PING Karsten Iron Review

PING Karsten Irons (10)

50 Words or Less

Very long.  Insanely forgiving.  Smartly engineered combo set.  Perfect for high handicapper or the better player who values performance over looks.

Introduction

You know what’s good?  Hybrids.  Hybrids are a lot easier to hit than long irons.  The problem is, most people buy their hybrids haphazardly, so they have terrible distance gaps.

You know what’s better?  Combo sets.  When the hybrids and irons are designed to work together, that’s a good thing.  The problem is, most of these sets aren’t engineered well enough to give regular golfers consistent distance gaps.

You know what’s the best?  A combo set engineered by PING to have consistent distance gaps all throughout the set.  Oh, and it’s one of the longest irons you can buy.  And it’s ridiculously forgiving.  If you like that kind of thing, let me introduce you to the PING Karsten irons.

PING Karsten Irons (14)

Looks

There’s no hiding it, these are some beefy irons.  PING has built the Karsten irons with thick top lines, plenty of offset, and soles so wide that you could serve dinner on them, but in a super game improvement set, big is beautiful.  

The hybrids in this set will definitely appeal to the SGI player, but they will have crossover appeal to mid and low handicappers as well.  There’s no offset, and the grey face and top line allow the golfer to ignore the bulk behind it.

PING Karsten Irons (17)

Sound & Feel

If you enjoy long, uninterrupted walks, you’ll love the feel of the PING Karsten hybrids.  More than any other hybrid I’ve hit these year, these feel fast.  They’re not very loud, it’s more of a mid-range tink, but the ball feels like it’s exploding off the club face.  From a feel perspective, they’re extremely fun to hit.

The Karsten irons feel crisp at impact, no matter how you hit the ball.  This is a mixed blessing: it’s nice to skip the stinging feeling of a mishit, but that feedback is useful in dialing in your ball striking.  On balance, I think the forgiving feel is the better way to go for the higher handicap player.

PING Karsten Irons (3)

Performance

There are three things that you need to know about the PING Karsten irons: they’re forgiving, they’re long, and the distance gaps hold up throughout the entire set.

There are a lot of ways you could describe how forgiving the PING Karsten irons are – ridiculously, extremely, like cheating, point-and-shoot – but for me this set elicited memories of playing Tiger Woods Golf on Playstation.  Mishits?  What are those?  My character is maxed out on ball striking!  He hits his clubs the same distance, every shot, no matter what!  That’s what the Karsten irons do: same distance, high and straight, shot after shot.  Go ahead, try and hit it fat – the massive sole just skates through the turf.  Catch it a groove thin, the low CG throws the ball into the sky anyway.  Heel or toe misses?  Still pin high.

Next, these irons are long.  They don’t have fancy visible technology, that’s not PING’s style, but they do fly forever.  On average, the 6-iron was nearly two clubs longer when compared to a traditional players cavity back iron.  That means the Karsten iron is as long as any Hot or Speed-y iron on the market.

Finally, the distance gaps are maintained perfectly throughout the set.  This may not be the sexiest selling point, but it’s critically important if you care about playing good golf.  Let me explain the problem with most iron sets: the 7-iron goes about 10 yards longer than the 8-iron, but when you get to the 6-iron or 5-iron, those gaps start to shrink and sometimes disappear completely.  Now you’ve got 3 or 4 clubs that all do the same thing.  This is not only a waste of clubs, it’s deadly to your scoring if you believe that each club is 10 yards longer than the last.  With the PING Karsten irons, the lofts and club lengths have been precisely engineered so that your nice 10-12 yard gap is consistent from the 3 hybrid all the way to the pitching wedge.  That means no wasted clubs and no shots that fail to carry the hazard.

PING Karsten Irons (12)

 Conclusion

If you like hitting your irons a long way and don’t want to be punished for your mishits, you should check out the PING Karsten irons.  It’s a brilliantly engineered combo set that’s simply going to make golf easier and more fun.

Price and Specs

The PING Karsten irons retail for $800 for an 8 piece set.

Hybrids are available for the 3, 4, and 5 irons.  Irons are available from 5 through SW.

Watch the Video

Matt Saternus
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16 Comments

  1. Bought these a month ago and OMG do I love them. Only issue I have is hitting them TOO long. Best club I have ever put in my hand. 55yo, 18hcap. Can’t wait to get to Myrtle at the end of August for the World Am. By then I will be below a 17hcap.

  2. Mark Salsgiver

    Hi. Iam a mid to a lower end high handicap player. I am looking at the Ping Karsten or the G 30 . Can you maybe give me some advise on witch ones. The positives or negatives from each one. Even looking at the callaway big Bertha irons.
    Thank you love your plugged in golf
    Mark

    • Matt Saternus

      Mark,

      Thanks! The G30 and Karsten irons are very similar, the difference there is in set make up. The Karsten set includes hybrids, the G30 does not. I do think hybrids are good, especially for higher handicap players, but I always recommend trying the hybrids vs. the irons before buying. In either case, you won’t find easier to hit clubs. The new Big Berthas are in the same league and are worth a try as well.
      The best thing I can say is that fitting is key. Make sure you get the right shaft and specs for you, it will make all the difference.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. As a 72-yr old who has seen his handicap go from 16 to 21, I decided it was time to stop kidding myself about my golfing prowess, and get something that will help me enjoy the game more. Your review convinced me to buy the Karstens. The owner of the golf store said he these are among his highest volume clubs, and everybody who bought them has come back raving about how good they are. Thanks.
    Doug

  4. I am 50 this yr and play off 10. I had a 10 YR break from golf and started playing again last yr.I managed to get down to 6 before I stopped playing. I was thinking of trading my speedblades in for these. What do you think. R these suitable for golfers mid to low handicap. Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Andy,

      There’s no reason that a good player shouldn’t play these clubs, the game is hard enough as it is.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Thanks Matt much appreciated keep up the good work your reviews r great and help people like me make a more informed decision Andy

  6. Following up on my earlier post, I have now had a few rounds with the Karstens and am very pleased. I’m getting about 10 yards improvement over my Callaway Edge Diablos. Nice solid feel and a nice amount of feedback for a very forgiving iron. It lets you know when you miss the sweet spot, but the ball still flies straight. I do miss having the 3 and 4 irons, though.

  7. Michael Moeller

    Matt, do you recommend the ping karseten or the mizuno jpx ez I am a 19 hcp and currently use TM burner 1.0. I would like to upgrade my irons and am looking for some advise.

    Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Michael,

      I prefer the Karstens to the Mizunos, but I would recommend a fitting to find what works better for you.

      -Matt

  8. Michael Moeller

    Matt thanks for yout reply

  9. Matt I am interested in getting some of these SGI Ping irons. Can you tell me if I would be that much more enamored with the GMax than the Karsten? I don’t want to pay twice as much for basically the same club. Also know that I am currently using Taylormade Burner 2.0’s which are a few years old. The Pings will be more forgiving, right?

    • Matt Saternus

      Phil,

      Only a fitter could tell you which set will perform better. The primary difference between the two is that the Karsten set is meant to incorporate hybrids. I do think the PINGs will be more forgiving than your current Burners.

      -Matt

  10. Doug Martin

    I am a 72 year old with 17.8 current index. Switched from Taylor Made HL irons with Senior Flex to the Ping Karstens irons in Reg Flex ( Irons 5-SW) 8 club set. The pings feel great…nice feel to clubhead when swung. Definately go longer by 5-10 yards over the TM’s. Not many rounds yet on Pings….but feel they will work very well to improving my iron game by 1-2 strokes at least in 2-4 months.

  11. Hello,
    I am a new golfer. I just bought a used Karsten Ping set which included 3-4 hybrids, 5-9 irons and a wedge. I must admit that I do not know if the wedge is a PW, SW or UW. The club just has a W and there is no indication of a degree. Do you recommend that I get an additional club? Still snow here, so I have not tried them yet. Thank you.

    • Matt Saternus

      Tim,

      The “W” is how PING marks their pitching wedge. You may want to add a gap and sand wedge to your set, though they don’t necessarily need to be the watching wedges to your iron set.

      Best,

      Matt

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