Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today we take a look at Ping's new Batman-inspired driver i20 driver.
Tester -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.7
Target Golf Audience -- All Players
I've never been a Ping guy. Nearly every one of my friends has had at least one Ping club in the bag over their golfing career, but for some reason, I could never get on board with the sticks.
There was something about them that just didn't look right to me. That's not a knock on the clubs, or the company, but I've always been a feel player, and if the club just doesn't feel right coming off the face (or didn't have a certain look), I usually passed.
But after looking at the new Ping i20 driver, I had to give it a shot. It passed the look test right off the bat with the matte black finish. But the big question was if it would perform.
How did it perform, you ask? Let's just say I'll never doubt Ping's clubs ever again.
Every manufacturer in the golf industry boasts about how their club can add so many yards off the tee. It's a way to draw interest to their product line, and for the most part, people usually buy into the hype. While there's nothing wrong with marketing a club that way, I've seen very little hype regarding the i20. Why? Maybe because Ping prefers to keep a low-profile and let the clubs speak for themselves.
The new i20 certainly does that with a slick matte black finish that makes it look like something Batman would wheel on the golf course. Throw in a black face and bottom on the driver and you have the Black Ops of drivers. Trust me, this club has a way of sneaking up on you ... but in a good way.
Aside from the looks, this driver goes for miles. I put it up against my current driver in the bag (same specs and settings as the i20) and the i20 was even longer off the tee. Even better? I got about 10 extra yards of roll -- something I didn't think was possible before I met the club.
With tungsten weights in the heel (to give it low-spin and a penetrating trajectory) and a traditional profile -- goodbye elongated profile -- this is a classic-looking driver with some souped up add-ons ... including a 460cc clubhead that makes missing the ball nearly impossible.
Transitioning and Playability
One of the biggest difference you'll notice between this stick and just about every other on the market is that it lacks adjustable features. I'll be honest: I don't mind the adjustable features (I have them in my current driver), but I think giving golfers 60 different loft and face angle options turns some into OCD players.
Slicing the ball? Adjust the face. Hitting a low burner? Jack the loft up. That's fine for better players, but the average golfer needs a driver he/she can trust without tweaking it every 30 seconds.
Some might not like the lack of adjustable features on the i20, but the club certainly allows you to work the ball from left to right without having to adjust the face. Even after about 20 balls, I was already able to hit a baby cut and a hard draw with ease.
Unless you rely on the adjustable settings, this driver does it all. It's simple, and sometimes that's not a bad thing.
This i20 is legit. It's been a while since I've had a company send me a driver that made me smile about halfway into a range session, but Ping's new black bomber was able to do just that, as I hit drive and dive right down the pipe. Even the mis-hits were solid.
When you have a club that's playable and looks good, you know you've hit a home run. Ping certainly did just that with the i20 driver.
Price -- $349.99
Have a golf product you want Devil Ball to test out? Shoot us a message on Twitter.