PING G425 Irons – Key Takeaways
- PING’s new G-series game improvement irons feature a more compact look than G420.
- PING uses new metalwood-style Variable Face Thickness technology to boost ball speed.
- G425 features higher MOI and a slight left bias.
- $137.50 per club steel, $150 per club graphite
- Retail availability on Feb. 4
Irons are like airports – they’re never really finished. There’s always something getting tweaked, improved or dressed up. The new PING G425 irons, for example, aren’t a total makeover compared to the now two-year-old G410 irons. They are, however, tweaked enough, dressed up enough and different enough to be considered an upgrade.
The G410 was an overall meh performer in MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Game Improvement during the last two years. What it lacked in ball speed, carry distance and accuracy it tried to make up for in forgiveness, launch angle and the vastly underrated category – for game-improvement irons, anyway – descent angle.
PING is usually on an 18-month release schedule with its irons but, thanks to COVID-19, the G410s received an extra six months in the spotlight. Do the upgrades to the new PING G425 irons make it worth the wait? Let’s take a look.
PING G425 Irons – Distance Without Loft-Jacking?
The game improvement iron category is tricky. Distance makes us all warm and mushy and it’s the easiest metric to digest in the hitting bay. But distance without consistency (aka forgiveness), playability and descent angle doesn’t necessarily help golfers play better or have more fun.
Better and fun, of course, is the PING wheelhouse.
As mentioned, the PING G410 didn’t exactly set the world on fire in MGS Most Wanted testing during its two-year run. In fact, 2020 results were about as middle of the pack as you can get. While G410 performed in the upper half in ball speed, it was in the lower third in carry distance. A spec-check points out the obvious reason: the G410’s lofts are weaker – by upwards of three degrees – than the distance leaders.
The new PING G425 irons are trying to squeeze out more distance without resorting to loft-jacking and without losing playability.
“It’s about distance combined with forgiveness,” says PING Director of Engineering Ryan Stokke. “When we look at the design, how do we make it better performing? How do we continue to get more forgiveness? How do we make the iron launch higher and land steeper?”
Holistic? Yes. PING always seeks – and usually finds – incremental improvements from iteration to iteration. The PING G425 touts consistency, appearance and playability along with a wee bit of extra distance.
Goodbye to COR-Eye
COR-Eye has been the signature face-flexing technology since its debut in the PING G-MAX irons in 2015. To squeeze a bit more ball speed – and a few extra yards – PING is saying buh-bye to COR-Eye.
“We’ve actually gone to a metalwood style of VFT (variable face thickness),” says PING Engineering VP Paul Wood. “It’s not a million miles away from COR-Eye. We want to make the face flex and we want to get more ball speed out of that flex.”
The goal is to get the whole face flexing simultaneously while stabilizing the center of the face. To PING’s credit, it’s not claiming ballistic distance gains or any such nonsense – just a bit more ball speed. In addition, bidding farewell to COR-Eye also allows PING some creativity with G425’s cavity badge to improve sound and feel.
“Our simulations show a marginal ball speed gain over what we’re doing with COR-Eye,” says Wood. “The secondary benefit is we can mesh that with the badge. We can get full coverage with the badge to get a more solid and muted feel and a slightly increased ball speed at the same time.”
The new multi-material badge is a mix of aluminum and polymers. The more materials in a badge, the more it helps dampen vibrations. And, according to PING, it’s much nicer to look at than previous G-series irons.
The face itself is PING’s unique Hyper 17-4 stainless steel. Hyper 17-4 is a bit of a unicorn, combining the strength needed for durability and enough ductility for ball-speed friendly flex. For the G425, PING has further refined Hyper 17-4, increasing its strength through material chemistry and heat treatment by 10 percent. Stronger means thinner and thinner means more flexibility.
Forgiveness and Weighting
PING pulled an engineering rabbit out of its hat with the G410. That model had noticeably less offset, a thinner sole and a shorter blade length than its predecessor, the G400. Despite that, G410 had an eight-percent higher MOI than G400.
The PING G425 irons go a step further, combining even more compact shaping and a smaller-looking profile with a three-percent higher MOI than G410.
“We’ve tried to make the visual a little smaller,” says Wood. “The actual hittable face is the same size as the G410 but we’ve made the distance from the center of the face to the shaft axis a little smaller while actually improving the moment of inertia at the same time.”
PING achieved its MOI sorcery in the G410 through extreme weighting: high-density screws in the toe and tip weights in the bottom of the hosel. It’s pulling the same trick in the G425 with one added benefit. The extreme weighting makes the new VFT face possible, allowing for a larger unsupported face for higher face deflection.
PING G425 Irons and Hosel-X
Conversations with PING engineering always brings new vocabulary to the table. This year, it’s Hosel-X. It may sound like a Marvel Comics villain but Hosel-X is the distance between the spot where the shaft meets the head and the center of mass.
Why does Hosel-X matter? If all the weight is toward the toe (a big Hosel-X number), the player has to input more torque on the backswing to open the club up as well as input more torque on the downswing to square the club at impact.
“The farther the center of mass is from the shaft, the harder it is to square up,” says Wood. “Not a ton, but enough.”
That’s kind of bass-ackwards if you think about it. Smaller irons aimed at better players are actually – based on Hosel-X – easier to square up. But better players fight the left miss. A GI or SGI iron has a bigger head and can be harder to square up but GI/SGI players are trying to fight the right miss.
“If you could wave a magic wand, you’d want it the other way around,” says Wood. “But that’s the physics of it.”
Even though the PING G425 face is about the same size as the G410, Hosel-X is smaller.
“We’ve shaved off a bit so the center of mass is closer to the hosel by just a little bit,” explains Wood. “That makes it easier to turn over and makes it a little more neutral or a little left-biased without touching the moment of inertia.”
PING insists shrinking Hosel-X doesn’t move the center of mass away from the center of the clubface very much. Wood says a good lie-angle fitting will take care of any potential issues.
Forgiveness is Relative
PING likes to call its G-series “game enjoyment” irons as opposed to “game improvement” irons. And PING wears forgiveness as a badge of honor.
“When we measure our competitors’ super game improvement irons, our game improvement MOIs are usually higher,” says Wood. “And our player’s irons – the i210s – are up there in inertia with many of the competitors game improvement irons.”
While we’re always skeptical of any OEM’s internal testing, PING did share some interesting results. In a G425-G410 head-to-head test among mid-handicap golfers who hit their 7-iron 150 to 155 yards, PING found the G425 irons were a little bit longer. (“Not a huge amount,” says Wood.) More importantly, they saw a huge improvement in overall shot area – with particular decreases in long-left and short-right misses – as well as a bit more left bias.
“It was a 20-player test,” says Wood. “From a strokes-gained analysis, 75 percent of the players had a better strokes gained with the G425 than the G410. You’re never going to get 100 percent of the players with any iron, but 75 percent is a pretty significant result.”
One other feature of note: the PING G425 set wedges all have machined faces and grooves. Typically, set-matching wedges in any category don’t have the requisite “wedginess” players look for. The G425 wedges (PW through LW) feature the same face and grooves as PING’s Glide 3.0 wedges.
“We try to focus on what the golfer is trying to do more than what they say they want,” says Wood. “We always focus on building on the technology and knowledge we already have.”
Specs, Price and Availability
The PING G425 irons loft matrix is virtually unchanged from that of the G410. It’s based on a 30-degree 7-iron and, as PING points out, any distance gains over G410 will be marginal. If it’s distance you seek, the G425 will also be available in Power-Spec, with lofts jacked anywhere from .5 to 2.5 degrees, depending on the club. If you want even more distance, the PING G700s are always an option.
Like its G-series predecessors, the PING G425 irons feature proprietary PING shafts: the AWT 2.0 in steel and the new Alta CB Slate in graphite. AWT stands for Ascending Weight Technology. That means the shafts get progressively heavier as the irons get shorter. Light shafts in the long irons make them easier to get airborne and heavier shafts in the short irons make them easier to control.
PING says the Alta CB Slate is a slight evolutionary change from the Alta CB Red. As with most stock graphite shafts, it’s lightweight and high launching with a slightly softer feel than the AWT 2.0.
No upcharge options include the Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105, True Temper Elevate 95, KBS Tour, Dynamic Gold, DG 105, DG 120 and Project X LZ. PING is continuing its partnership with ARCCOS and the ARCCOS GP Light 360 Tour Velvet is the standard grip with the sensor included.
The PING G425 irons will retail for $137.50 per stick in stock steel and $150 per stick in stock graphite.
Pre-sale and custom-fitting starts today. The PING G425s hit the stores on Feb. 4.
For more information, visit the PING website.