Should you find yourself in the market for an iron that’s short on mythology but plenty long on distance, forgiveness, and other desirable things, I’ve got a good one for you – even if you’ve heard portions of the story before.
Much of what I’m going to tell you about the PING G700 iron will sound familiar. It’s a large, hollow-body iron not unlike the Titleist T-MB, the Mizuno Fli-Hi, or PING’s own not-a-driving-iron Crossover. In fact, the G700 design borrows from the Crossover, with plenty of added tweaks to make it a bit more playable as a full set alternative to the G400, GMax, and for some golfers, perhaps even the i200.
That last one doesn’t come from PING, it’s just me thinking out loud. The i200 is my practical favorite (I love the iBlade too) among the current PING iron offerings, but even with my iron snob tendencies, I might give the G700 some consideration.
The point is that while the footprint and performance characteristics of the G700 put it squarely in what you can call the recreational space (other than a long iron here or there, it’s not going to get much play on Tour), I’m hesitant to brand it game-improvement, let alone super game-improvement. It’s most definitely a distance iron, but even within that loosely defined category, the G700 doesn’t fit perfectly. It’s a big iron, and believe me when I say it’s a long iron, but the aesthetics are unusually clean, which should broaden its appeal beyond any rigid category definition.
PING seems to expect as much. The calendar says a GMax replacement is due, but PING is taking a wait and see approach. GMax is sticking around for now, and that’s because while there’s always some overlap in any lineup, the typical GMax guy isn’t necessarily a G700 guy, and there will definitely be G700 guys who aren’t GMax guys. Again, that last one is me thinking out loud.
As I said, the G700 is a hollow body design – the first of its kind for a full set offering from PING. It brings with it the requisite story for a distance iron. The extra oomph comes via an unsupported variable thickness maraging steel face which flexes significantly more than anything else in the PING iron lineup. That gets you faster ball speeds across more of the face, and coupled with the deep body design, higher launch as well.
Compared to GMax, not only does G700’s higher COR provide more ball speed, it retains significantly more of that speed over a greater portion of the face. Along with more distance, the G700 gives you higher launch and a bit less spin. The former should help mitigate the latter, which means stopping power shouldn’t suffer much, if at all.
Along with the speed enhancement, and true to what we’d expect from the company, PING is claiming G700 creates a 48% tighter stat area (what we call shot area) than GMax. If you have trouble visualizing an ellipse that’s 48% smaller than another, all you need to know is that G700 gets consistent distance and ultimately more shots on the green and away from trouble.
While geometry deserves a good bit of the credit for G700’s high MOI, a pair of weights – one in the tip/hosel portion of the club, the other a toe-based weight screw that allows for swing weight adjustment – push additional mass towards the perimeter of the iron.
To reiterate, these are hollow body irons. Should you be inclined to unscrew the weight port, you won’t find TPE, SpeedFoam or any other sort of gel filling. You’re free to inject your own recipe and see what happens, but we certainly wouldn’t advise it.
As is the case with the rest of the PING iron lineup, the G700 features PING’s low glare, moisture repelling Hydropearl finish, which in addition to reducing the effect of flier lies, helps the club glide a bit more smoothly through the turf.
A Big Iron Done Right
Looking beyond face technology and weighting, a good bit of G700’s forgiveness comes from its size, and that’s really where the design shines. You may notice that the G700 is on the long-ish side from heel to toe, and it’s an appreciably tall iron too. While that sounds like the recipe for the type of shovel iron our readers love to complain about, PING has done a remarkable job of making its big iron appear unobtrusive.
The G700’s offset is nearly identical to the G400’s (less than GMax), and the smooth blending in the hosel transition area minimizes how that offset presents to the golfer. With the exception of the 4-iron, the soles on the G700 are actually slightly narrower than the G400 and significantly narrower than the GMax. The real difference maker here, I believe, is the topline, where PING has done some subtle rounding and beveling that makes it appear narrower than what the category often calls for.
It’s a fine line, I suppose, but the totality of the efforts leads to an iron that is big enough to instill confidence but doesn’t look overly bulky at address. Both companies may loathe the comparison, but it’s a bit like PXG’s 0811XF in that respect.
The G700 is a big iron done right.
Apart from a sliver of polished steel and black paintfill, PING is leaving the cosmetics well enough alone, and because of that, the new iron doesn’t look the least bit out of place next to the i200 or even the iBlade. It’s a small thing, but there’s cross-category continuity here that’s sometimes lacking in other lineups.
In my estimation, the G700 is, for PING, a ground-breaker of sorts. Looking back on our testing, it’s reasonable to say that PING, for all of its focus on forgiveness, accuracy, and tighter dispersion, hasn’t always kept up in the distance category. And while I’d be right there with many of you in saying that iron distance is often overrated, I’ll cop to being more than a little drawn in by the prospect of a 180 yard 7-iron (165 is my usual number). Truth be told, I’d probably bend them a little weak and split the difference, but the point is I’m confident that the G700 is going to be able to hold its own against anything else on the market – and it will do it without compromising the consistency that PING prides itself on.
Take it for what it is – anecdotal proof of nothing – but the group of guys pictured above had a chance to try the G700 before it launched. They came away positively giddy over what they saw, describing the experience as “turning back the clock 20 years.”
It can be hard to predict the market, but I think the G700 is going to surprise a lot of people.
Specs, Pricing, and Availability
PING G700 Iron Specifications
|Iron||PowerSpec Loft||Standard Loft|
As with its other irons, PING will offer a Power Spec in the G700. PowerSpec lofts are 1.5° stronger in the 4-7 irons, and 2° stronger in the 8-SW. While it’s not for everyone, Power Spec offers a fitting option for those looking for even more distance, or for golfers looking for a specific trajectory profile.
The stock shaft offerings are PING’s AWT 2.0 (steel) and ALTA CB (graphite), however, several popular options are also available.
MSRP for the G700 Irons is $160 per iron with steel and $175 per iron with graphite. Pre-orders begin immediately, with retail availability following in mid-March.
For more information, visit PING.com.
To see more photos of the PING G700 irons, check out the Gratuitous Picture Thread in the MyGolfSpy Forum.