The Japanese golf equipment market is a little world of its own with lots of high end product that does not usually make it away from their shores.
However recently Mizuno has been importing their home grown golf balls and the latest to arrive is the JPX Platinum which definitely fits the typical Japanese product profile.
The 'standard' Mizuno JPX ball was a 3-piece design aimed at the mid-handicapper and the Platinum version also targets this golfer, but with a 5-piece design.
At the centre of this is the Butadiene rubber Cross Core that promises to convert more energy to ball speed without the need for a firmer cover.
The feel of the JPX Platinum is much softer than the JPX on and around the green and the difference is quite stark. Particularly with putting, it seems to sound soft rather than feel soft. Therefore if you can get your head, or maybe your ears, around this then the feel is closer to what you would expect from a premium ball, which given the price, is exactly what this is.
You might therefore be tempted to take the MP-S or MP-X golf ball instead, but then you would be missing out on the JPX micro dimples that form part of the 512 dimple cover.
The micro dimples sit between the macro ones and aim to slow down the descent of the ball as it heads down towards the earth. The high launch, low spin design will therefore favour golfers with a driver swing speed of 90mph or less.
Taking the balls on Skytrak revealed this lower spinning trait with the longer irons and driver combined with the right trajectory delivers more carry distance than the standard JPX ball.
The premium feel is highlighted visually by the gold lettering and the slightly off-white, satin finish to the cover. It is supposed to be anti-glare, but some may view it as 'white with hint of gold'. At least it is distinctive and I could see Auric Goldfinger ordering dozens for his next game with Sir Sean.
The cover durability is about average for a premium ball, as it stands up to general play quite well, but get some new grooves on it and it will scuff up a little.
As usual the JPX Platinum comes in the usual odd Mizuno numbering, ideal for those whose lucky number is 5 or 7 and for the Japanese for whom 4 is unlucky.
The JPX Platinum is more of a distance than a performance ball and therefore the spin is lower than average and I was not getting as much spin on approaches or control on chips around the green as I would from a premium tour ball.
As a ball it is technically pretty good and the contact feel is good even if the sound feel is a little on the soft side. As with a lot of product designed for the Japanese market, the premium price and certain style factors such as the cover colour will probably have a major effect on the purchase decision in both markets.
The JPX Platinum could find the going tough compared to other low spin premium balls in the West, but if you want to stand out with a softer sound then this is a decent ball.