Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf gear through its paces. Today we look at the Ping S55 irons.
Tester — Shane Bacon — Handicap: +2.0
Target Golf Audience — +4 handicap - 15 handicap
One of the best parts about living in Phoenix as a golfer, and golf writer, besides the year-round golf season and immaculate golf courses is the fact that Ping is headquartered in the desert. When new clubs come out, I have the ability to go check them out before they get released to the public and have a chance to work with the clubs and see how they perform to get a better understanding of what the new equipment is all about.
These new Ping S55 irons might be my favorite things I've seen the company roll out since we started working with them.
The initial thought was simple; Ping made a iron that is slightly more compact than the very successful S56 model and is as close to a blade-look the company has ever made. It's a beautiful golf club that any golfer would be happy to put in their bag, and over the first couple of weeks of having them in play, I got numerous random golfers at driving ranges and golf courses that asked about the clubs simply because they noticed them in the bag.
Ping makes great stuff, but when they come out with an iron that names like Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan immediately put in their bags, you know they're on to something great.
These S55s are like that the moment you see them in person.
While I don't have a problem getting my driver down the fairway at a decent clip, it has always been the irons that I've been the longest with. I come down fairly steep with my golf swing so compressing the golf ball with an iron is something I've always been able to do, and that motion helps get the ball really flying off the face.
With the S56 irons, I felt like I picked up a few yards with each club, something always welcome to any golfer when switching to new equipment.
On the range at Ping, with the S55s, I was easily a club longer with the new model, which is really something considering the technology just moved a few things to help pick up some distance.
The S55s have a tungsten toe weight that helps with the forgiveness of the golf club, and what they're calling a "stabilizing bar" that keeps your distance control under wraps, an important thing with new irons and a hot golf ball.
Maybe my favorite thing about the S55s compared to previous models, however, is the fact that you can really, really work the golf ball with these irons. Working your irons might be a thing of the past to some people, but I've always been a fan of moving the ball with whatever club I have in my hands, and I've noticed that a lot of the modern technology makes it tougher to do that.
Not with the S55s. I've been successful cutting the ball when I need to get to a nasty left pin, and I've been equally successful turning the ball over when the shot calls for it.
The final verdict is, in one word, love. I love these golf clubs. Love them. I get a lot of golf clubs sent my way for review, but few make me smile when I'm walking by my golf bag in the office. These irons are so beautiful that even a non-golfer can appreciate how well they've been put together, and on the golf course they have made it easier for me to get the ball close to the hole and pick up a few more birdies a round.
Sometimes a club company will have something good going and instead of continuing with an improved version of that model, they try to recreate the wheel. Ping understands that the S56 irons were a good thing, and just enhanced them ever so slightly to make a better, longer golf club in the S55s.
If you're looking at irons for a holiday gift, take a look at the Ping s55s and trust me, the person you're buying for will be pretty happy to unwrap that box.
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