Owned both sets... First comment is that they are two different animals. The R9 TP is a moderate sole (not thin by any means) and is consistent through the whole set. The MP53 is basically a combo set (Different than the 62 so they are not comparable). The 53 goes from nearly blade like 8-PW to channel back 4-7 (a la AP2). The MP53 also has the back of the sole on all the clubs ground off....which means they will interact with the turf much more like a thinner iron than the R9TP...or even the AP2 (Which I am bagging now).
Wider sole irons, while they provide more forgiveness on off center hits, can "bounce" into the ball...especially on firm conditions. That's why some players who may not have the handicap number for "blade like clubs" can actually make better contact with thinner soles...especially if they have a steeper swing.
The MP53 is the right club for the person who has developed their game around thin sole irons and is looking for forgiveness...but wants to stay similar to blades in turn interaction in the short irons. It will be a smaller adjustment from blades to the MP53 than it will to the R9TP. With either club you will need to sweep the longer irons more and can then make use of the forgiveness. The MP63 is basically a whole set of the MP53 8-PW irons. For comparison, the new VR Pro Combo is a similar strategy to the MP53, but is slightly slid to the right on the forgiveness scale...meaning the short irons are true blades and the longer irons are perimeter cavities versus channels. Less forgiveness across the set, but less requirement to sweep in the longer irons.
With the heads, those are the factors I would suggest considering since they make a difference on the course. The only way you will be able to evaluate how they will perform is to hit them off grass so you can see the turf interaction. I'd suggest hitting a 4 and a 9 iron from each. Once you see how they are different and pick the head, you can dial in the right shaft. he MP53 was considerably higher launch than my 710 MB (DG shaft to DG Shaft comparison). I only had the R9TP with KBS shafts which was a higher launch too. I'd suspect that the R9TP is probably a slightly lower launching head than the MP53 with similar shafts. The MP53 longer irons are very similar in launch and performance to the AP2. if you are in between flexes and not sure what to do, consider that a stiffer shaft will be more stable on steeper swings and more aggressive interaction with the ground. If you are that sort of swing, it's important. If you sweep all your irons (taking little divot), you can maximize feel and distance with a softer flex and not miss the extra stability on the course. I always suggest that better players who sweep and play regular flex shafts (Especially the tweener bewteen S and R) get the shafts spined as it will really show up in that scenario...especially DGR300.
I did not consider the feel of either iron to be a game changer. When you play forged blades and go to anything else, feel decreases. It is what it is. At times you can feel that forged softness in the MP53 short irons but it diminishes some in the longer irons as you would expect with more mass. The R9TP feel is consistent through the whole set and is sort of muted when compared to the R7TP, Tour Preferred, etc. Feels solid, but definitely has more thud than the MP53. In a net, they feel dead and they are not. Make sure you hit the R9TP outside so you are not deceived by the muted impact.
Anyway...good luck with it and let us know what you come up with!
Edited by wedge1, 14 January 2011 - 09:53 AM.