It is almost a given that opening a box of new release Mizuno irons is going to be a positive experience. And the JPX921 irons certainly lived up to expectations, writes Jimmy Emanuel.
COST: $299 per iron (Forged); $279 per iron (Tour).
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Deputy Editor (GA Handicap 9.4).
MODEL PLAYED: JPX921 Forged (4-iron to pitching wedge), fitted with Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 120 shafts and JPX921 Tour (4-iron to pitching wedge), with KBS $-Taper 120 shafts.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It is almost a given that opening a box of new release Mizuno irons is going to be a positive experience. And the JPX921 irons certainly lived up to expectations.
Since seeing the first JPX Tour model in the form of the 900 series I have been a fan, and the latest 921 fits its lineage perfectly. A matte finish, fractionally wider-soled true player’s iron, the look is magnificent. And the feel off the clubface is soft yet solid, just as one would expect of a Mizuno Tour model.
The JPX 921 Forged seems to be the real “hero” of this family launch and I can understand why. A smaller, more compact profile really appealed to me, while the power and ball speed off the clubface lived up to the hype, combined with a great feel.
HOW THEY PERFORMED: As my time went on testing these two models (as well as the Hot Metal options to appear in a later issue of Golf Australia magazine) the JPX921 Tour did exactly what it should.
Offering brilliant feel off the face, ball-flight control and a very pleasing flight mixed with some forgiveness, the Tour model is not quite a blade iron, but certainly an iron for the better player.
During the same period, it was the JPX921 Forged that really stood out as the true improver from the previous JPX919 range.
Off the face, with my first few strikes, the ball really popped. A nice high flight, despite slightly stronger lofts, had enough spin to hold greens but carried significantly further than the Tour model and my own irons. This sort of distance gain would typically mean perhaps a clicky feel, however, the Forged iron’s feel could not be questioned as belonging in Mizuno’s storied history of soft-feeling irons.
In addition to the distance, flight and feel, the refined look of the Forged model was a plus for mine. At address looking significantly closer to the Tour model, and with a noticeably thinner sole, I was pleasantly surprised with the entire set, but particularly found the long irons to my liking.
Despite this new look, there was no reduction in forgiveness for me. The performance on off-centre strikes with the Forged was extremely consistent and having taken a break from playing before starting my testing, was very welcome.
The Tour similarly possesses some handy forgiveness, but like mentioned earlier is certainly an option for those owning a repetitive golf swing. This design made working the ball with the JPX921 Tour model a great deal of fun, with any and every flight possible. The Forged still allowed for ball-flight control, but was much more geared to a strong, boring, almost dead-straight trajectory, and I don’t know too many golfers who don’t like the sound of that.
The Tour was also slightly better for me when it came to turf interaction, but this was of little surprise given its closeness in size, shape and design to my own irons, the short irons particularly.
Having loved both previous JPX Tour models, there was no surprise I enjoyed the latest iteration. I couldn’t fault the JPX921 Tour in any key area of performance and would have no issues putting a set in my bag straight away.
Where I was slightly surprised was how much I enjoyed the JPX921 Forged. This iron category of forged feel and distance performance has always been a bit hit and miss in the past personally, but this model is without doubt one of the best I have tested.
The feel off the face being truly Mizuno combined with distance gains in every iron, plus some forgiveness, in a more compact shape means this iron will suit a wide variety of players, including potentially myself if I am honest.
Comparing these two models side-by-side, the positioning of each in the line-up and their target players are clear. The improvements to the Forged model will be noticeable to anyone testing it alongside its predecessor, while the Tour, I am certain, will continue to maintain popularity with Tour players (both contracted and not) as well as amateurs looking for one of the best forged iron options on the market.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: Designed for better players, the JPX921 Tour will suit low handicap players and good ball-strikers, while the JPX921 Forged are suitable to a wider handicap range looking for forged feel, forgiveness and increased ball speed.
SHAFTS: Mizuno’s wide variety of shafts offered through its Shaft Optimiser fitting system is available, with the majority at no upcharge.
LEFT-HANDED: A combination of JPX921 Tour irons and Forged long irons is available, with lofts pre-adjusted for optimal distance gapping.
MIZUNO SAYS: The JPX921 Forged iron integrates the power of ‘Chromoly’ into a full body Forged iron for the very first time. Initially applied in Mizuno’s Hot Metal irons – Chromoly has made the cross over to Mizuno’s forgings with staggering results.
‘Grain Flow Forged HD’ in Mizuno’s legendary facility in Hiroshima Japan, the JPX921 Forged irons offer an identifiable and unsurpassed Mizuno feel. The integration of Chromoly 4120 allows for a clubface up to 0.5mm thinner which delivers the fastest ball speeds Mizuno has ever produced from a full body Forged iron.
Additional perimeter weighting with toe bias creates a ‘Stability Frame’ to maximise results from off-centre strikes, while a 6.4 percent wider CNC back milled slot further increases stability.
Despite this, the JPX921 Forged irons offer a sleeker, compact profile – a shorter blade length throughout, a bevelled training edge and reduced offset.
The new JPX921 Tour maintains its predecessor’s surprising fusion of precision with stability from off-centre strikes. Now even thicker behind impact for an enhanced, softer feel with Tour refined short irons for smoother turf interaction.
Grain Flow Forged HD from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon steel, the JPX921 Tour delivers an identifiable and unsurpassed Mizuno feel. In addition, Mizuno’s Stability Frame with toe bias weighting promotes a longer, straighter and more consistent ball flight, even on off-centre strikes.
Visit www.mizunogolf.com for more.