The MP-14, MP-29, MP-33, MP-32; all classics and hall-of-famers for better player irons. The recent MP-62? Another staggeringly good iron so what expectations do we have of the new player’s irons and wedges from Mizuno; the MP-63 and the MP T-11.
Mizuno have always emphasised that they only release new clubs when they have something better than the previous version. The design goal of the MP-63 was to take the profile attributes of the MP-62 which were so successful on the world’s tours and create an improvement in both feel and versatility. The MP-63’s added a 360° grind, as previously seen on the MP T-10 wedges, and featured a reverse flow in head size.The 360° grind on the trailing edge for precise turf interaction that delivers shot versatility. They also sport Mizuno’s first ever ‘reverse flow’ within the set which simply means the 63’s longer irons are larger than the very compact short irons. Ensuring the balance of forgiveness and precision as well as answering one of the few criticisms of Mizuno irons.
The MP-63 was so well received by Luke Donald that he said he was considering putting them straight in the bag. You might think that if they were that good he would have actually put them straight in but hold on here, he said this just before the Ryder Cup. If you are acknowledged as one of the best iron players in the world, the chance of you changing your sticks at a whim is pretty small and the chance you even considered doing that just before the greatest golf event in the world indicates that the MP-63’s are pretty special.
The MP T-11 wedges are another little gem of a wedge from Mizuno. The MP-R and MP-T series showed everyone that Mizuno could make some great wedges but the recent MP-Tt10 was at another level completely. The first Mizzy club to sport the 360° grind, it played superbly from any lie and had more spin than any previous Mizuno wedge with the introduction of the Quad-cut grooves. The MP T-11 sees the new “Condition of Competition” conforming grooves – in fact 2 versions across different lofts – a new slightly altered head shape and a milled face.
On the MP-63’s, the small face and double nickel chrome finish are classic Mizuno. No busy graphics or inserts here – just simple forged beauty. The diamond muscle is more apparent in the shorter irons since they are higher up but even the long irons you can see the weight of the clubhead behind the ball. At address, it looks like a blade but continues to carry the torch of the cavity-blade with just that smaller head with the minimal hint of offset.
One of the very few criticisms of the MP-62 was the head size of the shorter irons. This has been addressed with the MP-63 and at appearance they are nigh on perfect: just the right toe height, the right offset and the flow from hosel to face is elegance itself.
The MP T-11 has 2 options for the finish, the black nickel finish or a two-tone finish – the face and sole of this finish is satin but the back is gleaming chrome so certainly a little different from the normal but it’s a gorgeous club whatever the loft.
Possibly more than any other manufacture, Mizuno have spent the greatest time and effort on the science of feel. How vibration, pitch, volume, frequency and modal analysis affect come together in what Mizuno call Harmonic Impact Technology. As seen in the adverts, flushing one out of the middle results in the most glorious sound; the club is a musical instrument and you are conducting a symphony with this one. This sound along with the trademark buttery feel from the grain-flow forging of the 1025E carbon steel mean that, as always, the feel is unrivalled. Miss-hits on the heel and toe are very well dealt with and with the new diamond muscle, miss-hits high on the face are dealt with far better than the MP-62’s.
The MP T-11 also have the wonderful feel you expect, especially on partial shots where you can really dial in the distance based on how the ball leaves the club face. This is in part due to the fact that the face is slightly thicker than standard wedges which gives a much more solid feel.
The looks and feel of a blade with the forgiveness of a cavity back – that is the holy grail of better player irons and the MP-63 does not disappoint..
The sole grind deals equally well with either firm or soft conditions. The latter might be a bit of a surpass considering the new 360 grind that removes some of the back but the triple camber sole plays either well with diggers or pickers and just seems to make the head just so playable. Because of this you can be confident addressing the ball in almost any lie. Accuracy and distance are at your fingertips but it’s obvious that it’s the better player that would be able to get the most out of these irons.
The MP T-11 wedges have the new conforming versions of the Quad Cut grooves but there are two versions: the 56-64 degree versions have a wider shallower version to provide maximum grip on partial hits or when the face is laid open while the 50-54 degree have a narrower, deeper groove more suited to full shots. This makes perfect sense and is an excellent solution to the reduction of spin levels with the new grooves.
Testing has seen the first clubs with conforming grooves produce the same amount of spin when hitting full shots from perfect lies but a 10% drop when hitting the same shot from a wet lie. The Quad Cut grooves seem to be the next generation of conforming grooves. While they do not appear to provide the same amount of spin from heavy rough, they are practically indistinguishable from dry and wet lies and lighter rough on full shots and only release a little more on greenside shots where you can really make the awesome sole grind work for you.
Well, what can you say? How good are they really? The previous generation MP-62’s were stupendous irons. At the time I said that the MP-62 was 10-15% better than I expected and I expected them to be seriously good. I might be difficult to believe but the MP-63 are just that little bit better: the same level of performance and feel with better looking short irons, more forgiveness on miss-hits higher on the face and an improved sole grind. Irons like the MP-63 have practically made blades redundant with the combination of performance, forgiveness and stunning good looks. The MP T-11’s demonstrate that golfing technology does not stand still and that the new groove rule has made very little difference.
Two of the finest clubs available on the market.