Bigger is better.
That is the idea behind the JPX EZ hybrid. Mizuno increased the head size to make the club more appealing to players to use off the tee as well as the fairway or rough.
Evidently, it was appealing to former world number one Luke Donald. He put a 127cc, 16-degree JPX EZ in play late last year and won almost immediately after, at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan. Here's his comments after the win:
The EZ hybrid is something I've added to the bag to make the long approaches more consistent and something I can rely on under pressure.
Whilst Donald is without doubt more of a 'MP' player than a 'JPX' player, it shows just how appealing the latest range of Mizuno woods and hybrids are.
Remove the new black and orange-coloured headcover and you immediately see the size of the hybrid. In terms of measured volume, the JPX EZ is just 6% larger than the previous JPX 825 hybrid, but the footprint and shape appear even larger. Whilst many modern hybrids are moving towards more compact, iron-like designs, the JPX EZ offers something else.
Mizuno's designer Chris Voshall told me:
The footprint itself and head shape appear larger than the head volume, to give players that confidence at address.
That look at address appeared closer to a long-nosed fairway wood than a typical hybrid and, whilst it has a lot of edging and bevelling, the leading edge remains attractively-straight behind the ball.
There is very little, if any, offset, and no high-contrast or ugly alignment aids or shapes. The matte-black finish of the crown sits quietly, smoothly and unassumingly behind the ball.
The JPX EZ gets its tee-shot performance from a new, deeper Hot Metal face. The thin face, along with a internal sole weight, help create a club that gets the ball quickly into the air with a higher launch than some may expect.
I wasn't over-awed by the feel and distance of the JPX EZ hybrid, but it was consistent and didn't favour a right-to-left flight as much as many hybrids seem to these days. Compared to the JPX EZ fairway wood and JPX EZ driver, the feel was a little dull off the face and it felt a little harder work also, with low-face strikes suffering in distance and height.
When hit along the JPX 825 model, both were very close in terms of distance, however the JPX EZ did seem to fly a touch higher when struck well, ideal for long second shots into greens.
I don't tend to drive with hybrids very often, worried that they will launch to high with the added help from the tee. However, I have to say the JPX EZ did look good behind the ball on the tee, stronger than a smaller, driving-iron-style hybrid. It did fly very high, which might be a worry if you play in windy conditions, but rest assured the JPX EZ is great for hitting into long par-3s.
Many golfers are put off by the modern shape of hybrids, but the Mizuno JPX EZ is more like a hybrid of a fairway wood and hybrid than a fairway wood and an iron, so if you are one of those golfers it may be time to join the party.
Overall, I think the JPX EZ has a wide appeal. Although the feel and distance didn't differ greatly from its predecessor, the looks are fantastic and the high ball flight performance will help players looking for a replacement for their longer irons.
Mizuno offer four different clubheads ranging from 16 to 25 degrees, so if your 2, 3, 4 or 5 iron is causing you stress, and you fancy a slightly higher ball flight, then I would recommend you at least consider the JPX EZ.