids look pretty good. But Ping has really degraded themselves with the I series driver. This is supposed to be a better players club and they muck it up with racing stripes. First TM with the 60′s ski sweater on the R1 and now Steve McQueens car shows up on the Ping players club. Why can’t we just get nice clean looking clubs that work instead of all this fru fru stuff. Maybe it is too much to ask for.
Bummer….

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Adam January 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I have a 14* i20 3 wood and a 17* i20 hybrid and both of those clubs when hit in the center of the club face are incredible. It looks like they kept the head shape of the fairways the same – a great thing – but other pictures I’ve seen of the hybrids look like they’ve changed the head shape making it have more offset. This may be a bonus for some and I’m not going to discount that, but personally I don’t like the look. I like the look of the racing stripes but have never been a fan of the i-series drivers’ head shapes. Disappointed that they didn’t make the 3 wood have a more forward center of gravity to lower spin or really make any noticeable technological changes.

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obo January 3, 2014 at 10:10 pm

RON. Ping adds the plastic on the I-series just so you can complain about something out of your control. And the Anser irons are still nice next to the s55.

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Otis January 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I can’t wait for the PING 2015 line of drivers, hybrids, irons and putters. I hope they introduce them quickly this year. I love PINGs.

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Jeff January 6, 2014 at 12:01 am

Re the Ping Tr series putters with adjustable shafts.I have one and really dislike the grip.Wish Ping would bring out different types as I believe you cannot replace them.

Jeff

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Chilly Dip February 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Hey Jeff,

I play with an adjustable ping tr and have replaced the grip with other grips. You just have to ensure the new grip is the same length as the ping one. Other than that, the grip is replaced in the same fashion as any other grip. Any pro shop that tells you otherwise is either lazy or does not know what they are talking about.

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Doug Fitzmorris January 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I purchased a set of Ping G25 fairway woods at my local golf course. The clubs had Ping G25 head covers but there was nothing to designate which club was under the cover and of course I always pick the wrong cover when selecting my club. There is a small attachment where a club number scan clip on the cover but I cannot find a golf store that sells them ( the club numbers that clip on the cover to designate the club). Could you give me the name of a golf store that sells what I need or tell me how I can obtain the numbers. I do like my new woods . thanks doug

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DL January 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm

It amazes me how critical consumers can be when looking at the picture of a golf club…. you should reserve your comments about the racing stripes until after you have hit the driver….. I bet the stripes will serve as a nice alignment aid and help dial in focus at address.

I play the i20 irons and hybrids, and they are money. I would be interested to try the i25s and S55s to see how they compare.

Would like to see pics of the hybrids from other angles…

Be well,
DL

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Tan January 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I have used Ping I20 for a year now, love the spin rate, ball flight and the shaft. give me extra 20+ yard. It’s crazy, the 1st thing I did to the driver when I got it was a putting a stripe on the crown. 1″ solid in the center and two small on the side except it was in pink colored. I did it because, I was having a problem lining it up w/ their original loco. can’t wait to get this new driver as soon I can afford it. @ 400buck it a little price, considered the I20 still do wonder for.

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Ben February 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Anyone know if the i25 driver face at address is open or square? Golf magazine says its open. But wouldn’t that make the ‘Racine stripe’ aiming aid or whatever you call it, you would be aiming to the right?

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Joe February 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I just hit it today at GG. The stripes aren’t quite perfectly in the center, but are square for sure or parallel to the shot line. The face is just slightly open, which I personally like.
It was pretty effortless to swing, and responds best with smooth tempos. The sound is similar to my son’s R1, med toned crack. I tried it with the mid weight shaft. It is a nice club, but I’ll be sticking with my RazR Fit Xtreme.

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David F. March 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

I recently completed an extensive trial of game improvement and players irons from all of the major manufacturers. The i25 was the best performer by far. Moderately high launch, bores through the wind, surprisingly good distance, forgiving, repeatably accurate, and with good feel. If you don’t like the CFS shaft, try the ZZ65 which is a little more tip stiff. Love the matte chrome finish. Those of you who think PING doesn’t look as good as something else need to hit them before you trash them. Hit them and you will buy them.

Not that it probably matters to some of you, but PING has been extremely generous providing free clubs for injured soldiers. I would have bought their irons anyway as they are THAT GOOD.

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