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Ping GMax irons or the Ugly girlfriend you don't want your friends to know about!

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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:  :lol:  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. â€‹ 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 â€‹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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Nice first impression review, ping_lover!  :)


Having a lot of experience playing with a sore back, I wonder if you were swinging easier than you would when healthy.  I find that I play really well when I have some sort of injury and I focus on just making good contact.  When I am fully recovered, all hell breaks loose in my swing and I say "Why can't I swing like when I was injured ALL the time?"  The mind is a perplexing thing, isn't it?


Was the yellow dot close to your usual lie?  I hope you do a followup on a second or third round.  

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Nice Disertation....um, I mean review Mizzy.  it took me two cups of java to get through it, but I managed to survive......can you come back and post some pics for us.......we would really like to see your ugly girlfriend, um, I mean GMax irons.

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Attempt number 3 to write a follow up.  God damned computers :angry: I spent 2 hours near enough Monday night and lost the lot, another 2 Tuesday night and lost that and just spent 30 minutes today and lost  that.  Maybe the Gmax irons are jinxed as well as great clubs. 


Firstly to explain the ugly girlfriend metaphor.  Most of us have at one stage or another had an ugly girlfriend that we had on the quiet.  She was great in the sack, would try anything, never had a head ache, and the sex was so good if we were like women we would have cried after it.  Yep that good.  These clubs are like that.  You don't want to rush out and tell the world you've got them but what they do for your game is simply awesome.  I've played a further two 18 hole rounds and one 36 hole marathon that was also my club foursome championships, so I have a pretty good idea of what they are like and I have to say I am even more impressed than I was when I wrote the original review.  Don't get me wrong they are still ugly, sound awful but oh what they do out there on the course.  Eleven yards longer - Ha! :o I can safely say I'm a good 15 yards longer.  That's not forgetting that the lofts have been jiggered three degrees stronger per iron across the board and the faces are thinner effectively turning a six iron into a five iron.  27 degrees instead of 30 degrees but they still launch as high as my traditional Mizuno six iron which is 30 degrees and that seems to be the case also across the board.  The wonders of technology!  The sound is better the harder they are hit with half shots and chips sounding a lot like a crappy metal wood.  It is bearable though and I just switch off to it.  Purists will absolutely hate the top line, sound, look and size of the heads, again given what they do for my game I could live with it.  The thing I love about these irons is that all I have to do is make a smooth full swing and they respond like a fire breathing dragon.  I was concerned about the loft issue and hitting it too low but as I said they launch pretty high with the tech that's built in and the width and weight that is in the sole must have something to do with that.  The soles interact with the turf beautifully and deal with all the lies that I have encountered over four rounds.  That includes tight, bare, hardpan lies to fat sitting up like a peach lies.  Fluffy bunker lies and sitting down fairway bunker lies.  The latter being the hardest to deal with for yours truly.


Ping guaranteed  an extra 11 yards - ha! I can safely say I get a good 15 yards with each club maybe a couple less with the longer irons being the 4 and 5 iron.  The rest, 6 - PW are safely fifteen longer.  I naturally hit a daw so hitting a hook if need be is pretty easy.  I am happy to say that I can fade these easily as well.  That is a surprise because it is a shot I have struggled with to hit on call.  Not so with these irons.  I think I spin them a little less than my Mizuno's but still managed to back a few up on the greens.  I can also safely say I've hit two of the most memorable shots I've ever hit both on Monday.  The first was on a 154 yard par 3 where I hit an eight iron that pitched 6" beyond the cup and the other was a fairway shot 180 yards with a five iron that finished 10 foot above the cup.  They were simply smooth swings where I finished perfectly in balance a rarity because of my dodgy knees but because I didn't have to swing hard and felt I always had enough club in my hand I had the confidence to swing smoothly.


Will these clubs reward bad shots? Probably not but put a half decent swing on the ball and you will definitely be rewarded.  For me they seem to make the game or should I say my game easier.  My body isn't what it used to be with injuries that I have to compensate for and I'm not as long as I used to be off the tee, so having irons that pick up the slack in the distance department is a game changer for me.


Sorry Foz no pictures and its turned into another dissertation albeit smaller but I hope it helps whoever reads it.  These irons will definitely help golfers of all abilities given the chance.  I recommend the graphite for sure but the steel I think would be nearly as good.  They aren't cheap but nothing worth having is ;)


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I forgot to add that the Ping yellow dot is 1.5 degrees upright.  The blue dot that are Pings new standard lie are .75 degrees upright.  My G30's were blue dot but were half inch longer so pretty close to being yellow dot in lie angle anyway.  I was concerned that they may be too upright but that fear was alayed as soon as I hit a couple of shots and the divot pattern that was there.  All was good!

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Well starters I'm exceedingly jealous that Foz is able to have 2 cups of coffee.  I'm restricted to 12 ounces a day to be doled out at my chosen pace.  I'm going half cup before work 1/2 and 1/2 with decafe for the morning at work. :(


It seems to me that I've used this metaphor for my C100's.  It's the same thing for me Mizzie.  Frankly for most of us the uglier that we are able to tolerate in an iron the more likely we are able to benefit our scores.  Of course there are exceptions here but unless we are doing this for a living where we have ample time to practice easier is better.  More and more we see Pros bagging longer irons that provide help.  If they're doing it why in the world should we?


Nice thread as much for opening that discussion as the review.  I can predict that a product from Ping is going to do pretty much what they say it will.  I don't know why I ever went away from Ping, probably because when I was replacing my Eye 2's they were in a down period.  I'd go back in a heart beat now if ever I'd be in the market and have a fitter/pro combo that are carrying them.

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I just never liked the looks at setup of the Ping irons......no matter how many cups of coffee I have......

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Well, the question is: "If they shaved a few strokes off your round, would you learn to like them?" ;)

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@ Foz -  Ping is a love hate thing, no doubt there, the difference between Ping and other OEM's that are love/hate is that folks always acknowledge the Ping makes a quality product.


@ Kenny -  He doesn't have to go with Pings there are lots of GI irons on the market - pick one that you can tolerate and run with it. 

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Back in 2003, I had Ping G3 driver with Adams A2OS irons......I kept it in the fairway but lost Distance from my Cobra, so I went back to the Cobra

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In regards to drivers I had a G2 that I hit great - my son Matt still games it I believe and a Rapture that I loved but screwed up by changing shafts - too much spin on the new shaft.


I haven't had a Ping club in my bag since the Tour Staff contest 3 years ago - I replaced two Ping wedges with SCORs at that point.  I sent the Pings to someone who helped me garner enough facebook votes to be in the money - he's also a My Golf Spy forum member although he primarily lurks.  I believe he still games them. 


It just hasn't worked out for me and Ping in that when I replaced the Mizunos that I won and was able to sell a year later for more than they were worth (a sympathetic friend who still games and loves them) I went back to what I had prior until my teacher fit me for my current Wilson C100's.  He didn't handle Ping and I'm not that brand loyal.  To me one company is as good as the next so long as the clubs fit and cost is a factor or else I would have gone Mizuno JPX forged. 


Having written that I miss my Eye 2's - those were my favorites ever.  But I'm human and I'll be dog goned if I'm going to be hitting 9 iron from 110 even if we know that the Eye 2 nine iron is weaker than my current Gap Wedge. :) 

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I know what you mean Rev.  My G25 Driver just seems to keep on keeping on despite my best efforts to find something better.  The FlyZ has come close but no cigar just yet.  The new King Cobra might be in with a chance too :lol: I also had a set of the eye2's in the ninties that got replaced by a completely dud set of Lynx junkers.  I still wonder what possessed me.

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Hey Mizzy, I tried the "Get Fit Now" on the Ping website and this is the recommendation:


Set Recommendations Driver G30 â„¢ [10.5°] Hosel Position: Neutral Shaft: TFC 419D [soft Regular] Length: 45.75" Grip: 5L Round

Fairways G30® [5-Wood] Hosel Position: Neutral Shaft: TFC 419F [soft Regular] Length: Standard Grip: 5L Round

Hybrids G30® [3H,4H,5H] Shaft: TFC 419H [soft Regular] Length: Standard Grip: 5L

Irons GMax® [6,7,8,9,PW,UW,SW] Color Code: Gold Shaft: CFS Graphite [s80] Length: -0.5" Grip: 5L Wedges Glide™ [58/WS] Color Code: Gold Shaft: CFS Graphite [s80] Length: -0.5" Grip: Dyla-wedge

Putter Cadence TR Rustler


I think it wopuld be preety cool tobe able to try this setup out.....wish there was a place that offered that capability

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That's an interesting looking combination Foz and one I'd be pretty happy to game any time.  I do like my four and five irons though and I'm sure they would be in and out of the bag depending on the course I was playing.  As you say it would be good to have a place that let you have a crack with a demo set that incorporated all the recomendations but alas...


I've finally got my set of GMax and am so happy to have them.  It was great of my club pro to let me use the demo set but a pain in the butt giving them back after each round.  The highlight since getting them was a 3 over the card front nine last Friday.  It was my best ball striking round for about 6 months and it was only my errattic driver on the back nine that killed a better score than I finished with.

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      The key to having success with forms of hypnotherapy is having an open mind. Give this a try for a couple of weeks, and be sure to comment with your results!

      4. Gain Momentum with Little Victories

      Although golf is unpredictable, and we often see players turn their games around from day to day, you most likely won't get out of a slump in a day. It will take a few weeks of applying these tips consistently to see results. Unfortunately, a golf game doesn't get better without conscious action. It might improve day to day, but if you want to see long term improvement, I suggest getting serious about applying some or all of these tips.

      When I talk about "gaining momentum," I am referring to the thoughts that go through our heads while on the course. Say you are standing over a five footer on the first hole for birdie... If you aren't comfortable birdieing the first hole, this putt will not bring a good feeling to you until you make it. Use these small opportunities to gain some momentum, and transform your game!

      Say to yourself: "I'm going to make this putt, and it will be the beginning of a great round! I will make this putt and keep my foot on the gas for the rest of the round!" By talking yourself through an uncomfortable situation like this, you will train your mind to "play to win."

      The more often you use your conscious brain to create this type of momentum, the faster you will improve your golf game. Over time, your mind will become aversive to negative thoughts, and you will see your scores drop. If you commit to continuous improvement, it will almost be difficult to play bad! Golf won't get any easier, but it surely will become a lot more fun!

      I hope you have found some, or all of these tips useful, and I hope that you will apply them (consistently) to your game over the next few weeks, struggling or not. I also hope that you will apply these tips to anything you do in life! Playing to win is not only a great way to approach golf, but also your job and many other competitive arenas.
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