Forged blade irons are generally very similar in design because of their intended purpose is to provide the ultimate ball flight control to golfers looking to execute precision shots. We can go back decades and see familiar shapes represented in clubs that were just recently released because they are a utilitarian in their function.
However, just because all blade irons in some way resemble each other doesn’t mean that some don’t stand out from the crowd the same way all two-door coupes are not created equal—although they have two doors, four tires, and an engine.
This leads us into our list of the greatest Mizuno blade irons—their intended purposes are all the same, but details make the difference, and these five all stand out from the crowd.
Mizuno Pro MS Line – Released mid-1980s
I’ll admit that this is a bit of a cop-out but we could call this entire Mizuno Pro line the grandfathers of all modern Mizuno blade irons. They came in three distinct models meant to tailor to golfers with different swing profiles and blade shape preferences—something you would never see today from an OEM because of the cost associated with producing the tooling (see catalog page below). Eventually, the MS name was dropped in favor of the MP (Mizuno Pro) moniker, and as we say, the rest is history.
Mizuno MP-29 – Released 1992
The MP-29s were available from 1992 all the way up until 2000! A remarkable run for any set of irons and something we’re probably never going to see again from any major golf manufacturer.
The MP-29s are most well known for being part of the combo set used by Tiger Woods when we won his first major championship, the 1997 Masters. The set he used consisted of 2-4 iron MP-29s and 5-PW Mizuno MP-14s, which were chosen because they offered the least amount of offset of the two sets combined.
Mizuno MP-33 – Released 2002
This curved muscle back blade was a favorite to many golfers, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. From a design and aesthetics perspective, the MP-33 closely resembles the MS-3 blade featured off the top, but with an updated profile and sole grind.
What made the MP-33 so popular amongst better players across the board and not just touring professionals is they had a slightly lower center of gravity compared to other blade models to help get the ball in the air just a bit easier. These are 100 percent still a blade designed for workability and not forgiveness, but at the end of the day, who would say “no” to a little extra help once and a while?
The MP 33 had one of the longest runs in Mizuno iron history and existed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years. After its retail life ended, it was still available for custom orders many years after that.
Mizuno MP-32 – Released 2004
Two words: Cut Muscle! The Mizuno MP-32 irons were designed from the ground up to offer not just workability but a little extra forgiveness thanks to an innovative cavity design. The “Cut Muscle” cavity precisely locates the Center of Gravity while also pushing slightly more mass to the perimeter of the club in aid in forgiveness. Speaking of forgiveness, the MP-32 is just a hair bigger than other blade irons, and thanks to the Cut Muscle, also had a lower center of gravity in the mid to long irons to aid in trajectory.
They were one of the last Mizuno irons to have a full four-year life span, and are still considered one of the most innovative MP irons ever.
Check out the video below for a more in-depth explanation of why these irons are so well-loved.
Mizuno TN-87 – Released 1988
The TN-87s were named after Tommy Nakajima, who at one point was the number one player on the Japanese PGA Tour and was also a popular Mizuno staff player. The TN-87 originally came out in 1988 and to this day are still considered one of the best Mizuno irons of all time. It wasn’t just Tommy who made these irons well known, 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.
Considering they resemble other blade designs, including (a tip of the hat) to original Hogan models, what has made the TN-87s stand the test of time as such a beloved set of clubs.
Let’s go deeper here.
Shape and sole: For a lot of players, the TN-87 represents the perfectly shaped iron head, from blade length to toe profile, it was just “one of those clubs” that kept people’s attention. This along with the sole shape, which was considered quite modern in this era, meant a lot of people trying then instantly fell in love.
Copper Underley: Raw iron heads are made from carbon steel, but they still need a layer of chrome to help them maintain durability, and prevent rust. There are several thin layers placed on top of the steel during the plating process. The metals involved in the layering process include both nickel and copper to help the chrome stick to the head. The copper layer became a thing of legend in golf circles for its ability to make a club feel softer. Golfers clamored for irons with copper underlay to help soften the feel and give better feedback.
With modern releases, Mizuno has offered irons with a copper underlay in the Japanese market but the MP20s are the first North American release with the extra layer in well over a decade.
The TN-87s were so revered, that in 2014 Mizuno did something few golf companies ever do: a full re-release (no custom orders) of the TN-87s from 3-PW, AW, SW. The question now is if we will ever see a re-release of any of the other irons on this list.
Have your say, GolfWRXers, what are the greatest Mizuno blades of all time?
Madelene Sagström WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Evolution II 665 Tour Spec S
3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Evolution II 765 Tour Spec S
5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (tour adjustable) (17 degrees set to 19)
Shaft: Fujikura Evolution II 765 Tour Spec S
Irons: Callaway Apex UT (4), X-Forged ’18 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour 90
Wedges: Callaway MD5 Jaws (50-10S, 54-10S, 58-08 C)
Shafts: KBS Tour 90 R
Putter: Odyssey O-Works
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R Logo Down
(Featured image c/o Callaway)
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/22/21): Custom BB1F Bettinardi 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 we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a custom Bettinardi BB1F.
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Bettinardi putters and Titleist irons
Best irons in golf of 2021: Easiest to launch
A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.
In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster, more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that, but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.
These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.
That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.
We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player—this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.
The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.
Best irons of 2021: How we did it
Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.
It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!
Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.
These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.
Best irons of 2021: The categories
Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters
Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter, Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van
2021 Best irons: Easy to launch
This category of irons is aimed to help players who need height. With today’s modern golf ball, creating proper flight widows and spin can be difficult for some players—especially those at lower speeds, and this is where technology can really help. All of these irons do everything they can to create shot-stopping trajectories, regardless of clubhead speed.
Their story: The key element of the Ping G710 irons is in the materials used to build them. Thanks to maraging steel’s high strength and durability attributes, engineers can push the face thinner, which in turn creates more discretionary mass to move around the head to raise MOI and increase forgiveness. Beyond that, each face of the G710 iron is machined with variable-wall thickness to increase ball speeds around the whole hittable surface to help with those pesky mishits and keep ball speeds and distances consistent.
Just like with other hollow irons from Ping, the body of the iron is maximized to flex along with the face to assist in energy transfer to the ball while also being built to provide a solid and pleasant feel. It’s one thing to offer more forgiveness, but if golfers don’t like the feel, all the effort is wasted.
From the fitters
- The G710 irons offer supreme forgiveness and a low center of gravity. They just want to get up in the air, which is great for those golfers who struggle to stop shots coming into greens.
- These irons are really forgiving and pack a ton of ball speed. With as well as they perform, I still feel they fly under the radar for their ability to throw the ball up in the air.
Callaway Big Bertha B21
Their story: The Callaway Big Bertha B21 irons appeal to higher-handicappers and players who tend to slice the ball. The irons contain a large amount of offset, wide soles and a thick topline, and feature a Visible Tungsten Energy Core (VTEC) for the very first time which deepens the CG in design to make these irons extremely easy to launch.
The irons also feature a unique Flash Face architecture in each iron in a bid to provide high balls speeds and increased spin robustness throughout the bag on each loft. Complimenting the Flash Face Cup is a 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases at impact to help increase ball speed further.
From the fitters
- Probably the most forgiving iron out in the market for golfers who need to both get the ball up in the air but also to help stop the dreaded fade. The matching hybrids are the perfect complement to build a high launching combo set.
- This iron is hot and forgiving and just launches to the moon for slower players
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
Their story: The Launcher HB Turbo irons feature a redesigned HiBore Crown, which pushes the center of gravity low and deep within the sole – a placement that is designed to allow golfers to launch their ball higher. The clubs also contain progressive shaping throughout, as the designers at Cleveland sought to provide players with a smooth transition by offering maximum forgiveness on long irons to optimal control on short irons.
From the fitters
- The Launcher HB Turbo irons are a straightforward high-flying set built to maximize launch. The wide sole also helps glide the iron through the turf.
- They are super easy to hit, super high launch, and pack a lot of distance. The only drawback is the full hybrid look can be a bit too much for some players, but most change their tune very quickly after seeing the results they produce.
XXIO Eleven Series
Their story: Thanks to their low profile geometry along with a forged titanium faceplate, tungsten sole weight, and intricate composite construction the XXIO Eleven Irons are easy to hit and very easy to get up in the air.
It’s also not just about the materials, but also how they use them. The thin titanium face is designed to create maximum flex resulting in additional ball speed and two slots cut behind that face, form a double undercut cavity to help get shots hit lower on the face up in the air faster to promote extra carry.
From the fitters:
- The Eleven series is a great lightweight game improvement iron that helps slow-speed players. It works exactly as advertised to boost launch and feels unbelievable.
- Every golfer that I have fit into these has raved about how great this iron set has been—total game changes.
- Incredible height and ball speed. XXIO really has designed an iron that delivers the whole package by having the head and shaft pair so well.
XXIO Prime Series
Their story: XXIO and its whole Prime line of clubs are one of the leaders in the world of lightweight golf equipment. With the 2021 Prime line, XXIO continues to offer some of the fastest and most forgiving clubs on the market for golfers in the moderate-to-slow speed category looking for speed and height.
The key to the XXIO Prime irons is strategic weighting and mass saving at every possible step without sacrificing forgiveness. The faces of the Prime irons are made of the same Super-Tix Plus titanium, as the fairways and hybrids – how’s that for speed!
From the fitters:
- Premium materials, top-end technology, and designed with the singular goal of making the game easier for players who have lost distance and need height.
- It’s always fun to hand this iron to a golfer who you know it is going to benefit and see their face light up when they see a trajectory that they didn’t think was even possible.
For more photos/info, read our launch piece.
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