Best blades in golf over the last 30 years? Only one company springs to mind and that’s Mizuno.
Japan-based Mizuno are known for their elite players irons used by the likes of Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Luke Donald and Brooks Koepka over the years.
2022 sees them nodding their cap to the history of the brand by reintroducing the retro name Mizuno Pro (2019 models were known as MP) but with their new technology.
The elite players iron comes in three head styles - Mizuno Pro 221, 223, 255 – as well as a Fli-Hi driving iron.
The 221 is said have the looks and styling of an iconic blade of the past, but made more playable due to refinements in shape and weight placement.
The irons have been beveled to give the appearance of a shorter face profile and narrow topline, without losing mass in the upper blade.
The heads are shorter and more compact as the MP20s as Mizuno listened to feedback from top players on what they wanted to see down by the ball.
They feature Mizuno’s shortest CG/shaft axis from 3 iron down to PW, allowing for more shot shaping and better control throughout the bag.
The iron’s copper underlay and Grain Flow Forging, which was so successful in the MP20 range, remains again in the new Pro Series irons and helps to produce that iconic buttery Mizuno feel.
Mizuno Pro 221 Irons Review
Looks and Feel
Mizuno make the best looking irons in golf in my opinion, and the new Pro 221 irons are exactly how I remember old-school blades looking as I was growing up.
The chrome finish is so shiny that I could see my face reflected in it.
The blade length is a little shorter than the MP20 and there has been a little taken away from the back toe section of the head.
This makes the ball look really big at address as it seems to fill most of the face, although the topline is not as thin as you might imagine which helps to make sure it’s not too scary to look down on.
It’s more of a soft rounded head than a real square one like a Titleist blade.
With forged blades like this the head does tend to mark up quite easily so make sure you look after them – no chucking them after a bad shot or clinking them around in your bag!
They say ‘nothing feels like a Mizuno’ for a reason, because their irons are the benchmark and these certainly didn’t disappoint.
The ball interaction with the face sends a sensation up the shaft into your hands. When it’s good, it’s like the club is part of you. When the strike isn’t centred you feel that too.
They are buttery and the ball seems to become part of you before it flies off the face towards its target. You know as soon as you hit a ball where and how it is going to travel, so much so that you can predict the ball flight.
Data and Performance
I ventured out to Stockport GC on a gorgeous winter’s day with no wind and slightly damp conditions. Using Titleist Pro V1x balls and the Flightscope Mevo+ launch monitor, I hit balls both on the practice ground and out on the golf course.
Hitting the 6 iron on the launch monitor, the difference between my good shots (133 yards) and bad shots (125 yards) was only 8 yards but the distances were just so short.
Yes it was the middle of the winter, but 133 yards is still 20 yards down on what I’d really like, although I know that it’s me doing the work with irons like this rather than the club.
They felt unreal off the face and there was a real consistency to the launch (19.4 degrees) and spin numbers (6199 rpm), which were exactly what you’d expect from a bladed 6 iron.
The lofts of these irons are definitely what you’d call traditional, with a 7 iron being 34 degrees and a 5 iron at 27 degrees, and this gives you an idea of why I was down on yardage also.
Hitting the 4 iron from the turf, this certainly takes no prisoners. I hit most of the shots nicely but they just have no real oomph, and I really struggled to generate any distance.
The first two shots felt great and were struck down, but then I looked down at the launch monitor… 142 yards carry. After this I lost a bit of confidence and my final shot was a chunk. I finished the session with mud on my face, quite literally!
I struggled to really launch these irons so I wasn’t able to get the carry distances I needed, and a carry distance in the early 140s with a 4 iron is really nothing to shout home about.
The irons felt great, but then I was really brought right back down to earth with a bump as I looked at the yardage that the ball had flown.
Mizuno Pro 221 Irons Verdict
These are really fantastic looking and feeling blades. Mizuno are the leader in both of these categories, and this continues in the 221 range.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed looking at them and running my hands over the smooth elegant lines. The craftsmanship is extraordinary.
The feedback from the strike was immediate, be it good or bad. Blades have developed over the years to become slightly easier to hit but they still don’t hold any prisoners compared to any other style of iron you’ll try.
In the hands of a ballstriker it’s like watching, feeling and hearing the most beautiful artist but in the wrong hands it’s heartbreaking. You want to hit them well but can’t – I wanted to hit them far but just couldn’t.
With a ball speed of less than 100mph in my 6 iron testing there was no way these were going to work for me. I can’t game a 130 yard 6 iron, they’ll lose me 2 clubs on a good strike never mind a bad one!
Would I Use Them?
I wish, but they’re just too short in distance for me.
Who Are They Aimed At?
Extremely good golfers, tour professionals or plus handicap golfers. You could also combo them with 223 irons and play these at the bottom end of your bag if you need a little more assistance in the long irons.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Mizuno Pro 223 Irons Review
Mizuno Pro 225 Irons Review