The Ping i irons may have dropped the number from their name, but they continue the better players looks from the previous Ping i25 irons.
The i25s were the first of Ping's better player irons cavity backed irons that started to look more traditional and with a new cavity set up, the i iron really looks the part.
Compared to the i25, the i has the Custom Tuning Port that regulates the sound and feel embedded more into the sole of the club right behind the face so it is directly behind the impact point.
Behind it the trailing edge of the cavity draws the weight back a little further than the i25 and this increases the forgiveness a little more and you can feel this right through the set.
One thing that was noticeable was how good the i iron was through the turf as the wider sole with the slight trailing edge camber played as well as most better player cavity blades on the market.
The face is also a little larger and deeper towards the heel than the i25 and this helps with the forgiveness.
The feel is also improved because Ping has used a softer 431 stainless steel in the cast heads. It has a higher strength to weight ratio and this gives Ping the flexibility to play around with 3-4 grams of weight to increase the forgiveness by moving it to the perimeter of the head.
To this end the 3 to 7 irons also have a tungsten toe weight to help with the balance of the heads, which increase in size as you go up the set.
The hosel and heads are longer than the i25 and this is most noticeable in the longer irons.
The Ping i irons come with a CFS Distance steel shaft as standard, although there are many other steel and graphite options. Don't be put off by the word Distance in the name as these are relatively light, stable shafts that suit the heads well.
At address the i irons sit very well indeed and the midsized head and top line has that better player profile without looking too skinny or oversized.
As standard the lofts are 1° stronger in the i iron and the shafts 0.25 inches longer than the i25 so that may give you a little more distance.
When I took them on Trackman they were not only going further, but they were also much more consistent thanks to the greater margin for error from the cavity and the larger heads.
The spin rate was higher but the ball speed was also up by over 1mph when I compared the 6-irons from each set. This did mean a higher flight for me with the i iron compared to the i25 so you will have to see for yourself if the extra speed works for you with this flight.
The 3-iron starts at 20° and the available clubs goes through to the Utility (U) wedge at 50°, although at this point you may want to transfer over to the excellent Ping Glide wedges.
The set i wedges are not bad, but the larger cavity affects the sound and feel feedback a little. The i25 wedges felt a little crisper and sounded a little better, but the lighter Ping Glide wedges are just a little better than them both.
The short and mid irons felt and sounded very good and there was a lovely blend of forgiveness and performance that all low handicappers will enjoy.
Like the i25 irons, once you get up to the 4-iron the longer head and bigger cavity tended to give a marginally more hollow sound at impact and if you are used to forged irons you may find this requires a little bit of compromise.
The Ping i irons are mainly about performance with forgiveness and they really deliver here and would suit any single figure golfer. The flight was medium to high for this sort of iron and throughout the bulk of the set there is very little that would deter you from reaching in your pocket there and then as they are so easy to hit for a low handicappers' iron.
The best compliment I can give them is that each time Ping bring out a new version of their cast i series irons it gets closer to feeling like a forged iron. They also improve the looks each time so that when better players pick it up and have a waggle, more of them go 'I could play this'.
Ping diehards will certainly enjoy the Ping i irons as the performance and possibly the looks are an enhancement to the i family of irons and they should also attract a few more non-Ping converts to the cause who maybe have not seen the light yet.