Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf gear through its paces. Today we look at the Ping I-25 adjustable driver.
Tester — Shane Bacon — Handicap: +1.4
Target Golf Audience — All handicaps
One of my favorite things about Ping Golf is how it's a traditional golf company that consistently pushes technology but doesn't brag about it. They know their products are solid but they don't need to boast about it, simply rolling out great product after great product, knowing any golfer can find just what they need with their golf clubs.
The new I-25 adjustable driver continues that tradition, but added a little flair to their new driver for 2014; racing stripes atop the crown, a pretty monumental change considering the traditional look that Ping likes to follow.
I get to hit a lot of different golf clubs, but few floored me at first look like the I-25. Some might be hesitant with the stripes when they first get a glimpse at the driver, but trust me, it's so great for your alignment and simply looks cool on the top of your driver.
I gushed when I first got a chance to hit this club, knowing that one of the things I struggle with the most (alignment) will be helped immediately by putting this club in the bag.
For full disclosure, I haven't been able to take this club on the course yet since it was just released on January 2, but I did spend plenty of time testing it on the range to get a feel for what the driver does that I like and what I know it can do on the golf course to add distance and help me get the ball in the fairway at a more consistent clip.
The first thing I found was how much distance I was gaining with the I-25. Ping has added tungsten weights to lower the CG, meaning the ball will fly "flatter," which not only reduces the spin (the sneakiest part of distance loss for amateurs), but allows the ball to roll more when it lands, meaning you immediately add a few yards to each drive just by lowering the spin.
The results I got were astonishing, because I really liked the G-25 driver and felt like I added some distance with that club. I was consistently gaining 15 yards or so with the I-25, which is like Pavarotti to the ears of a golfer. A cool looking driver that also adds yards to your tee shots? Sign me up.
Also, Ping continued with the adjustable loft option with the I-25, meaning you can add or take off .5 degree of loft with this club depending on how you're swinging or what you want to change with your ball flight.
I love it. Absolutely love it. I never thought I'd be a guy that got into the crown graphics on drivers, but for some reason the racing stripes on the I-25 are golden and really make me feel like if I make a good swing the ball will start, and end, where I want it.
I like what Ping has done with their drivers over the past three years, and this is just another example of a company continuing to roll out products that are beautiful, fun to hit and as technologically sound as any in the business.
I would recommend giving the I-25 a look if you're shopping for a new driver, and don't be scared away by the stripes on the top of the crown. Trust me, it's something that will confidently improve your overall driving in 2014.