In engineering its new S55 players' iron, PING wasn't out to overhaul the design innovations that made its predecessor, the S56, an unquestioned success on tours worldwide. And yet, in consultation with PING tour pros, the modifications they made improved workability, control and forgiveness so much that many of the company's star players switched immediately to the S55 iron.
"The S56 has contributed to more than 30 tour wins worldwide, including an Open Championship, and its record has generated a lot of anticipation for the follow-up model," said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. "But that kind of challenge excites us. We're motivated by pushing innovation, and we were able to elevate performance with the S55 in key areas. Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, and Ángel Cabrera are some of the players who switched right away, and validation from the game's best players tells us that we got it right."
Solheim said pros are especially pleased how the S55 iron gives them more control over their pre-impact face alignment for improved workability while increasing forgiveness – two critical attributes that are difficult to improve simultaneously. "They're able to work the ball more easily and flight it up and down like never before," he said. The 17-4 stainless steel head features tungsten toe weighting for increasing the MOI, and a vertical stabilizing bar for distance control. The custom tuning port is larger and sits lower in the back cavity, which positions the CG lower and deeper to promote higher launch with improved energy transfer. Solheim said players are hitting the ball substantially higher and farther.
The machined face, grooves and back cavity, compact shape, thin top lines, and brushed satin finish speak to PING's emphasis on quality and attention to detail. "Pros have really responded to the look of this iron," Solheim said. "It's a beautiful piece of engineering. It looks great and performs even better."
Watson is one of many players who have responded to the S55's overall performance. His switch to the S55 iron was the first time he's changed models since 2004.
For his part, Mahan appreciated the softer feel and trajectory control, but that's not all. "After the first swing, I knew the S55 was going in my bag, no question," he said. "I love the control, the trajectory and the forgiveness. It's everything I want in a golf club."