For decades, better players have fawned over Mizuno’s MP line of forged irons, while mid-to-high handicappers covered their eyes, but still looked through the creases in their fingers. The new MP-H5 and MP-15 irons still don’t invite high-handicappers to join the party, but the company improved their forgiveness while maintaining the looks, sound and feel that better players have come to expect from the clubs.
As for the new MP-T5 wedges, Mizuno has expanded its offering to include 25 different loft, bounce and grind combinations for both left and right-handed players. That puts Mizuno among the industry leaders in wedging offerings, making Mizuno’s latest wedge line a fit for a wider variety of players than ever.
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Mizuno’s MP-H5 irons are smaller, yet more-forgiving than the MP-H4 irons that they replace.
“MP” stands for “Mizuno Players,'” which means these clubs were created for the better players among the golfing population. According to Chuck Couch, vice president of product development at Mizuno, today’s golfers are bigger and stronger than ever, but golf courses are getting progressively more difficult as well. That had lead to many of those golfers opting for longer-flying, more forgiving irons to deal with the challenges of long courses, thicker rough and faster greens.
Last year’s MP-H4 line was designed as hittable irons for better players, placing them at the more-forgiving end of the MP spectrum. Despite the performance boost they received from their slightly larger size, Couch admitted that the irons were a bit too large for the player they were targeting.
“With the H4 irons, we hit a par 5 in two, but ended up making bogey,” Couch said. “We changed that with a pure-looking club and an understated design [in the H5].”
The MP-H5 irons have a topline that is considerably thinner than its predecessor, as well as a thinner sole that allows for better maneuverability through the turf. That gives them a more understated look than the MP-H4, but the new irons also have a higher moment of inertia (MOI) to produce better launch characteristics. How’d Mizuno do that?
As with previous Mizuno irons, the MP-H5 irons are made with the company’s Grain Flow forging process that improves the look and feel of the irons. Their 1770 maraging steel faces were able to be made thinner than their predecessors, however, saving engineers weight that could be redistributed around the perimeter of the club head to improve forgiveness. Additional forgiveness was added to the clubs with their hollow construction, which drives weight low and deep in the head to improve their launch conditions, particularly in the long irons.
Whereas the MP-H4 irons were a mixed set, with hollow long and mid irons and solid-faced short irons, the MP-H5 irons have an all-hollow construction that creates more consistency throughout the set.
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The MP-15’s are the direct replacement for the company’s MP-59 irons, which were known for their workability, as well as their classic shape, look, sound and feel. The new MP-15’s maintain those characteristics and add 20 percent more forgiveness to the design.
With the MP-15’s, Mizuno engineers found a way to remove 38 grams of weight from the Grain Flow Forged irons — roughly 15 percent of their total weight — from their cavities, which is nearly double the weight the company was able to redistribute in the MP-59 irons. The weight was then added back to the irons in the form of a 7-gram titanium insert behind the impact area, which was blended with 3 grams of ABS polymer to improve feel. The rest of the weight was placed around the perimeter of the clubs to boost their MOI.
[quote_box_center]”We took everything that Luke and 1000 other tour players that we talked to liked about the MP-64 and Mp-59’s,” Couch said. “They feel the same as the 59’s, but we were way more strategic with our weight distribution to allow for a higher MOI. The pyramid shaped insert behind the hitting area allows for a larger sweet spot providing more forgiveness, without sacrificing the best qualities from the MP-64 or MP-59.”[/quote_box_center]
Mizuno also used its Harmonic Impact Technology (H.I.T.), which measures feel and sound based on frequency and decibel-readings, to confirm that the MP-15’s closely replicated the feel of the company’s MP-64 irons, which are known as one of the best-feeling irons the company has produced in its history.
[quote_box_center]”There’s a difference between looking cool and being cool,” Couch said. “Although we spent a lot of time on cosmetics, we made a multi-material club head that maximized its discretionary weight … These irons are cool.”[/quote_box_center]
Both the MP-H5 and MP-15 irons will sell for $999 for an eight-piece set with a steel shafts ($1099 with graphite). The MP-H5 irons come stock with KBS Tour C-Taper Lite shafts, while the MP-15’s are sold with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold shafts.
Mizuno anticipates that better players will mix and match the long and mid irons from the MP-H5 line with the mid and short irons of the MP-15 line, so the company dropped the price of the MP-H5 irons by $100 to make it the same as the MP-15 irons and make it easier for them to do so.
According to Couch, it’s likely that Mizuno staff players Luke Donald and Charles Howell III will put a mix of the MP-H5 and the MP-15 in their bags after the Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The MP-H5 irons will be available in 1-PW, while the MP-15 irons will be available in 3-PW. They’ll be in stores on September 19 and available for presale August 29.
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To compete in today’s hypercompetitive wedge market, equipment companies have looked to offer the widest possible variety of grind, bounce and loft options so they can have a wedge that’s a perfect fit for each consumer. With its new MP-T5 wedges, Mizuno looked for a way to expand its wedge offerings without making the process of purchasing a wedge too confusing for consumers.
[quote_box_center]”We took away that confusion by grinding the soles according to the bounce and loft of each wedge,” Couch said. “You don’t have to pick the grind and run the risk of mismatching the options because we did it for you.”[/quote_box_center]
The MP-T5 wedges are available in 25 different loft and bounce combinations, for both left and right-handed golfers, in lofts ranging from 49-to-62 degrees. The only choices you have to make is what loft you want, what bounce suits your game and what finish you desire, because Mizuno has already decided the grind and groove configuration depending on the choice you make.
- Low lofts: Mizuno’s MP-T5 gap wedges (49-to-53 degrees) have a classic C-grind with soft trailing edge relief. These wedges are mostly played from the fairway or rough using full swings, so golfers don’t need aggressive grinds, Couch said. These wedges also have the narrow, deep grooves that are designed to perform best on full shots.
- Mid lofts: In the 54-to-58 degrees models, Mizuno gives golfers two different bounce options. Its low-bounce wedges have an aggressive C Grind for more versatility, while its high-bounce wedges have a soft trailing edge and a significant heel grind to aid performance on open-faced bunker shots. These wedges have wider, shallower grooves that perform better on open-faced shots around the green.
- High lofts: Like the mid-lofted wedges, Mizuno’s MP-T5 high-lofted wedges (58-to-62 degrees) come in two options: high bounce and low bounce. The high-bounce wedges have an M Grind that stands for max bounce and max heel and toe relief, which helps prevent digging while still providing the versatility golfers need to hit delicate shots around the green. The lower-bounce models add more trailing edge relief and more grind on the heel. They also have wide, shallower grooves that add more touch around the greens.
Below is a chart highlighting the specifications of Mizuno’s new MP-T5 wedges.
The MP-T5 wedges are available in two finishes: Black Ion, which won’t rust with extended use, and White Satin. The wedges will sell for about $129.99 with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Wedge shaft.
Top 5 insider takeaways from Hideki Matsuyama’s 2021 Masters WITB
When it comes to players on the PGA Tour, there are few as detail-orientated as Hideki Matsuyama. His equipment testing sessions are non-stop week to week in his tireless pursuit of accomplishing greatness on every swing.
Even as recently as two weeks ago, Matsuyama was spotted at the WGC Matchplay testing no less than 5 different putters. He eventually settled on the one that ultimately helped him win the Masters—but what about the rest of his clubs?
Earlier this year GolfWRX got an insider look at Hideki’s “what’s in the bag” including the how and the why and these are the top five most interesting notes.
He plays a heavy driver shaft
The general rule in club fitting is golfers with smoother tempos can use lighter weight options since their load profile puts less stress on the shaft—we’ve even seen some extreme examples of lightweight options being testing on tour by other players.
For Hideki, using a Graphite design DI 8 goes against that even though he has a fairly smooth tempo and a tiny pause at the top of his swing, but it should be noted he also swings his driver between 115 and 120 mph. It just goes to show the importance of player preference and feel when it comes to finding what’s right.
Srixon tour team – “Hideki is constantly testing driver shafts, including lightweight options. He has found that heavier shafts allow him to generate more clubhead speed with his swing. Hideki also believes that heavier shafts help create and support his unique tempo.”
He prefers a more “game improvement” look to his driver
Even with his ballstriking ability, Hideki—like many other players on the PGA Tour—prefers to use a driver that offers a higher MOI to increase ball speed and forgiveness on shots hit around the face. That means choosing the Srixon ZX5 over the ZX7, even though he has used both with great success.
Srixon tour team – “We had success with both the ZX5 and ZX7 drivers. Hideki played both models in numerous PGA tournaments this year. The deciding factor for Hideki to choose the ZX5 over the ZX7 was distance. The ZX5 setup generated more ball speed and carry distance. The ZX7 setup allows him to maximize his control. During a tournament, Hideki played the ZX7 and hit over 80 percent of his fairways, but it was not carrying as far as the ZX5. He went back to the ZX5 mid-way through that event.”
Hideki is very specific about lead tape
Some golfers just slap on lead tape until it feels right, but not Hideki. He takes his lead tape and testing seriously to the point where he uses precut pieces around iron heads to get things just right.
Srixon tour team – “We travel with pre-cut lead tape in half-gram and one-gram increments, and Hideki will apply the tape to different areas of the club (muscle, flange, hosel, shaft), depending on how the club feels while testing. When iron testing, Hideki likes to have a full set built rather than just a few lofts. We do this because if he likes the iron while testing, then we have the full set ready to go for him to test right away.”
He players softer iron shafts than his wedge
Much like his heavier driver shaft, Hideki’s shaft of choice in his wedges goes against conventional fitting wisdom. He uses True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 wedge shafts compared to S400 iron shafts and for most players on tour, it would be the other way around.
According to the team at Srixon, he prefers the stiffer profile to help with flighting the ball down and controlling his launch window.
He is always tinkering with his highest-lofted wedges
With course conditions varying week to week, Hideki is always working with different bounce variations to maximize the efficiency in his short game. Even though he does play with his bounce combinations, the overall sole shape stays constant along with the look he prefers from address.
Srixon Tour team – “Hideki doesn’t change his 52-degree sole often, but he is constantly tinkering with his 56 and 60. All three soles have a subtle C-grind shape. The 56 and 60-degree have an aggressive heel relief. Hideki also utilizes a similar subtle leading-edge grind that is in his irons. He plays his 60 and 56 weaker to help remove the offset and maintain a very straight, smooth transition from the hosel to leading-edge.”
How to gap your clubs with Rapsodo MLM
When it comes to improving your scores on the course, there are few things that are going to help more than gapping your clubs using a launch monitor. Knowing your yardages with each club allows you to make confident decisions on the course and hit it closer to your targets.
This is the reason you see professionals at the highest level on the range every week dialing in their distances using launch monitors.
Now, up until recently, access to a launch monitor has required you to book time at a coaching or club fitting facility with the right equipment, or in extreme cases, investing thousands of dollars into a high-end photo or doppler radar system that costs about the same as a new mid-range 4-door car.
These systems are great but certainly don’t fit the mold of something affordable and portable for personal use—this is where the Rapsodo MLM comes in.
What is the Rapsodo MLM?
The Rapsodo MLM (mobile launch monitor) is a personal launch monitor device that utilizes the camera in your phone or tablet in conjunction with an internal radar to track your golf ball after impact.
The resulting culmination of data gives you ball speed, clubhead speed, smash factor, launch direction, launch angle, and most importantly in the discussion of gapping: distance.
Beyond the provided ball data, the Rapsodo MLM’s app offers a shot tracing function and video capture of each swing, and when sharing your GPS location, also provides an overhead shot map of your dispersion—an endlessly useful tool to have at your disposal on the range. The best part is for those looking to get into the personal launch monitor market, the Rapasodo MLM is only $499.
How to best use your Rapsodo MLM to gap your clubs
You should think about your set of clubs is like a toolbox with each club serving a function and having a purpose in your bag. The more often you are able to test, the more knowledgeable you are going to be, and the quicker you are going to improve.
Here is a quick guide on how to gap your clubs.
- Go through the whole bag – Once you have taken the time to warm up, start with the highest-lofted club, and work your way up to the longest. You want to hit at least 7-10 shots with each club to build an average. A cool feature of the MLM app is it not only gives you your averages but creates an easy-to-understand graphic that also showcases your minimum and maximum ranges.
- Pay attention to any overlap – As mentioned off the top, you want each club within your set to serve a purpose and when two clubs are overlapping in distance you need to make adjustments. On a basic level, bringing this data to a club-fitter can make getting your lie and loft angle adjusted easily and with a purpose, or on a more advanced level it could demonstrate the need to change up some of the clubs in your bag.
- Put your new knowledge into action – Now that you are armed with this newfound information and confidence in your clubs take it to the course to see how it can be put into play. Need to stay short of a dogleg? Making the right choice off the tee has never been easier. Have to carry a hazard? Play the club you know will cover the carry distance.
One of the greatest skills better players have is knowledge in their game and no matter how much you play – the more good choices you make on the course when it comes to club selection the better you are going to play.
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/12/21): Copper Goodwood putter
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing, including equipment or, in this case, a custom milled putter.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Goodwood custom plated in copper.
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