Irons have long been Mizuno’s métier, which is why golfers take note whenever the Japanese equipment maker rolls out new clubs. This year, the company is pushing four lines, including two so-called game enhancers for better players – the MP-58 and MP-68 – and two that are geared toward higher handicappers – the MX-300 and MX-1000. Attendees at this year’s Demo Day at the PGA Merchandise Show were lining up to hit them.
They were also interested in learning more about a new club-fitting device called the Shaft Optimizer. Developed by Mizuno, it uses a microprocessor to measure five critical data points – clubhead speed, tempo, toe down, kick angle and release factor – so pros and retailers can better discern the DNA of a golfer’s swing and then find the shaft that best fits that player. And it does so in only a few swings. Company technicians were spending as much time outlining the features of that new development as they were touting their latest clubs, asserting that it takes the trial and error out of shaft fitting.
Perhaps the most compelling of Mizuno’s new iron models is the MP-58. What it has done here is forge a piece of titanium into the outer muscle of steel on the back of the clubhead to increase perimeter weighting for better playability as it maintains the solid and consistent feel players expect from its game enhancement irons. “The titanium is not welded onto the club,” says Dick Lyons, vice president and general manager of Mizuno’s U.S. golf division. “Rather, there is a mechanical lock when the titanium is forged onto the steel. That provides an ideal amount of thickness behind the hitting area for great feel, while the discretionary weighting around the perimeter adds a lot of forgiveness to the product.” Price per set with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 and R300 shafts is $1,200, retail.
Higher handicappers will likely prefer the forged MX-300, which offers game-improvement technology in a very traditional look with a compact head size, modest sole width and minimal progressive offset. The key features are a milled pocket cavity in the 3-to-7 irons that redistributes 17 grams of weight low and deep for a high, penetrating launch – and a solid power bar in clubs from 8-iron through Gap wedge to maximize feel and accuracy. Suggested retail cost for a standard set (4-GW) with True Temper Dynalite Gold XP shafts is $900, with multiple grip and shaft options also available.
Golfers of that same skill level might also want to consider the cast MX-1000 irons. Lyons call those “rocket launchers,” thanks to what he describes as “hot metal technology.” The clubs boast a thin, maraging-steel face that is plasma welded to a stainless steel body, resulting in high COR numbers and a formidable MOI for better distance and forgiveness. “The MX-1000s go a club farther than other irons, and that’s not because we are doing anything funny with the lofts,” he says. “They are just that hot.” At a suggested retail price of $1,200, they should be.
Then, there are the MP-68s. Sleek and stylish, they utilize a classic muscleback design as Mizuno continues to make as pure and high-performing a blade as there is on the market. According to Lyons, the news here is the way the clubmaker has employed computer optimization and modal analysis to redistribute weight around the clubhead and create a COR location that is lower and more face-centered. Price: $1,100 for a set with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 and R300 steel shafts, and $1,200 with Project X 5.5 shafts.