Ping has upgraded its popular i200 iron and added a new i500 iron to the line up, and they're both exciting and amazing-looking clubs from the American manufacturer.
The Ping i210 puts its focus on feel and precision while the Ping i500 is a players’ distance iron, and they slot in between Ping's compact iBlade and the forgiving G400 with slightly different looks and performance traits for the serious golfer.
The i500 is similar to the Ping G700 in that it has the look of a muscle-back from behind, but is in fact hollow.
The i500 represents a new category for Ping, providing distance in a slimline profile that looks like a muscle-back in the bag.
Muscle-backs have always been a club associated with better players, so it is refreshing that PING has designed a club that is as forgiving as any cavity-back out there!
Looks: In my opinion, this is the best-looking iron in the Ping range for 2018, if not ever. It has all the attributes of a muscle-back from behind, and from a distance you simply cannot tell that the club is actually hollow.
The i500 has a HydroPearl Chrome 2.0 Finish which is visually appealing and consistent with the high-end appeal of the club.
Feel & sound: The i500 has a much more iron-like sound than the G700, which is also hollow but sounds a lot like a metalwood. This was a huge relief for me. It isn’t super-soft and muted like an actual blade, but is much closer to that than the G700.
It definitely has a noticeable 'click' from the sweet spot, while being pleasing on the ears, and this doesn’t really tail off when you miss the middle either.
Performance: What stood out to me when hitting the irons was how straight and far they went.
These are really low-spinning irons which produce a very penetrating ball flight. I think for a few better players that might be a small deterrent with a small lack of stopping power. It should be mentioned that Ping offers 2 different loft options: Power Spec for lower lofted shots and Retro Spec for a more traditional higher launching loft.
Verdict: The Ping i500 is a stunning-looking iron from every angle that delivers the consistent speed and forgiveness that club golfers, as well as better players, are always searching for.
The look in the bag is what your average golfer will aspire to play, while the option of different specs as well as the comprehensive shaft range means nearly every ability of player can find a combination to suit their needs.
The Ping i210 directly replaced the i200 iron in July 2018 and is said by Ping to feel softer and more consistent than its predecessor.
Looks: There are a few subtle changes between the i210 and the i200. Ping has done away with the number that used to be on the toe of the face, so it looks a lot cleaner. The elastomer insert behind the face is larger and softer than on the i200, which Ping say improves the feel while also returning more energy to the ball. The leading edge and sole profiles have been refined and there’s precision milling in the face and grooves.
Feel & sound: Ping's catchphrase with the i210s is that they offer a “buttery feel”, and I would have to agree 100% with that claim! The larger elastomer insert helps with this and is designed to create 25% more face contact, and the impact feels amazing. The sound, as you would expect, is a lot muted than the i500 and closer to a traditional sounding club.
Performance: The i210 is a club that is designed for that better player who likes to work the golf ball, and I had no problems hitting all shapes of shots with the clubs. The i210s launch nice and high but don’t feel too “spinny” and I believe that your regular club golfer would not have an issue hitting these clubs either.
Verdict: The i210 definitely offers improvements across the board over the i200. I found it to be easier to hit well, which improved my distance and accuracy, while the feel and look has also improved.
This iron is ideal for the better player who wants that extra forgiveness a cavity back iron provides over a muscle-back, but still in a compact package.