The balance between tradition and technology, forgiveness without sacrifice, has been at the heart of the creation of the Mizuno MP-15 irons.
These are clubs for the better player, or stronger ball strikers as the company term them, as even good players need the forgiveness made available by today's technology.
The challenge to Mizuno is to parcel that technology into a club that looks and performs like a tour iron should - with all the feel and shot making capability for which the MP range is famed.
There aren't many better iron ball strikers in the world than Mizuno Staff player Luke Donald, and the evolution of Mizuno iron design to the new MP-15 has been driven by the need for a club that incorporates the companies Ti Muscle technology, but meets the exacting demands of elite players.
Mizuno Senior Engineer Chris Voshall explains:
The statistics show that Luke played very well with the MP-59's. But although he won tournaments - he never quite sync'd with the feel off the clubface. When Luke moved onto the MP-64's we knew we had to find a model that gave the best of both worlds. The challenge from then was to refine the feel of the Ti Muscle - without losing the extra stability it gave from off-centre strikes.
Sounds simple in theory, but if it was that easy everybody would be able to achieve this level of performance and forgiveness in a classic looking club.
To get these results - a classic MP Iron with compact clean lines that enhances both feel and workability - Mizuno created a process that allowed them to directly forge the Titanium Muscle insert directly into the steel framework of the iron.
Voshall explains what this means in construction terms:
The MP-15 is a club that doesn't have any welding, no adhesive to hold the titanium in place, we utilise the contraction of titanium versus the contraction of steel to actually forge the titanium directly into the head and as the steel cools it mechanically locks the titanium in place.
The Ti Muscle weighs just 10 grams but replaces 38 grams of steel, weight which can then be shifted to the perimeter of the club to provide the forgiveness of a cavity backed iron. Mizuno say that the new technology gives the iron 10% greater forgiveness than the MP-64 irons.
The familiar Mizuno feel is maintained with the now familiar Grain Flow Forged process using 1025E steel billet so players used to hitting MP irons experience the same outstanding precision as previous models.
The shaping of the MP-15's is based on the classic profiling of the MP-64 and as the technology is to create off centre stability rather than an aid to launch the trajectory from the MP-15's is comparable to Mizuno's traditional tour irons.
Donald certainly seems to agree:
This is a club that appeals to me. The centre of gravity on the smaller ones is a little bit lower so you can control trajectory very well but it also has a good solid feel, there is a lot of mass behind it and you can get a great strike.
The MP-15's feature a reverse length head flow with the scoring irons having a shorter blade length than the more forgiving long irons and Mizuno's Tour Proven sole grind provides a high quality turf interaction from a subtle relief and a rounded leading and trailing edge.
Tetsuya Kanayam, Senior R&D Manager at Mizuno, sums up what Mizuno have achieved with the MP-15.
The MP-15 blends the best elements of two great tour irons - the MP-59 and MP-64. A really compact tour player type iron, but with stability from off centre strikes. Even good players need forgiveness when it's packaged correctly.