The much anticipated 2014 Ping lineup is finally here and one of the most talked about clubs of the year is the new Ping i25 driver. Ping’s excellence in the driver market looks to continue with this beauty. Can it follow up on the massive success the G25 driver has had the last 2 years? We were lucky enough to get our hands on one to put through the paces and quench our anticipatory thirst.
The adjustable i25 driver is focused on reduced spin, accurate alignment, and effective shaft fitting for maximizing distance and finding fairways. Tungsten weighting lowers the CG and raises the MOI to increase forgiveness and improve accuracy. This Ti 8-1-1 driver also offers two industry-first design attributes: patented racing stripes on the crown to aid in alignment, and an innovative PWR shaft family that maintains a constant swing weight across every offering.
How does it look?
One of the greatest and most noticeable aspects of a Ping driver is the matte black finish that so many have come to love. It provides a seriously sexy look from above that keeps glare the last thing you have to worry about when addressing the ball.
Oh, and did I mention the stripes? Yes, the newest, simpleist, and surprisingly important feature of the new i25 driver is a pair of “racing stripes” that go face to tail across the top of the club. These stripes are very subdued and do not take away any concentration from the ball. They do, however, add an exceptional alignment aid that will make you feel like you have been robbed your whole life without it.
Flip the club over and you will see a bit of a familiar sight (from the i20 line). In the sole of the club you will see a gloss black finish with the Ping logo along with two grey tungsten weight “strips” that go along the outer contour of the sole.
How does it feel?
Most new drivers on the market today will go far. But to me, feel is king. The i25 delivers a range of feel based on where on the face the ball is struck. I have made quite a few attempts to isolate the difference in feel between the areas on the face and here is what I found:
— Equator strikes in the middle and heel feel solid and surprisingly soft. There seems to be a decent forgiveness in feel for these types of hits. They don’t punish your hands or ears when you catch the ball a little low.
— Equator/high/low strikes on the toe felt a bit light and like I was hitting more of a small hybrid. Not a terrible feeling, but very typical feel from a toe strike.
— High heel strikes were a bit troublesome for me. These strikes were very unpleasant as they felt very empty and sounded much louder and harsher than other strikes. I had to go back and test this a bit closer to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. The concerning part was that these strikes were awfully close to center strikes.
— High center strikes were heaven. Simply put, the famous Ping sound/feel really shined through and left me wanting quite a bit more.
How does it perform?
As with most low-spinning drivers this year, the ball flight is something that takes a bit to get used to. In the past I have had a mid-high rising flight with my drives but with the i25, this all changed. With the low-spinning i25 my flight took off at a great angle (10.5* head) and seemingly went straight to it’s apex and just stayed there. No ballooning at all, just pure flight as if a bird had grabbed the ball and carried it down the pipe.
As far as forgiveness goes, there wasn’t a drastic difference between the i25 and other drivers on the market. I found that my best strikes came from high-center, mid-center, and mid-heel. The most impressive forgiveness were off of heel strikes. I don’t have exact numbers but I saw very little deviation from the normal ball flight on heel strikes vs. center strikes.
There is something else…..I just can’t think of it…..OH! Distance. Yes. By “yes”, I mean, “wow”. And by “wow” I mean there is a noticeable distance gain with the i25. Keep in mind this is subjective to the golfer and results may vary, but I can easily say that I am hitting it longer with the i25. This is probably in part due to the lower spin generated. I have seen some pretty optimal spin rates with this driver and that makes me excited.
In a market filled with an amazing amount of quality drivers, Ping stepped up big time with the i25. The looks talk a big game and the performance walks it. As with all “i” series clubs by Ping, the i25 requires a little bit more consistency in order to get optimal results. The more you put in to this driver, the more you will get out of it in all areas.
You can find more information at Ping.com. The Ping i25 driver can be obtained for a retail price of $399.