Ping ISI Irons Review – Still Good And Forgiving For High Handicappers?

“The Ping ISI irons came out in 1996 – an era when the company’s irons weren’t yet refined.”

There’s nothing quite like old Ping irons. They are awful to look at but you’d be hard-pressed to find better game improvement irons from that era. Some of their old irons are even as good as modern game improvement irons.

The Ping ISI irons are nearly 30 years old. They are big, ugly and they scream, “game improvement.” Does all of this add up to an iron set that  you should be gaming in 2023? I tested them to find out.

Are Ping ISI Irons Still Good?

“In terms of technology, there isn’t much to these irons.”

Looking back, 1996 kinda seems like the dark ages of golf club manufacturing. The Ping ISI irons have a very basic design. They have very deep and wide cavity backs and are cast from a nickel alloy – no a material used very often in modern golf club manufacturing. The Ping ISI irons also have a high, thin toe area that was very common in that era of Ping irons.

There is a single circle in the middle of the cavities and from that circle radiate five lines going in all directions. According to Ping, these lines actually reduce vibration on mis-hits for better feel and enhanced stability. The Ping ISI irons also have pretty wide soles.

These are basic features overall but where the Ping ISI irons derive their worth is from the head shape. The Ping ISI irons are big. Period. They’re big from heel to toe. They’re big from sole to top line. And while the size detracts from the aesthetic appeal of these irons, it also makes them insanely forgiving.

The sweet spot is massive. During my testing, I tried numerous times to mis-hit but I was still catching the sweet spot. There is a huge margin of error in these irons. There just isn’t a ton of workability. At address, they look a bit odd. The face and top line look thin and you can see the wavy, mis-shapen cavity undercut poking out from the back.

So are the Ping ISI irons still good? As long as you don’t care about looks and want a supremely forgiving iron, they are still good.

Are the Ping ISI Irons Forgiving for High Handicappers?

“The Ping ISI irons would be nothing if they weren’t forgiving.”

The sweet spot is massive. It doesn’t matter if you hit the ball thin, take a heavy swing or mis-hit laterally, you are likely going to catch the sweet spot. Extreme mis-hits are punished of course; but the same is true of any iron. With the Ping ISI irons, at least you drastically reduce your chances of extreme mis-hits.

I found the Ping ISI irons to be especially forgiving on the dreaded high-toe mis-hits. When I hit the high toe area, the flight made it look like I nailed the sweet spot. I was getting a very slight draw that landed in between 6 and 9 yards to the left of the target.

The launch is also very high. The 9-iron is set to 42.5° which is good because you don’t get a lot of CG help. While the Ping ISI irons have wide soles by 1996 standards, they aren’t as wide as today’s GI or super GI irons.

The Ping ISI irons do have deep and expansive cavity backs though. This works to push weight out to the perimeter of the head. In addition to forgiveness, the Ping ISI irons offer tight dispersion thanks to this perimeter stability.

I believe that any high handicapper – or even a pure beginner – would have an easy time with these irons.

Ping ISI Vs Ping i Irons

“The Ping i irons have more modern features like the custom tuning port and progressive offset.”

The Ping i irons are also cast from 431 stainless steel which feels softer than the nickel alloy used for the Ping ISI irons. The Ping i irons have a more compact head profile though. They look a lot cleaner and nicer, but beginners may actually do better with the Ping ISI irons.

Ping ISI First Impressions

“I’ll be frank: it’s hard not to notice how ugly these irons are.”

They remind me of Frankenstein. But I still appreciate them because I can tell that Ping really wanted these to be forgiving irons first and foremost. They left aesthetic appeal on the back-burner which is something I don’t mind if the clubs really perform. And the Ping ISI certainly perform. They were made to be forgiving and that’s exactly what they are.

Ping ISI Selling Points

  • Cavity back design
  • Stabilizing “fingers”
  • Perimeter weighting
  • Large sweet spot
  • Nickel casting
  • Very forgiving

Ping ISI Key Technology

Stabilizing Fingers

These are really just lines that stretch across the cavity in order to keep mis-hits straight.

Nickel Alloy Casting

The inclusion of nickel in the casting of these irons is supposed to give them a softer feel.

Large Sweet Spot

The face itself is very expansive and the sweet spot is large so the Ping ISI irons are very forgiving overall.

Ping ISI Loft & Lie

Club Loft (degrees) Lie (degrees)
1-iron 15.5 59
2-iron 18 59.5
3-iron 20.5 60.5
4-iron 24 61
5-iron 27 62
6-iron 30.5 62.5
7-iron 34.5 63.5
8-iron 38.5 64
9-iron 42.5 64

Who Should Buy the Ping ISI Irons?

“The Ping ISI irons would be suitable for beginners and 25+ handicappers.”

You can’t work these irons and you can’t flight them down. So right off the bat, they aren’t good for players who need to be able to shape their shots at will. But the Ping ISI irons would be a great first set for beginners or anyone in the 25-30 handicap range.

Distance: 97/100

Forgiveness: 98/100

Workability: 92/100

Overall Performance: 95/100

Value: 95/100

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:


Titleist TSR2 Vs Taylormade Stealth 2 Hybrid
Taylormade Stealth Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid
Taylormade Qi 10 Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid
Ping G430 Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid

Ping G430 Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid

Cobra Darkspeed Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid
Callaway Paradym AI Smoke Vs Titleist TSR2 Hybrid
Project X Denali Blue 60TX Shaft
Youtube Golf

Best Youtube Golfers And Youtube Golf Channels 2024

Best Youtube Golfers And Youtube Golf Channels 2024 Youtube…

Cole Lantz Net Worth 2024 - Wiki, Busta Jack, Content Creation, Height

Cole Lantz Net Worth 2024 - Wiki, Busta Jack, Content Creation,…