Pros: Fourteen wedges have a classic, clean shape, and come in some of the prettiest finishes we’ve seen. They have a super soft forged feel and create lots of check on short shots.
Cons: They’re pricey (about $185 each) and not easy to demo. There are more grinds in the works, but right now sole options are limited.
Overall: World-class workmanship and quality. If you’re shopping for a premium forged wedge, these should be at the top of your list to try.
Fourteen Golf is a Japanese golf equipment company that makes a full line of high-end clubs. While Fourteen sells drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, it’s the company’s driving irons, irons and wedges that have caught on with PGA Tour players (click here top read our Q&A with Fourteen’s Director of Tour Operations, Rusty Estes, for more).
One of the company’s most popular products on tour, the RM-12 wedges, are its latest models for 2013. The RM-12 wedges look similar to their predecessors, the RM-11 wedges, but they have a more rounded toe and a more agressive heel grind that adds versatility on open-face shots. They also have the same carefully milled trapezoidal grooves, which add 15 percent more spin than Fourteen’s popular M-28 J.spec-IV wedges.
According to Fourteen’s website, its “mirror face milling process” takes twice as long as traditional milling procedures, but adds consistency in both wet and dry conditions, as well as extra zip from the rough and on partial shots.
The RM-12 wedges are available from select retailers and custom fitters for around $185 (to find a Fourteen Golf retailer near you, click here). They come in two different finishes — satin and “half matte” black — in even lofts from 48 to 60 degrees. They come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Wedge shaft or Nippon’s N.S. Pro 950 GH HT shafts with swing weights between D0 and D3.
The sole design of the RM-12 wedges differ substantially from the RM-11 wedges — a change that was implemented because of feedback from tour players. Many wanted a wedge that they could use on a variety of shots, so engineers rounded the toe and heel area. They also removed a back portion of the sole, creating Fourteen’s “H-Sole,” which is available on 48-degree to 58-degree models. These modifications allow golfers to open and close the face, which allows skilled golfers to hit a variety of shots.
For the 60-degree model, the design team implemented a “T-Sole,” or Twin Sole. It has a distinct ridge in the middle portion of the sole that allows the club to get through the turf easier, as the leading edge is better able to slide better under the ball. Additionally, when the club face is open, the company says the back portion of the sole encourages the ball to pop up with a good amount of spin.
Touring professionals appreciated the company’s original “reverse taper design” in its older wedges wedges, so engineers used it as a platform for the RM-12. But they increased the weight distribution on the upper blade to create a “reverse muscle design.” In effect, the weight is more evenly proportioned throughout the club head, which creates more consistent balls speeds and stability at impact on all shots.
Looks an Feel
The RM-12’s satin finish is stunning. It’s not too light or dark, and is consistent and durable thanks to Fourteen’s “forged nickel chrome molybdenum bronze” finish, which the company chose for its strength.
“It will be in the best shape for a long time without too much wear and of course promise solid spin performance,” Fourteen says on its website.
As far as feel goes, these wedges are some of the best. That’s thanks to the quality control that’s a staple of Fourteen’s forging process, which give the clubs extremely tight tolerances and a buttery soft feel. This provides golfers with the feedback they need to learn how to play the most precise wedge shots.
It’s the unusual grind on the back of the wedge near the toe area that sets theses wedges apart, however. Not only does the “reverse muscleback design” look cool, it creates a more solid feel and increased performance that makes it easier to justify the high price tag of these wedges.
Check out our images below of Fourteen’s RM-11 and RM-12 wedges in different finishes, as well as some wedges with custom stampings done by Fourteen’s Rusty Estes.
Review: Miura MC-501
Pros: The most forgiving blade you’ll ever hit. Miura has made what seems like the hugest oxymoron in golf clubs that we club buyers have been dreaming of!
Cons: The Miura MC 501s are only offered to right-handed golfers. My lefty friends again are going to have to wait and hope that Miura will bring this superior work of golf art to life.
Bottom Line: The Miura MC-501, the newest weapon from Miura golf in their blade line, is the newest weapon for more than just the better golfer. If you’ve been loving the look of Miura blades and have felt that you just weren’t good enough to play them, this might be the model you’ve been waiting to try. All the superior looks Miura has been famous for, the butter-soft feel and a touch of forgiveness in an amazing package!
Miura has famously made some of the most gorgeous irons ever produced in the world. Their muscle back blades have garnered cult status and many of the better players have always gravitated towards their designs. They have made cavity back irons but the models that have drawn the most attention from all skill levels are the muscle backs. Unfortunately those muscle backs weren’t for everyone but the very low handicaps.
The MC-501 is the muscle back model that was made to change that. It is the longest heel to toe blade model they’ve ever made. Through engineering they’ve repositioned 20 grams of weight to the sole, which not only made the sole wider but moved the center of gravity to allow ease in getting a higher trajectory. The MC-501 also incorporates Yoshitaka Miura’s iconic Y-grind sole that blunts and softens the club head’s leading edge and improves turf interaction.
Precision forged from S25C carbon steel in Miura’s factory in Himeji, these clubs were developed under the most stringent and fastidious craftsmen that you could only wish were making your set.
The MC-501 is are available from authorized Miura dealers/fitters worldwide. They carry a suggested retail price of $260 a club, though the prices may vary with different shaft options.
- Miura MC-501 iron set
- 4-iron through pitching wedge
- KBS CT95 shafts/Japan Exclusive Model, Black Finish
- Elite Y360SV grips from Japan
Entire set custom fit and built at Miura Authorized Fitting Center, Aloha Golf Center Las Vegas.
My initial test with the MC-501s put an immediate smile on my face. My favorite muscle back and club line from Miura has always been the MB-001. There were a few shortcomings in the MB-001, but the looks and feel always made me forget them. The MC-501 seemed to address the shortcomings of the MB-001 perfectly — particularly in the missed shots. Users whose misses tend to be thin will find the movement of weight toward the sole generously allows them a bit of forgiveness and help in trajectory usually lost than other traditionally shaped muscle backs.
Users who want to work the ball will also find the MC-501s play similarly to the MB-001s despite that added forgiveness. I had to work them a little harder but I was able to move the ball either left or right with no issues. They were a little more similar in playability to the CB-57 line than the MB-001.
The Yoshitaka Miura Y Grind sole allows the usual clean strike at impact and great interaction with the turf. There is no digging and it gives a very positive thump sound to your shots. This sole grind also helps to thin the look of the wider sole. Probably the widest sole offered on any Miura muscle back. Although wide, the MC-501 never played clunky, as you might expect upon an initial look, they instead played just like all the other pure Miura blades.
The long irons were where the MC-501s particularly shined. I have never hit a Miura muscle back 4-iron with such ease. Naturally, the design of the head afforded much more forgiveness in launch, yet I was still able to knock down shots when I needed to. The MC-501, being longer heel-to-toe than any other Miura muscle back, also assist it in having much greater forgiveness in the long irons.
The short irons were definitely precision tools. From PW to 7-iron, the distance with them were consistent and playability perfect. There were no hot spots on the face and Miura’s pure forging made solid shots particularly delightful. I marveled at how accurately these clubs hit their distances once you dialed them in. This is a feature I have not been able to replicate in the filled hollow head irons from many other brands.
Forgiveness was much greater in the MC-501 versus other muscle backs from Miura like the Tournament Blade, MB-001 or Baby Blades. This was immediately obvious upon using them. The loss in yardage with thin shots was lessened, and the trajectory was much more consistent due to the design of the head.
Looks and Feel
The MC-501s have a look all of their own in the Miura lineup. The X-like design on the back almost makes you feel like they have superhero qualities! They will definitely take some getting used to if you’re a long-time user of Miura blades, but for those who aren’t as familiar, the look may appear as an exciting change to the standard muscle back.
The beautiful satin finish, which Miura has come to be the standard bearer of, appeals so much to my senses. Miura clubs are one of the few lines that I can sit and just stare at the head, marveling at the beauty that was once just a raw piece of steel. Miura’s ability to produce golf art is something many club companies strive to meet, but some miserably fail at.
The black Miura logo and name prominently in the main middle muscle of the head and a simple MC-501 stamped towards a toe just continues the classy look of Miura. There’s no need for screw heads, fancy colored paint fill, decals, and other fluff. This is just a pure Japanese forged golf club at its highest level.
For what Miura has touted as its most forgiving iron, the top line at address does not make you feel like you’re playing some huge cavity back. It’s as thin as you would expect a Miura muscle back to be. For blade lovers, and past Miura blade users, the top line will not disappoint you. The toe on the MC-501 appears more square than past muscle backs. I personally like a rounder toe, but the squareness does give a look of a bigger face — something that might please those who want a bit of a more forgiving look. The squared toe and shape of the head frames the ball well, and its easy to align the clubs.
The MC-501 design transitions very well through the set. When you line them up on a wall and look at the heads as they transition from the short to the long irons, the shapes blend perfectly. I think Miura is one of the finest makers when it comes to the transitioning of irons in their sets.
The MC-501 is a joyful feeling in your hands. Once you hit a pure strike with them, that clean, pure feeling of the ball striking the face will take your breath away. I don’t know what they put in the steel in Himeji, Japan, but I’ve yet to feel any other brand of club that makes me smile so much after hitting its clubs. The MC-501 in my humble opinion is one extremely fine feeling line of clubs.
Katsuhiro Miura’s philosophy is one of not just making a new club to come out with something new, but to improve on what the company already offers. The MC-501 is the amalgamation of all his past irons and the top of their club evolutionary chain. With its eye-catching looks, superior feel, and added forgiveness, the MC-501 is a great gateway club for people wanting to try their first Miura club.
The MC-501 is also the club for current Miura muscle back users who would appreciate more forgiveness in their current set and are just not ready to move to full on cavity back irons. I, for one, am getting older and it has occurred to me to switch over to more forgiving shapes and jacked up lofts. The MC-501 is the club that will keep me playing a few more years in the designs I love to look at!
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