With its MP-18 iron family, Mizuno has narrowed the differences between its four new iron models to make mixing sets not only easier, but completely seamless.
Check out our WITB Page, and you’ll notice that most PGA Tour players are using combination iron sets. That means they’re playing muscleback short irons and cavity-back longer irons with thicker toplines and more forgiveness. This combo-set trend makes perfect sense; it allows golfers to use an iron set that gives them maximum control in their short irons where they want maximum control, and more forgiveness and distance in their long irons where they want more distance and forgiveness. Duh!
The problem is that most iron sets attempt to cater to the needs of muscleback players with their muscleback irons, cavity-back players with their cavity-back irons, and game-improvement players with their game-improvement irons. By segmenting iron families, it leaves gaps in looks, feel, playability, and distance for golfers who want to make their own combination set.
Mizuno has gone to great lengths to address that problem with its MP-18 iron family, which is intended to be mixed and matched. The MP-18 family includes four irons types:
- MP-18 (Muscleback)
- MP-18 SC (Split Cavity)
- MP-18 MMC (Multi-Material Compound)
- MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
While the SC, MMC, and MMC Fli-Hi irons are larger than the MP-18 muscleback irons, they maintain the same sole, head profile, and topline ratios in their shaping. That means they look almost identical at address; they’re just slightly larger. Their lofts and pricing are also essentially identical. Only a trained eye will be able to tell any difference at all.
In terms of materials, Mizuno went back to its roots with the MP-18. The irons are forged from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon, a switch from the 1025 Boron the company was using in some of its MP irons in recent years. Boron was used because it is stronger than Mizuno’s 1025E carbon steel, allowing engineers to thin out structures within the irons for added distance and forgiveness. “That’s just not MP,” as one Mizuno representative put it.
With this launch, Mizuno strived to give the MP-18 irons the look and feel of irons that “could have been made 100 years ago,” the company says. They’re for players who want the best-feeling, best-looking irons they can play, with simple color schemes and classic shapes, while still getting maximum performance. There’s still a place for cutting-edge designs and materials in Mizuno players irons — just ask Brooks Koepka, who used the JPX-900 Tour irons forged from Boron to win the 2017 U.S. Open — but it’s not in the MP-18 line.
To get the artistic shaping the company desired in the MP-18 line, Mizuno brought its computer-designed club heads to Japan where its expert craftsmen refined the shapes. The club-grinding experts worked to blend the transition of the hosels into the club faces in a way that reduced the look of offset. They also dialed in toe and heel shapes while adding camber to the sole. These prototype models were used as the starting point for each of the MP-18 irons to ensure consistency through the lineup.
Despite their throwback looks, the company relied on new school technologies to refine the sound and feel of the irons. Mizuno’s stated goal with the irons was to extend impact frequencies so they not only feel softer, but so that golfers get more feedback on the club. To that end, the irons were forged with a new “Grain-Flow Forged HD” process. The company’s H.I.T. (Harmonic Impact Technology) was also used to dial in acoustics for enhanced feedback.
Below, we break down each of the individual offerings in the MP-18 family. The irons will sell for $149.99 each and will be available September 15.
In relation to previous Mizuno MP muscleback irons, the MP-18 irons are significantly smaller than the MP-5 irons and slightly smaller than one of Mizuno’s smallest modern muscleback irons, the MP-4. Their toplines appear thinner than they measure due to a camber that makes them look slimmer in the address position. In comparing topline thicknesses, the MP-18’s are thinner than the MP-5, but they’re a bit thicker than the MP-4.
The MP-18 scoring irons (9 and PW) are smaller in size than previous models. All of the irons in the set also have lower heel heights. “That’s what this player wants,” a Mizuno representative said.
The MP-18 irons will come stock with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and Golf Pride MCC White/Black grips. They are right-handed only offerings.
Mizuno MP-18 SC (Split Cavity)
The MP-18 Split Cavity irons feature what Mizuno calls a half-cavity design. Mass has been taken of the upper portion of the irons, focusing CG (center of gravity) lower in the club head for an easier launch and more forgiveness.
The MP-18 SC irons are only fractionally longer from heel-to-toe than the MP-18 muscleback irons. They’re also 0.5 millimeters taller and have soles that are 1.5 millimeters wider. With identical specs (aside from swing weight in the longer irons) and offset, these irons are designed to blend seamlessly into a combination set with the MP-18 muscleback irons regardless of where golfers decide to split their set.
The MP-18 SC irons come stock with KBS Tour shafts and are available for left- and right-handed golfers.
Mizuno MP-18 MMC (Multi-Material Construction)
The MP-18 MMC irons are Grain Flow Forged from 1025E, but they use a multi-material construction to move weight to the center of the club heads to enhance moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness. The more centered CG is achieved by adding 20 grams of tungsten, a material more dense than steel, in the toe section of the irons. An 8-gram titanium insert, which is lighter than steel, was also placed behind the club face and toward the heel section of the club.
The titanium insert is used in each of the MMC iron designs. Tungsten was not used in the 8, 9, and PW club heads, however, as it was not needed to center CG due in those clubs.
The MP-18 MMC are designed with 0.8 millimeters less offset more than the MP-18 and SC irons, but they also have 2 degrees less loft per head. According to Mizuno, however, each degree of loft that is added when bending an iron weaker adds 0.4 millimeters of offset. That means if a golfer matches the lofts of the MP-18 MMC irons to the MP-18 or MP-18 SC irons, offset will be essentially identical.
The MP-18 MMC irons will come stock with a Nippon Modus 120 shaft, and they’re a right-handed only offering.
Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Offered in long-irons only (2-6 iron), the Mizuno MMC Fli-HI irons have an X-30 steel body material with club faces made from Maraging 1770HT steel, a high-strength material that can be made thinner to help create faster ball speeds.
Mizuno made the toplines of its new Fli-Hi significantly thinner than its predecessor, the MP-H5 iron. The toplines are also cambered to look thinner than they measure, creating a look that will suit the eye of better players, according to Mizuno. Like the MP-MMC irons, the MMC Fli-Hi irons also have 20 grams of tungsten in their toes. The insert is forged into the inside of the cavity, however, and it sits behind the face. According to Mizuno, this design helps golfers hit higher shots with the irons and increases forgiveness.
The MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi irons will come stock with KBS C-Taper shafts, and are a right-handed only offering.