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One post, many questions: New Mizuno irons on the way?

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Let me start with this: I’m a massive Mizuno fan. So, when out of the blue (Mizuno Blue?), but close to “that time of year,” when new shiny things start to show up around the tours, all it took was an Instagram and Twitter post to set me into a frenzy and down a big rabbit hole. It also left me with a lot of questions, which in turn lead me to what I think are some answers.

Around 10 A.M. on June 28, two pictures appeared all over Mizuno’s social media platforms, both showing a TN87 alongside a completely blank iron head that.

  1. Looked brand new (it also has a new shorter Mizuno MP-style ferrule on it)
  2. Has zero branding or model number on it

The two clubs look almost identical in the shape, so we have that, but then a little tease in the form of a single cryptic hashtag (#Layersoffeel) had me looking and thinking deeper into what might be coming down the line.

They look very close but the one on the left appears to have different angles

The MP-18s were a huge hit for Mizuno and again cemented its place in the blade world after the ginormous success of the JPX-900 series. This was also the first time Mizuno globally branded an MP series; they used to reserve different models for the JDM market.

What made the MP-18s interesting from a technology standpoint was the introduction of the Grain Flow Forging HD process. Mizuno already had the patented Grain Flow Forging process in the bag but after years of refinement, they along with their forging partner Chuo (Chuo only forges Mizuno irons) introduced the HD (High Density) technique that gets the grain structure of the 1025 E Pure Select carbon steel tighter at the bottom of the head and in turn creates an even more solid feel. But even with the 18’s popularity, it’s time for a refresh and update of the MP line.

OK. OK, let’s hold our horses for a second, we haven’t talked about the TN-87s yet. The TN-87s are named after Tommy Nakajima, who at one point was the number one player on the Japanese PGA Tour, and if you didn’t already figure it out, was a popular Mizuno staff player. The TN-87 originally came out in 1988 and even to this day are still considered one of the best Mizuno irons of all time. Beyond Tommy, another very famous Mizuno staff player, Nick Faldo, played a set of custom blank TN-87s in 1990 to win both the Masters and Open Championship. This alone made them a popular and more sought after set.

Just how sought after you might ask?

So sought after, that in 2014 Mizuno did something that few golf companies ever do: a full re-release (no custom orders) of the TN-87s from 3-PW, AW, SW. Honestly, how freakin’ cool are these?

This is why people love blades, because a set of these in a golf bag look unreal!

So now that we are this far we have to ask, beyond that fact that Tommy and Sir Nick played them why were the TN-87s so popular? We have a couple reasons and some theories

  • First off the players that used them were in their prime: This will always lead to a demand in the market regardless of it being a blade or not.
  • Shape and sole: For a lot of players the TN87 represented the perfectly shaped iron head, from blade length to toe profile it was just “one of those clubs” that kept peoples attention. This along with the sole shape, which was considered quite modern in this era, meant a lot of people trying them out and falling in love.
  •  Copper (Wait, what? Copper?): I thought there were made from carbon steel? Yes, the raw heads are made from carbon steel, but you still need to chrome them through the electroplating process, and at the time, that also meant a copper layer between the raw steel and the chrome. This extra layer helped the chrome stick to the head during the plating process and also became a thing of legend in golf circles. Golfers clamoured for irons with copper underlay to help soften the feel and give better feedback — it’s all about frequency and sound. Even to this day there are some Japanese OEMs that talk about their copper underlay and how it improves the overall feel of the club.

Here’s what’s (maybe) going to happen…

Let’s sum this up. Now that we are inching closer to the Open Championship (the usual spot to see new Mizunos), we have these “BLANK” irons just magically show up on their social channels. They look like updated TN-87’s but they also closely resemble my personal favorite MP-37s, with the notched toe muscle (like I said I’m a fan, and collector, this gives me an excuse to show these off).

The MP-20s (blades) will closely resemble the look of the TN-87 in a modern package with the notch toe, simple muscle design, and gradually decreasing blade length into the shorter irons ala the MP-18s. Alongside this muscle shape, Mizuno will take another step back to their roots (since they now have the HD forging process) and talk more enhanced feel with the addition of a copper underlay to the new series of irons (hence the #Layersoffeel)

Could I be way off base? Potentially.

But if I know one thing it’s Mizuno iron history, and what do we know about history? It often repeats itself…

 

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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.

39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Raymond

    Aug 8, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Love these clubs 1st set I had were MP 37s then 4 years ago up graded to the MP 4s.

  2. S

    Jul 8, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Can’t believe Mizuno has actually picked the notched toe muscleback design for their new release. I always fantasized about MP-14 or MP-29 being returned from their glorious past and they are now making it a reality! I wonder how I would be feeling when I see them in person… The reason I got my MP-37 back in 2006 was because there were no brand-new MP-14 or MP-29 available, and they stayed in my bag ever since.

  3. Mike

    Jul 6, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Matt Kuchar is a dbag

  4. Scott H

    Jul 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Looks like you were spot on. Mizuno Golf North Maerican has another #LayersOfFeel Post today showing a copper plated iron head.

  5. Z

    Jul 5, 2019 at 2:10 am

    All we ask is that it be shiny. Not this queer brushed junk, please. It ain’t Mizuno if it ain’t shiny. Leave the dull look to the Pings of the world

  6. Joe Duffer

    Jul 1, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Tiger played a split set of Mizuno irons in 1997…

    Mizuno MP-29 (2-4; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts), MP-14 (5-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts).

  7. eric

    Jul 1, 2019 at 11:08 am

    They’ve been using copper underlayer on their Mizuno Pro line for a long time, even the current Pro 118s have them. Just that they’re JDM only, I’m sure that layersoffeel hashtag just means they’re going to be releasing copper underlayer construction on their MP lines worldwide now and not just JDM.

  8. Z

    Jun 30, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Can we get the 33’s a comeback? Best irons ever. Played the 4’s can’t stand them and hit the 18’s, no thanks. Still playing my trusty 33’s

    • Mower

      Jul 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      Yelp. Still playing mine from 2000. 19 years of pure joy!

  9. jagger

    Jun 30, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Take a look at the Hogan Precision blades from ’53 and ’54. Very similar designs. Love the look!

  10. Pig

    Jun 30, 2019 at 2:33 am

    I own a few sets of Mizuno’s that I absolutely love (32’s, 33’s, and 60’s). As much as I wanted to game the MP-18’s, I never could get comfortable with their thicker top line. I sure hope these new ones truly go back to their roots and have a thinner top line.

  11. rex 235

    Jun 30, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Ryan-

    At this point, let me agree with Stump.

    Actually have a LH Tsuneyuki (Tommy) Nakajima TN-87 2 iron from 30+ years ago- You can see it on a Classic Clubs thread.

    With no MP-18 MBs or 919 Tours, one doubts Mizuno will ever remake the LH TN-87 iron
    model.

    Manufacturer Remake Rule #1- NO LH forged blade models-because..”tiny”

  12. fifteenclubs

    Jun 29, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Great article Ryan… but now if these are released I have another set of irons to buy!! Never hit the TN-87s but if they can improve on the feel of the MP-18s I’d be very impressed!

  13. Saul Carrera

    Jun 29, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Wow those are beautiful even completely blank. I have played Mizuno since the early 1990s MP14’s and now MP4’s. Was thinking of buying the MP18’s but may habe to wait to see these new models.. WOW.. ??????????????

  14. chad

    Jun 29, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    already talked to my rep. he confirmed they have new stuff coming but couldn’t comment further. They usually release in the fall.

  15. Joe Hendricks

    Jun 29, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I believe the TN-87 is closer in design to the Mizuno MP-29’s. I played this club in the 90’s and it was a hand forged club with a fantastic feel. I still have these in my golf room and they look identical to this proposed Mizuno Model.

    • Ted

      Jun 29, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      I agree. I got my first set of Mizuno irons in 1995 (MP 29s, 1-PW) and they are in immaculate
      condition (since I use iron covers). I also still have my 33s, 58s, 4s, 5s, JPX 900 Tours, and
      MP 18s. Sold my 37s, 67s, 68s and 69s. Wish I kept them all. It’s fun to go back and play the older
      models.

      I look forward to the next evolution !

    • Darrell Taylor

      Jun 29, 2019 at 11:49 pm

      Remember: Tiger played MP29’s in High School and College. When he turned pro, he signed with Titleist, who made him several sets of proto types. He hated them so Titleist went to Mizuno and bought “blanks”, stamped “Titleist” on the back and that is what he played until he signed with Nike. If you notice, to this day the clubs he plays closely resemble the MP29’s he grew up with.

      • Dan

        Jul 2, 2019 at 9:21 pm

        I always believed that but it wasn’t true. There was never a Mizuno iron stamped Titleist.

      • Dan

        Jul 2, 2019 at 9:29 pm

        Woods never played a Mizuno w a Titleist Stamp. That was a myth. There’s a podcast about that topic somewhere in golfWRX

      • NRJyzr

        Jul 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

        Not the Titleist / Mizuno myth again, good Lord…

        The myth should have been put to bed by the podcast with Larry Bobka; he revealed Tiger’s irons with Titleist were based on old Titleist box blades, not Mizunos.

    • Scott Hill

      Jul 1, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      They look very much like the MP-29’s and are being called MP-20’s this time around… look amazing… back to a chrome finish… thinner top line…

      Everyone who loves Mizuno blades will be extremely happy I believe they are out in September

    • Bladeguru

      Jul 5, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      That’s because the 29s were the USA release of the tn87. Same head but no copper underlay

  16. DaveyD

    Jun 29, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    My MP-18 Split Cavity clubs were true game changers for me. Should be interesting to see if Mizuno keeps the SC in the next iteration.

  17. Ivan

    Jun 29, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Think you will find that the legendary japanese golfer you refer to in your article is actually called Tommy Nakajima. No idea who Tommy Nakashima is. First rule of journalism – check your facts and check again. Another poster has already noticed this.

    • Ben Alberstadt

      Jun 29, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      Thank you for pointing this out. The name has been corrected. As the editor, this falls on me, and I apologize for the error.

      • Gunter Eisenberg

        Jun 30, 2019 at 10:18 am

        Silly millennial…will you people ever learn?

  18. Kyle

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Been saying this for the last month or so. Titleist and absolutely no knock on them or anyone else for that matter have been posting their new stuff for pre release which is fine. I knew mizuno was crafting something tremendous for release soon and bang. Buckle your chin straps. From what I’ve been told if you thought MP 18 was tremendous what they are about to drop is simply off the charts.

  19. Josh

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Great work and speculation on this Ryan…although I’m suddenly a bit sad I sold my MP37’s to get a new set of MP57’s a while back.

  20. A.R. Perez jr.

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    I played Mizunos back in the 70’s and loved them. The only problem I had was that because of the soft metal I was constantly adjusting the loft and lie. But that was ok because they are the best blades made today.Period!

  21. Jack Nash

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    And here I just bought some 919’s. Good thing I can’t hit blades anymore. Pheeeewwww. That was close.

  22. Travis

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Definitely a throw back design with multi-material layers. If they basically do a complete copy of the old TN-87’s with updated branding that alone would be a huge success. Companies don’t need to always reinvent the wheel, just bring back their best designs.

  23. Carrera

    Jun 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    It is Tommy Nakajima, not Nakashima.

  24. nick

    Jun 29, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I hope you’re right. Those are beautiful.

  25. Stump

    Jun 29, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I HOPE Mizuno gives some blade love to us lefties this time around. They give us some nice selections, but never give us the ones I want…like the MP-18 MB and the 919 Tour.

    • John

      Jun 29, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Based on cryptic comments on social media by mizuno, these will be available in LH. A Japanese publication also confirmed this is a prototype new iron based on the TN-87 being tested by pros in japan already. Lots to get excited about for a lefty mizuno fan like me!

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Whats in the Bag

Chris Baker WITB 2020

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chris-baker-witb-2020
  • Equipment accurate as of January 2020

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Triple Diamond (9 degrees, D1 setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 65

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees, NS setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

5-wood: Cobra King F9 Speedback Tour (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

Irons: Cobra King F9 Speedback (4), Miura MC-501 (4-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-08F, 56-10S, 60-06M)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130 (50), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron TSB Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke SS2R

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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All-new Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw and tour-inspired T-Grind wedges

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Callaway Raw MD5 Wedge

Callaway is adding to its successful Callaway Jaws MD5 lineup with a new grind and a new look: MD5 Raw and T-Grind wedges.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 story

As we covered in the original 2020 Callaway MD5 launch piece, these wedges are more than just a stepping stone for the engineering team at Callaway, and instead are a complete evolution of how they design and manufacture their wedges. Here’s why: By reinventing the overall groove shape compared to previous models, they have succeeded in increasing both spin and total control on full and less-than-full shots.

The proprietary groove design of the Jaws wedge gets the contact radius right to the limit set forth by the governing bodies. How closes are we talking?” So close that the initial response from Callaway’s manufacturing partner was “Sorry, we just can’t do this” because the failure rate was close to 50 percent of heads becoming nonconforming.

The solution for Callaway? Changing the cutting tool used on the grooves every 15 wedges. Sure, you could attempt to get more life out of each tool, but when you have everyone from recreational players to the world’s best putting them in play, you can’t make sacrifices.

Callaway 2020 MD5 JAWS Wedge Grooves

2020 Callaway Jaws MD5 wedge: groove detail

The end result is the MD5 Jaws spins over 10 percent more on shots hit around the green compared to the Callaway MD4 and launches lower by one degree. Lower launch is important, because if you talk to any short game coach with a launch monitor, or Roger Cleveland, in Callaway’s case, you will quickly realize that being able to control launch with a wedge is just as important as it is with a driver. A lower-launching wedge means the coefficient of friction is higher since the ball isn’t riding/sliding up the face—and boom, you have a greater ability to hit the “low checker.”

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-lineup

The raw finish

After many years of limited retail availability, raw wedges have come back in style in a big way thanks to more golfers understanding the benefits of an unplated wedge—it also helps that the most popular finish option in professional golf is raw and unplated too.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw is made from 8620 mild carbon steel to offer a soft feel. Over time, the unplated finish will patina to reduce glare—nothing worse than trying to hit a wedge shot on a sunny day and having the full reflection of the sun nearly blind you in the process.

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-face

The Raw MD5 maintains all the other design features of the already available MD5 wedges, including the four ports and medallions on the back of the head to raise CG for greater trajectory control—but also gives golfers the added option to customize through Callaway Customs.

The T-Grind story

Just like how raw finishes have grown in popularity, so have wedge grinds that offer greater versatility on full and partial shots around the green. The new T-Grind (available in 58 and 60-degree lofts) is a popular choice because it has a higher measured bounce in a standard neutral playing position, but thanks to the crescent sole with heel, toe, and trailing edge relief, the leading edge can get closer to the ground on shots played with an open face.

This puts bounce where you need it and takes it away from places you don’t. Compared to the similar-looking X-Grind (available in 54 and 56-degree lofts) the T has less bounce which can also help players that are more shallow or play in softer more lush conditions.

The new T Grind will also look different from address compared to the standard higher lofted MD5 wedges because they have a slightly thicker topline to raise CG for controlled ball flight.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new MD5 wedges will be available for purchase at retail and online starting June 4, and the retail price is $159.99

Lofts – (Italicized are the new grind options)

Right Handed:

  • 50° S Grind,
  • 52° S Grind
  • 54° S and X Grind
  • 56° S and X Grind
  • 58° S,  X, and T Grind
  • 60° S, T, and X Grind
  • 62° C Grind

Left Handed:

  • 52° S Grind
  • 56° S Grind
  • 60° S Grind

The wedges come with 3 premium stock shaft options, Steel: Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S200. Graphite: ProjectX Catalyst 80, and UST Recoil wedge F1 ( Ladies flex only )

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges

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@clevelandgolfeu

In our forums, our members have been discussing Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges. WRXer ‘hammergolf’ wants to hear from single-digit players who are currently playing the wedges, and our members have been sharing their thoughts on the clubs with plenty of praise for the wedges in our forums.

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.

  • cfmgolf: “I am definitely a believer. Tried it on a whim at a PGA SuperStore in FL last fall and was stunned by the consistency of it. Changed from a RTX3 to the CBX2 in my 52* gap within a couple of weeks. Now that we are back in OH for the summer, I changed out 3 wedges (Ping Glide 3.0, and 2 of the RTX 4’s) for an entire bag of the CBX2’s. I am trying the full face in my 56* and found it to be very good also. Biggest benefit for me has been the consistency of the CBX line. Shots out of the rough that can be high on the club don’t really lose much – i.e. more forgiving. I go between a 6-8HCP, and short game is my strong point. Very happy with them so far.”
  • JCRay33: “6 handicap here and bought a couple CBX’s (54 and 58) from 2nd swing a couple months ago and absolutely love them! Way more forgiving than typical blade wedges (had vokeys before) and great feel as well. It’s easy for ego to get in the way and not want to get these, but once you realize, all that matters is performance the choice is a no-brainer and results speak for themselves really.”
  • mortimer: “CBX2 50. Excellent gap wedge for full, 3/4 shots and chipping. Forgiving, consistent and more than acceptable spin numbers. Also offset is fine to my eye. Having said all that I would not game a 58/60 degrees one if you like to manipulate the face for different shots around the green as I do. Intrigued though with the new full-face but have not seen one in person yet.”
  • Simp: “I have a set of 58, 54 & 50 raw CBX2’s allegedly tour issue, and I love them. The 58 has a grind that is lovely. I’m a 0 FYI.”
  • nicelife: “I have Srixon irons and Mizuno T20 wedges. I found the CBX2 50 was the perfect transition club between sets. LOVE the Srixon/Cleveland V-Sole. Visually the face has more grooves than I would normally like to look at, but its performance more than makes up for it. I really like the satin finish. So much so I’m thinking about refinishing my irons. Go for it you won’t be sorry.”

Entire Thread: “Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges”

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