By Jeffrey A. Rendall; Image Courtesy of Mizuno USA
NORCROSS, GA – ‘Those are some great looking irons, how do you like them?’
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question with the Mizuno MP-60 Irons in my golf bag. In an age when golf clubs are being introduced in all different shapes, sizes, and sometimes colors, the MP-60’s are really just the embodiment of a classic looking, chrome plated iron set – which I guess is all it takes for most folks to take notice, and really like their looks.
My answer to all the inquiries - ‘I like them a lot.’
True, I’ve enjoyed the looks of the irons, but the fondness I’ve developed for the MP-60’s goes much deeper than what you see on the surface. Like most players who cut their golfing ‘teeth’ in the 1970’s and 80’s, I’m always looking for a traditional forged iron that looks a little like the clubs I grew up with – that appear like a blade at address, but play with the forgiveness of a cavity-backed iron for my mid-handicap ability. Quite simply put, the MP-60’s provide just that.
I was curious about Mizuno Golf from its seemingly annually-designated ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards from publications such as Golf Digest, which does extensive product testing and is presumably non-biased. Mizuno also has its share of Tour pros to provide visibility, led by Ryder Cup participants Luke Donald and JJ Henry, yet with some research, Mizuno’s story was unique enough to merit a deeper look into the products – and the recently introduced MP-60 was at the top of the ‘must try’ list.
The MP-60’s ‘story’ begins with its predecessor the MP-32 Irons, which had won the aforementioned Golf Digest ‘Hot List’ award for 2005. The MP-32 had introduced Mizuno’s proprietary ‘Cut Muscle Cavity’ design, which essentially combines the look and feel of a forged iron (which it is), with the playability of a cavity-backed iron. Revolutionary manufacturing technology basically allows Mizuno to ‘cut’ its forged iron heads into shapes where weight can be effectively distributed – a feature usually reserved for cast clubs made from molds.
In the past, cast club heads have gained an edge in the design process because pouring molten metals into molds allowed for the different shapes necessary to achieve computer designated results. Newer techniques have been developed in the past decade for the more ‘hammer and chisel’ forging process, however, and the ‘ancient’ and time-tested method is catching up rapidly As a result, most major club making companies are starting to emphasize their latest forged models, and in this area, Mizuno is certainly at the forefront.
The Mizuno MP-60 is the next member of the series and is 4% larger than the ground-breaking MP-32, with a 10% larger ‘sweet spot’ than its predecessor. It’s also got a precisely placed center-of-gravity, while maintaining the maximum amount of solid feel with added forgiveness throughout the eight-iron set.
As a result, the MP-60 improves on the MP-32 by producing an extremely consistent and predictable ball flight, with a slightly higher trajectory in the long irons, and a mid trajectory ball flight in the scoring irons, similar to that of the MP-32’s.
Dick Lyons, Mizuno USA’s Vice President and General Manager, elaborates on the MP-60’s good points: “The enormous benefits of Cut Muscle Design Technology can now be experienced by a much larger range of golfers with the addition of the MP-60 Cut Muscle Cavity back to the award-winning MP-32.”
Lyons continues, “The MP-60, with its flighted sweet spot location, controllable ball flight and added forgiveness (from a cavity) allows players to execute aggressive shot-making on a more consistent basis. The MP-60 will give golfers more control over the game by providing the perfect combination of forgiveness and workability.”
Every manufacturer makes these or similar claims, so what we’re really looking for is what makes Mizuno different – and the answer’s found in the company’s manufacturing process, called ‘Grain Flow Forging.’
“The Cut Muscle Cavity, much like the original Cut Muscle design, is only made possible by our patented Grain Flow Forging process which produces the longest, tightest, most uniform grain structure,” Lyons explained. “This allows us to strategically move weight around the club head that simply wouldn’t be possible with other forging processes.”
Though I’m not exactly sure what the ‘Grain Flow’ process is, and it’s an industry secret to Mizuno, they’re basically able to produce the weight moving benefits because of it.
Weight’s the key element in golf club design these days, with many companies inventing materials of different masses and even movable weights in various clubs – all with the goal of providing the emphasis where it’s needed most, behind your golf ball. The better they’re able to control the distribution, the better they’re able to predict how far the ball will fly, and in what direction.
The fact that Mizuno’s able to do it with a forged club is even more desirable, since better players prefer them, and old-school golfers are comfortable with them as well. Not everyone wants a golf club with a huge head or with weighted inserts. And what used to be accomplished on the home workbench with a little strategically placed lead tape is now being done for you right in the factory – to computer generated specifications you could only dream about.
The fact that they look nice only adds to the MP-60’s charms.
Again, technically speaking, other features in the MP-60’s include a rolled leading edge, cambered mid-sole, and rolled trailing edge to deliver consistent striking ability from all types of lies. Modified U-grooves produce the ideal spin rate for maximum playability in all conditions, and a durable double nickel chrome plated finish for a player preferred look.
Shine ‘em up, and they’re ready for the next round. Get ready for the compliments.
Playing the MP-60’s is an absolute joy. As forgiving as any cavity-backed clubs I’ve ever tried, the sweet spots are large, and the clubs still perform well, even when you mishit the ball. The heads are heavy enough to provide feedback without feeling burdensome to swing, as was the case with some of the older vintage forged clubs.
The heads also glide through the turf nicely, and the bounce on the soles of the clubs is just right – perfect for those short chips and pitches.
Most importantly, the irons produced consistent distances, and there was no period of adjustment to see how far each one would fly. In a world where distance is ‘sexy,’ these clubs are consistent, even though I’ve hit it longer with other iron sets (in other words, check the lofts on each iron and compare with the others).
As with all clubs, I would not purchase a set of Mizuno irons without consulting your local professional for a fitting – or at least for his advice. Forged irons carry with them numerous potential benefits, but they’re also usually more pricey than their cast siblings. These clubs are meant to last a long time, so choose your investments wisely.
Once you buy them, take good care of them – and you’ll see just what it’s like to show off your ‘trophy’ clubs to your playing partners every round.
Mizuno MP-60 Irons
Inquire at your higher-end golf retailers and club pro shops. Available in right and left hand with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 and R300 steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58 Round Grips. Custom combinations are available as well.
Check out more information about Mizuno Golf products at: http://www.mizunousa.com/.
Note: Mizuno has also introduced several other models of irons that merit a look – you can find them on the website.
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest general sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for
|Related Links||Comments on this article?|
Maryland National Golf Club
Hollow Creek Golf Club
Rocky Gap Resort
PB Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville
Whiskey Creek Golf Club
E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor: