Since PXG came to the fore, there seems to be a new category of golf clubs called 'expensive fast faced hollow irons' and the G700 iron is Ping's contender.
It's all a bit ironic as some of the PXG designers were previously at Ping, but in true Ping fashion they have done their own thing and created an iron that is based on the head design of the Ping G400 Crossover.
The mid-sized hollow head uses a 17-4 Stainless Steel body with a thin C300 Maraging Steel face that comes over from the G400 fairway
Unlike many of the competitor irons there is nothing pumped into the head cavity, so the screw on the toe acts as a weight to counter the one in the bottom of the shaft to stop the club twisting as much at impact.
Filling the head with some sort of foam or other material has the benefit of modifying the impact sound waves as they are not bouncing all over the inside of the head, so in the G700 they are free to roam and you know you are hitting a hollow iron, especially in the longer irons.
The G700 gives a little hollow ring (ping?) sound which I quite like, so louder than a normal Ping, but in a good way.
When others fill the head it also means that the face is supported as it gets thinner. It shows you how well this is made as Ping is able to make the face thinner without any support and ensure ball speeds are kept up.
The white bottom groove that is a feature of most Ping irons is still there for alignment, which is good to see.
The lofts are on the strong side as the faster face will send the ball higher, so they have to be delofted a little to keep the flight the same, but they are only 0.5° stronger than G400 in the 6-iron, although you can really crank them up with the Power Spec loft option should you be so inclined.
Compared to the Ping G400 irons the G700 are a little bit longer at address and have a thicker top line.
However they don't really feel that much bigger, maybe in part to the clean styling, which uses Ping's HydroPearl finish to give a satin look that is pretty classy.
The sole is about the same width as the G400, so the G700 irons will suit anyone from mid-single figures upwards and even some better players might be tempted with the long irons.
At address it does have that mid-sized look with a decent amount of offset, but I probably preferred it to the G400, even if the back of the hollow head starts to show in the longer irons.
Comparing it to the G400 on GC2 with Titleist ProV1x balls shows how the design of the head was able to increase the carry by launching the ball higher with less spin.
Even compared to the chunkier GMax 6-iron, the G700 still managed to go further because for me it gave the right launch conditions. In this test I was swinging my 6-iron at 88mph, so if you are a mid to slow speed swinger who needs forgiveness then the GMax would give you that extra launch and maybe get a bit closer to the G700 for distance.
On the course I was regularly going further than I would have expected as the loft combined with the lower spin gave more carry with a good level of forgiveness.
I liked the feel of the G700 too as, like the G400, the stock shaft is the Ping AMT 2.0 which gets lighter as you go up the set into the long irons, which makes it easier to generate more club head speed.
I really like the G700 irons as they are game improvement irons that don't look like game improvement irons, because you don't have big cavity backs with badges, tungsten weights, or different coloured metals to visually hide the size of some parts of the head.
You could almost say they look like better player irons, but before you run off to place an order you will need to check your bank balance as the price as is around 65% more than the G400, so those forgiveness distance gains over this model had better be good for you.
Taken in the context of the 'expensive fast faced hollow irons' category they are actually in the middle of the pack for price and their heads are larger so they are more of a forgiveness angle on their competitors.
Mid-handicap Ping loyalists for whom money is not an object should head straight for the G700 irons, whereas everyone else might have to think twice, which is a bit of a shame as they are a good set.