What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Mizuno? Irons.
The Japanese company has a reputation of being one of the best brands in golf when it comes to the design and craftsmanship of their irons. So, every time there is a new release I always look forward to seeing what they have come up with.
This year, Mizuno has introduced 3 models of irons in their MP-20 range to replace the previous MP-18, with an added focus on feel thanks to a layer of copper added into the head of each iron. More on that later.
Mizuno irons are known for their precision and looks, but the end product also appears to be pretty good as they seem to be the go-to iron on the tour for players who do not have club contracts. The best example of this is, of course, World Number One Brooks Koepka. His iron play of late hasn't been too bad, right?
What's It All About?
The MP-20 MB irons are pure muscle backs and influenced by Mizuno blades of the past, most notably the iconic TN87 model from way back in 1988.
'Proper' blades like these do not often change much from model to model because, in reality, there is not actually that much that manufacturers can do without negatively affecting the looks or feel. However the MP-20 does feature a couple of new tweaks.
Firstly, there is a soft layer of copper situated behind the chrome nickel face, just as in the TN87 irons, and this gives the new irons their tagline of 'layers of feel'. Mizuno say that this has produced the best impact sensation of any iron they have made.
Looks-wise, I think it would be fair to say that the MP-20 has been refined slightly when compared to the MP-18. The topline is slightly thinner, with a narrower sole that has a little more camber for better turf interaction. Finally, the finish on the clubs has been slightly modified by mixing satin and mirror effects to head for a really smart, shiny chrome look.
These clubs are really aimed at Tour players and elite golfers, as evidenced by the fact that Luke Donald and Paul Casey have thrown these irons into the bag already.
I tested the MP-20 MB irons at The Range in central Manchester, using Foresight's GC2 technology, hitting ten shots with each iron in the Mizuno Mp-20 range and measuring the numbers they produced.
I then took them for a spin outdoors at Sale GC, hitting a number of shots from the fairway, rough, short irons and long irons to check whether they would perform in any of the situations you would get during the course of a normal round of golf.
What was I hoping to find? The middle of the club face, so I didn’t hurt my hands!
In all seriousness, I was hoping to discover that the muscle backs didn’t just look beautiful, but performed beautifully also.
Mizuno MP-20 Irons Review
As I ripped the plastic off in excitement at The Range, the new chrome finish on the head shone in the bright lights like a piece of silverware, adding an extra premium look.
I was fearing the 'butter knife' look upon placing the iron down at address however I didn’t find the fear was there, even despite the fact that this is about as thin as the topline has been on a Mizuno muscle back.
In fact, the overriding feeling I had was actually one of excitement - I couldn't wait to see whether the club was as good as it looked once I started hitting it.
Mizuno MP irons always feel great, and considering the brand has marketed the MP-20 MBs as being all about feel, you'd be surprised if they didn't. Of course, these irons did live up to the hype.
You often hear that new irons 'feel like butter' but in this case it was no exaggeration. The ball didn't feel particularly fast or hot off the face but that didn't matter, because the lovely soft feel was exactly what I was hoping for.
This dispersion from the indoor testing was nothing short of perfection. However “short” is the word I would highlight. My carry of the 8 iron was within two yards every shot, the peak flight was just as consistent but I struggled to get any kind of distance.
I had one shot with the 8 iron which produced 8139rpm backspin, the kind of numbers I'd expect from my wedge. This reflected with an average of 117 yard carry which is similar to my 9 iron. Obviously Mizuno are not building these clubs for distance but if you're someone who doesn't want to give up any yardage with your irons its definitely worth bearing in mind.
On The Course
Playing from wet grass at Sale Golf Club rather than a mat really made a difference in my consistency of strike. There was nowhere to hide through the hitting zone. Not only were the good strikes short the poorer strikes were barely getting to the green, never mind the flag. This is why these clubs are really aimed towards the very best players, as there is very little margin for error.
From the fairway the irons were easy to shape and from the rough the head was solid and didn’t lose accuracy, just a little distance but that's to be expected. I liked the fact that the dispersion was tight though, as it meant that my yardages were predictable and stopped the dangerous 'fliers' which can be card-wreckers.
Mizuno MP-20 Irons Verdict
Very good looking golf clubs, in fact I’ve not seen better. But they take no prisoners at impact. But if you're an elite player who wants something that looks and feels fantastic, the Mizuno MP-20 MBs have to be up there.
Would I Use It?
I loved trying to channel my inner Oli Fisher (the man who shot 59 on the European Tour using Mizuno irons) but after testing the MP-20’s I have to succumb to the fact that I need more help in performance with my irons. My ability to strike an iron is one of the poorer aspects of my game as is the distance that I hit the ball. I feel like I need more speed and distance rather than accuracy and shot making.
These irons suit somebody who wants precision above distance and doesn't struggle with power. I can see elite players possibly using these as part of a combo set and using them for their short irons, along with the MP-20 HMB or MMC irons in the longer irons.
- Sexy looks
- Plenty of feel
- Perfect for power players
- You will not get a flyer/knuckle ball with these
- Lack of distance
- High spin rate
- Very little margin for error