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Danny Lee’s Mizuno MP-32 irons: The real inside scoop!

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Hipsters are known for loving “old” stuff — you know the classics, the vintage, the retro. From vinyl, to thrift store sweaters, what’s old is new again. In the case of Danny Lee, he’s leading the charge as the PGA Tour’s iron hipster.

It should also be noted that “old” is a relative term, especially with golf equipment. Now when it comes to “classics,” Mizuno has produced some of the most recognizable irons of all time, including the Cut Muscle MP-32 released in 2004.

We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.

I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds — I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like — is a pretty fun thought).

Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall

“The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”

(HERES WHERE THE STORY GETS VERY INTERESTING)

“Here’s the part that makes the Danny’s set unique – During final development of the 32s, Luke was feeling that the soles for him were not getting through the turf the same as his previous MP-33s, but he loved the profile and extra forgiveness offered by the cut muscle design.

“By working with the Craftsman on the Mizuno team they created a unique sole profile for Luke that modernized that of the MP-33 for his new MP-32s. They rounded off and beveled the trailing edge of the 32s and had multiple sets made that he used during their entire run in the line.

“The tell tale of the Luke soled irons vs. the retail and standard version is how close the trailing edge of the sole is to the “Mizuno” on the back. What’s even more interesting about the development of that sole and grind is that every MP iron moving forward in the line starting with the MP-62 in 2008 utilized the exact sole profile of the one developed with Luke for the 32s and then 62s he used to become Number 1 player in the world.”

Below are comparison pics of Danny’s irons vs retail MP-32s and MP-62s

Danny Lee’s LD Grind 32s

Standard MP-32 7-iron – notice the amount of space above the “Mizuno” text

Right – MP-62 vs Standard MP-32

Danny Lees LD Grind 9-iron

Retail MP-32 9-iron

MP-62 9-iron vs retail MP-32

WOW! How cool is that insider information? True 14-year-old prototypes back in play on Tour! Now we know 100 percent the real story behind this very cool set and how it lead to historical Mizuno design changes that we still see in the MP line today!

 

NOTE: All Mizuno forged irons pre-2010 meet the 2010 USGA Conforming Groove rule; they were conforming before and are still conforming now. This is also part of the reason you don’t see many other classic irons on tour, except for maybe some from Ping which did do a few older models with new grooves –most notably D.A Points’ i5s irons. 

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Simms

    Mar 20, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    I think the only problems these companies have re-introducing older models is it only works for a very small amount of the club buyer’s (no Profit) plus it does detect from some of the power of being able to advertise all the improvements in the newer clubs. There are some older clubs out there that have held up to the best the R&D’s have come up with lately…one would be the Callaway steelhead fairway woods they brought back.

  2. Jim Hayes

    Mar 11, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Love my MP-32’s. Best irons I’ve ever played. Truly incredible distance control. High flight stops quickly on most greens. If they would ever bring out he MP-32’s again i’d Buy several sets. They are simply the BEST.

  3. Bill

    Mar 10, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    I am STILL playing my MP32 irons (left handed set!) They soft and very workable!! BUT, I did lose 1 club length on them. they are worn and I am ready for a new set ( Francisco Molinari’s set up is just about what I want).

    I was playing the HOGAN APEX FTX set! I really loved playing both sets,but, if you gave me only a choice of one of them, it would be the FTX set. They were soft, workable AND had a thin top line, a PERFECT muscle back with a true players iron look, not too much offset and the 8 to wedge were Blades!! A real combo set designed as one set. The best part — They were LONG!!

    To anyone who would really like a great players iron set, If you could find a set, used but very good condition, these would be great, at a very reasonable price.

    Note: these are square grooved, old PGA rules(they may not be legal on high level tourney)
    and I did replace to shafts with Dynamic gold x100.

  4. Matt S

    Mar 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    So did this relief increase or decrease the bounce?

  5. CJ

    Mar 4, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Those irons are gorgeous oh my. That grind would be a hot commodity if they came to retail I think

  6. Jeff Spain

    Mar 4, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I’m 67 years young have played Mizuno MP 33 for years . I bought a custom set of Titliest AP-1 thinking I needed more forgiveness “old man clubs”, they felt like Nothing, no feedback at all. I reshafted my 33’s with Nippon pro 850gh for lighter slower swing. It’s like hookling up with your high school sweetheart, Love Them Again

  7. Jake

    Feb 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I might be just reminiscing, but the MP-32 sure looks a lot like the Wilson Staff ‘Tour Blade’ irons I bought in th mid-1970’s and played through the 80’s. Those irons had a really sweet feel.

  8. Mario

    Feb 22, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Best looking irons ever. Easier to hit, shape the ball like a MB, beautiful to look at

  9. jgpl001

    Feb 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I absolutely loved mine many years ago and could still bag them now

    They had enough forgiveness to be really playable and they felt brilliant

    One of the best irons of the past 20 years

  10. Anthony Parham

    Feb 21, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    I have a set of MP 32s and I love them, I did the same thing they did for Luke on my short irons and they play great.

  11. Scott

    Feb 21, 2019 at 10:29 am

    What about the grove change since 2004? Are the old groves grandfathered (i.e. Ping clubs)?

  12. Billy

    Feb 21, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Are they coming to retail?

  13. Roger

    Feb 21, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Did Chris Voshall make any comment if remaking the MP32’s (or updated version) could be produced in the future?

  14. Michael Buell

    Feb 21, 2019 at 7:39 am

    I recently went back to the T zoid after trying newer Mizunos and Taylormades. I first regriped my old set then found a mint, almost unhit set on eBay. My game has improved.

  15. Rory O Donnell

    Feb 21, 2019 at 2:20 am

    What’s with Mizuno releasing ‘blades’ with thick top lines – bring back the MP33 iron. It has been their best iron ever.

  16. James

    Feb 21, 2019 at 1:20 am

    What does the writer mean about pre 2010 clubs conforming to post 2010 rules? Is he saying that some pre 2010 club don’t conform today?

    • Dan

      Feb 21, 2019 at 3:06 am

      Yeah. Basically. They changed the rules above groove shape and depth because tour players were getting incredible amounts of spin, even out of the rough.

  17. MW

    Feb 20, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    I have 6 sets of MP-32s. The look, the feel, the performance in my opinion has never been matched.

  18. Sean Fennessy

    Feb 20, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Are the MP-54s any good ?

    • John Hennessey

      Feb 23, 2019 at 12:06 am

      I still play with the mp-54s, recently saw 4-people for sale at A$500 in Sydney. They are not long, but oh so accurate. I play of 12, so good for mid handicappers. Grab a set if you get the chance, just be prepared to hit an 8 iron when others might smash a wedge.

  19. Liongolfer

    Feb 20, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Interesting. Never donned on me that heel relief will help that much with turf interaction. I’ve always focussed on leading edge, toe and heel relief. The tour mp32s look much nicer than the already nice retail MP32s… don’t reintroduce these…let the cult classic status grow.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: P2 putter grips

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Product: P2 putter grips

Pitch: From P2: “The patented P2 technology is based on the way the shaft is housed through the bottom of the grip. This effectively elevates the golfer’s hands at address, locks the wrists in place and creates sought after shaft-forearm symmetry.”

Our take on P2 putter grips

Putting is the one part of golf that truly levels the playing field – a sliding two-footer is worth just as many shots as a 345-yard drive, and from beginner to pro, we’ve all experienced the simple agony of missing one we know we really should have made. With so much recent focus on redefining putter technology the one part of the club that is still highly overlooked is the grip — but P2 is trying to change that.

The key part of the P2 design is the Bottom Shaft Housing that positions the grip asymmetrically around the shaft – on the vertical plane (don’t worry the grip are 100 percent symmetrical). This design, fully legal under the rules of golf, has scientifically proven through the use of Quintic, results that show both improved strike pattern on the face as well as getting more putts started on line at the intended target.

Part of the reason this design helps golfers putt more consistently is that it puts the putter more inline and on plane with the forearm to help create a single motion. As much as we would all love a putting stroke that flows as smoothly as Ben Crenshaw or Brad Faxon the amount timing needed in the hands to produce great results through these methods is often too difficult even for the better player to achieve. In a way, the P2 Grip design helps you get into an “armlock” position without fully overhauling your putting technique (and it allows you to keep your current putter).

In my personal testing, I decided to use the P2 Core Classic. This was my preferred grip since it offers the smaller width while giving the full experience of the Botton Shaft Housing tech. My putter specs are generally flatter than most with a lie angle around 68 degrees, when using a traditional grip this results in having the butt end point more towards my belly button and, as I’m fully willing to admit, a more rotational stroke. I never had to adjust any of the specs on my putter to get the grip to do exactly what it says it will. The grip plane became more aligned with my forearm and after a small adjustment period to the new shape, I was 100 percent making a more pendulum stroke with less arc. So far, results inside have proven to be a success, and I’m looking forward to taking it out to the course once the season really gets started.

Within the P2 lineup, there are four shapes and two weight categories to choose from to allow the player to find the exact fit for both grip method and balance. The original “Core” series is on the heavier side of the grip weight spectrum, but for many players using modern heavier putter heads this could be a huge advantage to help give your putter a higher balance point, and at the end of the day, produce a smoother putting stroke. As the current trend of research from multiple OEMs has proven, a higher balance point through weight distribution can lead to some big improvements in stroke consistency.

Whether its a claw, cross-handed, or more of a traditional grip method you use, there is a P2 grip that should fit your style and hopefully help you sink a few more putts.

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Puma polos

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Product: Puma polos

Pitch:  From Puma “A world leader in high-performance sports clothing, Puma launched their first golf collection in 2004 complete with Puma golf shoes and clothing. The collection has gone from strength to strength ever since its creation, with tour pro golfers wearing the range out on the course. With bold colorful clothing to classically sporty and smart pieces, Puma golf is a versatile collection certain to appeal to golfers of all preferences.”

Our take on Puma’s polos

It’s difficult to look past Puma’s 2019 polo collection without seeing its Paradise golf shirt. Showcased by Rickie Fowler during the Island stretch of golf to begin the new year, the unconventional all button up shirt may not be to everyone’s taste, but anyone who pulls the shirt on will likely agree on its comfort. The shirt will channel your inner Ned Flanders, “feels like I’m wearing nothing at all,” and the ultra-lightweight feel combined with the looseness makes it an ideal summer shirt for swinging the club freely on the golf course.

Puma has a lot more polos on offer in 2019 than its Paradise shirt though, and one of the most visually striking shirts of theirs is the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo. The shirt comes in three vibrant colors (blue, white and green), and its camo inspired pattern is subtle and discreet which gives the shirt a cool look without being distracting. Also a lightweight polo, the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo features a clean three button look, as well as a very comfortable fit, and its dryCell technology means you won’t be drenched in sweat this summer.

Then there’s the Rotation Golf Polo which comes in both solid and stripes styles. The shirts offer a very modern feel and look, and you certainly won’t be disappointed with the selection of colors which the shirts come in, with an abundance on offer.

On the throwback front, Puma has you covered with their Nineties Golf Polo, with a striped shirt style and color. There are five different color blocks to choose from which are about as representative of spring/summer as I’ve seen, and the shirts also come with Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is a nice summer touch.

The Faraday Polo is according to the company itself “one of our best”. Lightweight and one of the softest shirts they provide, it’s hard to disagree with them in terms of comfort level. The only off-putting feature of this shirt for me is the odd unfinished lining around the pocket.

The exhaustive selection of golf polos provided by Puma is impressive, and they’ve covered everything you’d want in a golf shirt in each of their styles. Prices range from $50-$70, and no matter what your taste, you’re bound to find a great summer golf shirt to add to your collection from their 2019 lineup.

 

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Glowbal who is on the lookout for sexy, slick, minimal irons ala Scratch Golf’s old SB-1 iron set. Clean, as little branding or markings as possible and lofts instead of numbers on the club, are all the things Glowbal wants from an iron set, and our members have been on hand sharing their suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Fried Slice: “National Custom Works are Scratch. Same grinders and owners I believe. I’m sure they can hook you up. http://www.nationalcustomworks.com 
  • 11forgedblades: “When I was looking for irons without any logo, Geotech blades only had the numbers on them…completely blank.”
  • ivygynonc: “I have a set of Kyoei MB’s black.  They are nicer than my BBs as far as feel and looks.  Look great at set up.  Can’t go wrong with these.  And they are on the low end as far as costs for JDM blades, at least they were when I bought mine.”
  • kmay: “Another for National Custom works, incredible products, and from what I see watching there IG every day, they will make them to your exact requests, any stamping you want (or don’t) any shape muscle you want, sole grinds you want, seems like everything can be customized starting from forged blanks. True craftsmen.”

Entire Thread: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

 

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