PING’s most workable and forgiving blade-style iron to date — the iBLADE
By Nick Miller
GolfTEC’s Dave Pauley recently explained the difference between game improvement and player’s irons, and while we know player’s irons and blades aren’t the right fit for many golfers, they sure do tend to look amazing.
Blades and muscle back irons offer that classic, performance club shape many of us have grown to love, and PING is here with their newest addition to the player’s iron category — the PING iBLADE.
If you’re a club nerd like me and always follow the latest equipment releases, you likely remember the buzz surrounding the launch of the PING S55 iron in 2013, and it’s continued success with both consumers and tour players like Bubba Watson. As time and technology has continued to move forward, however, the iBLADE arrives as the successor the S55.
If you’re anything like me I know what you must be saying: “If ain’t broke, then why fix it?” But, after hitting a demo of the PING iBLADE recently, I can say I’m completely okay with this impressive new design by PING!
Check out our in-hand images of the new PING iBLADE below:
Details, details, details
PING says the iBLADE is its most workable, forgiving blade-style iron to date. But, could that be just another marketing tagline? NOPE. After a few shots in one of our GolfTEC bays, it became very clear this statement is in fact the truth.
How did the engineers at PING do it?
To start, the iBLADE has an increased MOI because of its use of near “pure” tungsten, which is denser than material used in the past. The tungsten is inserted into the toe of the club, creating a heavier toe weight to give the player forgiveness when they need it.
The engineers also were able to create a thin, high-speed clubface, measuring just .068 inches — half the thickness of the S55. This new face helps the iron gain up to 6 yards more distance in long irons, launch with higher trajectories, and even more precision throughout the set!
One of my favorite things about a blade or muscle back is the feeling the club provides when you hit it solidly. The iBLADE takes that feeling to another level with its Activated Elastomer, with 1.6x more elastomer in the design than the S55.
Elastomer, by the way, is a natural or synthetic polymer with elastic properties, similar to what you see with rubber. This helps create a larger surface area, elimination of weight for more damping behind the clubface, buttery soft feel, and a truly great sound. In true PING fashion to enhance the feel even further, the iBLADE also uses investment cast 431 stainless steel as its material of choice.
And we can’t forget about another key reason why this club will appeal to the better player — the workability of the iBLADE through its blade-style design. Better players expect their equipment to provide the correct feedback they give it, needing it to perform as they expect with various shot shapes.
Let’s just say the iBLADE does that, and more. I decided to see how much I could work the ball with the iBLADE on one of our Foresight GC2 Launch Monitors.
PING iBLADE club test results
My first test was to see how well I could control the trajectory of my shots with the iBLADE. So, I hit a few trying to flight my shots with three different trajectories: high, normal and low.
You’ll see below the iBLADE made it easy for me to do just that, with the green shot flighted high, the white shot my normal trajectory, and the yellow flighted low as you’d see with a knockdown shot.
I also wanted to see if I could work the ball right and left with the PING iBLADE. This is something many better players NEED on the course, based on course conditions, hole shape, wind, etc. So having that level of control is crucial.
As before, I hit three shots — one moving left, one straight, and one right. You can clearly see the difference in shot direction and shape, and the Foresight numbers confirm each shot did what I expected it to (red worked left, white was my normal shot shape, and green worked right).
The workability in the PING iBLADE is definitely there.
The bottom line
The PING iBLADE is the real deal for golfers looking at a player’s club. It provides a unique combination of feel, forgiveness and playability that was pleasantly surprising.
Even if you’re a longtime fan of the S55, the iBLADE is well worth a look to replace it, as the combination of feel and technology don’t lie. In this case, what wasn’t broken before didn’t necessarily need fixing, but a little tweaking under the hood has dialed PING’s player’s club in even further.
If you’re interested in hitting the iBLADE and getting custom fit for a set of your own, be sure to talk to your local GolfTEC Coach today!