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Nike releases Tiger Woods prototype driver

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Have you always wanted to use the same driver as Tiger Woods? Now you can.

On June 1, Nike will release a limited-edition Vapor Speed driver designed to Woods’ preferences, which include a smaller head (420 cc) and a bonded hosel. The driver also has a slightly different Compression Channel that was developed based on feedback from Woods, Nike says, and has more subdued crown graphics than Nike’s other Vapor drivers.

For comparison, here’s a graphic of Nike’s original Vapor Speed driver:

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.31.01 PM

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Tiger’s prototype driver in the forums.

Based on the photos, the only difference between Tiger’s actual driver and Nike’s limited-edition replica is the Volt-colored “TW” logo on the heel.

The limited-edition driver ($399) is offered with 10.5 degrees of loft and a Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana Blue 73-gram shaft — available in Stiff and X-Flex. It’s available on Nike’s website starting June 1, and will be sold through select retailers starting June 15.

Woods has been been playing the Vapor Speed prototype driver since the 2014 Hero World Challenge. According to Nike, Tiger likes more forgiving drivers, but prefers a pear-shaped head that allows him to shape the ball off the tee.

Related: Tiger Woods WITB 2015

The buried lead? Golfers now have two options if they wish play a compact, pear-shaped Nike driver inspired by the eye of Tiger Woods:

  1. The more forgiving Vapor Speed Prototype
  2. The lower-spinning, more adjustable Vapor Flex

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Tiger’s prototype driver in the forums.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. shelb

    Jun 9, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Lay off the guy!

    If I recall…
    Fowler MC
    Day MC
    Schwartzel MC
    Every (tour winner this year) MC
    Gary Woodland MC
    Ernie Els MC
    Tommy Fleetwood MC

    He had a brutal 3rd round…so what?

    The driver looks awesome

  2. gvogel

    Jun 7, 2015 at 10:54 am

    85.

  3. Pat M

    Jun 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

    If I buy this – will I slice it into the trees, snap hook it or block it like Tiger? The dude could not make it on the web.com tour the way he is playing.

  4. Shakers97

    May 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    When they say he likes to shape shots I assume they mean a snap hook into the crowd?

  5. TW

    May 29, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Never have and never will be a Tiger fan but I love this idea. There is a small demand for sub 460cc drivers. If Nike missed anything here I think they should’ve continued to use the adjustable hosel because most amateurs still need the options. People are trashing the club cause it has Tigers specs. well on the day that one of the critics on this board has a driver designed and produced for retail then they can joke about missed fairways. Ill even go as far to say there isn’t a single person on here including me that would hit more fairways than Woods on tour set-up. I don’t like the guy but this club is a nice change from big 445-460cc drivers.

  6. christian

    May 29, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I actually like the look of this driver. Nice pear shape, clean crown. Quality shaft too. What’s not to like?

    • Js

      May 31, 2015 at 10:06 am

      There’s no adjustability and the price is about $50 too much, but other than that I don’t see an issue either.

  7. Billy__Baroo

    May 29, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Geez…I was definitely anticipating some poorly crafted jokes about Tiger missing fairways and what not, but you people have really outdone yourselves. Regardless, I think it’s a great looking driver shape wise, and now without the ugly swoosh on the crown I would love to give it a swing!

  8. Mark

    May 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    The club will be bought by gear heads with a collecting fettish or those with too much spare cash and too little sense.
    After ( is it? ) 15+ years, Nike has still to be accepted as a serious club manufacturer, failing in its objective, by a huge margin, to dominate in our sport as had been the result of their more successful plans for soccer and athletics.
    Now where can one find ‘serious clubs for serious golfers?’

    • christian

      May 29, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Too much spare cash? This club costs 400 dollars. It’s positively cheap for a special edition/limited club. There are MANY drivers that cost a LOT more. I actually like the look of this club, and the spec seems pretty suitable for me too. Are you commenting on GolfWRX of all places about a 400 dollar driver being expensive? Wrooooong place

  9. J.R.

    May 28, 2015 at 9:58 am

    So who’s gonna buy the Tiger Bang! Stick?
    Hits 50% of fairways and has a 2-way miss… Also has a disclaimer “May cause First Tee Jitters. Some side effects may include blurting out obscenities. In some cases players recovery abilities have skyrocketed. Use at your own risk.”

    https://vid.me/e/ZaNP

  10. Mike honcho

    May 28, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Hey mhendon do you have to comment on everyone else’s business on this website

    • MHendon

      May 28, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Nope

      • Mike honcho

        May 29, 2015 at 10:21 pm

        ???????????????????????????? that’s a pretty good comeback

      • Mike honcho

        May 29, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        That was supposed to b the laughing emoji

        • MHendon

          May 31, 2015 at 12:46 am

          Yeah well I was going to go with the response you probably expected. Like this is a public forum and if these people didn’t want their business responded to then they should keep it to themselves. That I’m only exercising my 1st amendment rights by offering my opinions to what they had said by hitting that little reply button at the bottom of each comment. And if you don’t want me responding to something you commented on then don’t say anything stupid because I usually only make sarcastic responses to ignorant statements. But then again I decided no I’ll just go with Nope! How’s that is that better? 😉

          • Truth

            Jun 1, 2015 at 8:09 pm

            You seem to be the person in real life that everyone hates but you dont know it cuz you never shut up and if you do no one ever says anything cuz they know if they say anything even just yeah youll just talk for another hour. You seem to do a lot of talking at and not talking to people. At least youll never really know everyone dislikes you and you can continue to think you have a lot of friends.

            • MHendon

              Jun 3, 2015 at 12:35 am

              lol awe that was mean!

              • Leslie Chow

                Jun 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm

                Mean but True.

                • MHendon

                  Jun 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

                  Hey my old buddy Leslie. How’s it going Bro? We need to get together some time and play a round. I’m always looking for another chumps money to take! lol

  11. MLH

    May 28, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I meant to say TW equipment being made available.

  12. MLH

    May 28, 2015 at 7:01 am

    The Nike Vapor Pro is a great driver. Hit my longest drive this year which was 283 (270 carry and…in the garden of the hole) and for a guy in his mid 40’s…I can play that anywhere. So enough with the Nike equipment isn’t quality…that’s 100% pure rubbish considering the raw materials are the same company to company. As for TW, he’s always had difficulty off the tee. Ah, he has 79 wins and 14 majors (so before pointing the finger I have a question for you. How many do you have?). Finally, in regard to TW being made available to the public, wonderful. It can only benefit the game, which seriously is in need of financial support so kudos to TW for helping grow the sport.

  13. Matt

    May 28, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Only 10.5

    We want the Tiger 8.5

    • christian

      May 29, 2015 at 9:51 am

      From what I understand his actual loft IS 10-10.5 degrees..His head has been bent open, the 8.5 on the head is not the actual loft. This has been cleared up many times over.

  14. JuNiOR

    May 28, 2015 at 1:51 am

    Does anyone else see similarity’s to his old 970 Titleist 3 wood from the top?

  15. Pat M

    May 27, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Tiger barely is making the cut at tournaments. Maybe they should launch a club from Rory instead of a now journeyman golfer.

    • John Krug

      May 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Rory just shot 80, again!

    • Steve

      May 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      They did, I think this is a response to the Rory limited edition putter they sold awhile back.

  16. KenN

    May 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I can’t blame Tiger for trying everything he can, including forging some new equipment. If it works for him, it’ll be the hottest club in the market. If he continues to miss cuts or finish in the bottom half of the weekenders, he’ll inevitably be seen as an aging, injury-plagued star whose best days are behind him and will never reach the heights of a decade ago. Oh. I mean he’ll still be seen that way.

    How many of us have told ourselves that if we just had a new driver, our games would take off? Granted, none of us are not Tiger Woods, but nobody points to one club in the bag and credits it for making their career for them.

  17. MHendon

    May 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I Think it’s a great looking driver from every angle and could care less who’s name is attached to it. Only thing is, no way am I spending $400 on a club I can’t demo first and make sure it’s a good fit for me.

  18. cdvilla

    May 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Essentially they’ve made him a flat 3-wood. Probably not a bad idea. He can just keep hitting down on it and probably chase it out there around 300. I really like the TM Aeroburner Minidriver and this is just that with a little less loft. This club would kill your game if you’re a handicap golfer.

    • MHendon

      May 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      It’s 420cc not only is that bigger than the TM Aeroburner it’s way bigger than any 3 wood. Some of the stupid comments people make on here!

  19. BigC

    May 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Rory’s; MAYBE………Tiger’s; NOT!!

  20. Mr.Smith

    May 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Tiger is a joke! How dumb making a driver with specs off a players club who couldn’t win a nationwide tour event. Give the tard a 975D with a steel shaft and he may find a fairway!

  21. Paul

    May 27, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Why would anyone want Tiger’s driver? He can’t hit it for toffee to so how can we?

    And, a 420cc head? Tiger, seriously, you need to go bigger. Maybe then you’ll be able to hit it!

    • MHendon

      May 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Yeah for sure, god know’s those additional 40cc make all the difference between hitting a fairway and not. lol

  22. JillC

    May 27, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Actually, it has a built-in block to the right free of charge! Also included in the price is a paint job that won’t chip when significant others smash cars with it.

    • Tony

      May 27, 2015 at 10:08 am

      I’ve always been surprised that Tiger has access to Nike r&cd and somehow they can’t make him a super straight driver… Maybe this is it? Or will he abandoned it like he did his new shoe line for 2015!!!

      • Bill

        May 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        Do you really think that R&D can make a driver he can hit straight? If the club face isn’t square at impact it’s going to miss the fairway. It’s not the club

        • MHendon

          May 27, 2015 at 5:26 pm

          Wait just one minute there Bill… are you suggesting its the Indian and not the arrow? Hmmmm

  23. SCAR

    May 27, 2015 at 9:52 am

    GET IN THE HOLE !!!!
    The big one full of sand.
    Only joking, ya gotta love Tiger….
    especially if you’re a waitress.
    He’s been great for the game….
    There’s way more new Golf jokes.

  24. Chad

    May 27, 2015 at 9:48 am

    So this driver is considered to be more forgiving then the Flex? How? I have the flex and absolutely love it. Both appear to be very similar in size and shape. So how exactly is this driver more forgiving than the Flex?

  25. Bar

    May 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Why dont they bring out a Nike version of the 975d .

    • MHendon

      May 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      So you want them to come out with an even smaller headed driver. People are already acting like 420cc isn’t forgiving enough on hear.

  26. Regis

    May 27, 2015 at 9:35 am

    I personally would be equally served by getting a Jack Nicklaus commemorative Mac Gregor driver with a persimmon head and steel shaft. I guarantee it wouldn’t fit my swing any worse than the Nike and it would grab more attention when on the tee.

  27. Steve

    May 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Maybe five years to late? Lets sell the Tigers driver, the one he has never won with and has taken him to 156 in OGWR.

  28. Jonny B

    May 27, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Is the snap hook included with purchase or is that extra?

  29. Jeff

    May 27, 2015 at 1:19 am

    It’s still a pretty sweet driver. Everyone wants the one Rory hit in the majors last year. I think it’s sweet, Vapors in general are great clubs.

    • MHendon

      May 27, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Vapors, R15’s, 915’s, G30’s, Biocells, Alpha etc. are all great clubs. It just come’s down to what suits the individual. It’s comical how so many people have loyalties to certain brands just because their favorite player uses that equipment. But all these jokers prove to companies like Taylor made, Callaway, and Nike specifically that the marketing dollars are worth it.

  30. MRC

    May 27, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Why would anyone want a TW driver? I drive it bad enough….

  31. BOB

    May 26, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Knowing Nike, it’s not a real replica.

  32. JR

    May 26, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    As soon as I saw this story, I knew what the comments would be. Thanks for not disappointing.

  33. Gorden

    May 26, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Got to wonder why you would spend money pushing a driver that has not proved a valuable tool for one of the best players in history? It reminds me of Wilson ending John Daly’s contract and killing it’s golf program for years, Nike has made a big mistake here. I am still waiting for Woods to put a steel shaft back in a 43 inch driver and take over the fairways again.

  34. Mike

    May 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Does it cheat on its girlfriend too?

  35. Greg

    May 26, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    the top view looks exactly like the top of my Ignite 410 driver!

  36. Jeez Utz

    May 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    So if I buy this driver does that mean that I’ll never hit another fairway

    • joon

      May 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      hahahaha

    • AZ Golfman

      May 26, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      wow, how quickly you forget his 14 majors and 79 wins.

      • Michael

        May 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm

        no not forgotten, he is one of the best ever def best to ever watch but until he starts driving the ball well i would go on advertising a drivers with a selling point that this is tigers. the alst 2 years he is amatuer like when it comes to driving the ball. i hope he figures it out cuase off the tee is whats killing his game.

        • Regis

          May 27, 2015 at 9:39 am

          Problem with that is that Tiger was playing Titleist at that time. Not sure the marketing department at Nike would sign off on it.

    • MHendon

      May 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      No but your swing will.

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Equipment

Mizuno T20 wedges: Let’s get spinning

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Spin.

We’re always trying to reduce it with our driver and increase it with our wedges for maximum control, but with the rules of golf being so strict, how do actually achieve a performance gain? Simple engineering…

This is the Mizuno T20 wedge.

It’s been a few years since we have seen a T (teardrop) wedge from our friends at Mizuno, and there is good reason.

Let’ get into a quick history lesson: before the JPX900 series was introduced, Mizuno had quietly been realigning the product cycles of the MP and JPX lines. You might remember back a few years ago now before the MP18s hit the scene that there was a bit of a lull in the MP line—so much, in fact, there was even a thread here on GolfWRX asking “Is Mizuno not making MP irons anymore?”

It was a naturally curious question to a company that always had very standardized release cycles, but it was a long-term play that has paid off tremendously. We now get “T” wedges with MP irons (MP20s to be exact), and we should (from everything I know) continue to see “S” Silhouette (more rounded profile) wedges with future JPX lines.

Before we get to what’s new, how about we first talk about what will be staying the same

  • Grain Flow Forged HD – like all new Mizuno irons, the T20s are made using the same forging process to increase the density of the material in the clubhead for an improved solid feel.
  • Boron – this little element when added to the 1025e mild carbon steel used in the wedges (we’re talking trace amounts equating to 3ppm – parts per million) increases the strength of the material by 30 percent—how crazy is that for chemistry? This improves groove life and has ZERO effect on club feel.
  • Variable Width & Depth Quad Cut Grooves – Like previous T and S wedges, the T20s will have quad cut grooves that will vary in shape based on the loft of the club. Lower lofted wedges are more narrow and deeper, while higher lofted wedges are wider and more shallow since impact happens at lower speeds this increases spin consistency.
  • Same beautiful Teardrop profile from address

So what’s new?

Flow. Just like the MP20s, engineers are bringing more a more extreme CG (center of gravity) shifting philosophy, or as Mizuno explains it, increased vertical moment of inertia to the wedges. As much as you (well maybe not “you,” depending on who you are) might think “a wedge is just a wedge” and loft is the only deciding factor for spin, you couldn’t be further from the truth. By relocating the CG throughout the set and changing the sweet spot height, engineers can further alter the launch and spin precisely for each loft.

It’s about gear effect—the higher you hit above the CG the less spin the ball with have, and the closer to or lower you make impact compared to the CG the more spin you will create. Either way these are wedges, so a 50 degree, for example, is still going to spin, but it is now more controllable (think less likely to ballon or get too high on full shots). On the other side of the equation, a 60-degree wedge will allow for even MORE trajectory and spin control for the low flying quick checkers with zip.

Now about that spin.

By the Rules of Golf, you can’t make grooves sharper, you can’t increase their volume, and you can only have so much surface roughness (sorry but that old Spin Doctor wedge is HIGHLY NON-conforming). So what do you do? You change the way you think about that surface roughness…

Hydroflow Micro Grooves

Instead of traditional laser etching parallel to the grooves, Mizuno engineers took a concept from the high-performance tire world and went perpendicular to the grooves and parallel to the direction the ball moves up the face to channel moisture away. This directional tread has proven to increase spin on shots especially in conditions with moisture up to 1,200 RPM (on a 60-yard shot), that’s a very tangible number. It’s not just about spin either: the more the friction that can be created also means more control on launch angle and less of a “floating” ball flight. That’s how those low zippers keep zippin’!

Don’t think for a second that Mizuno just changed the etching and was done with it. The process went through multiple iterations to figure out how they could improve its life (beyond the boron) and the solution was to etch before the chroming process to elongate the lifespan. The other groovy take for the T20s is the actual reconfiguration of the grooves. To get the bottom groove closer to the leading edge without having it disorient the overall look of the club and making it appear that the heel or toe is thinner on one side. The lowest groove has been shortened and centered.

All of these refinements; CG, micro-grooves, and reconfigured scoring lines add up to one thing: more control and improved shotmaking with your wedges.

Finishes, specs, and grinds

The wishes of many have been answered when it comes to the T20s, there will be a RAW finish (happy dance time) along with traditional chrome and the signature blue ion. Leftys will only be able to get chrome, but all the same options will be available as far as lofts and grinds.

Coming in lofts from 46-60 degrees, the grind options progress depending on the loft and bounce. Going from full-soled in the lower lofts to more aggressive back edge, and heel-toe relief in the 60 degree. These sole shapes came directly from Mizuno’s craftsman that worked with players and prototypes to determine exactly how the bounce and sole shapes should work in harmony.

All of this has come together to create Mizuno’s finest wedge to date.

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Equipment

Mizuno MP-20: Layers of feel

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“Mizuno Feel”

It is part of the golf vernacular. It’s ingrained in golf (nerd) culture—it’s a real thing.

But where does it comes from, how did it get here, and what is it really?

I’m here to give you some answers and introduce you to MP-20 family of irons from Mizuno.

Born from tradition, and the idea of creating the ultimate set of irons for every player, the MP-20 family is the next series of MP irons that will connect golfers to the “Mizuno Feel.” Speaking to tradition, and something I touched on when these were originally teased on social channels with #LayersOfFeel, Mizuno is going back in time to the TN-87s and reintroducing a copper underlay to their irons—all of them! (Before someone tries to correct me: yes, I realize that they have done this for more recent Japan market models )

What does this copper layer mean? Here’s the funny thing, even Mizuno has had a hard time trying to quantify it. Through multiple rounds of extensive blind prototype testing with all of their staff players, the irons with a copper underlay won on feel EVERY SINGLE TIME!  How’s that for dominance?

But why? They are truly still trying to 100 percent figure that out. Mizuno has used its HIT (Harmonic Impact Technology), metallurgy analysis, and every test it can to try and figure out why. Engineers even went as far as trying to prove the hypothesis the copper underlay “feel” was based on nostalgia but time and time again Cu won in blind testing. At the end day, the human element was still the deciding factor because humans are the ones that ultimately hit shots.

This brings us to the flagship MP-20 (Blade) (The Ultimate Tour Blade as described by Mizuno’s Product Manager & Engineer Chris Voshall). Evolving from the tradition built into the MP-18, and taking design cues from historic models like the TN 87 and MP14, the MP20s provide more flow throughout the set from top to bottom leading to even more control over ball flight. This flow also increases forgiveness (please remember it’s still a blade) and launch in the longer irons, with an increased ability to flight the ball in the scoring clubs… all of this AND a thinner top line.

Now about that top line: it’s an extremely important part of the look of the club but, what many don’t realize is it also plays a big role in feel and acoustics too. Let’s simplify for a moment: think of a clubhead like hunk of metal—a cube—now when you hit that thick piece of metal on something it doesn’t reverberate much and when it does, it’s at a different frequency making it sound heavy and “thuddy,” or as some would say, SOLID.

Now imagine if that same piece of metal, same mass was stretched out like a saw blade. Have you ever hit something with the side of a large saw blade? It’s wobbly, loud, and generally unpleasant, that’s what happens when an unsupported part of a club gets too thin, it acts like an amplifier of bad sound, creating terrible feel. By blending a small channel (think MP5) with the classic looks of yesteryear you get a club that feels and performs like no Mizuno before it, and as I said, with a thinner look from address.

What’s all this talk of “Flow”?

Center of gravity and mass placement (or as a Mizuno Engineer explained to me “Vertical Moment of Inertia”). Since each club is designed individually, you need the center of gravity to shift throughout the set to help control launch/trajectory (or “traj” as the kids say), and make sure spin is also at an optimal level.

For the MP-20, it means long irons that are “easier” to hit (air quotes, because like I said before, it’s still a blade), and short irons that can be more easily flighted lower with greater spin and control. Just like with the MP-18s, Mizuno is keeping with the continuous reduced blade length into the short irons for a look preferred by better players and for improved grass and turf interaction.

But What About the Rest?

You might have noticed off the top I called it the “MP-20 Family.” Here’s why: In golf, like with any other industry, data is important. But it’s only as good as you use it and well…let’s just say Mizuno has been paying close attention to how golfers and fitters have been making combo sets over the last few years. It’s all about understanding what golfers really need and thanks to some proprietary data they went even deeper when it comes to designing each and every iron in this family to make sure its performance is maximized. This is why I continue to emphasize how each set has a flow, it to make sure each club in your bag is just right for you. Now to introduce you to the rest of the family members…

Mizuno MP20 MMC (Multi-Material Construction)

I know, you think you’ve heard this story before but…NOT LIKE THIS!

The new MP-20 MMC is a BIG shift in design, not just because of the Cu underlay, but a radical change in how the whole part is put together. I know it sounds very “big biz,” but in the world of manufacturing it truly comes down to how “parts” are manufactured. Now, with Mizuno, I will reiterate a well-known story. All of its forged irons are single-sourced from one foundry (Chuo) in Japan through a handshake agreement that has been in place for decades.

Now back to the MMC. Before the MP-20 the MMC always had one tiny design difficulty (not a bad one, just a truth) and that was the titanium piece in the back was the same size throughout the whole set. This lead to a set with almost constant sole width. That doesn’t mean previous generations were constructed poorly, but it just means there were improvements that could be made to how the set flowed (there’s that word again) from top to bottom…which leads us to the tech story.

For the first time in the MMC’d life, the titanium piece of the iron will actually vary in mass depending on the club. It will be broken up in the middle of the set to allow better CG placement, and like its blade cousin, improved turf interaction in the shorter irons.

What is also very cool from a build and engineering perspective is the way the titanium gets into the club in the first place. Here we go down a metallurgy rabbit hole, buckle up…

  • Titanium has a mass density (rounded) of 4.5 g/cm3 – cubed
  • Carbon steel has a mass density of (rounded) 7.9 g/cm3 – cubed

That means that from every cubed cm of steel volume you replace with titanium in the head, you save 3.4g… which might not seem like much, but in a 4-iron for example that has an average mass of 248g for (4) cm3 you save 13.6g or just over five percent. I realize this is DEEP into the mass property weeds, but when you think of what a club head weights and how every half percentage point matters, five percent is a lot! That’s more forgiveness, more MOI, more spin control, and overall better performance.

What is also very cool is all of these parts (titanium and tungsten) have ZERO chemical bond—no epoxy. They all fit snug based on the shrinkage rates of the different materials. Ti & W( tungsten – W comes from the ore Wolframite) shrinks less than the steel so as the steel cools around the titanium and tungsten pieces it creates a mechanical (solid) bond.

All of this together adds up to an iron that looks smaller than the previous version, offers more “flow” in CG, something we mentioned earlier that creates more forgiveness and control throughout the set, and at the end of the day it means a better-engineered version than the one before it.

Truth Break for a moment…

Let me make one thing clear, new sets are AWESOME! We are, and always will be, attracted to the latest and greatest but the player should still get fit and find out what works best. New will and should inevitably be better but the cost-benefit analysis should always be at the end of the day up to the individual golfer to decide and figure out what will end up in the bag to help lower scores.

The Hot Metal Mizuno MP-20 HMB

look AT THIS!!!

YES…you read that correctly. Mizuno is bringing Hot Metal tech to the MP line!

A hollow body blade looking iron using the same strong yet highly flexible Chromoloy material as the 919 Hot Metals except this time forged to create an iron like they never have before. The look and shape of a blade the speed of a Hot Metal.

Let’s break things down.

The look is clean as clean can be, from there the face of the HMB is thin and fast, while hidden inside the back of the club is complex geometry for both acoustics and precisely positioning mass. These will be the replacement for the MMC Fli-His but unlike that set, only going to the 6-iron, the new HMB will go all the way to the pitching wedge.

What is also different for the HMB vs. the MMC Fli-Hi is the way tungsten is used in the head to create different impact dynamics. The Fli-Hi had all the tungsten (20g worth) in one place in the head (low and towards the toe). The CG was still located right in the middle but through in-depth testing some players found that the Fli-Hi was a more difficult club to turn over and draw.

To improve the workability of the new HMB, the Tungsten was split into two 12g pieces (four more grams than previous Fli-Hi) and positioned into precisely formed pockets on the heel and toe in the back of the club. This allows the unsupported face to flex and makes the club more workable while still maintaining all the forgiveness you would expect from a hollow body iron built for speed. Seriously who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Since the new HMB is a full set and not just long irons, there is more to the tech story… here is comes… better flow and CG positioning throughout the set. This is hugely important for the mid and short irons where loft is already going to create spin so controlling ball flight and traj on approach shots is vital for scoring better.

This is again where the MP-20 Family discussion comes into play. Mizuno knows they are going to sell a lot more HMB long irons vs. blade and MMC long irons, so the entire family is designed holistically for every player to find each and every head that optimizes them on the course.

The Full Package

Like with previous generations going back almost a decade, Mizuno is keeping its industry-leading matrix of shaft and grip options available at NO upcharge. BUT… based on the growing demand for more exotic options the newly expanded shaft line up will include a few shafts that will come with a slight upcharge.

Whatever you end up being fit for, it’s important to realize that there has never been family of Mizuno irons designed like this, which could also mean you could be bringing home some new family members soon.

 

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Equipment

Callaway Epic Forged irons: Premium speed in a forged body

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With the release of the original Epic irons, Callaway did something they had never done before—build an iron that oozed ball speed and hid a lot of tech in a mid-sized package. Now imagine all that technology and greater speed in a more refined shape with a forged body…that is the all-new Epic Forged.

Built with the idea of offering speed and shotmaking in one package, the Epic Forged achieves all of that thanks to tech that is being used for the first time in a forged iron. The most notable being the Suspended Tungsten Core—which is comprised of the densest form of this heavy element. The issue with using this almost pure form of Tungsten is that it’s extremely hard to work with when using conventional construction methods. But Callaway defies convention and is using the patented Urethane Microspheres in the Suspended Tungsten core of the Epic Forged to precisely position mass creating the ideal center of gravity. This promotes controlled launch and spin, while allowing the face to flex as needed to create maximum ball speeds.

So what good is all this speed if you can’t control it?

Variable Face Thickness: Sure this tech isn’t new, it dates back to the above Hawkeye VFT driver (that was a great driver in its day), but if the Epic Flash driver has taught us anything, it’s that by looking beyond convention you can find new ways to utilize known technology. Built into the 360 Cup Face, the newly designed VFT pattern helps players achieve even more consistent ball speed and spin rates club to club. The reason this is so important: Callaway knows even average golfers want a club they can hit controlled shots with. A 7-iron isn’t any good if you’re not confident in the hitting the shot you want to.

Don’t think that we’re done talking about what these have under the hood just yet…

Since the Epic Forged irons go all the way into a sand wedge, there were some design decisions to be made to on how to make sure the scoring and recovery clubs still offer forgiveness but with even greater consistency and feel, Starting at the approach wedge and going to the sand wedge (the set goes PW, AW, GW, SW), instead of using the 17-4 SS cup face, Callaway engineers are using a forged faceplate to compliment the forged body. Inside of these still-hollow wedges, they are using a resistance welding technique to precisely locate a MIM (metal injection molded) Tungsten weight to achieve superior trajectory control.

The last piece to the puzzle.

A club will always be the sum of its parts and Callaway is pulling out all the stops with the Epic Star Forged set and the components that will accompany this technology package. The stock options will include Aerotech Steelfiber FC (flight control) and Mitsubishi Chemical’s  Tensei AV Silver shaft to optimize feel and control.  The other upgrade is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align Silver Grips (Align grips offer a textured raised rib on the bottom of the grip to help the golfer place their hands in the same position over and over again). All of these pieces come together to create a premium iron from Callaway.

The Epic Forged will be available at retail starting August 2nd. 4-SW. Retail price of $300 per iron.

 

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