They say that 'nothing feels like a Mizuno', but does that extend to putters too? Well, the Japanese equipment experts are back from a 7 year hiatus with an eye catching new offering of flat sticks - the M-Craft line.
As we've come to learn over the years, Mizuno don't just create golf clubs for the sake of it and so these putters have gone straight in at the premium end of the market, with typically classy looks and some interesting technology to help you hole more putts.
We all know that their irons are as good as any manufacturer on the planet, but can their revamped putter lineup follow suit and compete with the 'big boys'?
What's It All About?
The new M-Craft putters are forged from a premium 1025 mild carbon steel, which is then CNC milled for more precise shaping and alignment. Deep milling on the face is said to help to contribute towards softer feel and better roll too.
The putters weigh in at 355 grams, but this is where there interesting bits comes in... Mizuno also give you an additional weight kit where two 3 gram weights or two 13 gram weights can be interchanged with the standard 8 gram weights in the sole, allowing you to adjust the weight in the head of your putter to suit the conditions.
Earlier this year we were impressed by the adjustable length technology in the Ping Heppler putter range, so perhaps 'do it yourself' putter alterations are the next trend in the golf equipment world...
There are three different finishes available - White Satin, Blue Ion or Black Iron - and you also get a very smart 'Patch M.Craft' headcover too which goes some way to justifying the fairly hefty £249 price tag.
The Mizuno M-Craft putter range is comprised of three different models, two blades and one mallet head, each suited to different golfers' preferences and putting strokes:
M-Craft One Putter
Square back with mid slant neck. With max toe-hang, suited to an exaggerated putting arc.
M-Craft Two Putter
Classic heel-toe with plumber's neck. With mid toe-hang, matching a moderate putting arc.
M-Craft Three Putter
Face balanced mid-mallet. Stability for golfers with less putting arc.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on all three in order to assess the whole range and perhaps indicate whether you should be adding them to your list to test, the next time you look to upgrade the most-used club in the bag.
Forged from premium 1025 mild carbon steel, then CNC milled to create the most precise shape and alignment. With three initial classic shapes in three striking finishes and additional weight kit to adjust to a variety of putting conditions.
Mizuno M-Craft Putters Review
First off, I have to say that I think these putters look absolutely fantastic. Back in February, when first wrote about the new range in this news article, I was surprised to learn that these putters were priced at £249, each.
I think it's quite a risky move for Mizuno, who aren't known for their putters, to put themselves in the middle of a very competitive market against the likes of TaylorMade and Odyssey's most popular models.
However there's no doubting that these putters look and feel premium as soon as you see them in person, and I suppose in some ways that's typical of the brand. When was the last time you saw an 'ugly' Mizuno iron, for example?
The Black Ion finish looked smart initially but it did seem to mark up easily with smears, which may get a little annoying if you're fussy about that kind of thing. You're going to want to keep cleaning or it'll end up looking a bit like a poor attempt at washing your car...
These putters do not feature an insert, which may automatically put some golfers off. Although, there is a milled pattern across the face which results in a firmer feel than you may perhaps be used to, with a relatively muffled sound.
I also felt that this produced a slightly dead feel off the face which I was a little disappointed by.
Mizuno irons are famed for their feel so I was hoping for a nice soft impact off the putter face, but initially it was quite hard to get that instant feedback that a face insert would give you as soon as you strike the putt.
I recently tested the new TaylorMade Spider S Putter and the addition of the Pure Roll insert in that model meant that there was a far more satisfying sound and feel from this than the Mizuno's milled face.
During my testing I felt that the mallet (M-Craft Three), did feel a little better than the two blades, perhaps because bigger head shapes like this do typically produce slightly more of a duller feel and so it seemed to suit the shaping a little more.
I also found that the mallet gave a little extra forgiveness on the longer putts due to slightly higher MOI, without getting too big and looking like some kind of spaceship-imitation down by the ball.
This 'dead' feel meant that I found pace control was a little difficult to gauge initially - my miss was short of the hole rather than running out to the hole and past it. If this really becomes an issue you could look at the weight kits in order to give your putter a little more oomph (more on this shortly...)
Across all three putters, the alignment could've been improved a little with a line on the topline of the putter rather than just on the back side.
However I know that this is just preference and so it may not bother you, but I think having that line right next to the ball (particularly if you draw a line on your ball) can really help with making sure you have that putter face square and in line with the ball at address.
I enjoyed using the classic Lamkin cord grip, which strikes just the right balance in thickness for me. It was thin enough that I could retain some feel throughout the stroke whilst also being thick enough to stop my hands from getting too involved in the stroke.
As mentioned earlier, the putters come pre-fitted with two eight gram weights in the sole, and there is the option to add 3 gram or 13 gram alternatives thanks to a neat little kit and key.
This is a nice feature if you want to tinker and let your club head feel a little heavier or lighter. It may also be something to consider depending on the greens you normally play on. In the summer when the surfaces are running fast, a lighter putter weight may help with your touch - but this is something you'll have to test for yourself.
Mizuno M-Craft Putters Verdict
There's a lot to like about these putters. Three really good shapes, they look fantastic, and there's a couple of interesting ideas for technology which can help golfers customise to suit their game.
But I think Mizuno has put itself in a tough position for its return to the putter market because straight away they are up against the likes of TaylorMade Spider or Odyssey Stroke Lab Putters. Golfers are going to have to really be won over by the M-Craft range if they are going to move away from those market-leading brands in favour of these.
The brand says that these putters are "forged to deliver precision in shape and alignment" and it's hard to disagree with that. I just wish there was a little more of that famous Mizuno feel and these would really be a contender for among the best on the market.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Mizuno Irons Reviews
Mizuno T20 Wedge Review
Ping Heppler Putters Review