By Michael Johnson
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Ping’s latest players iron is designed for maximum consistency for golfers who wants no surprises. The irons launch slightly lower and have a moment of inertia similar to that of the company’s i210 irons to help mitigate the loss of ball speed on mis-hits.
SPECS/PRICE: The stock shafts are the Project X LS (6.0, 6.5) in steel and the UST Recoil 760 ES (A), 780 (R, S) in graphite with numerous additional stock shaft offerings. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s New Decade MCC White with Arccos’ shot-tracking capability. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is €290.00 per iron with stock steel shaft.
THE DEEP DIVE: Although Ping is well known for its ability to produce irons for the everyday golfer, not to be overlooked is the attention it pays to those who play the game at a higher level (witness Tony Finau’s win at The Northern Trust using Ping irons). It is with this discerning player in mind that the company has unveiled its latest iron—the i59.
An elegant golf club with a lot of technology packed in it, the i59 provides a players look but with numerous modern touches the better golfer will appreciate.
“The design goals were pretty straightforward,” said Ryan Stokke, Ping’s director of engineering. “We wanted an iron that could serve the tour with a slightly lower launch, better feel and tighter dispersion.”
The shape is decidedly player-ish, with a blade-like design, offset and bounce similar to the company’s iBlade model. The sole is modestly thinner and the grooves are actually a bit shorter heel-to-toe. “We found that makes player focus a little better on the club at address,” Stokke said.
From a construction standpoint, the forged 1025 carbon-steel body, laser-cut 17-4 stainless-steel face and AlumiCore insert are joined using a forging process called swaging that applies pressure to the three parts, creating a single part that is then plasma-welded to seal the seams.
“This is not a true hollow body club,” Stokke said. “There’s not a lot of face deflection. We’re helping this golfer with moment of inertia [which mitigates the loss of ball speed on mis-hits] rather than creating ball speed. This player is willing to sacrifice a couple yards for repeatability. Their primary goal is that they want no surprises.”
The AlumiCore insert is key to achieving that goal. An aerospace-grade aluminum insert allows approximately 30 grams of material from the center of the club to be redistributed to the perimeter in the form of toe and shaft tip weights. That weight moved to the extremes helps boost the moment of inertia to where it is nearly the equivalent of the company’s i210 irons. Every iron in the set has its own specific insert that helps reinforce the face while minimising face deflection to produce consistent distance and trajectory. A weight screw is used to standardize weighting as well.
The machined “MicroMax” grooves are spaced tighter together, allowing for four more grooves on the face.
“Along with the extra grooves we used a 20-degree sidewall versus a 16-degrees sidewall,” Stokke said. “That helps reduce fliers in short irons while maintaining spin in long irons. We went through seven different groove designs before arriving at this one.”
Continuing with the theme of precision, the irons are 100-percent inspected on nine different processes (including sole shaping, head polishing, and face-machining) to guarantee consistency from part to part.
The irons, which Viktor Hovland used to win with on the European Tour at the BMW International Open in July, have traditional lofts for a blade iron with a 34-degree 7-iron and 46-degree pitching wedge. Stronger or weaker lofts are available through the company’s PWR and Retro spec offerings, respectively. As is its custom with its commitment to fitting, Ping offers the irons in 10 color codes (lie-angle options).
The stock shafts are the Project X LS (6.0, 6.5) in steel and the UST Recoil 760 ES (A), 780 (R, S) in graphite with numerous additional stock shaft offerings. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s New Decade MCC White with Arccos’ shot-tracking capability. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $275 per iron with stock steel shaft and €290.00 per iron with stock graphite shaft.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAY: Employing a patent-pending technology known as AlumiCore, PING today introduced the i59 iron, a forged blade that delivers the look, feel and trajectory control preferred by better players with forgiveness unprecedented in blade-style designs.
The custom-built i59 irons are now available for custom fittings at authorised PING retailers around the world.
“There’s been a lot of anticipation for the i59 iron since we took them out on tour a few months ago, so we’re very excited to bring them to golfers around the world,” said John K. Solheim, PING’s president. “It’s a true forged blade on the outside, but inside it’s like nothing ever engineered in golf equipment. Our team took on the challenge of disrupting an iron category that traditionally has lacked a lot of performance innovation and developed an iron unlike any other. The combination of the look, feel and forgiveness ‘when you need it’ sets it apart from anything else in the industry. Once golfers hit it, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by its versatility. The i59 will clearly appeal to better golfers but the combination of forgiveness and clean appearance will attract golfers of all skill levels.”
“It’s been very well received on tour and was in the bag of Viktor Hovland when he became the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour earlier this summer. Johannes Veerman just won with a full set of the i59s on Sunday at the Czech Masters. The players really like the distance control and the ability to consistently flight the ball to the precise yardages required to succeed at the professional levels.”
AlumiCore Technology Increases MOI
An aerospace-grade aluminium insert allows approximately 30 grams of material from the centre of the club to be redistributed to the perimeter, some in the form of toe and shaft tip weights, elevating the MOI to match that of the larger PING i210 iron. Each iron in the set requires a different size aluminium core, adding to the precision and complexity of the manufacturing process to ensure quality and performance in every iron. The result is a forgiving, forged iron with a crisp, solid feel at impact that delivers lower launch and trajectory control with the precision expected from a blade design.
“We know this type of player may not put forgiveness at the top of their list when considering their iron choice, so we engineered it in a way that increased the MOI in a clean and impactful way,” said Solheim. “At address, it’s perfectly sized and shaped with a thin top line and the right amount of offset. It has a narrow sole to move smoothly through the turf and ensure a pleasing impact experience. Inside, the AlumiCore technology allows us to increase the MOI by moving the weight to the perimeter using toe and shaft tip weights. Our player testing shows tighter dispersion throughout the set and very high marks for feel.”
Friction Face with MicroMax Milled Grooves
The precision-machined face has new MicroMax grooves for tighter spacing and a geometry that results in an average of four extra grooves on each club to reduce fliers in the short irons and preserve spin in the long irons for greater control and consistency.
“We love the challenge of improving groove performance,” Solheim said. “When golfers address the i59 iron, they’ll notice more grooves. We were able to accomplish this through our continuous research and experiments with different configurations to deliver the spin performance required for consistency and predictability from all conditions.”
100% Inspected Manufacturing Steps
During the development of the iron, PING’s innovation and engineering teams spent significant time perfecting the manufacturing process which includes 100% inspection of numerous steps, including sole shaping, head polishing, face machining and head forging. Joining the 1025 carbon steel forged body, aluminium insert and laser cut 17-4 stainless steel face employs a forging process known as swaging, which applies pressure to the three parts, creating a unibody-style part that is then plasma-welded to seal the seams.
“The i59 project pulled in our expertise from multiple disciplines within our engineering and innovation groups,” said Solheim. “Once we had the idea to join the three parts together, we were challenged with scaling the complicated process within the manufacturing process. In collaboration with our suppliers, we developed highly-precise procedures that makes the i59 the most technologically advanced iron we’ve ever manufactured.”
Multi-material construction: Forged 1025 carbon steel body, 17-4 stainless steel laser cut face, aluminium insert, tungsten toe/hosel tip weights; hydropearl 2.0 finish
Available 3-9, PW in 10 color codes (lie angle).
STOCK SHAFTS: Project X LS (6.0, 6.5) & UST Recoil 760 ES (A), 780 (R, S)
OPTIONAL STOCK SHAFTS: PING AWT 2.0 (R, S, X), Dynamic Gold (S300, X100), Dynamic Gold 105 (R300, S300), Dynamic Gold 120 (S300, X100), KBS Tour (R, S, X), NS Pro Modus 105 (R, S, X), Elevate 95 (R, S), PING Alta CB Slate (SR, R, S)
STOCK GRIP: Golf Pride New Decade MCC White
RRP: €290.00 per club with stock steel shaft