ping g20 iron review

"If you're in the market for your first set of new irons, or perhaps are looking for a set that will help move your handicap down from the 20s and into the teens, then the PING G20 is absolutely one MyGolfSpy thinks you need to be looking at."

PING G20 Irons

(Written By: GolfSpy T) Maybe I'm overstepping here, but when you're talking about Game Improvement, short of two beers at the turn, PING is probably the first thing that should come to mind. The company basically pioneered not only custom fitting, but the idea that the average weekend hacker could be custom fit too. And while PING has, and continues to design and engineer golf clubs with the better player in mind (S-series, and Anser Forged), it is in the game-improvement, and super game-improvement space where PING has made the biggest impact.

With each and every season PING continues to evolve its lineup, and while there's hardly a product revolution from one year to the next, evolutionary improvement is all but a given. The G20's are the evolution of the extremely popular G15. While the G20's aren't the most forgiving club in the current PING lineup (that distinction belongs to the K15), they could comfortably take on any other manufacturers super game-improvement irons and more than hold there own.

While good accuracy is all but a given with PING irons, we were plenty excited to put the entire set through our updated review process and see how successful our 6 testers would be hitting long, middle, and short irons to a target. That information and data can all be found below, but first, there's some things PING might want you to know.

Tell Us What You Think!

  • Are you a PING loyalist and why?
  • Do you prefer performance before looks or vice versa?
  • When you here the name PING what comes to mind?

The Marketing Angle

Look...you know the drill. When it comes to the G-series, whether it's the G2's, or the new G20's, it's all about forgiveness, control, and well...GAME IMPROVEMENT. The fundamentals remain largely unchanged. The perimeter-weighted heads are over-sized, toplines thick, soles wide, no...very wide, and there is plenty of offset. The face is thin (increased ball speed, and is backed by a CTP (custom tuning port) to enhance feel.  Again...it's textbook stuff for just about any GI iron, until we start talking about the shaft.

Rather than go with one of the more common 3rd party shafts often found in game-improvement irons (Nippon 1050, DynamicGold XP, etc.) PING decided to engineer their own iron shaft for the G20 series. PING wanted complete control over the performance of their new irons, and so the CFS (Control, Feel, Stability) shaft was born.

Unlike their proprietary Z-Z65 on which the CFS is based, the CFS is available in multiple flexes. It plays a bit softer than the Z-Z65 (although we're confident in saying it plays true to flex), and offers more feel.

Over the last couple of years of testing, we've developed a good idea of what shafts fit which of our testers well. Being entirely new to the CFS I did have some concerns that it wouldn't prove to be much more than a watered down version of some of the lighter weight shafts we've tested with. In some cases those lighter shafts have caused ballooning issues for our higher swing speed testers. We didn't notice any of that with the CFS shafts, although when the ideal fit for our testers was between flexes, we elected to use the stiffer (and heavier) shaft.

How We Tested

To find out more about how we test our irons: CLICK HERE

Radius-Based Scoring

For more information on our "Radius Based Scoring System": CLICK HERE

Material Composition: 17-4 Stainless Steel (Cast)

For testing purposes our sets consisted of 4-UW (gap wedge) with stock PING CFS shafts (R,S,X). The stock grip is PING's own ID8, which  if I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of.

PERFORMANCE SCORING

Short Iron Performance

With short irons in hand, our testers missed the target by an average of just outside 23 feet. When the least accurate tester is removed from the equation, the remaining testers were slightly less than 3 feet closer to the pin on average.

Looking at distance and accuracy independently for a moment we find some fairly compelling results. With regard to distance alone, half of our testers averaged within 1 yard of the target distance. This suggest that either our testers DID NOT mis-hit the G20's very often, or that the clubs do an excellent job of mitigating distance loss on balls that are less than perfectly struck.

Where left to right is concerned, only a single tester missed by an average of more than 20 feet. As a group, or testers missed the target line by less than 14 feet on average. 

Short Iron Performance Score: 90.12

Middle Iron Performance

Our short iron tests showed that our testers missed the target by an average of 34.69 feet. When we remove our least accurate tester from the equation, we find an adjusted average miss of 31.09 feet. Interestingly, the tester who missed by the largest margin with a middle iron, is not the same tester who missed by the largest margin with a short iron.

Not surprisingly, distance control proved to be more of an issue at middle iron distance. While our lowest handicap golfer still managed to relatively close to pin high (an average of 3.3 feet short of the target distance), the others didn't perform quite as well, with some testers posting averages of 15 feet short of the target distance.

As a group, with the middle irons, our testers missed the center line by an average of 21.6 feet. When the poorest performer is removed from the equation, our most accurate testers missed the center line by 17.88 feet; an increase of almost 4 feet when compared to the PING G20 short irons. 

Middle Iron Performance Score: 88.50

Long Iron Performance

As we get a few more of these new iron reviews under our belt, our expectation is that long iron performance will likely prove to be the biggest differentiation between the clubs we test.

Armed with 4 irons, our testers missed the target by an average of 50.5 feet. When we remove our least accurate performer (65.11 feet), the group average improves to 47.57 feet. Not the least bit surprising is that once again, our lowest handicap golfer posted the best numbers; missing by an average of 34.78 feet. Excluding our least accurate tester, the remaining testers averaged between 48 and 54 feet from the target. While that's a long way from birdie distance, par is a reasonable expectation.

Worth noting is that while most of our testers, from a scoring perspective, were very consistent (within 3 percentage points) as they moved from short, to middle, to long irons, one of our two lowest handicap golfers struggled a bit with the long irons, leading to a 5 point decline in his score when compared to middle irons. Conversely, one of our highest handicap golfers, actually improved from the middle iron to the long iron.  It's not unusual for high handicap golfers to simply go cold, and that may have been what happened.

Long Iron Performance Score: 85.61

Overall Performance

Nearly every tester experienced at least one near perfect contact swing that resulted in the ball sailing 10-15 yards farther than most of the balls they hit. While these shots were often among the least accurate (and were dropped from the scoring), almost without fail, the subsequent shot would fall well short of the target as our testers tended to back off their next swing a bit. Having an extra-hot spot on the face isn't a bad thing, but it does cause some occasional distance control problems.

The overall performance suggests that the PING G20's offer an interesting option in the Game Improvement space. Quite honestly, the numbers could have actually been better, but there's a small detail we discovered in testing that doesn't translate well in the numbers. While PING would no doubt tell you that the PING G20's feature a large sweet spot, and offer consistent distance across the face, what we discovered is a large sweet spot that surrounds a very hot, "sweeter spot".

MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 88.11

The Interactive Data

The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the the PING G20 Irons. You can click on each of 3 tabs (PING G20 - Short Irons, PING G20 - Mid Irons, PING G20 - Long Irons) you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range, and the raw data (averages) for each of our testers. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfer based on handicap and proximity to the pin.

SUBJECTIVE SCORING

Looks

When it comes to PING and the aesthetics of golf club design, where their game improvements are concerned anyway, cosmetics definitely do take a back seat to engineering. The bottom line is the G20 heads are big and bulky. The soles are wide (testers called them shovels), and the topline's are thick. For many, PING's GI designs are black and white; either you really like them, or you really don't.

While only a single tester told us he absolutely loves the looks, the remaining testers told us they thought they didn't look too bad for a game-improvement club. It's all relative I suppose, and for my money, the G20's are actually a step up from previous G-series designs.

MGS Looks Score: 80.63

Sound & Feel

You may recall from our previous review of PING's K15 irons that our testers found them lacking in feel. That's not to say that they felt bad, but rather that feel was incredibly consistent. Perfectly struck balls felt almost identical to poorly struck balls. For some that's brilliant. Others view the lack of feedback as a huge negative.

With the G20's (comparatively speaking) there's a bit more differentiation between the good and bad (and you really, really know it when you catch one on the "sweeter spot". That said, nobody is going to confuse the Ping G20's with a player's cavity back, or blade, but that's sort of the point. For guys looking for Game-Improvement irons, feel and feedback don't even register when compared to things like performance and consistency. So while we can't say the G20's offer outstanding feel, we think they're just fine for what they are.

MGS Feel Score: 83.31

Perceived Forgiveness

You might assume that our testers would find the Ping G20 to be an exceptionally forgiving club, after all, that's what it's designed to be. While about half of those surveyed felt they were just that (rating them a 9), others were less enthused (ratings of 7 and 8).  My take is that the Ping G20 irons don't offer the same degree of absolute forgiveness as the K15's. The thing is, while the G20's don't look like anything a low-mid handicap golfer would want any part of, the trade-off is they offer a bit more feedback, and certainly a hint of workability, while still minimizing the damage done by less than ideal contact.

Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 88.69


Likelihood of Purchase

There are clubs that register profoundly with our testers, and some that outright miss. When it comes to purchasing, the PING G20's fall somewhere in the middle. While our senior tester (who currently plays PING G5s), absolutely loves the PING G20, most are less fond of them. Realistically this will always be an issue with the majority of game-improvement clubs we test as they simply don't have the same type of appeal as clubs targeted at middle and lower handicap golfers.

Still, as game-improvement irons go, the PING G20 is one I happen to like a lot, and while I probably won't drop them in my bag, there are certainly days I think that I'd be wise to do just that.

Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 77.94

We've had a few PING clubs in for review, and quite honestly, not a single one has been a runaway hit on our subjective surveys. Still, the Ping G20 irons fared a bit better than some, and I suspect that when we start looking at PING clubs designed for middle to low handicap golfers, these numbers will come up considerably.

TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 81.97

CONCLUSION

With this review being the first since we revised our iron scoring system it's difficult to say exactly how the PING G20 iron review will stacks up. We have two other Game Improvement sets currently in testing and I suspect the G20's will more than hold their own against the competition.

While they're not an iron that's going to appeal to everyone, the PING G20 is very adept at what it's designed to do; it goes straight (mostly), distance loss on mis-hits is less than severe, and it's extremely easy to get the ball in the air with the long irons (we observed very few misses where our testers failed to put some air under the ball).

If you're in the market for your first set of new irons, or perhaps are looking for a set that will help move your handicap down from the 20s and into the teens, then the PING G20 is absolutely one MyGolfSpy thinks you need to be looking at.

MGS TOTAL SCORE: 87.49


Tell Us What You Think!

  • Are you a PING loyalist and why?
  • Do you prefer performance before looks or vice versa?
  • When you here the name PING what comes to mind?

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