Mizuno’s New MP-18 Irons Are Again Strikingly Smooth
The Mizuno MP-18 will come in four versions aimed at the very good golfer and nearly very good golfer. By Tony Dear
Three years earlier, he had won his first Open Championship at Muirfield hitting unmarked Mizuno irons that he pulled from a Wilson Staff bag. “I’d hit the Mizunos for the first time in the snow in Greensboro in the spring,” he remembers. “The only way to describe it is that it felt like hitting butter. They were that much softer than anything else I’d ever hit.”
He had the same Wilson bag/Mizuno iron combination at Augusta National in 1989 and 1990 when he won his first and second Masters. It also helped him capture his second Claret Jug and fourth major title at St. Andrews in July 1990.
He won his fifth and sixth majors, at Muirfield in ’92 and Augusta in ’96, with matching bag and clubs, and the Englishman would eventually become synonymous with the brand whose irons he’d used for all six of his major victories.
After a brief dalliance with TaylorMade, Faldo rejoined Mizuno as a brand ambassador last year. It just felt right, and he described the move as “going home.”
One of the most meticulous and painstaking players the game ever saw had rejoined the company whose craftsmanship is legendary.
Mizuno’s skill and artistry is evident in the company’s latest forged MP iron, the MP-18, which the company finally announced last week after months of speculation.
In the promo video, Faldo says if a club doesn’t look right behind the ball, it’s almost a waste of time drawing it away. The implication is clear: the MP-18, like so many Mizuno irons before it, looks right behind the ball, and gives you the trust and confidence, adds Faldo, to hit the shot “you dreamt up in your mind.”
There are actually four designs in the MP-18 series. The eponymous blade is the leader of the pack, and will get most of the attention. Surely the most handsome club you or I have seen since…well, the last MP launch (MP-5 in 2015), it has a smaller head than the MP-4 it replaces, and is built using Mizuno’s new Grain Flow Forging HD (High Density), which concentrates grains of the 1025E pure-select mild-carbon steel lower in the clubface.
Chris Voshall, Golf Club Engineer at Mizuno, explains how. “Working with our exclusive forging foundry, Chuo, in Hiroshima, we have been able to make a modification to the mold that allows us tighter control of how material will flow upon forging,” he says. “This control enables us to more densely focus grains in the area where the ball is struck (lower in the club face) which improves upon that buttery-smooth forged feel of Mizuno clubs, giving you greater duration of feedback.”
Voshall says “greater duration of feedback” is essentially hearing and feeling the club vibrate for longer. “This longer sound gives the impression of the ball sticking to the face,” he says, “or compressing even more than before which ultimately leads to the softest feel we’ve ever experienced.”
The MP-18’s cambered top-line is described as “ultra-thin” which better players will love. They’ll likewise appreciate the low heel design. Those that have long wanted to play a blade but have always been scared off by the lack of forgiveness will note the widened sole, though no one should be in any doubt as to the type of golfer this beautiful club was designed for.
The wider sole, thicker top-line, taller face, and split cavity of the MP-18 SC (Split-Cavity) will appeal to many low-handicap players seeking a little assistance.
So will the MP-18 MMC (Multi-Metal Construction) which is designed to deliver both performance and forgiveness thanks to eight grams of titanium along the perimeter of the long irons and 20 grams of tungsten inserted in the toe of the club to increase its moment of inertia (MOI). Though the clubhead is slightly smaller than that of its siblings, the sweet spot is larger, making it significantly more forgiving.
The partial set (2-6 iron) MP-18 MMC FLI-HI irons gives you an additional option when putting your set together. Though definitely not as player-friendly as hybrids, they do offer more forgiveness than traditional long irons, making them a popular choice for professionals and elite amateurs.
For shafts, the MP-18 comes in stock with the Dynamic Gold S300, the MP-18 SC features the KBS Tour Stiff, and MP-18 MMC comes with the Nippon Modus 120 Stiff. Clubs are sold separately which means you could mix the FLI-HI long irons with MMC mid irons, and MP-18 short irons if you wished.
After all, mixing clubs and bags worked for Nick Faldo.
$150 per club. Available in September.
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