Ping Blueprint Iron Review - Joel Tadman delivers his verdict on the new Ping Blueprint iron, a blade designed for only the very best ball strikers
It seems with every new model, Ping irons get easier on the eye and visually, the Blueprint might just be the best yet.
A pure, out-and-out blade, on first glance it is clear who this iron is aimed at based on size alone. The very short blade length, thin topline and narrow sole dictate that this is an iron designed for the most precise ball strikers – there clearly isn’t much margin for error on the strike. In fact, the hitting area of the four iron is barely bigger than the width of a golf ball!
We tested a 4-iron, 7-iron and pitching wedge in Dynamic Gold 120 S300 shafts at the stunning Woburn Golf Club, and indoors on the Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitor.
Putting the intimidation factor to one side, the Blueprint irons are actually very enjoyable to hit once you find your rhythm. You feel like you can manipulate the flight in whatever way you choose more easily than you can with a cavity back iron.
So for those who want or need to shape or flight the ball differently, the performance of these irons is perfectly matched.
The GCQuad launch monitor data showed us that ball speeds dropped off a little more with Blueprint on off-centre strikes than they did with iBlade, Ping’s most compact cavity back iron in the range. The distance, spin and launch were fairly similar, which is to be expected given the lofts are the same.
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The feel was also similar too. You could argue the Blueprint feels a touch softer on centred hits, while the iBlade felt a touch hotter and more solid generally. Blueprint does offer some assistance on slight off-centre hits; it’s more the narrow hitting area that requires precision. For some, a narrowed focus on the strike will lead to decent results with Blueprint.
It was interesting to compare Blueprint to the G700, the largest and most forgiving iron in Ping’s range. Not only could you work the ball a lot less, the G700 flew much higher despite the 7-iron loft being around four degrees stronger. It also produced ball speeds around 8 mph faster and spun a lot less than Blueprint, contributing to 20 yards longer carries on average.
Given its size and performance, our testing backed up our initial view that Blueprint should only be considered by competent players, in reality those of a scratch handicap or below. That said, low handicappers with decent swing speeds who consider iron play their strength could also test them if interested.
Besides a lack of forgiveness, the price is a stumbling block. Coming in at over £1,500 for a seven-piece set, it’s a high price to pay for an iron that offers little else besides great feel and workability.
I see no need to be switching out of my TaylorMade P760 irons, nor would I if I was still using my iBlades. But for some, the lure of a true blade that looks and feels as good as it does will be too tempting to dismiss.
Blueprint is one of the best-looking and feeling bladed irons on the market. Competent players will enjoy being able to manipulate the flight at will but in truth, the audience is small and they come with a hefty price tag.