Mizuno is famous for its irons. The first Mizuno golf clubs appeared in 1933, and irons quickly became the center of the company’s golf universe. The Mizuno Star Line was the first set of Japanese golf clubs.
Today the words “Grain Flow Forged” are associated with Mizuno’s top-of-the-line MP forged irons.
Mizuno is about to introduce four new iron models, and golfers might be surprised by what they see.
Squarely in the spotlight will be the new MP-H4 irons. These likely will generate more conversation than another high-profile introduction: the MP-64 irons that are faithfully designed to the preferences of Luke Donald, who has spent most of the past year as the world’s No. 1 golfer (although he surrendered that spot to Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship).
“This is like no MP set you’ve ever seen before,” said Chuck Couch, director of golf club marketing for Mizuno USA, referring to the H4.
This set encompasses more than just traditional forgings. The 2, 3 and 4 have hollow bodies with a forged face, neck and sole. The 5, 6 and 7 also are hollow with a forged face and neck but not a forged sole. The 8, 9 and wedges are one-piece forgings.
This design concept is all about trajectory. Mizuno believes the design will allow more golfers to achieve optimum trajectory throughout the set, including the long irons. A 2-iron is readily available as part of a 9-iron set (2-PW), and the 3-iron anchors an 8-iron set (3-PW).
The MP-H4 is, in effect, an entire set of clubs aimed at low-handicap players – even those who are growing older and have experienced some trouble achieving a proper trajectory.
Jim Gibbons, now well into his 60s, was the qualifying medalist in the 1998 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. On the range at Willamette Valley Country Club in Canby, Ore., Gibbons hit shot after shot high into the air as he tested MP-H4 long irons.
“I’m impressed,” said Gibbons, the former executive director of the Oregon Golf Association. “There will be golfers who want to carry these rather than hybrids.”
Hollow construction of irons is nothing new, but Mizuno has utilized modern techniques (such as precise placement of the center of gravity).
“I would say we will attract golfers who like the look of traditional golf clubs but are willing to try something new based on modern science,” Couch said.
From address, the irons look very much like members of the Mizuno MP family. The top line is slightly thicker than the MP-64, but the overall appearance is that of a player’s iron. According to Gibbons, they have the same soft feel usually associated with forged irons.
Like all MP irons the stock shafts are steel, and many steel and graphite shaft options are available.
In contrast to the MP-H4, the MP-64 is just what golfers might expect from Mizuno: forged irons created to please highly skilled golfers.
The MP-64, nicknamed the “Luke Donald iron,” has a sole that is beveled and softened for accurate turf contact without digging. It has a full-diamond muscle back within a shallow-back cavity.
“We really built this golf club for Luke Donald,” Couch said. “This is Luke’s iron (although he has not yet switched from the MP-59).”
Other new irons from Mizuno include the JPX-825 and JPX-825 Pro. Although these could be considered “distance” irons, Mizuno engineers say they have enlarged the “sweet area” some 15 percent over the previous JPX-800 and JPX-800 Pro models.
At address these JPX irons are not hugely oversized. The relatively thin top line on the 825 Pro will appeal to many players, including PGA Tour player Charles Howell III, who mixes JPX and MP irons in his bag.
All the new irons (MP-64, MP-H4, JPX-825, JPX-825 Pro) are being shipped Sept. 10 and should be available at retailers by the middle of September.
Retail prices (eight irons): MP-64 $999 with steel shafts, MP-H4 $1,099 with steel shafts, JPX-825 $699 with steel and $899 with graphite, JPX-825 Pro $899 with steel and $1,099 with graphite.