PING i Irons Review

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50 Words or Less

The PING i irons maintain the best elements of the i25 irons while upgrading the looks and feel.  A bit of added distance and numerous stock shaft options are great additions as well.

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Introduction

I’ve said this many times before: making a great product can be a burden.  When an iron is as good as the PING i25, following it up is a difficult task.  With the introduction of the i irons, PING has shown that they’re up to the challenge.  With upgrades to both the performance and subjective elements, this set will be sending many i25s to an early retirement.

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Looks

A glance would have you believe that the PING i irons are a clone of the i25’s, but a second look will reveal that there are many subtle but important differences.  Both irons share some key qualities: fairly minimal offset, a modest top line and sole, and an average blade length.

The i irons, however have numerous upgrades that give them a cleaner, more modern appearance.  First, the CTP (custom tuning port) is almost entirely hidden.  Additionally, the tungsten weight in the toe of the 3-7 irons has been blended almost to the point of invisibility.  The toe of the irons has also been squared up which results in the i irons looking a bit smaller from heel to toe.  Finally, it’s worth noting that the i irons have slightly less offset than the i25’s.  The difference is small – the biggest change is .03″ – but any reduction in offset is sure to please the traditionalists.

You can see numerous pictures comparing the i irons to the i25 in the slideshow at the bottom of the review.

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Sound & Feel

The thing I noticed after the very first ball I hit with a PING i iron is that they’re much softer than the i25 irons.  The reason isn’t hard to find: these are made of 431 stainless steel which is softer than the material used in the i25’s.  What I like is that these irons are soft without delving into the realm of feeling mushy or lacking feedback.  Though the i irons do have good forgiveness, you can still easily tell how each shot was struck.

One other interesting feel note to those switching from the i25 irons: the i irons are one swingweight heavier in the 3-9 irons (the wedges are still D2).  Most golfers won’t even notice this (I didn’t), but the swingweight obsessed will likely appreciate the added weight.

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Performance

The reason that the i25 irons are loved by so many players is that they blend performance and forgiveness perfectly, and this is something PING has carried through to the i irons.  The MOI of the i irons matches the i25 meaning that shots hit toward the heel or toe still get great forgiveness.  I found that as long as I kept the ball on the grooves, the distance loss was minimal.

The other half of the i irons’ brilliance is in giving the better player the ability to control trajectory and shot shape.  Despite the forgiveness, it’s easy to flight the ball down or hit cuts and draws on request.

In extensive head-to-head launch monitor testing, I did discover that the stronger lofts (1 degree in the 3-PW) and longer shaft lengths (+0.25″ in the 3-9) resulted in the i irons being a bit longer than the i25s.  As someone who hits a fairly low ball to begin with, I only saw a gain of 2-3 yards, but players who hit it high may see slightly more.

One final upgrade that comes with the i irons is a big list of stock shaft choices.  PING has two proprietary options – the steel CFS Distance and the CFS Graphite.  Additionally, for no extra cost, you can get Dynamic Gold, Project X, True Temper XP 95, and the new Nippon Modus 105.  Make sure you work with a qualified fitter to find the best shaft option for your swing.

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Conclusion

If you love your i25 irons but crave softer feel, a more refined look, or a bit more distance, the PING i irons are for you.  They have all the forgiveness that good players need, but still offer the control that they want.  You can expect to see plenty of these sets in play on every professional tour in the coming months.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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27 Comments

  1. Great review!

    I never quite understood those obsessed with extra distance in the irons. I personally worry more about consistency with my distances, and I hardly see a few yards being gained as an incentive to upgrade. What’s the real benefit to hitting a 5 iron 205 instead of 202?
    Seems as though softer feel and shaft options are the only real selling point, so I’m kind of surprised that Ping got these out 1 year after the i25s instead of the usual 2 year cycle.

    Personally, I’ve got great chemistry with my i25s so I can’t imagine spending on a change just yet. I figure I could comfortably get a solid 2-3 more years out of them before the wandering eye takes over…

    Very glad to know that Ping is making efforts to further close the gap between forged and cast feel though.

  2. just purchased ping I irons and love them. solid forgiving and ease of hitting with excellent results. Feel is wonderful and flight is excellent as one expects from ping.

  3. AWESOME review Matt!! You sold me! How much are they starting at?
    I’m now contemplating the I irons over the G25’s.
    Thoughts?

    • Matt Saternus

      Between the two, the i’s give up some forgiveness for better (in my opinion) looks and feel and the ability to flight the ball down more easily.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Bruce MacRae

    Just found your website and really appreciate your reviews. I am headed to Club Champion Saturday to get fitted for new irons? Based on your review, the Ping i’s are my first chooice.

  5. Matt I am a true PING lover and sold out to your issue of feel. I have been use I15 and feels they are now due for their retirement. What shaft option would you recommend to get the best feel out of these. Definitely sold out having missed out on I20 and I25

    • Matt Saternus

      Herbert,

      I would recommend trying the different options to find what feels best to you. For me, nothing feels better than Nippon.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. Matt, really interested in the Ping i series. I play a Wilson blade but for me it’s time to look for a tad bit more forgiving iron. I like the description your giving for the new Ping i series. My only question is the shaft. Blades fly a little lower than most clubs, as you already know. I’m looking for more height on my iron shots, which the i series should give me but I don’t want the wrong shaft in the i series to balloon on me. I’m located in an area where testing is not an option. Any Help would be great !! I hit my 7 iron 165 yards. Dynamic Golf S400 as of now. Would like to soften that up a little.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      My first reaction is to drive to a place where testing/fitting is an option. If I was going to drop around $1,000 on irons, I would want to know that they were correct.

      That said, if you want to get away from Dynamic Gold and move to something softer, the stock choice that I would pick is the Nippon Modus 3 105.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. Matt,

    Thank you for your Ping I review. Currently I use Ping i20, purple, with KBS C Taper Light Regular shafts.

    The Ping fitting center suggests if I upgrade to Ping I that I use a lighter, graphite shaft because I get a better spin with that shaft. The distance is similar with Ping graphite or steel shafts. They suggest a .25 inch shorter than standard length based strictly on my “feel.”

    My goal is accuracy over distance.

    Do you think an upgrade would help me meet my goals? If yes, have I given you enough info to suggest a steel shaft as an alternative to graphite? (I prefer steel.)

    Thank you for any help,

    Leslie

    • Matt Saternus

      Leslie,

      Have you had the chance to hit the new I with different shafts, or were these all recommendations done online? Ultimately I recommend getting a fitting so that you can see for yourself whether or not there is a difference and, if so, if it’s big enough to warrant a change. I don’t think the new I is so much more forgiving than the i20 that you’ll see an accuracy boost from that alone, so it would have to come from a better fit shaft. The only way to find that better fit is to get in and swing. Good luck with your search.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. I was fitted a month ago. I am 52 years old 3 HCP. I played the Titleist AP2 5 years old D-Gold 300 steel shaft (you know-the real players club-for low HCP). My 7 iron swing speed is 81 mph on trackman fitting. AP2 7 iron carry distance average (20 swings) 144 yards 68 feet in height. New Ping I- 81 mph swing speed 7 iron carry 166 yards- 89 feet height. I was looking for 3 things as I age- More forgiveness, more height, and easier to hit. BINGO—not cheap, but worth it! SO excited I was fitted for new Drangofly driver 10.5 (but fitted for plus .06 more loft) and 16 degree fairway wood. C’mon spring!

  9. CFS distance shaft- regular

  10. I’m a 10 handicap and have played the i5 and now the i20 irons with stiff CFS shafts. Do you think that the new G irons are worth looking at or should I stick with the new i’s. Current swing speed with a 7 iron is 84 mph and I carry it 165. With a bit of an over the top steep swing, would the offset provided for in the G irons help or hinder? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Matt Saternus

      Dave,

      They’re certainly worth looking at. Whether or not you should replace them depends on what you want.
      Offset is great for launching the ball higher and giving you more time to get the face closed. If your shots start too far right, then I think some offset would help. If your shots start left and curve right, more offset *could* just turn that into a pull.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. Cliff Beadle

    Just got fitted for these (5-PW with Ping glide 50 and 56 wedges). Felt extremely soft, averaged 8yds further testing 7 iron compared to previous Cleveland irons. Height was more important for me as I hit low iron shots with Dynamic 300 shafts causing balls to not stop quickly enough. Explained this problem at fitting and was advised on trying true temper xp-95 shafts. Height immediately improved. I would advise on fitting as there are so many options available.

  12. Started playing left handed four years ago this is my fifth season and have out grown my irons. Looking at ping I series and nike fly pro. I currently am shooting 85-90 but have been improving every year. Any thoughts? Even something different than those two.

    • Matt Saternus

      Erik,

      The same thought I give everyone: get fit. In the 85-90 range, you have plenty of feel to know what you like and what you don’t, and a good fitter will help you find something you like that performs well.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Really good reviews Matt! I am a 13 handicap and now I am playing with cleveland cg7 black pearl Tour that a friend gave me, but after 4 years and improve my golfswing, I feel that this clubs are too much for my hamdicap, do you think the ping i are a good option and more easy to hit than cg7 tour? After years playing with a player iron (small) I am worried to Change and buy a big sole iron even probably better iron for my level.

    Manu thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Carles,

      The PING i could certainly give you more forgiveness without going too far from the look you currently have. I would recommend testing them and working with a fitter before you buy.

      Best,

      Matt

  14. Matt

    Would the I irons be tough to hit coming from the eye 2 irons? I shoot 88-90

  15. Hi Matt,

    Great site and a great review!! I just recently found your site. I’m 59, currently a 14 hdcp and my driver swing speed average is 90. I currently play Callaway XR Pros with Recoil regular shafts. My strength is scrambling and putting and I’m looking for more directional consistency from my irons. My misses are usually overdraws and offset makes me crazy. Before the XR Pros 5-AW, I played AP2 710s with 95 grams Nippon shafts, so I’m used to looking at a “players” style iron. I love the look of the iBlade, but I think at least in the longer irons I needed something a little more forgiving. I’m thinking of the I E1’s with TT XP 95’s in regular, which have about 1/2 the torque of the Recoils, or SteelFiber i95’s. Another option is a mixed set of I E1’s 5-7 and iBlade 8-PW. I’m a guitar player and have arthritis in my hands, so I use Winn Dri-Tac grips, and the graphite seems to help. #1 do you have an opinion about how the I E1’s might compare to my XR Pro’s? #2 Do you think just the Winn grips on the XP 95’s will offer enough vibration dampening? #3 Maybe XP 95’s with Cushin (if that’s possible) or stay with graphite with a lower torque?

    Thanks for your detailed reviews. :)

    • Matt Saternus

      Bob,

      Thanks, glad you like the site.
      I think the PING i compares well to the XR Pro. That will come down to personal fit.
      With regard to vibration dampening, I’m not qualified to say. I’ve never played graphite iron shafts or used dampening inserts regularly.

      Best,

      Matt

  16. SAM switzer

    Hi:
    I currently play with I-3 O size Maroon dot. I’m 66 and still prefer stiff shafts. Prior to the I-3, I played eye 2 blue dots. Are these blades or forged larger? These now are selling around 500. 00. I don’t play as much as I used to, but time for new clubs and can’t pay the price for g400. The G won’t work for me

    • Matt Saternus

      I would not categorize these as blades, they’re cavity backs for a better player.

      Best,

      Matt

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