Ping S55 irons
Ping's new S55 irons are proving a big hit with the pros. Skysports.com's David Keywood checks them out
By David Keywood. Last Updated: 29/10/13 1:13pm
At the BMW Championship in September, Bubba Watson switched irons for the first time in nine years.
Watson had been using the Ping S59 model since its launch in 2004, the clubs he used to win The Masters in 2012.
Bubba Watson tweeted a photo
It's fair to say that, for this to happen, the new S55 range must have made a huge impression on him.
To the naked eye there isn't much difference between the S56 and S55 models, but this is Ping. This is a company who are one of the best golf club designers in the world and pride themselves on engineering so improvements were inevitable.
Ping used a plastic thermoplastic urethane (TPU) insert on the S56 model but with the updated S55 this has been swapped for a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) insert. This is a more flexible material that is able to absorb more vibration at impact, which translates into a softer feel. The clubs are compact and provide added distance with control while improving workability and forgiveness.
Back in 2009 I visited the Ping fitting centre in Lincolnshire with one goal - to be fitted for the S57 model. Unfortunately, I didn't purchase the new irons straight away and in the two month delay I had changed my swing, which meant the specs for the clubs didn't suit me. That was coupled with the fact I chose the wrong shaft which resulted in a massive amount of spin and not finding the middle of the club.
My specs for Ping are the red dot, which has the lie 0.75 degrees flat, the shaft I chose was the standard CFS (control, feel, stability) in stiff flex, the reason for this selection was due to the fact I have tested the i20 range with this shaft and found it was the best one for me.
The S55 irons have a satin-chrome finish which Ping say create a confidence-inspiring design and I must say I completely agree with this statement. They really do look the part and you can see why tour pros such as Hunter Mahan, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Angel Cabrera and, as previously stated, Bubba Watson switched straight away.
At the range I noticed that the S55 have more feel than any Ping club I had used before. I would usually associate a loss of forgiveness for this but this wasn't the case with these irons. Shots I didn't quite hit correctly still seemed to travel the distance I would expect.
With the long irons I noticed that I was getting a higher ball flight than usual, this is because the CG is lower and farther back in the club head. In the shorter irons, the CH is more forward, this gives a lower ball flight with optimal spin.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the new S55 model - they look gorgeous and they feel great out the middle of the club.
The S56 range contributed to more than 30 tour wins worldwide and I'm confident this new model can better that performance.