|GolfWRX Top Rated|
The MP-5 and MP-25 irons are some of the best-looking, best-feeling irons currently available. With more forgiveness than previous models, they're "must hit" clubs in their categories.
5 out of 5
Pros: At $999, both irons are reasonably priced for their category and can be purchased with a variety of custom shafts and grips for no additional cost. The MP-5 irons are exceptionally forgiving for a blade-style iron. The MP-25’s supply additional forgiveness without sacrificing the soft feel associated with Mizuno’s MP line.
Cons: The MP-5’s are not available for lefties, and are slightly larger than previous Mizuno blade irons.
Who’s it for?: Better players who prefer compact, forged irons. Mizuno says the the MP-5’s will be most effective for golfers with a handicap of 5 or better, and the MP-25 users should have a handicap of 10 or better. We agree.
I don’t typically start with looks when writing reviews, however, the classic simplicity and elegant shaping of Mizuno’s MP-5 are stop-you-in-your-tracks-and-make-you-smile gorgeous. If you’ve seen these irons in person, you know what I mean.
There’s nothing loud or ostentatious about the MP-5’s. In fact, it’s the absence of excessive lines, logos and stamps that give the irons an aesthetic most better players want from a muscle-back iron. Less is almost always more.
The MP-25’s, which have a marginally busier cavity, don’t stray too far from the compact, forged cavity back recipe. They have thin top lines, short blade lengths and minimal offset. Their minimalist design — chrome accents on a satin body — allow the performance and feel of the clubs to, once again, speak for themselves.
People talk about the feel of Mizuno irons the way they talk about the best Italian restaurant in town or their favorite vacation spot. For many, it’s a near religious experience. On purely struck shots, the MP-5’s feel every bit as good (if not marginally better) than my MP-69 and MP-64 irons. For me, “better” is a feeling that approaches nothing. There is no sensation of thin, fat, toe-side or heel-side contact. It’s almost as if the sole of the club quickly enters and exits the turf and the ball just gets in the way.
There’s a concern that Mizuno’s decision to use 1025 Boron, which is stronger and lighter than the company’s 1025 Grain Flow Forged Carbon Steel, in the forging process creates a firmer and thus less pleasing sensation at impact with the MP-25 irons. I can’t say the MP-5 and MP-25 irons feel exactly the same, but to label the MP-25’s as firm or harsh is completely unfounded. If anything, the MP-25’s felt softer and more solid on slight mishits than the MP-5’s. On pured shots, I found no discernible difference in feel. I guess that’s why they call it the sweet spot.
Mizuno engineers use HIT (Harmonic Impact Technology) to fine tune acoustics and vibration at impact. After all, sound is feel and the better the club sounds at impact, ultimately the better it will feel.
What golfer doesn’t want to bag a set of blades like the MP-5? Not many. How many actually should? That is perhaps a different answer. Part of the backdrop to this conversation is the increased forgiveness realized by the channel-back construction that gives the MP-5 all the workability golfers want from a blade, but the forgiveness of a compact, forged cavity back iron like Mizuno’s MP-64.
The MP-5’s are the evolution of Mizuno’s MP-32 “cut muscle” concept, and when compared to traditional blade irons they are certainly easier to hit — especially in the 5, 6 and 7 irons. Better players typically don’t struggle with 8 iron through PW, where the ability to hit the ball on a lower trajectory becomes even more important to attacking tight pins and controlling distances in windy conditions.
That said, the MP-5’s are the least-forgiving iron in Mizuno’s 2016 lineup and each player has to gauge whether the minimal increase in workability is worth the potential loss of distance and direction on mishits. As golfers, we’re hopeless optimists, but in selecting the best set of irons, you have to consider how much frustration you’re willing to endure on days when your ball striking may look less like Henrik Stenson and more like Henrik Ibsen.
The MP-25’s are somewhat larger in every respect, but for the better player they may be the more logical choice. In testing, there’s absolutely no shot a competitive amateur/professional golfer needs to hit that the MP-25’s can’t deliver. For me, they offered all of the workability and feel I need out of an iron and with a little extra forgiveness to boot.
I’m not sure if the forgiveness I enjoyed from the MP-25 irons was due to the 1025 Boron construction, or in the 3-6 irons, the combination of boron and a hidden CNC milled Micro-Slot behind the club face, which is said to add additional ball speed and forgiveness. I didn’t really see a “distance boost” with the long irons, but I will say that I was impressed with the MP-25’s ability to create consistent distance gaps and launch slightly higher than previous models.
Turf interaction with both clubs is sublime, however, the MP-25’s had less of a tendency to dig on slightly steeper swings. If you play in softer conditions and your typical mishit is fat, the MP-25’s are the better option.
The numbers: MP-25 vs. MP-5 irons
I hit 10 shots with each club and threw out the lowest/highest and any other anomalies, and here’s what I got. All clubs were tested with KBS C-Taper Stiff shafts at +0.25 inches over Mizuno standard and shots were measured on a Flightscope X2 launch monitor.
Based on the numbers, the MP-25 irons launched a little higher, spun slightly more and carried farther than the MP-5 irons, but the performance differences were minute. If you have it narrowed down to one of these two irons, both the devil and your decision may very well be in the details.
Using my set of MP-64’s as a barometer, the MP-5 short irons mirrored trajectory and flight of the MP-5’s, whereas the MP-5 long irons were a bit more challenging to hit consistently. That said, when struck well the MP-5 long irons didn’t want to reach the same apex as my MP-64’s. Given this reality, I can see a lot of players who want the control and trajectory of the MP-5’s using these as the top half (7-PW) of a combo set. The MP-25’s are easier to launch, especially in the long irons, which make them an ideal match for a combo set or for the player who wants a little more forgiveness across the board.
The MP-5 and MP-25 are both stellar irons, in part because they each offer something new: a channel-back construction in the MP-5 irons, and 1025 Boron construction in the MP-25 irons.
What will probably be more important for interested golfers is the blend of new and old. Yes, the MP-5 and MP-25 are more forgiving than their predecessors, but they still look and feel very much like Mizuno’s most celebrated irons from the past. For that reason, they’re must hits.