By: Chris Billingsley
Before I begin, it must be said that I am a player who loves Mizuno irons, has always loved Mizuno irons and will likely continue to love Mizuno irons for as long as I play this crazy game.
So, its important to make it clear that this review is not based on whether the clubs are “good” or “bad”, rather, it will assess Mizuno’s success in creating a blade-like club that would still appeal to the better player (4 to plus handicap type player), while providing the player with a little more forgiveness.
Mizuno thinks they’ve done it with the MP-15. One could argue that since they were firmly rooted in Luke Donald’s bag throughout the 2015 season, that they were right.
“The statistics show that Luke played very well with the MP-59’s,” said Chris Voshall – Senior Engineer. “But although he won tournaments – he never quite sync’d with the feel off the clubface. When Luke moved onto the MP-64’s, we knew we had to find a model that gave the best of both worlds. The challenge from then was to refine the feel of the Ti Muscle – without losing the extra stability it gave from off centre strikes. In MP-15, we’ve combined the very best of both models – the profile, trajectory control and feel of the MP-64, with the peripheral weighting only possible with a Ti insert.
“THERE’S NO MORE SENSORY A PLAYER THAN LUKE DONALD – IF THE FEEL GETS HIS APPROVAL, IT’S A PRETTY GOOD SIGN.”
Hard to argue with that.
A quick note about me…
I am a 2 handicap who has played Mizuno irons for the majority of my golfing life. I’ve played the T-Zoid Pro’s of a 12 handicap, switched to the MP-33’s when I got to an 8, then progress to a combo set of MP58-68’s as my handicap dropped to a 4.
Last season I played to a 2 using a full set of MP68’s (5-PW) with Nippon 950 stiff shafts, which are lighter and produce a Mid-High Trajectory, versus the project X shafts which are heavier (125g) and produce a mid to low trajectory.
NIPPON N.S. PRO 950GH
Flex Weight Torque Trajectory
S 98 Mid-High
MY SET UP. (As tested.)
Head: Mizuno MP-15 (4-PW)
GRIPS: Golf Pride CP2 Midsize (plus two wraps…what can I say, I like big grips!)
INITIAL REACTION / AESTHETICS
From the second I laid eyes on these clubs, I was smitten. For me, my ‘must have’ list includes; a thin top line, classic muscle design, and I prefer not to see any part of the back of the club at address. The MP-15 fits the bill nicely in each of these categories, though the Ti insert is barely visible at address with the 4 iron. I also prefer a heavier club (another reason Mizuno irons fit me – they generally have a D4 swing weight.)
Aesthetically they are beautiful. Chrome polish, with the gold Ti insert.
The first time I set down the 8 iron to make a few swings, I did notice the minimal offset and that the head seemed a little larger, though the specs would say its barely noticable. Of course, both of these attributes are necessary to help make the club more forgiving.
As a perpetual blade player, I noticed it, though it was not significant enough to turn me off of them. (Though I do admit to having a small tinge of regret. I sure do love blades.)
The first swing was a good one, and as soon as that smooth ripple of classic Mizuno vibration traveled through my arms and straight to my brain, I was sold. The sound and feel was everything I’d come to expect from Mizuno. I didn’t even need to hit another shot.
Experiment over. I just needed to know that these clubs would feel and sound like my blades.
And they did. On my very first shot.
Of course, I didn’t stop there. I hit for the next hour, trying to get a sense for the feel of mishits and pure strikes. Even though I was indoors, I had the use of a Trackman for ball flight and such. But we’ll get to the numbers in a minute.
Suffice to say, things couldn’t have gone any better. While the look is not exactly blade like, its pretty darn close. Feel and sound is a perfect match to the MP68.
For as much as I could ascertain, working the ball (a range ball at that) with the MP-15’s is not a problem. Once I get outside with a ProV1x, I will update this section. However, I will say, that if I tried to hit a fade, I did. If I tried to draw the ball, I did. And I’m no tour pro, so it stands to reason that if you know how to work the ball, these clubs will obey your every command.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Okay, I admit it, this is my favorite part. And anyone who knows me, knows I am a numbers guy. Give me the face angle, swing path, smash factor and I am a happy man. I could stand on the range with a Trackman at my back and hit balls all day.
So what should we expect to see? Logic would say, we should see less dispersion and a greater distance average with the MP-15’s.
MP 68, 8 iron - Nippon 95- stiff shaft.
In this case, pay attention to SIDE TOT, which is essentially the “miss”. On average I missed my target by 27 feet to the right.
MP 15, 8 Iron, Project X Rifle, 6.0
So here, my overall distance went up to 162 yards versus 156. More importantly, have a look at the SIDE TOT. My average miss was 11.8 yards to the left.
MP 68, 6 iron, Nippon 950 stiff shaft.
Not a bad average miss for a six iron, though the total distance is lower than my normal 6 iron average. The 1.33 smash factor may have something to do with that (basically meaning that I wasn’t hitting it very solidly.)
MP-15 6 iron, Project X Rifle, 6.0
SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
While these are just a small sampling of balls hit indoors, and there are many factors to consider when looking at the numbers, I think it is safe to use this data to confirm our suspicions.
Total Distance (Avg. Yds) Miss Total (Avg. Ft)
MP68, 8 Iron 156.1 yds 27 feet right.
MP15, 8 Iron 162 yds 12 feet left.
MP68, 6 iron 178 yds 2 feet right
MP15, 6 Iron 191 yds 5 feet left
** It is interesting to note that my miss with the 68 was right, yet the dispersion with the 15 was tighter, and left.**
Simply put, Mizuno has hit a home run with the MP-15’s. They have a classic, crisp look that will make people stop and stare. They have the legendary sound and feel of a Mizuno blade, yet will tighten your miss dispersion. I can’t wait to try these outdoors, and once I do, I’ll report back. In the meantime, check out my article on “How to save money by buying from ebay”, or follow the links below for ebay deals on MP-15's.
Until then my friends, play well.
Editor and Founder, THIRTEENUNDERGOLF.
Check now for deals on Mizuno MP-15's on Ebay below;