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  1. Ok, I'm a 56 year old 8.2 index golfer. I have been as low as 4.5 this year and have been playing the game seriously for 30 odd years. I would describe my self as a golf tragic club ho, who is a victim of most good marketing and often looks for an excuse to buy something new when it comes to golf. I have followed the pending release of the GMax and I series irons since I got wind of it sometime ago. My club Pro has been tooting his horn about the Gmax in particular, with his war cry of "12 yards longer guaranteed" by Ping. I had seen the photos of the GMax and was underwhelmed by them. I thought "Hmmn G25/30's dressed up with a hotter face." I hit the course this morning for my first game back since tearing something in my back. I hadn't hit a ball for a week and it felt like a month and was having a practice putt when the trainee Pro stuck his head out the door and casually mentioned to me that they had the new demo sets in from Ping and did I want to have a hit with them. Crafty little bastard that he is, knew I couldn't resist the bait and I went inside to check 'em out. T​he Unboxing: My unboxing consisted of seeing these babies pristinely clean and new in a golf bag in the shop. There is no denying it, they are ugly yet at the same time curiously functional and you just know that you can hit them. The head is quite large even for a Super Game​ Improvement iron. The top line is thick, and the off set is big. The finish is a matt gun metal grey/brown and not unattractive but not gorgeous either. The shafts seemed to blend in and I struggle to actually remember what colour they were but at the end of the day I didn't really care. I took 'em out side and put them in the bag. They had 4 - SW in graphite but I only took the 4 - PW, leaving my Vokey's in the bag and they were yellow dot, which is apparently 1.5 degrees upright. I had a few practice swings with the pitching wedge and 6 iron, feeling their weight and letting the bounce of the irons interact with the grass not taking a divot but just gently making practice swings. They felt good and I wondered how I would go with the offset. I owned a set of G30's and got rid of them because of the offset and hitting them left all the time. I had 40 minutes or so before tee off so I grabbed five old balls out of my bag and took the seven iron and a tee onto the range. I hate our range because it is set up on a weird angle to everything and to hit the ball "straight" it feels like I have to aim miles right. I teed up the first ball that just happened to be a Mizuno JPX. They are firmer than a Pro V1 and they launch quite high. I was very tentative with my back and so tried to make just a smooth warm up swing and this ball took off like a scalded cat launching high with a gentle draw and flying about 150 yards. The feel was typical of a cast Ping iron, sweet but no Mizuno buttery goodness, and the sound was just plain ugly! It sounded like a metal wood. That is the closest approximation I can come up with and I put it down to the JPX ball being a bit harder than most other balls. I had a Bridgestone, a Srixon and two Pro V1x's and hit them in that order gradually hitting them harder with each swing. The last being the hardest and probably the best sounding of the five. They all had a great trajectory and flew with a gentle draw the last one flying about 165 yards. I was impressed. The longest I can hit my Mizuno 7 iron is 155 max. I hoped the sound would grow on me. The ball speed off this iron was impressive from the get go and it was a prelude to my experience out on the course. The Mid Irons:​ Yes you are right, it is an odd place to start the review but the first five holes apart from the third at my course require mid iron approaches especially when my tee shot is not what it could have been. I hooked my tee shot on the first and left myself a good 165 yards to the flag and had the same distance for my third on the second hole which is a par five. With my back still at the fore front of my mind the swings I made on both shots were a bit tentative and came up short of the green. Both shots were lower trajectory wise than I expected but again I put that down to the quality of swing rather than the club. Both had a gentle draw and finished on line and I was satisfied with both. There were a couple of occasions on the day where I had to hit half seven irons or chippy type shots out of trouble and the seven iron is my go to club when I do. The Ping was more than up to the challenge and it's not often that I stand there admiring a half seven iron that I have chipped back out onto the fairway but I did today. The fourth hole is a long Par three that plays 205 from the tips and today was playing 183. I have aced the fourth before from where the tees were today so I selected the same club I used back then which was a six iron. I put a good swing on it not hard but smooth and the ball launched slightly right of the flag which was back centre and flew with that gentle 2-3 yard draw pitching 2 paces from the flag and according to my playing partners hit the hole and finished 3ft above the flag. The exclamations of approval from aforementioned playing partners and the feedback from the club let me know I had hit a top shelf shot. The sound was growing on me. I will point out at this juncture that I normally hit my Mizuno 6 iron 165 yards. As I began to warm up and loosen up, the better I was compressing the ball and hence the better sound. Fast forward to the 8th Hole another par three playing 183 yards and just short of the tips. For some reason I decided that I should hit 5 iron. Probably because that is what I would hit from there if I was using my Mizuno's. Call it a brain fade. Once again I just made that smooth swing protecting the back and as soon as I made contact I knew it was too long. I had pulled it slightly - always a harbinger of a longer than wanted hit and it was high and drawing and yes too long, and I was jumping up and down yelling "Get down!" It didn't and I holstered the five iron and pulled out the six and hit my provisional (read practise ball) to ten feet pin high. I will add I made a great up and down with the first ball. That was pretty much it for most of the round with the midirons. The most surprising thing was the way the ball just jumped off the face. There was never any doubt in my mind that the shots were going to cover the distance required. And having that ability in my bag boosted my confidence levels to a place they haven't been for some time. The Long Irons: I guess technically the four and five irons are the only clubs in this class that I used today. I used the four iron off the tee on 3 and a couple of times off the fairway on par fives as my layup club. The tee shot on three that I hit was smoked and had me looking for melted ball on the club face. Like the mid irons the ball exploded off the club face and the trajectory was high but penetrating. I never felt like I had to swing hard at the ball at all, all day with any of the irons, but if I do feel that way it is usually with the long irons. ​ Certainly not the case today. I hit that tee shot pretty close to 200 yards and again the exclamations of approval from my playing partners put that happy face on my head and a grin on my mouth. I hit a towering 4 iron from the fairway on 16 for my second shot that was again close to 200 yards that was as sweet an iron shot that I have ever hit. That I was impressed with both irons would be an understatement. The Short Irons:​ These were the 8,9 and PW. I normally hit my eight iron 140 yards and it tends to probably be my most used short iron in the bag. I think all the times I hit it today I was either between clubs or mishit the eight. The mishits all finished in playable lies, usually short but online and now that I sit here thinking about it I only hit it three times. The nine iron I hit twice and missed left both times -now there's a surprise - not! Damned off set! But having said that I remember addressing the ball and feeling very confident looking down at the loft and the way it sat at address. The wedge I hit multiple times and hit it from 110 yards to 125 yards comfortably with a nice draw and spun it off one green that I typically do that on with any wedge that I hit from 110 yards in. My shot of the day came on the eighteenth hole and was an eight iron that had escaped my memory. I hit my drive into the fairway bunker ​leaving 143 yards to the flag. It was a hanging lie and I had my right foot outside the bunker. A smooth swing focussed purely on clean contact and I picked the ball clean and knew without a doubt I had the distance perfectly. The trajectory was perhaps a little higher than I expected and the ball flew like a wire guided missile at the flag and landed about six feet left and above the flag exactly pin high. It was as purer contact as I have ever made with a Ping type club and was just one of those gorgeous shots that when you remember it, a smile comes to your face. I think given a good lie I could happily hit the eight iron in this set 145 -150 yards. The 9 iron 135 -140. Certainly in summer with the thinner air. Not bad for me. Looks, Sound and Feel:​ The only real surprise in this category was the sound. I would describe it initially as quite off putting. I really need to hit them again to see if I could live with it but on a scale of 1 -10 I would give the sound of these irons a low 4. I got used to it and basically switched off to it as the round progressed, probably because they performed so well in the other departments. Looks wise they are plain ugly, yet function able. Even with the big heads and thick top line I felt confident when I addressed the ball. Again on a scale of 1- 10 I give them a 7. There was no surprise in the feel department, They are a cast Super Game improvement iron and Mizuno's they aren't and feel wise I'd give them a 6-7 depending on contact. Performance overall and I have to give them an 8.5 perhaps higher after playing them again. Likelihood of Purchase: This is a sticky one. My ego says on a scale of 1 - 10 3 or 4. My desire to improve and play consistently better golf says 7 - 8. Overall I was impressed by the way these clubs performed in both the distance factor and accuracy. The effort to hit the ball as well as I did today was surprisingly less than I have been experiencing in my game of late. I intend to have several more rounds with these before I make any decisions about another set, and the silly thing was that I had all but written off Ping as a contender in that department. When I think about the G30's I had and the fact that I had got my handicap as low as 4.5 I don't wonder if perseverance with them and really working on how to aim the shorter irons might have been a better way to go rather than what I have been through getting a players iron and letting my ego get in the way. At least with the G30's a bad round was an 80 or 82 rather than anywhere from 80 - 90 now with the less forgiving players type iron. As they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and todays taste was refreshing. That these clubs are not the most attractive to look at for my eye at least they work. And as the title of this review would suggest I may not be running around showing everyone my new clubs but rather telling them what I scored in any given round. Who would I recommend these clubs to? Just about anyone who can deal with their clunky looks, terrible sound and great performance. We all can do with more forgiveness in our games and apart from those elite amateurs and professionals that hit the ball so far no matter what they use maybe we should leave the players irons to their domain and play what suits us the best. Hope you enjoyed. Cheers!
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