In this review, we’re going to take a look at Ping’s contribution to the rapidly growing hollow headed iron market. Their i500 iron seeks to satisfy the better player through its sleek looks and compact design, whilst delivering the kind of performance benefits you might expect from an iron targeting the game improvement market. Let’s see how they got on.
Sophisticated, yet simple. Sleek, yet confidence inducing – the i500 iron from Ping ticks all the boxes when it comes to appearance. And let’s face it, if we like what we’re looking down at, that’s always a good start.
The i500 iron benefits from a thin top line with minimal offset, sure to suit the eye of any discerning golfer. The head size is moderate, and in combination with the muscle back design, gives confidence to those whose ball striking may be a little in and out sometimes.
Exclusive to Ping, the Hydropearl 2.0 finish gives a premium silky matte finish that beautifully compliments the uncomplicated aesthetics of these irons.
Ping class the i500 as players distance irons, and therefore are seeking to bridge the gap between the more traditional offerings that either suited the better ball striker, or gave maximum assistance to those looking for game improvement.
How have they done this? The first distinctions we need to make are that these are hollow-headed irons, with a wood-style face. These benefit the golfer by providing greater distance on off-centre strikes, or essentially a larger sweet spot.
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend these for higher handicap players necessarily, they will suit a wider range of golfers than you might think. We would certainly consider them suitable for those with handicaps of up to 12, and perhaps even as high as 15 if the player in question is reasonably consistent in their ball striking.
Power & distance
There are a number of technologies companies have sought to help golfers gain distance with their iron play, many of which are present in the i500 irons. First of all, as touched on above, the hollow head and steel face provide greater face flexion on impact, and in turn create greater ball speed.
The Ping i500 irons come in relatively strong lofts as standard (7 iron 30.5 deg), whilst the muscle back geometry allows the face flexing to increase dynamic loft, launching the ball higher with less spin – the holy grail of distance.
There is a caveat though, reduce the spin too much and you’ll have difficulty holding the greens, especially in the summer months when conditions firm up. With this in mind, consider getting custom fitted, and allowing an expert to help you find a shaft that provides the ideal launch and spin rate.
The i500 comes with a forged face, made from maraging steel, a material used more commonly in fairway wood construction. Make no mistake about it, these feel powerful off the face, and don’t sting your fingers when you miss the sweet spot on a cold day!
That’s not to say that they don’t feel soft when sweetly struck, but if feel is your priority, look towards the many offerings from Mizuno, whose craftsmanship in fully forged heads produce the most remarkable feedback. The closest comparison to the i500 would be the MP20-HMB.
Control, launch & shot shaping
There are a number of benefits to the consumer built into the design of the i500’s when it comes to control. Firstly, the minimal offset will suit a player whose bad shot tends to result in pull or hook shape ball flights, or those who prefer to work with a slight fade.
In addition, Ping have utilised their strength in precision milling to produce a clubface that delivers consistent launch conditions, and therefore trajectories. Finally, the Hydropearl finish is not just there for looks, it also helps prevent fliers when the grass is wet.
As discussed above though, these irons will tend to be a bit lower spinning than most “workable” irons, and so it is important that the shaft you pair it with gets the spin into the right window to help with distance control and shaping shots. If a higher trajectory is required, consider the retro loft spec which increases loft by 2 degrees.
Ping i500 shaft options
Ping offer nine different shafts covering graphite and steel options in a wide variety of flexes, so a competent custom fitter should have no difficulty in finding the ideal shaft for your swing.
As mentioned above, with the heads tending to be a little lower spinning, you may find that a shaft with a lower kick point such as the Modus 105 (steel), or Recoil (graphite) can help to increase the spin rate into a window that provides control and workability.
Golf Insider verdict
The i500 irons from Ping tick an awful lot of boxes, from their pleasing looks right down to exceptional performance benefits. They will suit a wider scope of golfers than their initial bladed-style looks might suggest, but we would recommend getting fitted to find the optimum specification to help you improve your game and scores.
If you are a competent golfer who is seeking a little extra distance without sacrificing looks and playability, the Ping i500 irons are a great choice.
Alternatives to the Ping i500 irons
The Ping i500 irons are not the only clubs on the market targeting the better player who wants more distance. Below are some alternatives you may wish to check out.
Mizuno MP-20 HMB irons
The Mizuno MP-20 range consists of three irons: the MP-20 Muscle Back, MMC and HMB irons. The Mizuno HMB has a similar hollow-headed design to the Ping i500 irons, both also feature a forged club face, resulting in great feel and control.
Check out the full Mizuno HMB MP-20 irons review
TaylorMade P790 irons & P770 irons
TaylorMade have two irons which may be worth considering when buying irons in this category, the TaylorMade P790’s and TaylorMade P770. Both are hollow-headed and target mid to low handicap golfers looking for great distance.
Ping i500 irons vs TaylorMade P790
The TM P790s have the largest head out of the three, and really do travel. However, you are likely to lose a little control compared to the Ping i500 irons. If you after all out distance the TM P790s are worth a go, however the Ping i500s offer a better blend of distance and control.
Ping i500 irons vs TaylorMade P770
The TM P770s aimed to address the control issue of the TM790 irons. The TM P700 irons offer a smaller head profile and generate more spin compared to their predecessor. There is very little difference between the Ping i500 and TM P700 irons in terms of performance.
Our best advice is to try both, ensure they are fitted for you and go with your preference. Both will serve you very well
Check out the full TaylorMade P770 irons review
Are the Ping i500 irons good for high handicappers?
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend these for higher handicap players necessarily, they will suit a wider range of golfers than you might think. Players up to a 12 handicap should find these a good match, and golfers as high as a 15 handicap, who strike the ball solidly and consistently, could also consider the Ping i500 irons.
Are the Ping i500s forgiving irons?
The Ping i500 irons are forgiving relative to their head size. The hollow design allows distributes more mass to the edges of the club. Forgiveness is further increased by the additional toe weight. If you are keen to find a forgiving set of irons, check out our full review of the most forgiving irons.
Ping i500 specs
|CLUB||LENGTH||LOFT||POWER SPEC LOFT||RETRO SPEC LOFT||LIE ANGLE||OFFSET||BOUNCE||SWINGWEIGHT|
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