Ping G410 Irons – Official MGS Forum Review by GregB135
November 2019 - January 2020
Over the past season I’ve worked my handicap down from 16 to 11. That puts me at the lower range of the handicap levels that Ping claims these irons will fit. What gets me there? My lowest scores wind up being rounds where I hit more fairways and stay away from penalties. If I’m honest, I give away more strokes with poor driving and chipping than with poor iron play. My GIR average over the last year is at 26%. That’s a little lower than where I want it to be.
My last two sets of irons have been forged cavity backs, the Mizuno JPX850 and Hogan PTx, with more blade type wedges. That type of set makeup seemed a good match to me and my game. My ball flight with irons is mid to high. The A-game swings have a slight draw, and shots land with something between short hop and roll, and back up a little.
I was excited to see the test opportunity for the G410 because I had previously gamed the i10 irons, and the marketing of more forgiveness which might help me in my quest for a better GIR average. My only big questions going in were; will the GI engineering of the clubs exaggerate my high ball flight, and how will the transition to wedges at the bottom of the set be affected.
My first impressions started a little bit before the iron fitting. I went to one of the local golf shops and just checked them out on the rack (no swings to alter perceptions at that point), and did some side-by-side comparison to clubs similar to mine. The first thing I noticed was the increased offset (particularly in the long irons) but also how the offset reduced down through the set. The size of the club heads also has some variance.
The hitting area of the club face was about the same as the other irons, but there is noticeably more club head around it. The thickness of the top line was noticeable as well, but not off-putting, and in the middle of the set at least keeps the workings of the back of the club head out of sight. I saw a little more of the club head in the 4 and 5 iron and the PW and UW just looked like an awful lot of golf club to my eye.
On to the fitting. I was fortunate that I was able to do the fitting with my Golftec swing coach. His only comment before we got started was we was ‘not sure that’s the club I would have started with’ in a regular iron fitting. We got started with a shaft similar to my Mizuno and Hogan (lightweight, stiff flex) and I was absolutely awful. We did some tweaking based on feel and balance and got to the AWT Red in regular flex. We worked through a few more swings to dial in the lie angle and length and bingo, mid-high ball flight down the line. At the end of the session we had selected the AWT Red R flex shaft for 4I through UW, set 2* upright (that’s blue dot to Ping), and ¾-inch longer than standard.
The clubs arrived looking great even if I did have a slightly longer wait than the other testers. That’s actually a plus rating to Ping as the delay was due to blemishes in the shafts they received and not wanting to ship an inferior quality product to the customer (not even a comp set). The club heads were all individually wrapped with neoprene covers on them.
Looks (8 out of 10 points)
Generically these clubs look great. The color scheme and the badging of the back of the club head looks good in the bag. I really like the hydropearl finish. It’s clean and subtle and reduces reflected sun glare at setup. I still can’t tell if it makes a real difference in wet conditions, but it looks good.
It’s the look at setup that gets the downgrade for me. I still find myself uncomfortable looking down at the long irons and seeing stuff from the back of the club head. The PW and UW still look like way too much club to my eye. Especially at the bottom of the set, the GI engineering of the irons makes it look and feel like way too much forward shaft lean for what I’ve grown comfortable with. Too many instances of having to remind myself to forget how it looks and swing.
Sound & Feel (6 out of 10 points)
If you’ve been following the thread this far a middle grade here should come as no surprise. You’ll also have to keep in mind my previous two sets used to compare feel were forged cavity back not cast GI/SGI heads. It might be apples to apples, but it’s fresh from the store, whole honey crisp apples compared to multi-pack, pre-sliced, granny smith apples.
I’ve got numerous range sessions and indoor practice bay sessions and I still can’t figure out whether or not I like the sound of these irons. That’s probably because I don’t think these irons can decide what they want to sound like. Flush strikes make a nice subtle click. Off center strikes vary between a loud, annoying whack from the heel, a weak splashy whack off the toe, and an ‘ugh’ inducing thud for anything thin.
Feel players accustomed to using forged irons will wonder ‘Where’s all my feedback?’ For all the audible feedback these clubs give there is precious little the feel of the strike is going to tell you. With the exception of strikes well in on the heel or sufficiently thin there is not much translated all the way to the hands to tell you how good or bad the contact was.
In general for sound and feel I’ll stick with my comment from earlier in the thread. The less you get of either, the better you’ve struck the ball.
Basic Characteristics (17 out of 20 points)
One area these irons definitely live up to the marketed billing is hitting the ball straight. They aren’t going to eliminate the hook or slice if that is what the swing dictates. The increased offset does tend to turn out more hooky hooks and less slicey slices. Side-spin on off center strikes is definitely reduced as well.
I’m a little over a month into playing and practicing with these irons and they perform how I expect a GI design to perform. My baby draw ball flight stayed a baby draw with the short irons, but got more into being a hook with the long irons. Off center strikes didn’t want to curve back to the target line either way and became straight pushes or pulls. In general though that left me closer to the target with my misses even if it didn’t result in more GIR, so the forgiveness factor is definitely there.
As far as distance goes I’m left with some mixed feelings. One of my initial worries was with yardage gapping at the bottom of the set. By that I mean these are designed to increase distance so I didn’t want the expected gains in distance from the PW and UW to create too large a gap to my other wedges. Turns out I didn’t need to worry because I’ve actually seen a distance drop with those clubs. The same is true at the other end of the set. I didn’t see my 4i distance encroach on the gap to the hybrid it went the other way as well. In between there though I didn’t have to alter my yardages much at all which was nice. I was getting similar yardages as before, just a little bit straighter with respect to the target line. Off center strikes also don’t cost as much loss of distance with the G410s. Again, we’re talking within 5 yards of desired for missing on the toe, a little more than that off the heel vs 10 yards lost by missing the center of the forged cavity comparison irons.
Those who like to work the ball may not like these irons so much. While a draw swing will produce a draw, and a fade swing a fade; it took a significant effort to make the ball move more on purpose. That is just the nature of a GI club, it’s going to reduce side spin. Even though Ping markets these to include the ‘high single digit’ handicapper this is what might become a make or break point with that level of player. You may have to give up some control to get the forgiveness factor.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to control height. Since I already hit the ball fairly high, I expected to see REALLY high ball flight with these. I think we did a good job at fitting to find a shaft that kept my ball flight where I wanted. Though I have had some shots I thought were very high, the difference is how long the ball maintained its peak height off the 410s. It gets up there, and SOARS. Even with the low cg engineering of the clubs I was able to play in some really windy conditions without it costing me that much. The ¾ punch or knockdown swing did its job and kept the ball down and boring through the wind. Same with punch shots and low tree limbs, asking for low I got low as long as I executed the swing well.
On-Course Performance (28 out of 30 points)
While I am a decent enough iron player, no one is going to refer to me as a ‘great ball striker’. I got in about 8-10 rounds now with the G410 irons and my GIR numbers ranged from a low of 3 to a high of 9 during the test. So, not really a big change in the target stat of GIR, but I did average better scoring by a stroke or two. I attribute a fair portion of that to the G410s letting me get away with a little more of a miss than their predecessors.
They performed well from all kinds of lies: rough, fairway bunker, thin fairway etc. The thicker sole interacted well with the fairway turf and bored through the rough so it gave an increased measure of confidence with distance control. I was able to play them in conditions ranging from ideal to ‘why am I still out here?’ and they held up their end in all of them. Shots hit the greens and stayed there. I realize green conditions have their fair contribution but I did notice more shots backing up a bit than I’d grown accustomed to with the Hogan set.
As a challenge, I was lucky enough to be out on the course more or less by myself, so I decided to play my normal tees (6,300 yds) with the full set, against the forward tees (5,400) with irons only. ‘Iron Man’ was 3 FIR and 4 GIR better than full set and carded an even 80 to the 88 of the full set game.
Miscellaneous (10 out of 10 points)
Customer service gives Ping the whole box of points here. From offering the clubs for test, coordinating fitting and packaging Ping made sure it was a quality interaction all the way through.
Play it or Trade it? (15 out of 20 points)
I’m still not completely sold that the G410s need to stay in the bag long term. I’m having a tough time getting over the setup factor and looks of these irons compared to what my eye had gotten accustomed to with the smaller club heads of the Hogan/Mizuno sets. Even though it is at the extreme ends of the set, I’m a little unhappy with yardages going down. I can’t deny though that I’ve shot some of my best scored of the year with the G410 irons in play. A little more time and the early 2020 release announcements will tell.
Ping markets these irons as suitable for the low-mid to high handicapper. I read that as a range from about 10-25. Spending some time with them makes me believe the closer to the lower end of that scale the player is, the more they will find not to like. Improved accuracy lived up to the hype throughout the set, not so the claim of improved distance to go with it. I got moderate gains in the middle of the set, but actually saw distance drop off at the top and bottom of the set. The low CG did not grossly exaggerate my high ball flight, but the hotter face improved hang time and distance on off center hits.
Final Score: 84/100
(I'll come back and add more pictures)