Ping i3 Irons Review – Are They Forgiving? What Handicap?

“The Ping i3 irons came out in 2000. And for a set of irons that are over two decades old, they hold up to modern game improvement irons pretty well.”

In fact, I know a player who still games these irons. I tend to trust Ping game improvement irons because I have good experience with them. I have tested many Ping irons in the past and have even gamed some of the G series irons. But I don’t have any experience with the Ping i3 irons. I always assumed that they were simply too old to hold any value for today’s golfers.

Spoiler alert: I was wrong. Without giving too much away in the intro, I will say that I was impressed with the Ping i3 irons. They have a timeless design and I can see why golfers still keep them in their bags. But are the Ping i3 irons good for high handicappers specifically? Read on to find out.

Are the Ping i3 Irons Still Good?

“The Ping i3 irons feature the Custom Tuning Port that we would see again and again in subsequent Ping irons.”

The Custom Tuning Port has a dual purpose. First, it dampens vibration from mis hits and heavy swings. Secondly, it brings the CG lower in the club head. Lower CG will make it easier to get under the ball and launch it high from the deck and the tee. So right away, the Ping i3 has the natural traits of any good game improvement iron.

Feel is really the only area in which the Ping i3 irons show their age. The feedback is pretty muddled and it’s hard to tell perfect strikes from errant ones. Plus, they have a bit of a clunky feel. But I can forgive all that because these are 23 year old cast irons.

The Ping i3 irons have moderate offset, a cavity back design and moderate-width soles. At address, they look clean and workable. But they aren’t so small that they look completely unforgiving. The face depth is substantial and I found it very hard to hit these irons thin.

For the most part, I was getting high, straight launch. For my swing, the invariably high launch isn’t ideal. But for most high handicap players, the high launch will be an advantage.

The distance I was getting with these irons was about average. With the 7-iron, I was averaging a carry distance of 156.2 yards. Not super-long; but the Ping i3 irons make up for the pedestrian distance with tight dispersion.

Again, with the 7-iron, all my balls were landing within 6 yards of each other – mostly about 7 yards left of the pin.  The point is that the Ping i3 irons are very consistent. They will keep you on target and keep you there as long as you’re consistent with your swing. In summation, the Ping i3 irons are still good – even when compared to modern GI irons.

Are the Ping i3 Irons Forgiving for High Handicappers?

“Yes. I would have no issue recommending the Ping i3 irons to high handicappers.”

That’s because they give high handicappers what they need most: the ability to produce playable lies. Yes, you still have to be careful about extreme mis-hits – these aren’t massive super game improvement irons after all. But that’s why I would say these irons are good for high handicappers and not pure beginners.

If you’re in the 18-28 handicap range, you will be able to use these irons effectively. They will keep you on the fairway and provide at least adequate distance. They are also consistent. You know what you’re going to get out of them with every swing. And the same remains true from the long irons to the short irons.

Ping i3 Vs Ping i3 OS Irons

“The Ping i3 OS irons are the larger versions of the Ping i3 blades.”

They are longer from heel to toe and have more offset than the Ping i3 blades. They are also easier to hit from a number of lies. So if you want to maximize forgiveness in your irons, check out the Ping i3 OS irons.

Ping i3 First Impressions

“The Ping i3 irons struck me as basic at first.”

They don’t have any fancy features. While they look good in the bag, there isn’t a whole lot that draws your attention. But when I got to swinging these irons, I quickly realized how consistent they were. As long as you are semi-careful with your swing, you can expect straight flight, high trajectory and repeatable distances.

Ping i3 Selling Points

  • Custom tuning port
  • Cavity back design
  • Colored dot fitting system
  • Notched hosel
  • Perimeter weighting

Ping i3 Key Technology

Custom Tuning Port

The custom tuning port pulls the CG down so it’s easier to  launch the ball high. It also works to dampen harsh vibration on mis-hits.

Perimeter Weighting

The deep cavity back design allows for more weight to be placed around the perimeter of the head. More mass in the perimeter of the head means more stability on mis-hits. The head doesn’t twist so much so your ball goes straighter.

Notched Hosel

The notched hosel makes it easier for your fitter to tweak the loft of each iron.

Ping i3 Loft & Lie

Club Loft (degrees) Lie (degrees)
1-iron 15.5 58
2-iron 18 58.5
3-iron 20.5 59.5
4-iron 24 60
5-iron 27 61
6-iron 30.5 61.5
7-iron 34.5 62.5
8-iron 38.5 63
9-iron 42.5 64

Who Should Buy the Ping i3 Irons

“The Ping i3 irons would be good for mid and high handicappers.”

The Ping i3 irons are definitely still good for today’s high handicap golfers because they offer tight dispersion on almost all shots. And mid handicappers will like the acute workability.

Distance: 96/100

Forgiveness: 96/100

Workability: 96/100

Overall Performance: 97/100

Value: 96/100

Overall Score: 96/100

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