Ping Golf has always been known for making irons that are consistent, regardless of where you strike the ball on the clubface. This is achieved through perimeter weighting, or taking weight from the middle of the clubhead, and moving it around the edges of the golf club. This will make the club perform better when a shot is struck off center on the clubface, something that a vast majority of golfers do on a consistent basis. This is a theory that has served Ping well for the past 50 years in their iron designs.
However, with the introduction of more distance-based irons in today’s game, golfers have started to care more about how far their 8 iron goes rather than how close the ball ends up to the target. Most companies jumped on this bandwagon, designing irons with the sole purpose of making the ball go as far as possible. Ping was a little slower than most companies to adapt to this trend, focusing more on irons that produced a consistent trajectory. That was until recently, with the introduction of the G700 iron this past winter and the new i500 iron that was released in late July.
With the i500 iron, Ping has introduced a hollow body design that features a forged c300 maraging steel face. This design allows the club face to flex more at impact, which delivers higher ball speeds and a higher launch angle. A faster ball speed and higher launch angle will lead to more distance and more stopping power coming into the green. The beauty in this design is that the overall size and look of this club head is more similar to a player’s iron than a game improvement iron. This will allow the i500 to appeal to the better player who does not want to look down at a larger club head but would like a little forgiveness along with more distance.
Also, being introduced with the i500 from Ping is the i210. The i210 follows the pattern that Ping has set with their I series irons for the last few decades, which is more forgiveness and consistency in a smaller looking package. This iron is not designed for maximum distance, which is where it varies from the i500. This iron is for the player who wants a smaller looking club that will provide a good amount of forgiveness on mishits, but who does not necessarily need to gain distance with their irons.
To show how these two irons differ from each other, I hit a few shots on trackman with each model with my current iBlade as a comparison. I used my gamer shaft (Dynamic Gold x100) in each iron at +½”. My iBlade has 34 degrees of loft, while the i210 iron had 33.5 degrees, the i500 had 31.5 degrees, and the power spec i500 had 29 degrees of loft. Results are below.
|Model||Club Speed||Ball Speed||Smash Factor||Launch Angle||Spin Rate||Peak Height||Land Angle||Carry|
The results definitively show how each iron is intended to perform in terms of distance. My current iron averaged 183 yards of carry distance, while the i210 averaged 186 yards, showing that these 2 irons are similar in terms of distance. The standard i500 averaged 194 yards, which was 11 and 8 yards longer respectively than the other 2 models. This 11-yard difference between my current iron, and 8-yard difference between the i210 is a gain of about 1 club in terms of distance. The i500 power spec iron provided even a bigger gap with an average of 205 yards per carry. The “power spec” option essentially strengthens the lofts of each iron throughout the set. A stronger loft will generally provide more ball speed, and a lower launch angle and spin rate. We use this option for players who have a high ball flight or for players who want to gain more distance. As we see above, my distance jumped increased 19 yards from the i210 iron to the power spec i500 iron. The results in terms of distance overall were what were expected, with the i500 being the bomber of the group and the i210 being shorter.
Distance is nice, but we need to make sure that our iron shots are flying high enough to land softly on the greens. A major issue with these distance irons is that although they tend to go longer, they tend to come into the green at too shallow of a landing angle, making the ball bounce over the green instead of staying close to the target. Both the i210 and i500 irons in our test did not have that problem. My current iron peaked out at 107 feet in the air, with a 49.6 degree angle of descent. The i210 iron had a peak height of 108 feet and a 49.5 degree land angle, while the i500 had a 118 feet peak height with a 51 degree landing angle. Both irons went just as high, if not higher, than the current iron while also providing a similar or steeper angle of descent. What this means for the player is more distance (either 3 yards or 11 yards) with similar playability coming into the green. The best of both worlds.
Recently introduced. The Ping i210 and i500 irons are different from each other in many ways, and each will cater to a different type of player. The i500 is designed to help a better player hit one less club into the green, while the i210 is designed for the better player who wants more control over their ball flight and who does not need to gain distance. As always, being properly fit for either model will help to maximize the performance of whichever iron suits your game.