I couldn’t fault any part of the performance of the new MP-20 range …
COST: $269 per iron (MB); $269 per iron (MMC & HMB).
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4).
MODEL PLAYED: MP-20 muscle back, MP-20 MMC and MP-20 HMB.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: As one would expect of a new Mizuno MP line, all three MP-20 models are pure to look at from every angle.
The muscle back is sleek and has a classic blade appearance, the MMC model is marginally bigger at address and the HMB has a noticeably thicker topline, but is not too big when looking down at the ball and hides its wider sole well.
Again, off the clubface the new irons delivered exactly what I was preparing myself for. The blade iron was soft and produced a penetrating and workable flight, the MMC launched slightly higher with very little difference in sound compared to MB, while the HMB was certainly slightly higher pitched, however, the feel was in no way clicky and would easily blend in a combo set with the other models.
HOW IT PERFORMED: I have long been a fan of Mizuno irons and played a number of sets of the company’s blade irons over the years, and all three models, particularly the MP-20 blade, fit perfectly into the history of the brand in my opinion.
The re-introduction of copper plating in all three models helps to deliver an even softer feel than the ‘Grain Flow Forged’ technique the company has employed for countless years, and while the MP-20 muscle back is certainly the softest feeling blade iron I can remember hitting in recent times, I felt the more forgiving models benefit most from this return to an older technology.
I have often noticed a significant difference in feel when testing irons like the MB and MMC, which incorporates titanium in the construction, however, it was extremely difficult to pick up any discernible changes when hitting the two side-by-side. As mentioned earlier, the HMB does have a clearly different sound and feel, but the copper appears to have lessened that from previous models, and when considering the hollow body construction and ‘Chromoly’ face this is a significant achievement.
Hitting the same numbered irons of each model alongside one another proved an interesting exercise and validates Mizuno’s explanation of each model’s individual characteristics.
The muscle back’s flight and forgiveness are exactly what you would expect from this style of iron. The ball comes off reasonably low and is easily manipulated in height, as well as both left and right. Working shots with the muscle back proved to be great fun and although still a blade, there was a little more forgiveness on off-centre strikes than I thought there would be going into my testing. Mis-hits stayed in the air longer than some older model blades and curved less through the air.
Moving on to the MMC, my ball flight rose a small amount that also saw the ball carry slightly further for me. The forgiveness also went up a notch, with my typical miss in the toe being noticeable due to the feel feedback but staying on a similar flight and losing very little distance compared to a flushed strike. Workability remained fine with the MMC, which proved to be the model that surprised me most overall.
The HMB’s flight was higher again, even with the stronger lofts of the most forgiving model that while offered in a full set of irons has already proven popular on Tour as a long-iron replacement.
The flight of the hollow body model wasn’t way up in the sky by any means and was fairly easily knocked down into the wind. Moving the ball both ways certainly wasn’t as simple as with the blade iron, however, the added forgiveness makes this a model for players looking to hit more straight shots than anything and a perfect iron at the top end of the bag for finding fairways from the tee or attacking long par-3s and par-5s.
Replacing the popular MP-18 line, the MP-20 irons have improved upon one area I struggled with their predecessor. Whereas I was prone to feeling the sole dig a little for me with the MP-18s, the new models’ soles seemed to interact better with the turf for me even with a slightly steep attack angle.
The short irons and wedges of Mizuno irons used to be visually a little awkward to me, but as was the case with the MP-18 this has again improved dramatically in the MP-20 irons.
I couldn’t fault any part of the performance of the new MP-20 range.
The blade does exactly what a muscle back iron should do in terms of performance and the feel was absolutely pure off the face. The MMC is the best iteration of a multi-material iron Mizuno has produced thus far, combining feel and forgiveness in a pleasing appearance that I could easily put in my bag tomorrow. And while I found the HMB outstanding as a utility iron option, the shorter irons of the set performed very well and surprised me with the quality of the feel and the level of forgiveness, making Mizuno’s MP irons a more attainable option for players not necessarily possessing a single figure handicap.
For mine, combining two, or even three, models from the MP-20 range is ideal to align each golfer’s needs and preferences to their set. And having tested the company’s new ‘Swing Optimiser’ during my testing as well, the technology takes any guess work out of getting the right length and lie, and picking the best shaft from the extensive range of options.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: As always, the company’s MP range is designed to suit better players and consistent ball strikers, with the added forgiveness of the MMC and HMB models extending the range of player capable of enjoying the renowned feel of Mizuno’s irons.
SHAFTS: A wide variety of steel and graphite shafts are available at no upcharge, with Mizuno’s ‘Swing DNA’ software providing recommendations to suit each player.
LEFT-HANDED: A left-handed set combining MP-20 HMB 3-4 irons with MP-20 muscle back irons from 5-iron to pitching wedge is available.
MIZUNO SAYS: The MP-20 irons evolved from the DNA of irons that shaped the modern game, launched major-winning careers and inspired generations of ‘Tour edition’ muscle backs.
Exclusively Grain Flow Forged in Hiroshima Japan, where Mizuno has refined the art of feel for over 50 years. Once again plated in copper, like Mizuno’s legendary TN87 – for an impact sensation recognised as our purest ever. Three irons, each with their own unique appeal, to work alone or blend within a custom set are all layered with soft copper plating beneath a protective nickel chrome for legendary feel and feedback.
The ultimate Mizuno muscle back – heavily influenced by the most revered blades of Mizuno’s past – the MP-20 is Grain Flow Forged HD from a single billet of ‘1025E Pure Select’ mild carbon steel.
The MP-20 MMC is the second generation of Mizuno’s multi-material concept, with a thinner topline and refined scoring irons. Based on the chassis, set flow and proportions of the MP-20 muscle back, the MMC is engineered to be more playable through the use of titanium muscle plate and tungsten sole weight.
A full set of performance hybrid irons – in a sharp ‘Tour ready’ profile – the MP-20 HMB was inspired by the proliferation of long iron replacements on Tour, and extends the concept right through to wedge. Built upon the ball speed of Mizuno’s ‘Chromoly’ face and neck, supported by a precision stainless steel body and tungsten weighting.
For more information, visit www.mizuno.com.au