ClubTest 2015: Ping Karsten Irons

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On the Range: Ping Karsten Irons

Ping Kartsen Irons

Category: Max Game-Improvement Irons
Price: $615, steel; $750, graphite
WE TESTED:
5–PW with CFS Distance steel shaft and 5–PW with KS 401 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The “custom tuning port” reinforces the thin face to increase launch and ball speed.

PROS

PLAYABILITY: You’ll hit these straight without a lot of variance; they like to go somewhere between high and higher, though most guys could flight them down if necessary; wide soles are friendly from moderate rough and pretty good around the greens.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Easy to hit straight, with very little side-to-side dispersion; as long as you make decent contact they go about where you expect; exceptional at salvaging the yards you need out of mediocre strikes.
DISTANCE CONTROL: About the same carry distances as many testers’ current sets but more consistent from shot to shot; you get what you expect on fairway shots; delivers the goods on toe or heel contact.
FEEL: Beautifully balanced throughout the swing, with excellent stability through impact; transmits fairly good feedback to the hands; softer than you’d expect from a cast Ping iron.
LOOK: They look like Pings; the large clubhead and wide sole sit nicely at address; fairly thick topline gives plenty of confidence that you’ll hit it well.

CONS

They don’t produce the big-time distance some testers expect; for a few in our panel, it can be hard to feel the difference between a solid strike and a mis-hit; one or two guys are inconsistent when chipping or pitching around the greens.

BOTTOM LINE: The Karsten iron is one of the top models tested. This carryover model from 2014 is a dependable, all-around performer.

BUY THE CLUB: Get your own Ping Karsten irons

NEXT REVIEW: Tour Edge Exotics E8 Irons

Ping Karsten Irons
Michael Chini

MORE INFO ON PING KARSTEN IRONS

From Golf Magazine ClubTest 2014, April 2014

WE TESTED: 3H-5H with KS 401 graphite shaft, and 5-PW with CFS Distance steel shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The mid- and short irons have wide soles, a low, deep CG and thin clubfaces.
PROS
PLAYABILITY: Poor lies with Karsten irons are absolutely no problem; they launch consistently high shots from any lie that land softly on the green; wide-sole irons allow for minimal twisting or digging; hybrid long irons provide a consistent, more piercing ball flight that still lands softly.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: These are, by far, the most forgiving, dependable irons in the Max Game-Improvement category; you can count on the ball to go where you want—these sticks turn your mis-hits into pretty good shots nearly every time.
DISTANCE CONTROL: One of the longer models tested; off-center hits suffer minimal distance loss.
FEEL: It delivers top-shelf feedback—there’s a soft impact sensation, but you still feel the ball explode off the clubface; easy to swing and hit because of the club’s tremendous balance. LOOK: Given the larger clubhead and a wide sole that’s well-hidden at address, many testers consider these irons to be classic-looking Pings; the hybrids are typically shaped— there’s nothing too jarring to stare at behind the ball.
CONS
A few testers find that the hybrid long irons don’t quite match the very high bar set by the 5-iron to PW; a small number of guys want better performance on chip shots.
BOTTOM LINE: The top irons tested in the Max Game-Improvement category. Karsten irons, in particular, are standouts in terms of forgiveness.

NEXT REVIEW: Tour Edge Exotics E8 Irons

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