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10 Things You Need to Know About Ping’s i200 Irons

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When Ping released its iBlade irons, our review called them “intelligent blades,” a fitting description of an iron that was designed to look and feel like a blade, but offer more forgiveness.

The Ping i200 irons are again blurring the line of blade and cavity-back irons. They’re made to have the forgiveness of cavity-backs, but deliver the clean looks and workability you’d expect from more compact irons. They’re so well rounded, in fact, that Ping expects 20-40 percent of its staffers will put the i200s in play in 2017, including Lee Westwood and Brooke Henderson… and many more Tour players will have them in play as part of a combo set.

The Phoenix-based company also has a few tricks up its sleeve with this release, including a “secret-menu option” for those who need a little boost.

Ping’s i200 irons (3-9, PW, UW) are available for pre-order today, and will sell for $135 with steel shafts ($150 with graphite shafts). Here are 10 things you need to know about them.

1) Workable AND Forgiving

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How is it possible that an iron built for forgiveness can still be workable? Isn’t it impossible to both produce more side spin AND eliminate side spin at the same time? Not exactly. Marty Jertson, Senior Design Engineer at Ping explains:

“Think of iBlades as a sports car and [Ping’s] G or Gmax irons as luxury sedan,” Jertson says. “iBlades are more workable because you have more control over the face alignment and how the face returns to impact. The reduced torque pressure makes it easier for you to turn the face, but they still increase inertia around the center of gravity CG, making it the Holy Grail of blade irons… workable AND forgiving.”

Ping uses the same concept in its i200 irons, only to a lesser extent than the iBlades. While their compact head shape and thin top rails allow the golfer to manipulate the face as it moves through space, the physics of the iron’s design mean higher inertia around the center of gravity.

So if iBlades are intelligent blades, Ping’s i200 irons could be considered the sports cars of cavity backs.

2) “Smoosh Central”

You’ll notice a familiar look with i200 irons… something similar to Ping’s S55s irons, which have garnered a cult-like following.

Golfers liked Ping’s S55 irons because of their clean looks and sneaky forgiveness, according to Jertson, so Ping engineers wanted to maintain aspects of the S55 design while enhancing feel with the i200s.

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The i200 irons, made from 431 stainless steel, have a soft feel that makes it seem like the ball stays on the face longer; or as Jertson calls it, “smoosh central.” That’s due to the materials and new construction.

Ping’s i200 irons have a thicker top portion of the face and a thinner lower portion, helping drop the center of gravity (CG) for a higher launch. It also gives the irons more ball speed on shots hit low on the club face, where most players tend to contact their iron shots. The i200 irons also have longer CTPs (custom tuning ports). They’re made from elastomer and have been moved closer to the face in the i200 design, helping provide golfers a squishy, yet powerful feel.

Overall, the club faces have a thickness of about 0.68 millimeters, which is about half the thickness of the S55 irons, according to Ping. That leads to both more ball speed off the face and more moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of ball speed retention in mishits.

3) A New Look, Down to the Details

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The i200s are designed with straighter leading edges in the long irons (3-7 irons) and thinner top rails on the short irons (6-PW) than their i predecessors. The irons also have a shape that looks more rounded near the toe, along with a smoother transition area from the hosel to the club face. The more blended transition means they will appear to have less offset than they do.

The progressive look of the irons throughout the set will play well for golfers looking to create a combo set with the iBlades (short irons from the iBlade set for more precision, long irons from the i200 set for more shot height, forgiveness and distance).

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Inspired by vintage blades, the i200 irons also have a longer ferrule than previous i irons for a more classic look. Little things like the metallic iron numbers are buffed to offer the look of precision, as well.

4) The Low-Toe Theory

Throughout Ping’s history, the company has designed irons with more weight in the toe section of its club heads in order to center mass in the head; without added weight in the toe, CG tends to be heel-ward.

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Like Ping irons from the past, the i200 irons have cavities that are machined to move weight into the high- and low-toe areas. For golfers, that means a more forgiving iron, especially when hit off the toe, which is the likely miss for most golfers.

5) The Importance of Yardage Gapping

Ping looked to data from its Tour players and their past iron releases to develop iron lofts in the i200 iron sets.

The long irons, which have thinner faces, go about 6-8 yards farther than the previous i-series irons, according to Jertson. In order to prevent the short iron yardage gaps from being too wide, the short irons in the set are made with thicker faces, effectively reducing ball speed.

If you want more distance with each iron, respectively, Ping has something for you…

6) Sauced Up with the Power Spec

New with the i200 irons is a secret-menu option called the “power spec,” which systematically jacks the lofts on each iron.

“It’s like ordering animal style at In-and-Out,” Jertson says. “We’ll juice the irons with stronger lofts … golf’s supposed to be fun, right?”

Plus, the stronger-lofted irons are good for high-spin players looking to flatten out their trajectory. Here’s a look at the loft specs.

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7) Full-On Swing Weight Command

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A major part of club fitting is getting the correct swing weight, and Ping uses what it calls Custom Tuning Ports (CTP) to help golfers dial in those specifications.

“Swing weight progression is very important,” says Jertson. “If it’s 1.5 points light, that could definitely throw you off. [Golfers] need consistency, so tempo, speed and shaft have to match.”

As Jertson explains, you can hedge against a certain miss using swing weight. For example, if you tend to miss right you’ll want to make the head lighter, effectively lowering the swing weight and helping you to “get the club around” better, he says.

The CTPs used in the i200 irons range from 4 to 32 grams each, the “standard” being 10-12 grams. They’re longer from heel to toe than in previous Ping irons, which helps makes the clubs more forgiving. The tuning ports also have a dampening effect to improve sound and feel.

8) Ping looked to its wedges when designing the soles

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Bounce, a term that’s mostly associated with wedges, is just as important in iron design. Generally speaking, more bounce means more forgiveness, so the i200s are made with more bounce than the iBlades and previous i-series irons. With a rounder leading edge that’s designed with 1-degree more bounce angle, the irons won’t want to dig as much, thus reducing divot size and depth.

The “hottest i-series iron was the i20s,” according to Jertson, and these irons will perform similarly through the turf.

9) Hydropho-what?

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Ping engineers designed the faces of the i200 irons with milling marks to help repel the water and grass that lowers spin and alters flight. At impact, the milling marks are said to create a more consistent trajectory by increasing friction, meaning less flyers and knuckle balls.

The iron’s finish, called Hydro Pearl Chrome, enhances hydrophobicity, or the ability of an object to repel water. The angle of the milling marks and the grooves is designed to do the same.

10) Custom Only

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The stock AWT 2.0 shafts from Ping are made by Nippon, and increase in weight as golfers move from their long irons to their short irons. It’s a “very complex shaft thats very expensive with variable steps and variable wall thickness that’s great for the masses,” Jertson says.

There are also various aftermarket shafts available from Ping at no upcharge: True Temper Dynamic Gold, Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105, XP 95, and Project X.

i200 Specs (3-9, PW, UW)

  • Stock steel shaft: PING AWT 2.0 (R, S, X)
  • After-market shaft options (no upcharge): Project X 5.0, 6.0; XP 95 (R300, S300), N.S. Pro Modus3 105 (S, X), KBS Tour (R, S, X), Dynamic Gold (S300, X100)
  • Stock graphite shaft: PING CFS 65/70/80 (Soft R, R, S)
  • $135 per club (steel shaft); $150 per club (graphite shaft)

Related: See more photos of the Ping i200 irons in our forums, and join the discussion. 

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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.

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Hammer

    Feb 19, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Hello fellow golfers , after playing 3 more rounds of golf on my home course , I have but one thing to say, WOW I love these I200 Ping irons. So consistent, so forgivable and so easy to move left or right. Need I say more.

  2. Hammer

    Feb 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I am a 4 handicapp golfer that has been playing the Iblades since they came out. I thought these were the best irons ping ever made. With great hesitation a friend of mine convinced me to try his I200 irons with the same 95 steelefiber shafts I have in my irons. He does not have the stronger lofts in his irons. WOW were these irons a surprise, they definitely have a softer feel than my Iblades and even though some of the lofts were weaker than my irons , there was no loss of distance at all. I also felt the ground interaction with the sole to be much improved. Although these irons are not pure blades , the ability to move the ball left or right was very easy. These are now my favorite irons to date. Last but not late the forgiveness in these irons was also slightly improved it seamed. I would need to play more than 2 rounds to be sure however. I have purchased these from my local golf store and already put my shafts in them, I will give an update after several more rounds are completed

  3. Forsbrand

    Jan 17, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Look really nice irons lots of playability and forgiveness

    I for one need to be looking at a good sized head early Sunday mornings after skinful the night before, peanut headed blades make me so nervous

  4. Pat

    Jan 17, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Any word if there is going to be a ping g200 coming

  5. edge of lean

    Jan 17, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Grown on me in the last week. Will have to hit them now. I suspect it will turn out to be another case of great clubs I can’t afford right now.

  6. Hitter

    Jan 17, 2017 at 2:23 am

    These look great.. will have to go some to beat the S55s

  7. Rolo

    Jan 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    WRXrs will be disappointed that there is no option to de-power spec the loft since they hit it so far already.

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      I just loathe the the golfers who are condescending to other fellow golfers if they don’t play 28 degree 5 iron etc. If you want to play a 28 degree 5 iron go ahead, more power to you. Personally I prefer my 5 iron to be about 24 degrees. My choice for which I need no one’s approval.

    • hdcp0

      Jan 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      LoL….so true

  8. Jim

    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Didn’t the I Series just come out last year? Why would they release a replacement so soon?

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Actually I think the I series irons came out about September 2015 Typical Ping 18 month release cycle.

  9. birdy

    Jan 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

    i200? sorry…i don’t see whats so great about these. look like an old tm rac. the name is odd.

    i’m sure they are great irons…but nothing stands out that makes me think ‘have to hit these’

  10. golfraven

    Jan 16, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Will certainly give those a demo. My i20s need a succesor.

  11. AC

    Jan 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Fantastic! The more the iron looks like a blade or CB but performs like a GI club the better. I much prefer the solid no frills iron vs those gimmicky colorful irons.

  12. Ay Eye

    Jan 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Wait, so there won’t be an i30?

    • Mikec

      Jan 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      No, it went i20, i25, iE1, i200….there never was or will be a i30

  13. Lee

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

    The ‘Power Spec’ loft option oh dear! As we all know if you get fitted properly the shaft, grip, loft and lie will be matched to your playing characteristics anyway.

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Oh Goody – We had the obligatory these aren’t a blade comments from Juan & know we get the “hey everybody go get fitted properly” comment. Personally I like the power loft option & am sure I could get properly fitted for the power lofts if I decided to go that route.

  14. Shane

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Why only the 5.0 & 6.0 offered as no upcharge in the Px? Where’s the 5.5?

  15. Juan

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:19 am

    They may be good irons, but there is nothing blade-like about them. Large head, offset, thick sole, and the large cavity in the back. There is nothing about them that calls to mind a blade, and marketing speak aside, I doubt the performance truly resembles that of a blade, either.

    • Buford T Justice

      Jan 16, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Yes, Yes, Yes. Because you personally need the performance of a real deal blade, and could in no way benefit from a club like the i200.

      This review is for the i200, however, the blade brigade must pipe in and remind us that this is in no way, shape, or form, a blade.

      I think I’ve got it, champ! This isn’t a blade, doesn’t perform like a blade, and the article doesn’t suggest it’s a blade. Evidently i200s are good enough for Westwood on the men’s side, and Henderson on the women’s side. So, keep fighting the good fight, sparky.

      Oh, and let us know how you do at the CareerBuilder at La Quinta the weekend.

      Oh…wait…nevermind.

      • birdy

        Jan 16, 2017 at 11:14 am

        calm down cupcake…no one said these weren’t good….they simply aren’t blades. don’t resemble blades. looks like you’re an awful angry person in the morning

      • Buck

        Jan 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        Why the personal attacks? He was simply stating his opinion about the product in the article. Birdy is right, you seem like an awful angry person. “There are a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the real thing”

        As far as the clubs, they are good looking irons, but I just don’t see $135 worth of club here. To each their own

      • Juan

        Jan 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

        The article compares them to blades 4 times by the end of the first “thing you need to know”. Ping makes good irons, and I’m sure these will perform well, but my comment is in response to what I believe to be an inaccurate comparison to blade irons. The items I mentioned are all different than most blade designs that I have seen.
        I made no statements as to whether one head design is better than another, so the personal attacks are unwarranted.

    • DaveJ

      Jan 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      I dunno, that at address picture looks pretty blade-like to me, which is the main thing they were going for, right? A more forgiving smallish cavity back that still feels pure like a blade, looks like a blade at address, yet still has a bit of workability sounds like a quality club. Obviously they aren’t MP33s, but they have a similar look behind the ball, even if they play quite a bit differently.

      DaveJ

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      They may be good irons, but there is nothing DIVER-like about them. Large head, offset, thick sole, and the large cavity in the back. There is nothing about them that calls to mind a DRIVER, and marketing speak aside, I doubt the performance truly resembles that of a DRIVER, either.

      • Juan

        Jan 17, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Does anyone read? The article compares the irons to blades several times.

        • Scooter McGavin

          Jan 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          Do you even read? Just because the article references the iblades and uses the word “blades” it doesn’t mean it was trying to describe the i200’s as blades. In fact, it describes them as “the sports car of cavity backs”. But somehow you interpreted the author as saying that the clubs were blade-like… even though it said nothing of the sort. They were comparing them to the iblades and the technology used in that model to reduce head size and to explain how this model fit into the Ping lineup. I swear, people don’t read anything in context anymore and just throw up the red flag as soon as they see a buzzword they are looking for.

  16. LOL

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:16 am

    LOL GolfWRX guys are going to LOVE the POWER SPEC JACKED LOFTS

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I think they compare to Mizuno JPX 900 forged in head size, but even in the power specs Ping’s are weaker than the mizuno’s.

  17. T

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Jacked lofts……. had to keep up with Taylormade somehow. Nothing to do with Tour input. Just didn’t want to get left behind by Taylormade.

    • LOL

      Jan 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

      PING has been jacking their lofts way before these oddly named irons. I like the idea of the iblades, but these not so much.

      • Billy

        Apr 25, 2017 at 6:53 am

        Hit them. Went to a demo days looking for Srixon, Mizuno, or Callaway and these blew me out of the water. Normally an S300 guy. I tried the AWT first, then XP 95 S300, KBS Tour S and Pro Modus S. No comparison for me. The AWT is the one. I went back up and down the other companies tents 3 times. I bought the i200s.

  18. Dat

    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

    A great successor to the S55. Should have stuck with that moniker imo.

    • John

      Jan 16, 2017 at 10:21 am

      iblade is the S55 replacement. These replace the previous i series. Two completely different clubs.

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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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