ClubTest 2014: Ping Karsten Irons

Ping Karsten Irons
Category: Max Game-Improvement Irons
Price: $799, steel; $899, graphite
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.

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.

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.

CLUBTEST INDEX: List of past ClubTest Iron reviews

NEXT REVIEW: Wilson Staff D100 ES Irons


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