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Few things in golf can mimic the clean, sparkling aesthetic of a straight muscle blade. Mizuno has long been recognized as a true market leader in the leaf irons category. Both amateurs and professionals agree, there is something special about Mizuno ironwork. Case and point? Mizuno pays very few players to use their products on tour, but you see them in the pockets of professional players around the world (cough, Brooks Koepka, cough cough). The latest line of Mizuno MP-20 irons continues that tradition of excellence.
The new MP-20 series includes 3 models:
MP-20 MB (Traditional Muscle Back Blade), MP-20 MMC (Multi-Material Concept), MP-20 HMB (Hot Metal Blade)
I have been putting golfers in the MP-20 line
for several months now and I believe they offer a unique proposal for more experienced ball attackers. In this review I will look at each model and how I think it will fit in every golfer's bag.
Why Mizuno has been a leader in the iron category for decades
Here are some critical components for Mizuno's long-term success in the iron industry:
Ultra High Quality Materials: Mizuno is known to spend top dollar on the materials they use to forge their golf clubs. 1025E Pure Select Steel (used in all 3 models) and Chromoly (in the HMB) are no exception. The Mizuno engineers have completely buried the molecular structure to ensure that their materials are the softest and strongest available for club building.
Tireless attention to detail: Mizuno artisans in Hiroshima use a process called Grain Flow, High Density (HD) Forging to construct the MP-20 club heads. The Japanese facility has been making clubs for Mizuno for 30 years. That is precisely the type of tenure and attention to detail that will yield unparalleled results.
Impeccable Standards: There is no such thing as the Mizuno product & # 39; Tour Issue & # 39 ;. If a club leaves the Mizuno factory, it's good enough for you, for me or for Brooks Koepka. Mizuno has one set of tolerances; clubs are either good enough to be called Mizuno, or they never see a golf course. Simple and impressive.
A look at the famous Mizuno production facility in Hiroshima, Japan
The New Hotness: Mizuno MP-20 HMB
The all-new Hot Metal Blade or Hollow Muscle Back (both names are embraced by Mizuno), is definitely the star attraction in the MP-20 line.
Designed for higher launch, improved stability and increased ball speed, the Mizuno MP-20 HMB
is something new in the forged iron category of Mizuno; Here's how they have delivered.
Forge the face (after all it is a Mizuno) but do this with Chromoly (a metal alloy) to increase the strength. This ensures a thinner, faster face.
Hollow out the body between the Chromoly and the steel chassis of the club to maximize ball speed
Use tungsten weights deep in the heel and toe to increase the initial launch and dramatically increase the MOI (moment of inertia) and forgiveness.
Cover the cup with copper to ensure that the buttery, soft Mizuno feeling remains intact.
The idea behind the HMB offering is to deliver a hybrid-like launch and forgiveness with the look and feel of a Mizuno knife. Although this larger version of the MP-20 is not suitable for everyone, it will undoubtedly appeal to fans of both counterfeit and forgiving irons. The appearance of the MP-20 HMB is remarkably larger than a traditional blade.
Despite a thicker top line, the minimal offset and just-rounded toe are still desirable for perhaps an aging player who can benefit from a higher launch and more forgiving set.
Hollow irons are not new, but Mizuno did something else
Hollow iron heads are still relatively new on the market. The HMB is preceded by irons such as the TaylorMade P790, Titleist TMB, Ping i500 and PXG & # 39; s.
But the science of creating ball speed through a thinner, unsupported "trampoline" face is far from perfect. Although I have only fitted the Mizuno MP-20 HMB for a few months, I have seen a much more balanced set of ball speed and spin figures compared to the results of TaylorMade P790. The problem with P790 and PXG irons is that the ball does not turn enough. In addition, the faces hide a few "hot spots" that sometimes lead to jumps of 10 or even 15 meters in the distance with seemingly random strikes. No experienced player wants to make an iron 170-meter juice when he tries to hit 155.
Along the same lines I have had low ball hitters or players with lower club head speed struggling to stop even the middle irons in these sets with few turns. For some players we can use a high launch / rotating shaft to reduce the problem, but not everyone likes the feel of those softer, tipped iron shafts. The MP-20 HMB irons have shown higher launch and spin numbers than P790, making it perhaps not as long but more consistent when it comes to distance and braking power. If you are looking for consistency and forgiveness in a counterfeit package and you have sufficient ball speed, MP-20 HMB might be for you.
A pinch of this + a dash thereof = MP-20 MMC
Admittedly, I was not a big fan of the original 2018 version of the Mizuno MP-20 MMC
(multi-material concept) club. But in the second generation, I believe that the MP-20 MMC is now one of the most important parts of the Mizuno iron family. A refined forging process seamlessly integrates titanium into the 1025 Pure Select Steel chassis. Add a tungsten weight for a higher MOI, a copper underlay for an even better feeling and you have the chemical formula for an excellent iron.
These are real materials that we have seen in club designs before. What makes the MMC unique is that they have placed the tungsten not too far from the face to prevent a too high launch. Instead, they used it to increase circumference weighting, centering the sweet spot on scoring lines and improving stability in off-center strikes.
When placing highly skilled players I am often forced to go into an iron simply because other models were launched too high in the air. (I did this myself with my Titleist 714 MB & # 39; s). The MP-20 MMC gives me access to a tool that can deliver that penetrating launch without sacrificing the forgiveness that so many players need.
That said, the MMC is still the iron of a player, which I generally recommend to explore only small to medium sized handicappers.
Muscle Up with the MP-20 MB Blade
How much technology can you really apply if you take a single piece of steel and stamp it into a traditional knife design? Mizuno gave it a shot with the MP-20 MB
This is what they did:
Start easily, use the best available materials. Mizuno is known for the use of higher quality steel than almost everyone in the industry. I don't know much about steel, but apparently 1025E is Pure Select top.
Center the sweet spot. You may have heard the saying that the old spot of the old blades was slightly in the heel of the face. This was true. The center of gravity of a knife is influenced by the weight of the hoop, so that the purest point of impact pulls a tug towards the heel. To correct this, Mizuno covered the muscle weight to the toe and blended the look nicely with the rest of the club. The sweetest of the sweet spots in the MP-20 MB is right in the middle of the scoring lines.
Who says that old-fashioned knives cannot be progressive? Mizuno moves the CG somewhat through the MP-20 MB that is set to launch the shorter irons slightly lower and the longer irons slightly higher. It is not something that you will probably notice aesthetically, but it is a feature that you will enjoy if you ignore a wedge or an iron in a raised green.
Don't stray from your roots. Mizuno has long been known for making soft, beautiful, editable knives. The MP-20 is no exception. High handicappers remain clear, players only in this model.
Mixing Up Up: The Ideal Blend for Your Game
If you follow players on the big tours, you have probably noticed that there are many blendset sets in play nowadays. In addition to replacing long irons with hybrids, players are now replacing long or even medium-sized irons with a more forgiving and / or higher launch head. The tricky part of doing this as a fitter is navigating through the ever-changing "standard" lofts in which iron sets are offered.
Mizuno has done an excellent job of keeping lofts fairly consistent throughout their various sets. This makes mixing the straight knife, the MMC and the HMB sets virtually seamless. Do you want more control and a cleaner look in the short irons? 8-PW in MP-20 MB knife. A little more help in 5-7 without sacrificing the appearance of the knife? MMC works perfectly. Do you want to finish things with a higher launch and more stable / forgiving long irons? 3 & 4 iron HMB & # 39; s give you confidence in large par 3 & # 39; s, make long iron approaches more consistent and have you ready to split the fairway into tight holes.
Here is a video from Mizuno engineer Chris Voshall that explains how to mix a set of MP-20 & # 39; s:
Final thoughts about the Mizuno MP-20 Irons
Mizuno has done a fantastic job assembling the MP-20 iron line-up. And since all good cakes need a healthy amount of ice cream, they offer dozens of shafts and handles on at no extra cost . Although the irons are not cheap (and should not be with the quality of materials and research you purchase), Mizuno promises to get you in the shaft and grip that fits your game at no extra cost.
As a club fitter, I can vouch for the fact that this is a very rare offer. So go to an installer and try the MP-20
line, you won't regret it.
About the Author
Greg Gibson is a Staff Golf Professional, certified club fitter, instructor and trackman specialist at the golf headquarters in Louisville, KY. In addition to various Assistant Pro positions, Greg has served as Head of Golf Professional, Director of Golf and General Manager of Shelbyville Country Club. He did the program design and the instructions for The First Tee Chapters from Fort Wayne, Valparaiso and Louisville. Greg lives in Shelbyville, KY, with his wife and four children.