The idea of a 'Crossover' golf club can be a confusing one for many players to adjust to, not only where it can sit within their current setup, but then actually how to hit them and what shots to hit.
With a noticeable gap in carry distance between my 4 iron and 3 hybrid, I agreed to test the iCrossover, but suggested Sophie come along to help me breakdown the numbers and give some extra insight from her experience testing other utility irons... a.k.a. driving irons, a.k.a. crossovers, a.k.a. driving hybrids...
You see the confusion...
I also took along my current i210 3 iron, which I regularly leave out of the bag due to lack of confidence, to see how much difference there was between a standard 3 iron and the new iCrossover. I assume this is a regular question golfers ponder at the top end of the bag - how much difference can there be?
To start with, there is plenty of technology to get your teeth into when looking into buying this club.
The Ping iCrossover features a tour-inspired compact design with refined shaping and a compact blade length which will suit the better player's eye.
Extra distance is said to come thanks to a lower CG and a maraging steel face with a lower bend hinge point which therefore increases speed and launch.
An EVA polymer in the cavity helps to deliver a solid feel and sound whilst a rounded leading edge is said to ensure smooth turf interaction.
Commonplace amongst Ping irons of the last 4 or five years, the iCrossover also features a toe screw and tip weight to increase forgiveness across the club face and MicroMax grooves, again something we have seen a lot of across recent Ping irons said to deliver consistent performance from both wet and dry grass.
Finally, a new Trajectory Tuning 2.0 hosel now offers 8 loft/lie settings to optimise ball flight.
Ping iCrossover Utility Iron Review
From the off, I think the iCrossover is a good looking golf club for this category. I think in general it's a definite improvement on many of the Crossovers we have seen in the past like the G410 Crossover and the G400 Crossover. However given it's 'tour inspired-design' it is a slightly different style of golf club so this improvement may be expected.
Its blacked-out finish paired with sleek, modern looks will give it strong shelf appeal for the modern golfer. Compared to other offerings in this category like the TaylorMade Stealth UDI, the Callaway X Forged UT iron, and the Titleist U505 Utility iron, I certainly think the iCrossover leads the way in looks.
The standout grey face against the black head also makes the hitting zone look as big as it possibly could, inspiring some extra confidence to what is still a relatively small head, not too dissimilar to that of a normal mid-cavity 3 iron.
The only thing that caught my eye negatively was the size of the new Trajectory Tuning 2.0 hosel, which seems to stick out a little prouder than on the G425 Crossover and on my current 3 iron. The last thing you want when standing over a 3 iron is to be drawn to the hosel...
In comparison to my current i210 3 iron, the iCrossover felt immediately faster off the face and therefore more satisfying. It made me feel like I didn't have to swing my boots off to both launch it and get it out there at a decent length.
The strike felt thick and friendly, there were plenty of shots that I hit during testing that weren't out of the screws but still flew well and more importantly pretty straight.
I was refreshed to find that the iCrossover also didn't sound too loud in the strike, ok you won't find the well-renowned buttery feel of the i210's here, but whilst feeling fast it didn't feel (or sound) like a rocket that I had no control over either.
This can sometimes be the case with clubs like this resulting in inconsistent dispersion from front to back and maybe a lack of confidence when hitting into a tight green for example.
The Flightscope data produced backed this up also when comparing my i210 3 iron to the iCrossover.
I was averaging around 170 yards carry with my i210 3 iron with my best overall distance reaching 179 yards. It was night and day between this and the iCrossover 3 iron, which averaged 193 yards in carry. Interestingly also, the i210 3 iron is 19 degrees of loft whereas the iCrossover is 20.
The number I liked most from the testing was the average spin when using the iCrossover which was 3838 rpm. Being someone who launches it high, I often struggle with high spin rates throughout the bag so to see the spin rates as low as 2800 rpm on one shot was a plus for me.
On Course Performance
The testing conditions I reviewed the iCrossover in really tested both my ability and the clubs. A cold morning in Manchester, England, hitting straight into a strong wind slightly off the left - hardly the conditions to inspire confidence with a 3 iron in hand!
This is the section where I was incredibly impressed by the new Trajectory Tuning 2.0 hosel which offers 8 loft and lie settings for golfers to optimise the ball flight they are looking for.
Initially I had the iCrossover set to 2 degrees upright, similar to the custom fit of my irons but found myself losing shot after shot to the right. After a quick discussion with Sophie, we then cranked the head back to be less upright in more of a standard setting and instantly I started to hit the fairway consistently.
I was hitting the ball straighter with a much stronger flight on a tee box which was very pleasing to see, withstanding strong winds even with my high ball flight of around 95 feet in height.
I closed the testing session with a few shots off a tee too which is probably the scenario I would most likely use this club on the golf course - looking to find a fairway if I was struggling with my driver or playing for placement on a short par 4.This is where I did really feel quite confident hitting the iCrossover 3 iron. I felt like I could put a real 'driver swing' on it and launch the iCrossover with little worries as the club would do the work in terms of forgiveness of length.
Ping iCrossover Utility Iron Verdict
The iCrossover is a great option for players like me that don't struggle with launching longer irons but lack the confidence to use a standard 'better-players' 3-iron to match the remainder of their set.
To conclude, the gains are clear to see. I improved my ball speed, carry distance, spin and with the right custom fit setting began hitting the ball straighter both off a tee and of the deck. This club does what it claims, offering strong ball speeds, plenty of forgiveness, great looks and the addition of the Trajectory Tuning 2.0 hosel can make the world of difference in a very short space of time, as my testing showed.
Although crossovers and utility irons will always have a fight on their hands to win over hybrid stalwarts, this iCrossover in particular will tick the box for the niche market of golfers very well.
Finally I believe the changes to the design to make it smaller and more suited to better players will mean it will find it's way into more peoples bags as it won't be fighting against as many hybrid lovers.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Golfers who struggle to find a hybrid that they can control the launch with, or better players that would just prefer to look down at an iron rather than a wood off the tee.
Would I Use It?
Yes - this is a club I will be putting in the bag for the foreseeable future to replace my current 3-iron and bridge the gap between 4 iron and 3 hybrid. The only drawback is that £275 may seem very expensive for golfers who view this club as an iron, not a hybrid.
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