PING i200 â€“ Official MGS Forum Review by opsimpson
Current irons in my bag are the Mizuno JPX 850 with xp105 S300 which I was custom fit for about 2 years ago. They are standard loft and 1 degree upright along with standard Golf pride Multi-Compound grips. For the majority of the test I used the Pro V1X and TP5X which are in a dual for a permanent spot in my bag but as is everything else I own so no surprise there.
Of all the products we have had the chance on MGS to review this was by far the most exciting to me. I am currently a 9 hdcp and have been trending downward as the year progresses but as I stated in my Stage 1 review once I get to where I want to be the upstate NY winter will hit and we will start all over again. I normally play a straight to 3 yard fade with my irons. I can reach back and get more but my accuracy with a draw suffers immensely. As I was custom fit for my previous irons I was skeptical of the PING online fitting but I said to trust the process and on the whole it has been very good, except for the grips. I went with the recommended color code of Aqua (1/16â€ smaller) and have regretted that from day 1. I will get more into that later.
Performance at the Range
I had to split most of my range time between a range close to my work and the range at my home club to be able to get the amount of time I thought was necessary to give the club and honest review from the range perspective. This to me was the most difficult portion of the review. On the range I always want to work on a certain part of my swing and try to get better so that would creep in from time to time but on the whole I just practiced normally, trying to hit a certain target or get a certain flight etc.
Accuracy â€“ The irons are very accurate with little movement left or right. The less amount of offset on these irons compared to my Mizunos allowed for not to worry about the left side of the course (see big hook). I was able to hit a target with multiple irons.
Distance â€“ This is where it got a little dicey compared to the Mizunos. On full shots they tended to be about half a club shorter for me. I think this can be attributed in some part to the shaft differences and getting used to the flight in general. Once I had that dialed in they are impressive. I was starting to slightly turn the ball over a little better with these without fear of a hook. Is this attributed to a shaft and grip combo? I feel the Modus were A LOT smoother than the S300 and produced a much better ball flight.
Trajectory Characteristics â€“ This is where the i200s really shined for me. The ability to change trajectory was amazing!!! I was hitting the ball on more manageable trajectory than I was used to. My trajectory with the Mizunos was a much higher no spin flight than the i200s which has a more medium, and boring trajectory that cut through the wind.
Forgiveness â€“ I did not see a discernable difference between these and any other iron I have hit. Hit it almost off the grooves on the toe and it is going to stink. I would say the Pings are not the most forgiving I have hit and that takes away from them a little bit.
Control â€“ With the Mizunos I hit the ball much higher and never could flight it down without dropping 2 clubs and going from 9 to 3 on my swing. With the i200s I could just grip down an inch to two inches and make the same swing and get exactly what I wanted, a lower more boring flight and not worry about the balloon ball that was eat up by the wind. The ability to work the ball was a lot easier especially hitting a draw with the Pings vs. Mizuno. I felt more comfortable trying to hit a draw and not worry about a hook or the dreaded pull hook.
Range Score: 9 out of 10 points
Performance on the Course
Accuracy â€“ One of the more accurate irons I have played for sure. Full shots at the target were normally not a worry but shots that I tried to take a little off of or add a little too were not as accurate as I would like to the be but of course a lot of that could be me more than the club. On shots that I executed the way I wanted to they performed better than my favorite irons of all time the 710 AP2s.
Around the greens and inside 120 yards is where I find these clubs really shined and would make them a permanent place in my bag. I normally would chip with a 54 or 58 degree wedge. I always struggled with getting the ball to the hole on my chips and pitches and since testing the i200s I have almost gone exclusively to the PW and 9 irons around the greens and it paid off immensely.
Course Score: 30 out of 40 points
Overall performance of the irons was on to above par with all others I have played.
To say I was pleased with the performance of the iron would be a fair statement to make.
In comparison to my current Mizuno irons I would have to say that they were better. The look, sound and feel, which to me are more of a selling point than about anything, were better in every way.
The ability to make a â€œplayersâ€ iron into something that a mid handicap player like myself can game confidently is huge and the most endearing aspect of these irons.
When I put the i200s side by side vs. my Mizunos the scores were better with the i200s. That to me is the bottom line all other things aside. Not matter what the range works shows the on course performance, what you write on the score card is what matters. Granted it took me a little bit of range work to get comfortable with the changes in look, feel etc. but once I did the results were better period.
As I stated before the on course performance to me is where the i200s really performed. On the range or at a demo day I think just about any iron is going to perform well since well, the end result doesn't reflect on the score card. You can get a good idea of what you like but it does not really show until you have a 185 shot to an uphill green into the wind.
The shape and looks of the club coupled with the smaller amount of offset makes the club look amazing. It sits by the ball and frames it in a way that would not scare off a 15 hdcp and appeal to a 2 hdcp in my opinion.
The little no offset will appeal to all handicaps. The look of the long irons (3-5) give a visual appeal of being easier to hit without looking like a hybrid which will appeal to better players but give the appearance of playability to mid handicap players.
These babies are gorgeous!!! The looks and simple badging of the irons give them a curb appeal that is hard to overlook. From looks alone on the rack I would give these a hit.
The look of the iron with the extra weighting appearance behind the head is what I think will really appeal to the mid handicap player. It gives the appearance (and really shows when you hit them) that you can get the ball in the air. The extra weighting that extends on both sides of the sweet spot gives the idea of help on off center hits. Which as a 9 HDCP player, I look for in an iron. The technology is right there for you to see without having to think COG, cup face etc. at first glance.
The overall package as I have stated in the previous couple of bullets is what gives this iron such a â€œrack appealâ€ for the average person who wants to try the iron but is unsure if it fits their game or HDCP.
There is no comparison to other irons is this better player category when it comes to looks and curb appeal.
Looks Score: (14 of 15 points)
Sound and Feel
This to me is the â€œred lineâ€ that's gets a club into my bag. I enjoyed the sounds and feel of the Mizunos but never loved them and ended up with them based on numbers alone. To say that I regretted that ever since would be an understatement. The feel (see sound) is what is most important to me unless it just performs ungodly then I can learn to deal with it, which is why the 850s ended up in my bag. The crisp soft feel of these irons are terrific. When struck in the middle of the face it is a â€œforgedâ€ feel for sure. This again will appeal to the lower and mid hdcp player alike.
There are a few caveats to this though. Mishit on the toe is noticeable right away. Although the distance that you suffer (10-12 yards from my estimation) is not as bad as some other irons in the category that I have tried in the past it is noticeable. Heel strikes on the other hand are not a noticeable to me as I could not really tell if I heeled it vs. catching it on the sweet spot.
To compare this from worst to first in the feel and sound category if you will, they fall more towards the first category. The best feeling iron I have ever hit (Yonex blades) vs the worst feeling I ever hit (714 AP1s).
Sound and Feel Score: (12 of 15 points)
Likelihood of Purchase
This to me is a tough decision. Price as we know is king for a husband and father of 2. It is hard to say without factoring the performance of other clubs in the same category in a fitting and playing environment. However, based on the performance and how in my opinion these irons have changed my iron play and my ability to execute shots on the course I would purchase these clubs. I realize that can be a very strong statement to make without hitting them against other clubs but the performance, looks, sound, and feel have me sold. It may have been sheer luck or Ping's algorithm in their web based fitting program (save the grips which I am changing after this stage, I would have changed sooner but I wanted to maintain the integrity of the review) but the i200's coupled with the modus shafts have given me the iron game I have wanted for a good while.
LOP Score: (17 of 20 points)
The overall looks and course based performance is where I judge a club. I have seen too many times where a friend gets fit for a set of irons and says that they are 2 clubs longer and playing so much better then they get out on the course and are 5 strokes worse. The on course performance is where the rubber meets the road to me. At my home course here in upstate NY, McGregor Links Country Club you can get some squirrely lies for sure but extracting the ball and get it stop never seemed to be a problem for the i200s. They will get the ball out nicely (be it on a lower trajectory than the Mizunos) and give you a chance to write a par or birdie on the card and not have to worry about a flier.
The overall experience of being a tester for MGS was much different than I ever thought it would be. As they say the most important 6 inches in golf is the 6 inches between your ears and that would absolutely pertain to this test for me. After being fitted and playing the same irons over the past 2+ years to change to from a SGI to better players iron definitely took its toll but led in the end to better scores and that is what we are all after. Trust is a big thing (if not the biggest) in golf (see Henrik Stenson's 3 wood) and once I was able to trust them I did not need to find Will Hunting to add up my score card for me at the end of the round. From the time of being notified of selection for the irons and until posting this review I have seen more ups and downs in a golf game than I can remember save for a fateful day at McGregor Links but that is another story for another time. For those of you who get selected in the future (especially with irons) enjoy the ride. I was very confident in my game and then started the full testing process for the i200s and my game went downhill what seemed like almost overnight or 9 holes. A trial of emotion would pester me throughout the round almost to the point where I just wanted it to be over so I could go play my Mizunos again. Stay the course I would say to myself, except for the grips they can go to hell!!!! Once I got more comfortable with them and trusting them my scores started to go down and that my friend is what is it all about.
Total Score: 82 of 100 points