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!
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
“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.