Mizuno are known for making quality, classic, soft-feeling irons and the MP-54s tick all those boxes and more.
The MP-54s look like a modern day blade with compact, stylish looks, but they offer a good degree of forgiveness for low single figure handicap players.
More and more players are moving away from the classic-blade style, muscleback iron. Therefore the MP-54s will be suited to a wider range of players than previous MP irons.
Mizuno are marketing the MP-54s with the tagline "Time to step up your shotmaking." Whilst this relates the Step Muscle Design, it is clear this is the key MP iron for Mizuno in 2014 and anyone from scratch to low double-digit handicaps could benefit from the MP-54s.
At address the irons have an attractive chrome finish to a head that is slightly longer than the MP-4 blades. Subtly, the profile of the head is quite large, especially in the shorter iron, and offers plenty of confidence at address that the MP-54s will offer a little bit of help on off-centre strikes.
The topline may appear thin at address, but clever bevelling from Mizuno has created this look. Mizuno's craftsmen have added a matte-finish to the topline, which means
that the chrome-finished, bevelled area behind the topline is barely
visible at address. What this does is create a more forgiving iron with a
profile that is still very much "better-player." A great example of the level of detail and craftsmanship Mizuno value in their MP irons.
Right through the set the MP-54s offer just enough forgiveness from the compact head. The perimeter weighting and progressive muscle design send the ball on a higher flight than most might expect and prevents any "stingy hands" from off-centre hits.
The cavity in the back of the head is there to offer forgiveness and decreases in size as you down through the set from 3 to 7 irons and then it is closed up from 8 irons to PW. The irons below are from the left PW, 7 and 4 iron.
The pocket cavity of the 3 to 7 irons is not visible at address but really adds to the stability. The 4mm slot behind the clubface may appear small, but works to both create a faster, higher-launching iron whilst also saving weight that Mizuno could use to move the centre of gravity even lower and deeper.
Whilst some might expect a light, springy feel from the slot, that is not the case. The extra muscle/mass behind the face produces a thick, soft feel consistent with an MP iron, with a noticeable increase in distance. The long irons especially seemed to fly off the face.
The 8 to PW do not feature a slot and have a closed cavity that makes them look and behave a bit more like blades. With the closed cavity design on these irons, the feel is simply great and offers a really solid sound and feel into the greens.
The forgiveness of the short irons wasn't dramatically noticeable, but they did offer a little bit more workability.
The real secret behind the MP-54s will go largely unnoticed by most who try them. The performance is impressive and each club glides through the turf very naturally regardless of whether the lie it tight or lush.
Why is this? Answer: the grind.
Similar to the JPX-825 Pro iron shown below on the left, you can see below the way the MP-54 grind is beveled away from the face. Better-players and low handicappers tend to attack the ball from a slightly different area than high-handicappers, therefore the MP-54's sole has been shaped and grinded appropriately.
It is very subtle, but the rear of the sole (away from the face) also has some added bevel or relief. This smooth sole design cuts through the turf without slowing the club down or digging excessively.
If you are someone who likes to "trap" the ball and take a divot, you will marvel at your new divot patterns with the MP-54s. It is the type of subtle adjustment Mizuno make that sets them apart from many irons in the lower-handicap market.
We see the Mizuno MP-54s as the iron to beat in this segment. Mizuno say that this is the most forgiving iron of their MP range but for us this is the one all players should go for.
Better players who prefer blades will find the MP-54s offer them all the workability they need with just that extra level of forgiveness. They will be able to launch their longer irons higher, whilst the sole grind caters to those knocked-down, worked shots.
Similarly, aspiring golfers who want to "step up" will also enjoy the MP-54s. They are not overly compact at address and whilst the topline appears thin, as we said above, it quietly offers the help these players need.