Mizuno launches four new irons

By David AllenOctober 19, 2009, 9:39 pm

Not long ago, equipment manufacturers would release two or three different models per year. These irons would have a shelf-life of about two or three years, so the manufacturers weren’t in any hurry to deliver more product. But that was 10 years ago. Today, in response to an ultra-competitive industry and increasingly segmented marketplace, manufacturers are being enticed to produce twice as many models, if not more.

The latest example of this is Mizuno, which recently launched four new irons and a direct iron replacement. David Llewellyn, golf club R&D manager for Mizuno USA, said the company “had some holes to fill” in their lineup, and boy did it ever!


Mizuno MX-300 and MX-1000 irons
MX-1000 (top) and MX-300
(bottom) irons.
In the “game enhancement” category, there are the MP-58 and MP-68 irons, while in the increasingly more popular “game improvement” area there are the MX-300 and MX-1000 irons. The MX-1000 is what Mizuno likes to call a super-premium game improvement club because of its higher price point and more exotic construction. The MP-58 irons and MX-300 irons are two more traditional player’s clubs that cross over into the game-improvement area because of an increased MOI (Moment of Inertia) and more solid feel. And the MP-68s are the first muscleback irons Mizuno has produced in three years.


There’s something for everybody with these new irons, whether you’re seeking more playability or more forgiveness. Or both. An added bonus: All four lines conform to the new groove regulations.

“One thing we’re trying to do at Mizuno is add a level of customization to our clubs, so that every golfer can have something that matches their swing DNA,” said Llewellyn.


At address, this club looks like a traditional player’s iron – compact head, minimal offset, thin top line – but it delivers the kind of forgiveness you typically find only in a game-improvement iron. Y-TUNE PRO technology allows for weight to be moved from the cavity to the perimeter of the clubhead, increasing the MOI. It also enlarges the sweet spot and makes it very rigid, creating a very solid feeling at impact.

The 3- through 7-irons feature a milled pocket cavity, which positions more mass low and deep on the clubhead for a higher launch and more spin. The 8-iron through pitching wedge has a solid bar design to enhance feel and accuracy.

The MX-300s will appeal to low- and mid-handicappers who want a forged iron and a traditional head shape, but don’t want to make the jump to the MP irons, says Llewellyn. The suggested retail price for the set (4-PW) is $900; also offered with Dynalite Gold XP shafts (R300, S300) in right-hand models.


Hot Metal face technology gives this game-improvement iron a rocket-like boost, generating a COR (Coefficient of Restitution, or spring-like effect) that is the highest of any iron Mizuno has ever produced and approaches driver-like COR figures. An ultra-thin, hot maraging face is welded to a body made of 431 stainless steel. The welding takes place around the perimeter of the clubface to maximize the effective trampoline area and create the high COR.

The MX-100s Hollow Technology construction allows for discretionary weight to be moved low and deep in the clubhead, toward the toe, to create a massive MOI. Combine that with the thin, reactive face, and you get the longest iron Mizuno has ever produced.

 “The ball jumps off the face with ease, and the result is extremely long, high and straight iron shots,” said Dick Lyons, vice president and general manager of Mizuno USA.

The MX-1000s carry a suggested retail price of $1,200 steel (offered with True Temper GS95 shafts) , $1,350 for graphite (offered with Graffaloy Pro Launch Platinum and Mizuno Exsar IS4 shafts).\


Two metals are better than one. At least, that was the thinking behind Mizuno’s newest MP model, the first multi-material forged iron the company has ever produced. Each muscle pad is forged with approximately

Mizuno MP-58 and MP-68 irons
MP-68 (top) and MP-58 (bottom) irons.
11 grams of high-tech titanium, helping to deliver the legendary soft feel that Mizuno irons are known for. Besides adding thickness behind the impact area, the Dual Muscle Titanium Technology allows for more weight to be moved to the perimeter of the clubhead, increasing the MOI. All of this comes in your player’s preferred head shape and size.


“Titanium is roughly half the density of steel,” said Llewellyn. “By replacing all of the steel with a low-density titanium material we’ve created a pseudo-cavity without sacrificing any thickness or rigidity in the head.”

The MP-58s carry a suggested retail price of $1,200. Right-handed models are offered with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 and R300 steel shafts.


Much like its predecessor, the MP-33, much player testing went into Mizuno’s latest muscleback iron. Mizuno digitized the MP-33 head, considered the standard of muscleback design, and found some more weight it could move low and deep on the clubhead, toward the toe, to create a more ideal COG location. The result of this computer optimization is the 3D muscle pad, what Mizuno calls its 3D Muscle Technology, which delivers an adequate launch angle and more penetrating ball flight that better players prefer.

The MP-68 also features rolled leading and trailing edges, and a flattened mid-sole, to help improve club-turf interaction from all types of lies. The MP-68s carry a suggested retail price of $1,100, and also come available with Project X 5.5 shafts for $1,200.


Mizuno’s new iron-hybrid uses the same technology found in the MX-1000s (Hot Metal face, Hollow Technology construction) to deliver a higher COR and more distance than you’ll find in your average long iron. Like the MP irons, the FLI-HI irons feature a traditional player’s head, with a thinner top line, less offset, and beveled leading edge to allow the wide sole to play smaller and more versatile.

 The FLI-HI irons can be custom-fit to be integrated into any MP set. They come in lofts of 18, 21 and 24 degrees (in right-handed models), and are individually priced at $140. Each long iron replacement comes with a Project X 5.5 shaft.

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Tiger's checklist: How he can contend at Augusta

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 8:31 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Augusta is already on the minds of most players here at the Honda Classic, and that includes the only one in the field with four green jackets.

Yes, Tiger Woods has been talking about the Masters ever since he started this latest comeback at Torrey Pines. These three months are all about trying to build momentum for the year’s first major.

Woods hasn’t revealed his schedule past this week, but his options are limited. He’s a good bet to play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he has won eight times, but adding another start would be a departure from the norm. He’s not eligible for the two World Golf Championship events, in Mexico and Austin, and he has never played the Valspar Championship or the Houston Open.

So there’s a greater sense of urgency this week at PGA National, which is realistically one of his final tune-ups.

How will Woods know if he’s ready to contend at Augusta? Here’s his pre-Masters checklist:

1. Stay healthy

So far, so good, as Woods tries to resume a normal playing schedule following four back surgeries since 2014. Though he vowed to learn from his past mistakes and not push himself, it was a promising sign that Woods felt strong enough to sign up for the Honda, the second of back-to-back starts on separate coasts.

Another reason for optimism on the health front: The soreness that Woods felt after his season opener at Torrey Pines wasn’t related to his surgically repaired back. No, what ached most were his feet – he wasn’t used to walking 72 holes on hilly terrain.

Woods is stiffer than normal, but that’s to be expected. His back is fused.

2. Figure out his driver

Augusta National is more forgiving off the tee than most major courses, putting more of a premium on approach shots and recoveries.

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That’s good news for Woods, who has yet to find a reliable tee shot. Clearly, he is most comfortable playing a fade and wants to take the left side of the course out of play, but in competition he’s been plagued by a two-way miss.

In two starts this year, Woods has hit only 36 percent of the fairways, no matter if he was using driver, fairway wood or long iron.

Unfortunately, Woods is unlikely to gain any significant insight into his driver play this week. PGA National’s Champion Course isn’t overly long, but there is water on 15 of the 18 holes. As a result, he said he likely will hit driver only four times a round, maybe five, and otherwise rely on his 3-wood and 2-iron. 

Said Rory McIlroy: “Being conservative off the tee is something that you have to do here to play well.”

That won’t be the case at Augusta.

3. Clean up his iron play

As wayward as Woods has been off the tee, his iron play hasn’t impressed, either.

At Riviera, he hit only 16 greens in regulation – his fewest in a Tour event as a professional. Of course, Woods’ chances of hitting the green are reduced when he’s playing from the thick rough, sand and trees, but he also misfired on six of the eight par 3s.

Even when Woods does find the green, he’s not close enough to the hole. Had he played enough rounds to qualify, his proximity to the hole (39 feet, 7 inches) would rank 161st on Tour.

That won’t be good enough at Augusta, where distance control and precision are paramount.

Perhaps that’s why Justin Thomas said last week what many of us were thinking: “I would say he’s a pretty good ways away.”

4. Get into contention somewhere

As much as he would have liked to pick off a win on the West Coast, Woods said that it’s not a prerequisite to have a chance at the Masters. He cited 2010, when he tied for fourth despite taking four months off after the fallout from his scandal.

In reality, though, there hasn’t been an out-of-nowhere Masters champion since Charl Schwartzel in 2011. Since then, every player who eventually donned the green jacket either already had a win that year or at least a top-3 finish worldwide.

“I would like to play well,” Woods said. “I would like to win golf tournaments leading into it. The years I’ve won there, I’ve played really well early.”

Indeed, he had at least one win in all of the years he went on to win the Masters (1997, 2000, ’01, ’05). Throw in the fact that Woods is nearly five years removed from his last Tour title, and it’s reasonable to believe that he at least needs to get himself into contention before he can seriously entertain winning another major.

And so that’s why he’s here at the Honda, trying to find his game with seven weeks to go. 

“It’s tournament reps,” he said, “and I need tournament reps.”

Add that to the rest of his pre-Masters checklist.

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Players winner to get 3-year exemption into PGA

By Rex HoggardFebruary 21, 2018, 8:01 pm

Although The Players isn’t golf’s fifth major, it received a boost in that direction this week.

The PGA of America has adjusted its criteria for eligibility into the PGA Championship, extending an exemption for the winner of The Players to three years.

According to an official with the PGA of America, the association felt the winner of The Players deserved more than a single-year exemption, which had been the case, and the move is consistent with how the PGA Tour’s annual flagship event is treated by the other majors.

Winners of The Players were already exempt for three years into the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The change will begin with this year’s PGA Championship.

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Thomas: Playing in front of Tiger even more chaotic

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas may be going from the frying pan to the fire of Tiger Woods’ pairings.

Translation: He’s going from being grouped with Woods last week in the first two rounds at the Genesis Open to being grouped directly in front of Woods this week at the Honda Classic.

“Which might be even worse than playing with him,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Typically, the pairing in front of Woods deals with a lot of gallery movement, with fans racing ahead to get in position to see Woods’ next shot.

Thomas was quoted after two rounds with Tiger at Riviera saying fans “got a little out of hand,” and saying it’s disappointing some golf fans today think it’s “so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots.”

With 200,000 fans expected this week at the Honda Classic, and with the Goslings Bear Trap pavilion setting a party mood at the 16th green and 17th tee, that portion of the course figures to be quite lively at PGA National.

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Thomas was asked about that.

“I touched on this a little bit last week,” Thomas said. “I think it got blown out of proportion, was just taken out of context, and worded differently than how I said it or meant it.

“I love the fans. The fans are what I hope to have a lot of, what all of us hope to have a lot of. We want them cheering us on. But it's those certain fans that are choosing to yell at the wrong times, or just saying stuff that's completely inappropriate.”

Thomas said it’s more than ill-timed shouts. It’s the nature of some things being said.

“It's one thing if it's just you and I talking, but when you're around kids, when you're around women, when you're around families, or just around people in general, some of the stuff they are saying to us is just extremely inappropriate,” he said. “There’s really no place for it anywhere, especially on a golf course.

“I feel like golf is pretty well known as a classy sport, not that other sports aren't, but it has that reputation.”

Thomas said the nature of the 17th hole at PGA National’s Champion Course makes it a more difficult tee shot than the raucous 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Typically, players like to hear fans get into the action before or after they hit shots. Ill-timed bluster, however, makes a shot like the one at Honda’s 17th even tougher.

“That hole is hard enough,” Thomas said. “I don't need someone yelling in my ear on my backswing that I'm going to hit it in the water, to make it any harder. I hope it gets better, just for the sake of the game. That's not helping anything. That's not helping grow the game.”

Those who follow golf know an ill-timed shout in a player’s backswing is different than anything a fan says at a football, basketball or baseball game. An ill-timed comment in a backswing has a greater effect on the outcome of a competition.

“Just in terms of how much money we're playing for, how many points we're playing for ... this is our jobs out here, and you hate to somehow see something that a fan does, or something that they yell, influence something that affects [a player’s] job,” Thomas said.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”