As we revealed recently already, Ping officially released their new S55 iron. Building on the success of the S56 iron that was released in 2010, Ping say the S55 has improved forgiveness, control and workability. Many Ping players seem to agree.
Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Angel Cabrera and Miguel Angel Jimenez immediately switched to the S55. It wasn't an easy decision for Watson, in fact it was the first time the American has changed his irons in nine years.
For Mahan it was love at first sight, or perhaps first flight, "After the first swing, I knew the S55 was going in my bag, no question,” he said. “I love the control, the trajectory and the forgiveness. It’s everything I want in a golf club.”
So what is it about the S55 that the pros like so much?
The R&D department at Ping were looking to make specific changes and minor upgrades to create an iron that was inherently Ping, yet offered players the performance and look they prefer.
In designing the S55, Ping didn't want to overhaul the S56 design. The S-line of irons from Ping (S56, S57, S58 and S59) have always been successful with better players. The S56 contributed to more than 30 wins across the world, including an Open Championship (Oosthuizen, 2010).
The stainless steel clubhead has a brushed chrome finish, thin topline and compact profile to offer that look that better players prefer. The face is thinner and combined with the machined grooves and back cavity highlights Ping's attention to detail and show their emphasis on making the S55 aesthetically pleasing.
“Pros have really responded to the look of this iron,” said Ping's Chairman and CEO, John Solheim. “It’s a beautiful piece of engineering. It looks great and performs even better.”
Beneath the looks of the S55, Ping have made key improvements. Like its predecessor, the S56, the S55 iron features a Custom Tuning Port in the back of the clubhead. However instead of a urethane material, used in the S56, the S55 CTP is made from a more flexible thermoplastic elastomer, designed to soften the sound and feel at impact.
The CTP in the S55 is also larger and positioned deeper inside the cavity, to further optimise launch conditions and get the ball in the air. Solheim says that players are hitting the ball "substantially higher and further" with the S55 iron.
Whilst the Ping logo on the back of the clubhead may look like simple branding, it is actually part of a tungsten toe weight. The high density weight in the toe improves the forgiveness of the S55, especially in the long irons.
A progressive vertical stabilizing bar is positioned in the centre of the cavity and weighted to improve distance control and feel. In the longer irons, this bar is narrow to get the ball launching faster and higher whilst the shorter irons feature a bar that is wide to lower the ball flight and offer the flight and spin control needed closer to the green.
A keen eye will note that the lofts in the S55s are slightly stronger than the S56s and are now in line with Ping's i20 irons. The lofts of the 3, 4 and 5 iron remain largely unchanged from S56, with the 4-iron actually weakened by a quarter of a degree. Lofts from the 6 iron to PW are progressively stronger though, with the 9-iron a full 1.5 degrees stronger than before.
The S55 iron will be in shops in November, but can be ordered from today. Whilst the stock shaft is the Ping CFS steel shaft, players can choose either the KBS Tour shaft or one of Dynamic Gold's S300, X100 or R300 at no extra cost. Ping also offer the irons in their TFC 189i graphite shaft.
The RRP for the S55 irons is £118 per club in steel, and £140 in graphite. Therefore, a set of 4-PW in steel will have an RRP of £826.