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Ping i230 Irons Review

The newly-released i230 iron is the latest addition to the I-series lineup from Ping. A replacement for the i210, its stated aim is to afford golfers greater control with their iron play, a key fundamental for better scoring. Here we review the Ping i230 irons and see how they stack up against alternatives.

Ping have created this to sit between the bladed i59, and the hollow-headed i525, with the intention of providing golfers with an option to create combo sets. As ever, I was keen to get them in my hands and give them a whirl, and here’s what I found. 

TLDR

The Ping i230 irons offer some of the best control on the market, thanks to their design and additional groove configuration. If you’re after additional carry, look elsewhere, but if control and precision is top of your list, paired with good forgiveness, given the head size, then the Ping i230 irons are well worth trying out.

We see these as a more playable version of the Ping i59 for most golfers in the market for a player’s iron.

Looks

Ping iron golf club

I always felt the i210 took minimalistic design perhaps a little too far – it looked a bit boring. The i230 completely flies in the face of that, whilst still a clean design, it just looks sharper, sleeker and altogether more exciting to hit. 

Looking down at address, the first thing you’ll notice (if you’re not already playing i59 or i525 irons) are the micromax grooves – essentially 4 additional grooves on the face with tighter spacing, designed to impart greater spin and therefore control. A thin top line is matched with minimal offset, and the head size is by no means large, but not intimidatingly small either. The Ping Hydropearl 2.0 finish, designed to give greater control in wet conditions, provides a matt finish that really caps it off. It’s a stunner! 

Ping i230 iron looking down at address

Distance 

We have to judge this iron on what it’s essentially designed to do, namely to sit between i59 and i525. We’re not looking for out-and-out distance here, but rather something to plug a gap, to give options in set make-up.  

This is where we hit a slight stumbling block. During testing, using a Titleist ProV1 ball and a suitable shaft to match my swing, I found it went pretty much the same distance as the i59. Perhaps not altogether surprising given the two sets are lofted only a degree apart (33º vs 34º), but I’d hoped for maybe 2-3 mph more ball speed from the Ping i230 irons.  

In comparison to Ping i525, it was coming up around 14 yards shorter on average and this was largely down to an average 7 mph delta in ball speed. Spin was also a little lower as expected on the i525 but still above 6000rpm.  

I am by no means the longest hitter, especially by modern standards, but was only carrying the i230 7-iron 154 yards, so this is going to be suited more towards the longer hitter. The takeaway here is, if you’re after distance and control, look elsewhere. If increasing carry isn’t your key goal, carry on reading.

Control 

When we’re looking for control one of the most important things is the spin rate produced and the consistency of that spin. This dictates so many things – control of distance, landing angle & stopping power, and ability to shape shots to name a few.  

The i230 performs superbly here. I was looking for a spin rate north of 6000 rpm, and averaged just over 6500 with the shots hit, only slightly down on the 6800 with the i59. This translated to a very narrow gap between the longest and shortest of just 6.1 yards (or 19ft). The extra grooves clearly getting to work here.  

Carry (yds)Total (yds)Club Speed (mph)Ball Speed (mph)Launch Angle (º)Spin Rate (rpm)Height (ft)
Ping i230 irons154.4159.488.9113.5216578102
Ping i525 irons168.5174.189.6120.819.86104110
Ping i59 irons153.6157.988.5113.921.26872104

At the time of writing, I’ve not had the chance to get on the course with them yet, the excellent spin rate combined with the Hydropearl finish should help to reduce fliers from the rough. 

Forgiveness 

The Ping i230 irons have a bigger head size than the i59 but is smaller than the i525. I’d say this more or less mirrored what I found with the forgiveness on off-centre strikes, of which unfortunately I hit too many on a chilly winter evening!  

Slightly off-centre and you’ll get away with it, a bit of a toey one and you’ll know about it. That’s fair enough though, it’s a club aimed towards the stronger ball striker and there is generally a trade-off between having the greater control you get from a smaller head and the forgiveness of the head itself.  

Feel 

Ping say this is the softest feeling iron across the entire range – much as the Ping i210 was designed to be previously. It still has the soft elastomer insert, but this is hidden away behind a 4-layered badge, all designed to dampen vibrations and produce a satisfying muted sound at impact. 

Does it do this? Well yes, providing you find the middle of the club it does this wonderfully well. As touched on earlier, miss the centre by a little too much and you will receive the “could do better” feedback through your fingertips.  

Value 

First of all, we have to recognise that this is a more premium head, designed for the better category of player who is serious about making improvements to their game. The price of ~$/£1000 for a 6 iron steel set reflects this and is close to the same price point as the Mizuno Pro 223 irons which could be considered a competitor for this space in the market.  

Value is of course reflecting whether the product meets the needs of the consumer, and in this respect, I would argue it offers excellent value. Cheaper than the Ping i59 irons, it offers broadly the same level of performance to that stronger player looking for tight dispersion, in an iron that is both easier to hit, and maybe even better looking. 

It almost begs the question, what is the point of the i59 now? Especially when they have the Blueprint for someone wanting to go in that direction to the extreme. 

Ping i230 irons shafts considerations

Ping offer a wide range of aftermarket shafts as stock options for custom fitting. I would assume the type of golfer looking at this is going to be in the realms of a heavier, stiffer shaft and so options like the Dynamic Gold 120 would give a mid-flight, whereas for someone who was spinning it too much, the Project X LS / Standard Dynamic Gold options may help to bring the flight down into a suitable window.  

Combo options 

Ping designed the i230 to act as a go-between for the i525 and i59 models, hoping to open up the possibility of combo sets. As I put to our rep when the product was first introduced to us, basically it’s looking to go up against the MP221 / 223 / 225 range from Mizuno, a point he acknowledged.

Given that I personally see the i230 as a better version of the i59, I can see more combo options between i230 and i525. Especially given that the i525 was still offering good levels of spin and control, and this would potentially give the option of adding an iCrossover at the top end of the bag.  

The 14-yard gap I had between both 7 irons was a little large but could be adjusted potentially by altering the lofts in each set, though it’s worth pointing out that the loft differences close up between sets in the shorter irons.  

Golf Insider Verdict

8.7
Total
Looks9.5
Forgiveness7.5
Distance7.5
Feel9.0
Control9.5
Value9.0

My overall impression of the Ping i230 irons is very positive – great work Ping! It certainly is going to provide all the control a better player is looking for, and I think you would be hard-pushed to find a golfer who didn’t agree it looks nice from almost every angle.  

If I have a criticism, I wish it was just a little hotter off the face, maybe 2 or 3 mph and then I think you’d have something pretty close to perfect for what it aims to be. With my fitting hat on, I’m certainly looking forward to getting it in players’ hands and seeing how it performs for them.  

Add this to your list if feel and control are the key attributes you need in your next set of irons. The Ping i230 irons offer good forgiveness for slight miss hits, but if distance and forgiveness are a priority you’ll be better off checking out some of our alternatives below.

Alternatives to the Ping i230 irons

As touched on already, the Mizuno Pro 223 would be a prime example of a club looking to achieve the same thing – a good level of control with the possibility of blending either with more bladed / more powerful iron models. As I currently have the 223s in my bag, I thought it would be a good opportunity to hit it at the same time and see what the differences were.  

Carry (yds)Total (yds)Club Speed (mph)Ball Speed (mph)Launch Angle (º)Spin Rate (rpm)Height (ft)
Ping i230 irons154.4159.488.9113.5216578102
Mizuno MP 223 irons161.3167.688.811619.96069101

You’ll see from the data that I was able to get that extra 2-3 mph out of the 223 and so it ended up falling halfway between the i230 and i525. The spin rate on my Mizuno 223 was lower than the Ping i230 and closer to 6000 (although I’m happy enough with that) and again shaft choice and flex can make a difference here.

Mizuno offers a wide range of shaft options at no upcharge so can be a good option to look at for a fitting.  

What handicap are Ping i230 for?

The Ping i230 are for solid ball-strikers, who are after control. Handicaps are a poor metric of this, but we’d estimate single-figure players, possibly up to a 10-12 handicap. The real answer is to go test them out and get fitted.

Who are the Ping i230 irons aimed at?

The Ping i230 irons are aimed at low to mid-handicappers who are looking for control, consistency and workability over great forgiveness and distance. They really do deliver on this promise.

Are Ping i230 irons forged or cast?

The Ping i230 irons are cast from a 431 stainless steel alloy. They have a multi-piece head design that includes a soft elastomer insert behind the club face.

Happy golfing.

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Alastair Hall is a PGA golf professional who specialises in coaching and club fitting. He has spent the past 5 years coaching and club fitting at Halesworth GC in Suffolk.

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