Mizuno's Pro 223 irons are an elite players cavity which replace the MP20 MMC and offer a security blanket for the serious ball strikers out there.
In other words, they are for golfers who are good enough to strike blades but want a little more forgiveness without sacrificing any feel.
It's the 'why not' iron for the elite golfer, as in why not make life that bit easier for yourself?
This is a line I took from Jordan Spieth when he put the new Titleist T100 irons into play last summer, choosing the cavity back rather than a true blade used by his good friend Justin Thomas. Spieth led the PGA Tour in iron play for a considerable chunk of the 2020-21 season, if they're good enough for him then they should be good enough for you too.
Nobody strikes it well 100% of the time, and any misses are bound to be a little better with these irons compared to with blades.
The Mizuno Pro 223 is the biggest step forward for the brand in all of the Mizuno Pro irons, as they've basically managed to shrink the technologies from the JPX921 Forged irons into the profile of a smaller players cavity.
The 4-7 irons combine Chromoly Forging and Flow Micro-Slot to produce higher ball speeds whilst retaining the sleek profile. The irons deliver a face thickness of just 2.4mm which help towards producing these speed, and this is a reduction from the 2.6mm seen in the JPX921 Forged.
From 8-PW, the Pro 223s are constructed from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon Steel for ultimate precision and control.
They also still have the gorgeous Grain Flow Forged construction in Hiroshima with a soft copper underlay for that pure, soft Mizuno feel at impact.
Mizuno says that the Pro 223 were sized specifically to appeal to tour players, where looks are the first hurdle to overcome for any new iron.
The 223 is smaller than the previous MP20 MMC, particularly in the scoring irons, to suit the demands of these tour players.
Mizuno Pro 223 Irons Review
Looks and Feel
The irons have a compact head shape with little to no offset, but they are slightly bigger than the 221 irons in the sole. They have a brushed satin finish which is incredibly smart, and that little bit of muscle of the bottom of the head gives you a little bit more confidence than a pure blade.
The most significant bits of technology for these irons feature in the longer iron. The micro-slot in the cavity provides a lower centre of gravity and more spring to help increase launch.
This is the biggest different in looks between the 223 and the MP20 MMC.
The Mizuno logo has been moved to the centre of the club head, whilst the Mizuno Pro is written on the toe - a throwback to Mizuno irons of the past.
The irons feel stunning in the hitting zone, and you simply can't help yourself saying "oooh that feels nice, I like these".
You can certainly feel a difference compared to the 221 irons, they feel more stable through the hitting zone. The face doesn't turn as much as you hit the ball, and my bad shots were better than the bad shots with the 221s.
Data and Performance
On a beautiful sunny and mild December day, I visited Stockport Golf Club with a practice bag full of Titleist Pro V1x’s and a Flightscope Mevo Plus launch monitor.
6 irons from the mat:
The first ball I struck was pushed a little bit right, but it still went 5 yards longer in the air than the same swing I put on the 221 iron, which was a positive and reinforced the benefit of this iron - that your bad shots won't be quite as bad.
I then got into a lovely rhythm with these clubs and the consistency of my shots really improved, with launch, spin and carry numbers staying really tight throughout my testing.
The downside was the yardage, as an average of 134 yards carry with a 6 iron is nothing to write home about. But I never really expected anything distance-wise from these irons, it was all about feel and getting a little more forgiveness, which I definitely did.
These irons were a definite step up from the 221 irons - the spin rates were lower and I started to see a ball speed creeping over 100mph.
4 irons from the turf:
It was December in the UK, the lies were wet but not terrible, however I didn’t perform too well with these. Moving into the long irons I struggled, which is a theme to my game.
The spin rate was good at an average of 5404 rpm, but a carry distance of just 145 yards once again highlighted the lack of strength in these irons.
They weren’t really hard to hit, but they just felt soft off the face - basically you need to generate the distance yourself so if you don't have much, they may not be for you.
Mizuno Pro 223 Irons Verdict
As a short iron, the Pro 223 is right up my street but the true lofts (5 iron is 25 degrees) meant that I just couldn't get a lot out of them.
However these irons aren't really aimed at me, they are aimed at players who crunch the ball and are scared of hitting it too far with those knuckle ball shots.
These are the type of players who are capable of working the ball both ways and flush it out of the centre consistently, with ball speeds of over 120mph with their 6 iron.
Mizuno is as good as it gets when it comes to looks and feel, they are the irons that many golfers aspire to play, and many manufacturers try to keep up with.
The Mizuno Pro 223 Irons have not disappointed. Once again the craftsmanship is amazing and it is matched by the feel. If you put these in your bag it'll say 'player' next to your name on the start sheet at your club.
Who Are They Aimed At?
A very good ball striker. You want to be somebody that hits their 6 iron at least 170 yards carry to be able to play these, and you need to be able to do this all the time, not just every now and them.
You could also combo these with Mizuno Pro 221s or 225s, but if you are buying these you need to look after them. They’re £180 per iron (for comparison, the TaylorMade P7MC are £185) but will last you a decade with some TLC.
Would I Use Them?
From a good lie I was fine and dandy, from anything else I struggled. So it's a no from me. I am a good golfer but not a good enough ball striker as I don't generate enough speed for these irons.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Mizuno Pro 221 Irons Review
Mizuno Pro 225 Irons Review