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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 part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Matt

    Jul 29, 2019 at 2:10 am

    MP-32’s are still in my bag after all these years – Perfect irons

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • MBU

      Mar 29, 2019 at 4:03 am

      I lusted after Hogans before they made them left handed, and i bought the FTX’s when they came out. I didnt appreciate them at first, it was after a 6 year lay off. But now, having bought other irons, nothing feft softer or better when struck properly. I still have them, and use them occasionally.
      I may just put the 8,9,pw back in my bag…

  5. Matt S

    Mar 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    So did this relief increase or decrease the bounce?

    • Justin

      Mar 27, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      The bounce angle wouldn’t be affected if the trailing edge was grinded down. It is like the new wedges having different “grinds” and the same bounce angles.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Scott

    Feb 21, 2019 at 10:29 am

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

  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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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm WITB 2020

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  • Equipment accurate as of the WGC-Mexico Championship

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees @ 16.5)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM (19 degrees @ 20.5)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8 X

Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe (52 degrees), TaylorMade MG2 (56-12, 60-TW-11)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X (36 inches)

Ball: TaylorMade TP 5 (#10)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Red/Black Midsize (1 wrap of tape)

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2020

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @ 10 degrees, D4 swing weight)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.75 inches)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 90 X

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (22 @ 19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09, 60-10 @ 62 degrees)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Mini
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Equipment

Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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