Something happens to golfers when they see a forged muscle back iron, golf’s smallest, least forgiving type of iron that only a small percentage of golfers have the talent to use effectively.
The response is similar to how motorists feel when they see an accident on the freeway. They know that shouldn’t look, that it’s potentially hazardous for them to do so, but they just can’t help themselves.
Mizuno’s new MP-4 irons will take many golfers’ intrigue with muscle back irons a step farther. They have a classic shape and understated graphics that traditionalists will praise, and according to Chuck Couch, vice president of golf product for Mizuno, they feel as good if not better than any iron Mizuno has ever produced.
To say that a golf club has good feel sounds like a subjective statement, because good feel often means something different to different golfers. But Couch said that Mizuno has established a way to quantify feel and improve it scientifically, which is exactly what the company has done with the muscle back MP-4 irons, as well as with its new forged cavity back MP-54 irons.
Mizuno MP-4 Irons
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The first thing most golfers will notice about the MP-4 irons is that they look small at address, and that’s no illusion.
In most iron sets, the blade lengths of the irons get longer as the clubs gets shorter. That’s because of the weight progression of the heads – short irons (which have shorter shaft lengths) have to be heavier than longer irons (which have longer shaft lengths) for the clubs to have a similar balance point, or swing weight.
For example, Mizuno’s previous muscle back iron, the MP-69, had a blade length that grew 1.5 millimeters from the 3 iron (74.5 mm) to pitching wedge (76 mm). That doesn’t sound like a big difference, but for the exacting golfers who tend to play muscleback irons, it’s noticeable.
Above: The “Pure Muscle” on a Mizuno MP-4 model 7 iron.
Instead of increasing blade length, engineers added weight to the MP-4 irons by increasing the size of the muscle pad behind the sweetspot of the irons, which is the reason for the irons’ pronounced bulge, or “Pure Muscle,” in the back. According to Couch, the added mass amplifies the MP-4’s “Harmonic Number,” the frequencies created at impact that golfers equate with feel.
By raising the harmonic number, and tweaking the shape of the muscle pad to ensure that the frequencies have even levels, Couch said engineers can create a more pleasing sound that translates into the “sticky, soft feel” at impact that golfers rave about.
Mizuno MP-54 Irons
If most golfers are honest with themselves, they’ll come to the conclusion that irons like the MP-4 aren’t for them. Couch speculated that not even Luke Donald, Mizuno’s highest-ranked professional golfer, will play the MP-4 irons. He’ll likely stick with the MP-64 irons, which are slightly larger and more forgiving (Click here to read our full review on the MP-64’s).
The MP-64 irons were one of our top-rated irons for 2013, but even for some of Mizuno’s staff players they’re still smaller and less forgiving than they’d like. That’s why Mizuno decided to create the MP-54 irons, which like the MP-4 and MP-64 are forged from 1025E “Pure Select” Carbon Steel to help create the soft, solid feel Mizuno irons are known for. But they’re slightly larger than the MP-64’s, which Couch said allowed engineers to take total advantage of modern iron technology.
The MP-54 irons have longer blade lengths, thicker top lines, more offset and a thicker sole than the MP-64 and MP-4 irons. Their most important characteristic, however, is the 16 grams of weight that Mizuno removes from the cavities of the 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 irons (see photo 1). That discretionary weight was repositioned in areas that give the irons a higher peak trajectory and more forgiveness than Mizuno’s smaller-sized irons.
The MP-54’s 8 iron, 9 iron and pitching wedge do not have the weight removed from the cavity, however, which gives the clubs a flatter, more penetrating trajectory that better golfers prefer with their short irons (see photos 2).
Couch emphasized that the “Step Muscle” design – a.k.a. the hole that’s left in the cavity after milling out 16 grams of weight – does not compromise the feel of the irons.
“We left as much maximum thickness as we could behind the impact area, and use that to drive our feel,” Couch said. “And we used H.I.T. [Harmonic Impact Technology] to make the irons feel amazing.”
The MP-4 and MP-54 irons, which will hit shelves on Sept. 9, come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and will retail for $999.
Both sets have similar lofts – the 6 irons measure 30 degrees, the pitching wedges measure 46 degrees — to allow golfers to mix and match Mizuno iron models for a combo set.
Brian Harman, Patton Kizzire Winning WITBs: 2018 QBE Shootout
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Accra Concept Series X-flex
3-wood: Titleist TS2 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution II 661 S-flex
5-wood: Titliest 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution II 757 S-flex
Hybrid: Titleist 818 H1 (21 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold
Irons: Titleist 718 CB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Wedges: Titleist SM7 (46, 50, 53, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: TaylorMade Spider OS CB
Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (2017)
Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TR 757 X-flex
3-wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 95 X-flex
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Axiv Core X-flex
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 CB (5-6), Titleist 718 MB (7-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist SM7 (48, 52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Onyx X100
Putter: Scotty Cameron Golo Tour
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x (2017)
Bettinardi signs Eddie Pepperell
Eddie Pepperell is a singular quantity in to world of golf, so it’s not surprising that the Englishman has taken a unique route to becoming a Bettinardi staffer.
20 months ago, the two-time European Tour winner walked into Core Golf in Thame, Oxfordshire, and bought four putters, including a Bettinardi Studio Stock No. 8.
Pepperell, who jumped from No. 513 to No. 38 in the OWGR since putting the Bettinardi in play in April 2017, won’t have to pay for his putters any more. He joins the likes Francesco Molinari, Haotong Li, and Matt Kuchar as a Bettinardi staffer, the company announced the today.
“I’ve tried a number of putters and time and again, it’s the one model I keep coming back to.” said Eddie. “Positively I won’t have to buy a Bettinardi putter again, but having bought four putters from Core Golf I’m just hoping I haven’t put them of business as a result!” he added.
Great news @PepperellEddie on signing with @BettinardiGolf @BettinardiUK it was a pleasure building your 4 putters that helped you climb to world no 38! Assume you don't want to pre order your 2019 @BettinardiGolf putter?! ???????????? pic.twitter.com/nogW7K1u0G
— Core Golf UK (@CoreGolfUK) December 5, 2018
It was after Pepperell’s British Masters triumph in October that negotiations to bring him on board began in earnest.
“Once Eddie stayed ahead of a strong field at the British Masters to win his second Tour title of the year with a Bettinardi putter, we decided to reopen negotiations and we’re delighted with the outcome. It means that we now have another top 50 player in the world playing Bettinardi putters…” said Executive Vice President, Sam Bettinardi.
Here are the specs for his Studio Stock No. 8, courtesy of Bettinardi, which also provided the photos below of Pepperell’s putter (pre rust).
A more recent (and rusted shot) below of Pepperell’s putter at The Open.
Miura offers fully assembled custom club e-commerce service
Miura Golf has announced that the company now offers fully assembled custom clubs direct to consumers through its website.
The new e-commerce platform was launched over Thanksgiving weekend, and it allows golfers to build an entire set of clubs custom to their preference. Golfers can choose from 10 different types of irons and custom make their club by choosing between different head, shaft and grip options. As well as the irons, Miura also provides golfers with the opportunity to custom make their driving irons, wedges and putter.
For Miura’s premium club, the MC-501 Chrome (4-iron-PW), customers have the choice between eight different heads, 13 shafts, and 14 grips.
Speaking on the new service, Miura Golf President Hoyt McGarity stated
“We are committed to introducing more golfers to the pure pleasure of hitting a Miura club. With miuragolf.com’s new e-commerce capability, it has never been easier for golfers to have such direct access to Miura products.”
Lawrence Place, CFO, spoke to the target consumer for the fully assembled custom club offerings
“Miuragolf.com is primarily for someone who already knows his/her specs or doesn’t have easy access to an authorized dealer. Our eCommerce offering is not intended to replace a full fitting at an authorized dealer, as we still believe that this is the best way to fit into a set of Miura’s.”
While long-time Miura enthusiasts may be wondering why the company chose this route now, it seems the answer is simple economics: demand.
On that subject, Will Miele, North America Sales Manager, said
“At this point, we wanted to be able to fulfill the demand for consumers who did not have an option to order full built sets of Miura products. So this phase one release gives golfers, who have their specs, the opportunity to go online and place a custom order. We highly recommend golfers seek out Miura dealers in their area through our dealer locator on our website and get properly fit.
“As we develop our website we will be adding features that will help consumers who cannot get to a local dealer a way to narrow down their options for better performance.”
The most expensive custom made iron options begin at $1,960, while the most affordable options start at $1,350. The custom clubs are available now at MiuraGolf.com.
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