Ahhh…South Florida. There’s nothing better than waking up in Boca Raton on a early Monday morning to a beautiful blue sky, zero clouds, zero wind and of course an empty driving range all to myself. But before we can we go any further, there’s a couple of people I’d like to thank first. The whole experience from the fitting to the hitting was a blast. Thank you to Paul Ferrone of Downtown Golf in Stamford, CT for correctly identify what I should be using out there on the course, (so I apologize to everyone I might have hit with a ball in the past). A final thank you to Missy Linnens of Ping Golf for even trusting me with holding these clubs in the first place.
Okay, enough with the Thank You, what is this the Oscars? Let’s rock and roll.
Ladies and Gents of Bunkers Paradise I present to you the 2014 Ping Karsten Irons and Hybrids:
Before being sent the clubs, PING golf made sure that I was properly fit for these clubs. Ping has a very interesting format for how they correctly fit a golfer for their clubs. To learn more about the PING 5 step fitting process and color code system, please check out the Dan Dalic’s fitting experience for the PING Karsten clubs here.
For this particular review, I was fitted with the following:
- Ping karsten irons 4-Pw
- Standard length
- CFS steel distance stiff flex
- White grip
- White color code
Each iron head is built with PING’s very own Custom Tuning Point. Featured in the base of the head, the CTP promotes increased ball speed and consistency across the face of the club. This then leads to a stronger, fluid impact and sound once the club comes in contact with the ball.
The Karsten Irons have also been designed with a wider sole. A wider sole means a lower CG on the club producing higher angled shots with an increased amount of forgiveness.
The hybrids have also been implemented for greater forgiveness by being designed with extreme weighting found in the heel and toe of the club.
As mentioned earlier, when purchasing the Karsten Irons and hybrids, PING promotes a proper fitting to make sure the club you use is specifically designed for the correct lie angle. They use a 12 color coded system to match the correct lie angle with the correct golfer. Here are the list of colors with lie angle measurements:
- Maroon – 4.5″ Upright
- Silver – 3.75″ Upright
- White – 3″ Upright
- Green – 2.25″ Upright
- Yellow -1.5″ Upright
- Blue – .75 “Upright
- Black – 0
- Red – .75″ Flat
- Purple – 1.5″ Flat
- Orange – 2.25″ Flat
- Brown – 3″ Flat
- Gold – 3.75″ Flat
The Karsten Iron sets vary in range from SW all the way to 5i with the hybrids ranging from 5H to 3H. You’re set will be determined based on your color code options.
Both iron and hybrids come with two options of shafts: the standard CFS Distance Steel shaft as well as the KS 401 graphite shaft.
The CFS Distance shafts range from Soft Regular to Xtra Stiff.
Meanwhile the KS 401 graphite shafts range from Soft Regular to Stiff.
When you think of the PING brand, you think about performance, not so much about looks. There’s nothing that really pops out to me about these irons’ exterior design. It’s a clean looking club but not loud. Very simple. I for one, am a golfer that is never concerned with how the club looks. If I spent too much time caring about how the club looks in my bag amongst the rest of my clubs, I wouldn’t be golfing that much. It’s like how people only collect Michael Jordan shoes and never really wear them. They are ridiculously expensive, so why buy them? The only design I care about in a club is the interior design. It’s what’s inside the club that’s gonna affect my golf game, not the color. And PING’s interior game, is sweet as it gets.
*Note: I did notice that these stripes on the club are black, red and white. Standard colors scheme for all PING clubs. I wonder if they are paying homage to their top brand ambassador, Bubba Watson, who went to Georgia. Go Dawgs?*
When Karsten Solheim was coming up with the name for his golf club company he decided on PING, because that’s what he heard when the metal struck the ball. After only just a couple hits at the range, I can definitely tell you that if he were alive today, he would probably want to change the name of his brand to I don’t know…POW? How about BANG? Maybe WHAAM? You could literally take action word from the old Batman show:
Let me tell you folks after one swing, you’ll definitely be thinking more than just PING. Then as I watched my ball fly effortlessly through the air, the overall satisfaction I felt was uplifting. My director, Ken Lee, likes to use the term “smooth as butter”, but I prefer fresh and crispy. With the overall weight of the club being not too heavy and not too light, a perfect example of Karsten’s theory on perimeter weighting. Solid impact leading to an amazing altitude concluding with a soft landing; POW. ZOOM. WOW.
Look, I’m not Bubba Watson, but after just one round with these clubs I felt like I could take him on (Well, maybe in like 10 years once I learn how to hit a drive as far as he can).
I put these irons to work. While on the range, I noticed that my distances had significantly increased. At least a 5-10 yard advantage for all my clubs. In the past, I had a very strong/fast swing. Recently, I’ve been trained to tone it down to a point where my swing is a smoother 1-2 punch (as my instructor likes to call it). Last year with the updated swing, I was hitting my 9 iron close to 135-140 yards. With the PING Karsten Irons, I was dialing in around 140-145. The carry on these irons as well the hybrid was incredible. And again, that’s with a softer swing I had learned in recent years. Another example would be the 4H. I traditionally don’t hit hybrids, I never have had much luck with them in the past. That feeling has now changed. I loved the way I could feel the impact of the club. I knew by from the sound and the impact that this club will find a nice home in my bag.
Out of the course, where the real experiments began, I was really able to see how much I benefited from being correctly fit for these clubs. When in Boca, I play at the two courses found at St. Andrew Country club; The Olde Course and the Palmer Course. Two narrow courses with a lot of water, a lot of sand, tricky doglegs and fast greens. Ideal club testing conditions if you asked me. I couldn’t have been happier with my results. Pretty much looked like this after every shot:
Pros: The 2014 Ping Karsten Irons and Hybrids have the ability to improve anyone’s game. From the backswing to the sound of the ball connecting to the club, it’s as fresh and crispy as it gets.
Cons: I tore my hamstring trying to do that split that Bruno Mars did. Just Kidding. The only thing I was not sold on were the stock grips. They are very tough on the hands. If you hit a perfect shot then you’re fine, but if you miss hit a ball, you’ll definitely know. Maybe for some people it’s an advantage, so they know when they are hitting it wrong. As for me this was the only drawback of the club.
I’ve never been disappointed with anything that PING has come out with over the years. To me they are one of the most reliable clubs on the market today. When I used to caddy, I would often look at what clubs a player was using before a round. Judging by their swing and their clubs, I could tell if it was going to be a perfect match. Whenever I came across a PING set, I knew that it was going to be a good round. Ping strongly urges their consumers to be properly fitted for their clubs, you avoid alot of problems. They produce one of most comfortable clubs out there resulting in positive results for their consumers. The 2014 PING Karsten irons and hybrids continue to keep that tradition in tact. I highly recommend these clubs for golfers who know have that small bump in their game that can be easily be improved if not erased.