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Mizuno brings the MP family closer together with its new MP-18 irons

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With its MP-18 iron family, Mizuno has narrowed the differences between its four new iron models to make mixing sets not only easier, but completely seamless.

Check out our WITB Page, and you’ll notice that most PGA Tour players are using combination iron sets. That means they’re playing muscleback short irons and cavity-back longer irons with thicker toplines and more forgiveness. This combo-set trend makes perfect sense; it allows golfers to use an iron set that gives them maximum control in their short irons where they want maximum control, and more forgiveness and distance in their long irons where they want more distance and forgiveness. Duh!

The problem is that most iron sets attempt to cater to the needs of muscleback players with their muscleback irons, cavity-back players with their cavity-back irons, and game-improvement players with their game-improvement irons. By segmenting iron families, it leaves gaps in looks, feel, playability, and distance for golfers who want to make their own combination set.

Mizuno has gone to great lengths to address that problem with its MP-18 iron family, which is intended to be mixed and matched. The MP-18 family includes four irons types:

  • MP-18 (Muscleback)
  • MP-18 SC (Split Cavity)
  • MP-18 MMC (Multi-Material Compound)
  • MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

While the SC, MMC, and MMC Fli-Hi irons are larger than the MP-18 muscleback irons, they maintain the same sole, head profile, and topline ratios in their shaping. That means they look almost identical at address; they’re just slightly larger. Their lofts and pricing are also essentially identical. Only a trained eye will be able to tell any difference at all.

In terms of materials, Mizuno went back to its roots with the MP-18. The irons are forged from 1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon, a switch from the 1025 Boron the company was using in some of its MP irons in recent years. Boron was used because it is stronger than Mizuno’s 1025E carbon steel, allowing engineers to thin out structures within the irons for added distance and forgiveness. “That’s just not MP,” as one Mizuno representative put it.

With this launch, Mizuno strived to give the MP-18 irons the look and feel of irons that “could have been made 100 years ago,” the company says. They’re for players who want the best-feeling, best-looking irons they can play, with simple color schemes and classic shapes, while still getting maximum performance. There’s still a place for cutting-edge designs and materials in Mizuno players irons — just ask Brooks Koepka, who used the JPX-900 Tour irons forged from Boron to win the 2017 U.S. Open — but it’s not in the MP-18 line.

To get the artistic shaping the company desired in the MP-18 line, Mizuno brought its computer-designed club heads to Japan where its expert craftsmen refined the shapes. The club-grinding experts worked to blend the transition of the hosels into the club faces in a way that reduced the look of offset. They also dialed in toe and heel shapes while adding camber to the sole. These prototype models were used as the starting point for each of the MP-18 irons to ensure consistency through the lineup.

Despite their throwback looks, the company relied on new school technologies to refine the sound and feel of the irons. Mizuno’s stated goal with the irons was to extend impact frequencies so they not only feel softer, but so that golfers get more feedback on the club. To that end, the irons were forged with a new “Grain-Flow Forged HD” process. The company’s H.I.T. (Harmonic Impact Technology) was also used to dial in acoustics for enhanced feedback.

Below, we break down each of the individual offerings in the MP-18 family. The irons will sell for $149.99 each and will be available September 15.

Mizuno MP-18

In relation to previous Mizuno MP muscleback irons, the MP-18 irons are significantly smaller than the MP-5 irons and slightly smaller than one of Mizuno’s smallest modern muscleback irons, the MP-4. Their toplines appear thinner than they measure due to a camber that makes them look slimmer in the address position. In comparing topline thicknesses, the MP-18’s are thinner than the MP-5, but they’re a bit thicker than the MP-4.

The MP-18 scoring irons (9 and PW) are smaller in size than previous models. All of the irons in the set also have lower heel heights. “That’s what this player wants,” a Mizuno representative said.

The MP-18 irons will come stock with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and Golf Pride MCC White/Black grips. They are right-handed only offerings.

Full Specs 

MP-18bladeSpecs

Mizuno MP-18 SC (Split Cavity)

The MP-18 Split Cavity irons feature what Mizuno calls a half-cavity design. Mass has been taken of the upper portion of the irons, focusing CG (center of gravity) lower in the club head for an easier launch and more forgiveness.

The MP-18 SC irons are only fractionally longer from heel-to-toe than the MP-18 muscleback irons. They’re also 0.5 millimeters taller and have soles that are 1.5 millimeters wider. With identical specs (aside from swing weight in the longer irons) and offset, these irons are designed to blend seamlessly into a combination set with the MP-18 muscleback irons regardless of where golfers decide to split their set.

The MP-18 SC irons come stock with KBS Tour shafts and are available for left- and right-handed golfers.

Full Specs

MizunoMp18scSpecs

Mizuno MP-18 MMC (Multi-Material Construction)

The MP-18 MMC irons are Grain Flow Forged from 1025E, but they use a multi-material construction to move weight to the center of the club heads to enhance moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness. The more centered CG is achieved by adding 20 grams of tungsten, a material more dense than steel, in the toe section of the irons. An 8-gram titanium insert, which is lighter than steel, was also placed behind the club face and toward the heel section of the club.

The titanium insert is used in each of the MMC iron designs. Tungsten was not used in the 8, 9, and PW club heads, however, as it was not needed to center CG due in those clubs.

MizunoMMCconstruction

The MP-18 MMC are designed with 0.8 millimeters less offset more than the MP-18 and SC irons, but they also have 2 degrees less loft per head. According to Mizuno, however, each degree of loft that is added when bending an iron weaker adds 0.4 millimeters of offset. That means if a golfer matches the lofts of the MP-18 MMC irons to the MP-18 or MP-18 SC irons, offset will be essentially identical.

The MP-18 MMC irons will come stock with a Nippon Modus 120 shaft, and they’re a right-handed only offering.

Full Specs

MizunoMP18MMCspecs

Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Offered in long-irons only (2-6 iron), the Mizuno MMC Fli-HI irons have an X-30 steel body material with club faces made from Maraging 1770HT steel, a high-strength material that can be made thinner to help create faster ball speeds.

MizunoTngsten

Mizuno made the toplines of its new Fli-Hi significantly thinner than its predecessor, the MP-H5 iron. The toplines are also cambered to look thinner than they measure, creating a look that will suit the eye of better players, according to Mizuno. Like the MP-MMC irons, the MMC Fli-Hi irons also have 20 grams of tungsten in their toes. The insert is forged into the inside of the cavity, however, and it sits behind the face. According to Mizuno, this design helps golfers hit higher shots with the irons and increases forgiveness.

The MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi irons will come stock with KBS C-Taper shafts, and are a right-handed only offering.

Full Specs

MMCfliHiMizunoSpecs

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the MP-18 irons in our forums

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. D

    Aug 8, 2017 at 2:23 am

    At least you feel special that you can do things that right-handers can’t.

  2. Mr Poopoo

    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    There goes my next paycheck

  3. D

    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    You would know all about being hopeless, you’re hopeless

  4. BRI

    Aug 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Article is littered with errors.

  5. ShankLampard147

    Aug 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    No combo set if you’re left handed, which is a big fail. I wanted the sc18’s, but it feels like mizuno doesn’t want my money. No fli hi is a deal breaker for me. Add to that the blue wedges and I think they should just stop making left handed clubs altogether. Any self respecting lefty wouldn’t play Mizuno.

    • joro

      Jul 11, 2018 at 11:47 am

      What do most people need with a combo set. Is it skill or ego that they think it will make them a player with them in the Bag. I am a leftie and play with the Hot Metals in Leftie that more people need, they are strong, hit high and feel soft. And the Graphite shaft is a good one.

      So Leftie, take a good look at then, them, then are grrrrrrrrreat.

  6. Edit

    Aug 7, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Think you meant to say tungsten was not used in 8-paw heads of MMC. You wrote titanium.

  7. Tommy

    Aug 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I’m surprised by the fat soles on the 18’s. How’s that “classic Mizuno”? I’ll wait to see them in hand but that really pops the bubble for me…

  8. Tiemco

    Aug 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

    When you say the Fli-Hi iron’s are only offered in the long irons and then you put in parentheses 6-PW. I think you meant to write 2-6.

  9. Lee Shaw

    Aug 7, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Surely these MP18’s can’t be any good they are not over $3000 for 8 irons!!

  10. Dat

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Sign me up! 3 Fli-Hi, 4-6 SC, 7-PW MB

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Equipment

Fujikura launches new Ventus TR Blue shafts for 2022 (plus a deep Q&A)

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FujikuraVentusTR

Fujikura’s family of Ventus shafts is undoubtedly one of the company’s best-performing, most popular and best-selling shaft lineups ever.

Back in September 2018, Fujikura launched the Ventus Blue shaft on the PGA Tour, finding immediate success for its ability to create speed without sacrificing stability. The secret sauce was a technology called “VeloCore,” which is a multi-material construction that uses ultra-stiff Pitch 70 Ton carbon fiber to increase stiffness.

The Ventus Blue allowed players to hit the center of the face more often due to a reduction in twisting and droop on the downswing.

As a mid-launch and mid-to-low launch shaft that provided speed and stability, the Ventus Blue fit the swings of most players. But, of course, there was demand for other models both in the market and on Tour. So, in September of the following year, Fujikura launched the Red (higher launch/higher spin) and Black (lower launch/lower spin) versions to appeal to the needs of different swings.

Fujikura’s arsenal of Ventus shafts allowed nearly any golfer across the swing spectrum to fit into one of the three options, including top tour players.

Although the Ventus shafts remain in the bags of tour players and perform well in the market, Fujikura has been working behind the scenes over the last several years to enhance performance.

After using its in-depth ENSO analytics and working closely with tour players, Fujikura has developed a new Ventus TR Blue shaft. Like the original Ventus Blue, the TR version is a mid-launch shaft, except it’s stiffer in the mid/handle section to improve stability and consistency of strike.

While VeloCore is still used throughout the Ventus TR shaft, the new construction features “Spread Tow” fabric in the butt-end section to increase torsional stiffness. Spread Tow, essentially, is a checkerboard-like design that weaves fibers together to increase strength and reduce weight. According to Fujikura, the torque is 10 percent stiffer in the section that uses this design.

Fujikura’s Product Marketing Manager, Spencer Reynolds, explains exactly what Spread Tow is and why it’s effective

“Essentially, there’s a standard carbon weave and then there’s a Spread Tow carbon weave. What a Spread Tow does is it takes all these individual strands of carbon and irons them flat into a tape, and then weaves those over-under, over-under almost like a checkerboard pattern. So there’s very little space for resin to accumulate, you get super low resin content, and then you also get a lot of strength in varying directions. It can take pull and load in multiple directions. Another benefit is that it’s super lightweight. You’re getting an incredible amount of strength, in an ultra-lightweight package.” (Read the Q&A later in the piece for way more insight from Reynolds on the Ventus TR).

For golfers, the new Ventus TR construction will lead to more stability at impact and during the backswing-downswing transition. In comparison to the original Ventus Blue, the Ventus TR will play slightly stiffer for lower spin but not quite as stiff as the Ventus Black.

Debuting a slightly new look, the Ventus TR has a lightweight phantium paint finish that glistens in the sunlight, and it has a gold “TR” block. Also, if you look closely at the butt-end section of the shaft, you can visibly see the Spread Tow woven technology. Fujikura has confirmed that the checkered design isn’t just a graphic — that’s a look into the real technology through the paint finish.

Described by Fujikura as a mid-launch, low-spin shaft, the Ventus TR comes in the following options: Ventus TR Blue 50 (R2, R and S flex), Ventus TR Blue 60 (R, S and X flex), Ventus TR Blue 70 (S and X flex) and Ventus TR Blue 80 (S and X flex), each of which are available at 46 inches.

Fujikura’s new Ventus TR Blue shafts will be available at over 600+ authorized retailers starting Feb. 1, 2022, selling for $350 apiece.

Fujikura Ventus TR: The inside story

For more on the Ventus TR, how it was designed, what it’s designed to do, and what the “TR” actually stands for, we talked with Spencer Reynolds, Product Marketing Manager at Fujikura.

Tursky: Simple question to start, what exactly is the Ventus TR shaft? What’s different about the new design?

Reynolds: Yeah, so on our end, for the last three years, really, people have been asking us what’s going to be next for Ventus, right? That’s kind of the curse and the blessing of having a really successful part. And the cool thing about Ventus is that it’s successful from the amateur level all the way to the PGA Tour. So you get tasked with these three things. 1) They want something new, 2) it needs to be better and 3) don’t change it. It’s kind of an awkward recipe to make new product.

So what we find is it’s a bit of a three-step process. It starts with taking a successful part and profile, and let’s listen to feedback. So we talk to tour pros, we’ll talk to charter dealers, we’ll talk to players and say, ‘Alright, if there was something about a particular profile that you’d want to change or enhance, what would it be?’

The luxury that we have is we take that feedback, and then we can kind of pair that up with our ENSO analytics. We have thousands of lines of different data and combinations of shaft builds, and how that interacts with different players, so we can pretty confidently say if we take this feedback, we make this change here, we make this section different, we make it softer or stiffer, whatever it is, we can look at an algorithm and look and past data and get a pretty good feel for how this is going to play out.

Then step three is, we find the right recipe, build prototypes, test it to death, and then roll it out to market. And that’s the super simplified version of it.

We got really nitpicky with Ventus, and one of the things we realized was that VeloCore technology is still an incredibly stable platform. So combine that incredibly stable core, incredibly ultra-stiff tip section, we have a lot of stability there. But what ENSO analytics showed us was, when a shaft goes into transition on the downswing, especially at higher swing speeds, but really for all swing speeds, that’s where a shaft takes on a lot of stress – unwanted stress, anytime there’s a quick change in direction. And we see that happen in the mid-handle section. That’s really where that occurs a lot.

Anytime we see that inconsistency in a shaft build, it can lead to unnecessary twist or unwanted twist. We want this piece from grip to tip to be as consistent as possible. So you start to look at specific sections now, and if this is a weak section or a section that can be compromised, how can we beef it up. Easy thing is we strap a bunch of material to it, right? But that doesn’t work because now you’re compromising swing weight, overall weight, and in a profile like a mid-launch, low-spin profile shaft like this, you’re really starting to compromise feel. You’re starting to push it much more into that handle-stiff, rebar, high swing speed space. This can live there with stiffer flexes and higher weights, but in that mid-low spin range, you want to maintain some of that feel.

So it leads us down a rabbit hole, how can we source new composites? How can we source new materials? How can we solve this problem? Well, we integrated a new Spread Tow carbon fabric.

Essentially, there’s a standard carbon weave and then there’s a Spread Tow carbon weave. What a Spread Tow does is it takes all these individual strands of carbon and irons them flat into a tape, and then weaves those over-under, over-under almost like a checkerboard pattern. So there’s very little space for resin to accumulate, you get super low resin content, and then you also get a lot of strength in varying directions. It can take pull and load in multiple directions. Other benefit is that it’s super lightweight. You’re getting an incredible amount of strength, in an ultra lightweight package.

Now we get away from that idea of compromising swing weight or overall weight, but when we measure this – we have a proprietary measurement system where we don’t just look at torque overall. We look at torque in every section of the shaft specifically. So what is the handle torque? What is the mid torque? What is the tip torque? And we compare that section to a Ventus Blue, and it jumps the torsional stiffness almost 10 percent in that specific section, which is a big chunk.

Tursky: What do these benefits equate to in real life for a golfer? 

Reynolds: The basic way to look at it is, you’re increasing consistency by that much more by increasing stability that much in a shaft. So any increase we see in stability, especially getting into double digits, it’s a huge gain.

What it really gives players, though, is you’re not really compromising player feel. So you’ve increased torsional stiffness in that section and made the shaft that much more consistent, without it feeling boardy or stiff in a particular section.

Tursky: So, in the handle section, you can see a checkerboard style graphic. Those are just graphics, right? You’re just highlighting the technology underneath? 

Reynolds: No, you’re seeing the material. That’s the material showing through, so you can actually see that under the Ventus decal, especially in the sunlight. When you see the checkerboard popping at you, there’s just a touch of paint over it. That’s the actual material on the part. So you will see some cool cosmetic changes on this, you will see a kind of sparkly blue finish that you can see when we’re in the sunshine. It’s got the added “TR” graphic to go in the label.

Tursky: What does the “TR” stand for?

Reynolds: It really doesn’t have a necessary meaning, but it has cool company history. We’ve had a TR part in the past in the Speeder TR. So, to us, it kind of means a lot of different things. In the past we’ve called the TR, we’ve called it tour rated, torsionally reinforced, we’ve come up with a million different acronyms, but truthfully it’s just kind of a brand name for us that has cool company history.

Tursky: I always thought it was “tour ready”…

Reynolds: Yeah, tour ready. We’ve gone through a litany of things. But for us, it’s kind of just a nod to our company history. And it helps it stand out just a little bit, too. As easy as the Ventus 2.0 would have been, we wanted to add some substance with it with a cool nod.

Tursky: In general, if I’m hitting an original Ventus against a Ventus TR, what are some things I can expect? 

Reynolds: Yeah, you’ll start to see some slight changes. We have integrated some stiffness to the profile. I would say that apples-to-apples, compared to a Blue, you may see some lower spin, certainly not as aggressive as Ventus Black. But it’s player dependent. We can look at a player profile on a spec chart and have a good idea of how it’s going to perform, but if you really want to know how it works for you, it’s always best case scenario to get fit, try it, try different combinations, and see what really sings for you.

Tursky: So, at least for now, there’s just a TR Blue?

Reynolds: There is. I know what your next question is. I’ll tell you this. Anytime we integrate a new technology that we see great success with, we absolutely explore it into other profiles. It’s absolutely in the consideration. And the cool things really from a design perspective with the TR, and we talked about this a little bit in a product last year, which was Speeder NX, we talked about a thing called variable torque. And we’ve really done a lot in that design space that we’re targeting these specific sections. What we found is that really is a powerful lever in adjusting shaft performance. Really targeting specific sections and talking about twisting profiles versus just E.I. profiles, whether that’s adding or subtracting material. Whatever it is, that idea of varying toque in specific sections is a space that we feel we’re just dipping our toe into and we’re really excited to run with. We’ve seen really cool results so far with the Ventus TR and we’re psyched about it.

 

 

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Srixon introduces new Z-Star Series Divide golf balls

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Srixon Golf has today announced the launch of the Z-Star Series Divide, with the Z-Star Divide and Z-Star XV Divide hitting retail on January 21st.

The balls arrive in a white/yellow color code, with the Z-Star Divide featuring a new FastLayer core that starts soft in the center and gradually becomes firm around its edge in design to give high-speed players excellent feel and ball speed. The Z-Star XV Divide contains a newly formulated inner core that bids to add resiliency for even more ball speed.

 “We are thrilled to be launching Z-Star Divide and Z-Star XV Divide. While they certainly stand out on the course, the performance benefits are what excite us the most. They’re so easy to align your putts, see flying through the air, and give great visual feedback on pitches and chips around the green.” – Brian Schielke, General Manager of Srixon North America

The latest additions from Srixon include all the tech within the Z-Star Series golf balls, including a high contract white and yellow thermoplastic urethane cover featuring SpinSkin with SeRM, a durable coating with flexible molecular bonds that digs deep into wedge and iron grooves, in design for maximum spin.

The balls also feature a 338 Speed Dimple Pattern with less drag and more lift in design to boost overall distance and provide a penetrating ball flight.

In addition, the new colorways on the Z-Star and Z-Star XV Divide are designed to allow players of all skill levels to track their spin, especially around the greens.

The Divide series arrives at retail on January 21st and cost $44.99 per dozen.

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The cleanest looking game improvement irons – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing clean looking game improvement irons. WRXer ‘SteelyDan’ kicks off the thread saying

“I am playing Mizzy JPX 919 forged but am looking for more forgiveness and launch in the longer irons. I tend to hit them fat. Guess the Hot Metals are the obvious choice but a least the 919 HM felt dead to me.

Any other recommendations with a clean look (no funky badges etc)? Doesn’t have to be the very latest model.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions in our forum.

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.

  • Carolina Golfer 2: “I like the looks of the Titleist T300 snd the upcoming Wilson D9 Forged look incredible.”
  • Lefty87: “I went directly from the 919F to PXG Gen 3 P. They have a very similar profile, but the PXG’s are longer, more forgiving, and have just as good of a feel, if not better than the 919F. Not to mention they are only $133 a stick right now, and they’ll be at your door in two weeks.”
  • chocolate_rehab: “I was going to say ZX4 – that’s more the SGI model from Srixon. ZX5 is more game improvement. As far as looks go for this sort of iron, ZX4 and Ping G710 are the cleanest and best looking imo.”
  • A.Princey: “Maltby DBMs or the equivalent, TE(more traditional loft).”

Entire Thread: “The cleanest looking game improvement irons”

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