Blades, musclebacks, butterknifes, whatever you call them, Mizuno do them well. The latest Mizuno MP-4 irons are a classic, better-player iron in the purest sense.
Everything to do with the MP-4s is geared towards giving the game's better players the look and performance they want. They are pure, clean, sharp and simple. But weren't they always?
Many golfers may question what is new with MP-4s, but Mizuno say that whilst they look simple and traditional, they are packed with tweaks and technology to offer the highest levels of feel and workability.
The first thing you notice about the MP-4s are the looks. The traditional, muscleback design begs you to pick it up and take a closer look. Mizuno's "Running Bird" logo is positioned front and centre and the high-polished chrome finish reflects like a mirror.
As a design, they are a work of art. Simple, pure, classy and strong.
Whilst you might say the looks haven't really changed since the MP-33 irons came out more than ten years ago, subtle changes and tweaks have been made to keep up with the times.
Mizuno actually design their new irons starting with a basic resin model. This model is then given to Mizuno's legendary craftsmen who make tweaks by eye, trimming edges, grinding lines and refining the looks and profile.
So what's new in the MP-4?
The muscleback has been altered to increase the peak of the design, similar to the shape of the MP-64 (shown below), giving you more mass behind the middle of the face. Combine that with a thinner top-line and you have an iron that is designed to offer longer, improved feel with a solid, strong impact.
That's the design, but how did they perform and feel?
Mizuno say the MP-4s are designed for "golf purists" who like to work their ball. Whilst the purity of my game is debatable, I do like to shape shots.
Golfers in general, and even Tour players, are moving away from blades and looking down on the MP-4s for the first time, you can see why. The topline line looks wafer thin at address and whilst the Double Nickel Chrome finish looks great, I needed a deep breath before I started hitting shots.
But as any better player will tell you, hit one shot pure and you're sold.
The feel of the MP-4s is incredibly soft. The short irons came off with a delicate, buttery feel that sends a clear message through my hands, offering feedback on just how good or clean each swing was.
I expected a low, strong penetrating flight, but was surprised that the MP-4s actually launched high, throughout the set. The lack of help or depth in the head design did make them a joy to shape. Knock-down shots and slight draws and fades felt great. You could hit every shot blindfolded and know precisely how far it went and with what shape. That is the feel the MP-4s offer.
Putting the 4-iron behind the ball took some effort mind you. I think the word "wow" came out when I saw just how compact and thin it looked at address. But once again, give the MP-4s a little trust and you're rewarded with a strong feel and sound at impact that will make you immediately want to try it again.
Don't get me wrong, these irons certainly do not do the work for you. Much like a manual rally car compared to an automatic SUV, they demand the player knows what he is doing and rewards a good swing with a pure shot.
The thin sole doesn't skid or glide through the turf as easily as the MP-54s or easier-to-hit irons. Come into the ball a little early, or a touch late, and you'll know. Whilst the ball did fly high in general, these are certainly not a forgiving iron.
Overall, the irons were a joy to hit. From 7-iron to PW, I was ready to put them straight into my bag, however the longer irons are intimidatingly compact and thin at address. The performance is there throughout the set, and the looks are classically Mizuno.
Mizuno designed the MP-4s for golf purists and elite players and neither will be disappointed. At around £120 per club, they won't be on the radar for many golfers, but if you find the middle of the face on the majority of your shots, you need to give them a try.