Ever since Ben Hogan smacked his second shot to the 72nd hole at the 1951 U.S. Open at Merion GC (and Hy Peskin captured it on film), the 1-iron has been perhaps the most romantic club in golf. Now manufacturers are producing the modern-day version of those clubs--the utility iron.
The latest to introduce such an iron is Ping, which is making its Rapture driving iron--a club that made its debut on tour at the British Open at Muirfield--available to consumers. Available in just one loft (18 degrees, one degree higher than the 17-degree prototype), the Rapture driving iron boasts a 17-4 stainless steel body with a springy 455 Carpenter steel face designed to enhance ball speed. Tungsten weights in the heel and toe areas helped lower the center of gravity to help golfers launch the low-lofted, wide-soled iron. The face of the club is flat, allowing golfers to work the ball with greater ease than with a club with bulge and roll on the face.
At 39.75 inches in length, the Rapture (Price: $220) is a half-inch longer than a standard 2-iron and comes stock with Ping's TFC 949 graphite shaft. The iron also features a tungsten-polymer sole plug that can be factory adjusted to achieve a specific swingweight. "It's a versatile design that reflect's Ping's commitment to custom-engineering solutions for golfers," said John A. Solheim, Ping chairman and CEO. "In this case, a club that plays a more specialized role in their shotmaking."