This article is intended for the golfer who loves their irons. Although hybrid clubs may offer an easier time, there is no substitute for the full monty. Those who are accustomed to traditional iron clubs often find that other clubs do not suit them and never will.
Today, we will be focusing mostly on clubs that are made by Ping. Ping is one of the most respected club makers in the world, and could also be described as one of the most innovative. Ping clubs are usually quite distinctive when compared to their traditional counterparts. We have chosen to focus mostly on one company so that you can better understand the differences between their various models, as opposed to the differences between various brands.
Let’s take a look at five of the best clubs that we could find. Three of these clubs are made by Ping, but we have also included clubs from Calloway and Srixon for comparison.
The Stealth Bomber
|PING G400 Driver|
|PING i210 Black Dot Irons|
The UFO Club
|Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue Sub Zero Driver|
Just The Necessities
|PING i500 Black Dot Irons|
The Springy One
|Srixon Golf 2017 Men's Z 565 Driver|
This is a wide driver that is meant to be the most aerodynamic on the market. When you look at the head of this thing, it somewhat resembles the wing of an airplane, which is probably not an accident.
This aerodynamic design is meant to produce greater speed and stability. If you want to understand the difference that aerodynamic contours can make, do this experiment: Make a paper airplane and find a rock. Throw both of them and see which one flies better. While the rock may travel farther (because of its weight), the paper airplane will fly much more smoothly, and that is what you want from a golf swing.
This brings us to the biggest flaw: The shaft seems to be a little bit too thin. Even if it is made from the best material, this could be a problem. From the look of it, this thing may well have a shaft composed of a thin-walled tube. It is also thin in the area of the hosel. The connection point is fattened slightly, but may not have the meat that is necessary to hold such a large head.
This Ping club is typical of their simpler style. Visually, this thing is absolutely sexy. It just screams “style” at the top of its lungs, and it performs pretty well. Many users have commented on how forgiving this club can be. While center-hits fly out of the park, even the off-center hits will usually turn out decent.
On the downside, some users have complained that this club doesn’t meet its hype and does not improve their game in a significant way. However, this isn’t much of a valid criticism because even those reviewers admit that it improved certain aspects of their game. If you want valid criticism, we should consider the finish.
A number of reviewers say that the powder-coated finish on this club does not last very long, and wears off after a year or two. If so, this would expose the head of the club to rusting and would, therefore, be unacceptable. Since this is the most consistent complaint, it is probably legitimate.
If you imagine a golf club designed by an alien, it might well look like this. While some other aerodynamic club heads look like the wing of an airplane, this one is bulbous and puts me in mind of a UFO. Add that to the strange texture on the bottom and the electric blue accents, and you have a pretty beast indeed.
That strange texture on the bottom actually serves a purpose. By reducing the surface area that is brought into contact with the ground, this design greatly reduces the friction that is felt when you inevitably skin the surface of the turf. That equals one less thing that can ruin your shot, so this model gets some points for that. However, this skeletonized design is much harder to clean when you inevitably get dirt and mud lodged in its hollow spots.
This one is very similar to the other “Black Dot” model that we examined. However, it’s a smoother and simpler design that offers nothing but the things that matter. Sure, you don’t get many features for the high price of this club, but you get simple and durable functionality. In some ways, that is much better.
A larger concern is the fact that this club is pretty heavy. At nine pounds, it is much heavier than most of its competition. It also doesn’t have much flexibility. The standard version of this club comes with a “stiff-flex” shaft, which is obviously meant to be some kind of middle ground between stiff and flexible. In practice, this club requires a fairly strong individual to obtain its best results.
The advertising does not explain how this “flexible cup face” works, but it is supposed to provide a little bit of extra spring. If so, this would give the process two points of flexion, which would theoretically result in two successive spring-actions. With three different points of adjustment, this model has a simple club with complex options.
The side of the head is very interesting. It has a “wave” design that is supposed to provide an aerodynamic boost. My first question is “if this works so well, why don’t we see it on aircraft?” The answer is that it doesn’t seem to make any real difference. As far as we can tell, the “wave” design is probably just a gimmick.
Now that you’ve seen a few good examples, let’s look at some of the essential information that you will need in order to choose the right club for your needs.
What Makes Ping Clubs So Distinctive?
Ping clubs are very interesting to examine, even if you don’t prefer to use them. This is a company that doesn’t seem to make anything that is plain-looking. Nearly all of their clubs are non-standard in some way. This is usually not a bad thing and offers a variety of features that other clubs do not have.
Some Ping clubs are made to be adjustable in many ways. This is a very good thing because it reduces the number of clubs that a person needs to own. While a full set of clubs is (of course) recommended for most games, a club with some adjustable qualities can potentially do double-duty.
These qualities include an adjustable shaft so that you can adjust your body posture without grabbing another club. Many of these clubs feature a movable weight. Although these movable weights tend to be very small, they can make a big difference in your swing. The manufacturer recommends that you use these weights to correct your swing if it is consistently drifting to the left or right.
Some other Ping clubs are distinctive because of their sleek yet stylish appearance. These clubs immediately make you think of an antique car. The powder-coated finish looks very nice and only adds to the classic look. Of course, the strange shapes that we see on these clubs are not just intended to look good. They are meant to balance the head of the club in such a way as to increase performance in one area or another.
The Importance Of Shaft Length
Obviously, the height of the player will be the main determining factor here. A taller player needs a longer shaft while a shorter player needs a shorter shaft; that part is obvious. However, some people might not consider the importance of body posture.
It is important to keep your back straight when preparing to swing your club at the ball. Some people find it easier to hit their target if they bend at the waist. Usually, this will just be a slight bend of the waist, but taller players may achieve better balance by leaning forward a bit more. Basically, it’s all about finding a compromise between your body type and the length of your club.
Simplicity Vs. Complexity
As we already mentioned, Ping makes some of the simplest clubs, and also some of the most complicated. As such, a person who is evaluating these clubs should give some thought to which sort of club they prefer. For beginners, it is recommended to go with something simple. Even if the more complex models do offer helpful advantages, it wouldn’t be a good idea for a new player to use them. It will only make them reliant upon technology that may not always be present.
For a more advanced player, the choice is pretty much a matter of preference based on results. Some people find that a no-frills club gives them everything they need. For such people, there is no need to change something that is working well. Some others may find that a complex and adjustable club allows them to improve their game in subtle but helpful ways. As we said, this preference should be based on results and nothing more.
The Importance Of Consistency
At this point, you might be wondering why people pay such high prices for Ping clubs? The first answer is the obvious fact that quality golf clubs don’t tend to be cheap anyway. However, it is also true that Ping clubs demand a high price because of their consistency.
Some would argue that consistency is the most important quality for a golf club to have. After all, a person can learn to adjust their technique and correct little problems that may arise from a substandard club. However, an inconsistent club is useless because it cannot be relied upon, and you cannot learn how to compensate for its issues because you can’t even predict them.
Durability And Warranty Concerns
Some of these clubs are very expensive, and it wouldn’t be wise to buy something this expensive without some kind of a warranty. No matter how hard a company may try, they cannot possibly eliminate the problem of product defects. While responsible manufacturers tend to have relatively few defects, there is always a chance that you will get one.
Of course, it’s better to buy products that are made tough in the first place. That way, you don’t even have to worry about whether or not the manufacturer will honor the warranty. With a golf club, the most common weak point is found at the place where the shaft meets the head. For some inexplicable reason, some manufacturers think that they can get away with using a thin piece of metal here.
Clubs like that should generally be avoided, even if they are made out of advanced materials like titanium. There is just too much chance that the head will detach and become a potential safety hazard. For the record, the piece that connects the shaft to the head is called a hosel, and it needs to be as strong as possible.
A Quick Word About Flexibility
We talked a lot about the importance of flexion in a previous article, so we will only give you a basic overview here. Golf club shafts are rated in terms of their flexibility, with “Extra Stiff” being the least flexible and “Ladies” being the most flexible. As you might guess, a flexible club is meant for someone with less upper-body strength.
A more flexible club will allow a smaller or older player to achieve comparable results with less effort. The springy shaft acts like a spring, storing energy from the swing and using it to propel the ball even further. If you aren’t a really strong swinger, these are the ideal choice for you.
When we look at these Ping irons side-by-side with their counterparts from other companies, we can see why these irons are preferred by so many. While they certainly do have their flaws, they offer a greater degree of precision and durability when compared to the competition. Their thick shafts give them the potential to hold up to much greater abuse. Also, the simple all-steel heads provide very little opportunity for something to go wrong.
The fancy bells and whistles that are found on many golf clubs are helpful, but they also provide more potential for equipment failure. Every extra mechanism is a mechanism that can malfunction and render the club unusable until repairs are made. As such, those who don’t want to fool around with repairs would do well to pay a little more and get something that functions without the flashy extras.