The long-awaited i230 iron from Ping is here, replacing the amazing i210s.
Let's start with why the i210s were so successful. These irons were unusual in the fact that the best players in the world such as Linn Grant and Viktor Hovland play them, as well as appearing in many people's golf bags at your local club too. It's an iron design which appeals to both the masses and the elite.
Manufacturers advertise clubs with slogans such as 'Tour Preferred'. The i210s were both tour preferred and club preferred, which you never usually see in irons. I am sure Ping will not be steering away from this type of product when it is so rare to have this kind of dual popularity.
Introducing the new Ping i230 irons, which I first saw on the driving range at the Women's Scottish Open in July. Maja Stark said she was getting more spin and a bit more distance from the new model - the ideal combination.
You can watch my full review via the Golfalot YouTube channel here:
If you like what you see, please make sure you SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to see all Golfalot video reviews and features first.
The new i230 irons feature milled MicroMax grooves to increase the consistency of spin rates throughout the bag, as well as in both wet and dry weather conditions.
A multi-material five-piece construction delivers consistent, predictable distance with a 431 stainless steel body to increase ball speed and improved feel.
Tungsten weights in the toe and tip are there to increase stability in the head, whilst the cavity badge conceals an elastomer insert which saves weight and lowers CG for more distance and forgiveness.
A more rounded leading edge adds bounce to improve turf interaction, while 'tour inspired blade lengths' see the long irons made more compact than the i210, with the mid/short irons remaining the same length.
The i230 comes in standard, retro and power lofts from 3 iron to a utility wedge. The irons come in at £180 per club with steel shafts, and £190 with graphite shafts.
Ping i230 Irons Review
Looks and Feel
The new cavity badge and compact head shape gives these irons much more shelf appeal than the previous i210s in my opinion. However I do think the badge could be fitted slightly better, as I think filling in the gap around the edge would make the back cavity look smoother.
A new feature to this head is the tungsten weighting which is visible in the toe, and the increased groove capacity on the face is a real standout.
The sole is also thinner than the i210 and i525s, although the top line is still relatively generous. The new design also sees a shorter blade length in the long irons compared to the i210, and in my opinion this makes the i230 look cleaner and more rounded.
There is a huge difference in sound between the i230 and my own i525 irons, which have a loud click and more of a hollow noise. These don't feel hot or hollow, there is a real smoothness to the strike and the ball seems to launch in to the air easily - perhaps too easily in my case.
You get a real positive feedback which replicates the shot that you felt from the face, be it good or bad. I found that I hit these with a straighter flight than the i525s, which were a little more draw biased.
The reaction from the face wasn't as quick or as strong as the head size suggested. I was filled with confidence looking down at the head behind the ball, without really getting that explosive sound and feel from the face at impact.
I headed down to Denton GC where I collected data using the Flightscope Mevo+ Launch Monitor with Titleist Pro V1x balls. I wanted to see how the i230s compared to my own i525s to judge where they fitted into Ping's iron lineup. I then took the irons out on to the golf course to see how they performed in real-game scenarios.
The i525 6 iron produced 143 yards carry with a 104mph ball speed, 5279 rpm spin and a peak height of 68 feet thanks to a launch angle of 18 degrees.
Looks-wise, the i525 appears to have a thinner topline which normally means it is a more compact iron with less distance, but that was not the case here.
The i230 data revealed a higher launching 6 iron at 21 degrees (although the loft of the iron was 2.5 degrees weaker), with higher spin and 3mph less ball speed.
This equated to an average carry number of 136 yards, with my furthest being 143 yards and a poorer strike dropping down to 130.
On Course Performance
I tested the 4, 6 and 8 irons out on the course and, like on the range, I did struggle to keep the launch window down which I found to be a bit of a problem into the wind, although on the other hand I loved it on the downwind shots!
The 4 iron was very easy to hit and encouraging to look down on, which was a big positive even from me as a self-confessed hybrid lover.
With the 6 and 8 irons the divots were shallow and consistent (shout out the new leading edge design) and the shot shape was predictable too. The irons were very workable but I just found that they seemed to launch a little too high even when I tried to punch the ball.
Ping i230 Irons Verdict
When it comes to Ping irons you are either a 'G' or an 'i' player, it's that simple. In my opinion you can fit any ability in to these two head types. Ping try and make clubs for everyone and their is a sustainability in their messaging and build.
They won't release another version of this iron next year and try and convince you that it's better again, they expect you to play your choice of irons for years.
You only have to look at the likes of Lee Westwood and Bubba Watson to see that Ping don't try to force their players to change their irons until they really want to.
The i230 is another cavity back Ping iron which will be used by tour pros, and this is never questioned because Ping staff players have grown up using the irons for years and so they are used to this design.
This is the type of iron which is great from golfers who want to transition from a G iron to a better player model. The i230 sees updates made to the technology and an improvement in looks too, and to be honest they don't really compare to any iron I have tried from other manufacturers. Ping do it their own way and on their own terms.
They tend to gear their products more to you golfers reading this article rather than to the 0.1% of tour pros on the planet, which is why you'll never hear a club golfer say that Ping irons aren't suited to them.
Who Are They Aimed At?
Normally I would begin this section by comparing one model and manufacturer to another. But as you can see this iron caters for so many golfers. It has the TaylorMade P770 look but the data and feel of a Callaway Apex TCB. You will see golfers with a handicap from 15 all the way down to scratch, as well as tour players, using these irons and I never ever say that.
Would I Use Them?
I played the i-Series and i200 irons when I was on tour but in recent years have changed to an i525 as I need the extra ball speed. These heads in particular launched too high for me but I wouldn't mind trying them in a stronger 'power spec' to try and lower the ball flight a little...
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
TaylorMade P770 2020 Irons Review
Ping i210 Irons Review