Feel is one of those qualities that simply can’t be measured in a golf club – it’s either there or it’s not.
It’s an elusive, unquantifiable characteristic but one that is so vitally important in irons, especially Tour-calibre ones like those in the new Mizuno MP20 family.
There are three different irons in the feel-friendly family - the Mizuno MP20 muscleback blade, Mizuno MP20 MMC players’ cavity iron and Mizuno MP20 HMB hollow-bodied iron – and like all good families they get on well with each other: they can be mixed seamlessly into a combo set for maximum effect.
Mizuno delved into their back catalogue of irons to unlock the feel-good formula for the new MP20 iron range.
The sheer number of prestigious irons Mizuno have manufactured meant the task was an exhaustive one, but a layer of soft copper used in their renowned TN87 irons, first released in the late 1980s, caught their attention.
The same technique was applied to the new Mizuno MP20 irons: the grain-flow forged steel head is plated in copper before being dipped in the final finishing coat of nickel chrome.
Blind testing at the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship in March revealed that Mizuno had cracked the code, with players picking the copper layer MP20 prototype iron as the one with the superior feel.
Mizuno MP20 Muscleback Blade
With its sleek shaping, thin topline and small head, Mizuno MP20 muscleback irons don’t deviate too far from their calling as pure blades.
They are the most workable irons in the family, an aspect that is further enhanced by the soft copper plating, and they are the flagship Mizuno iron on Tour.
The head-shape tapers progressively through the set, with minimal taper in the long irons for a lower sweetspot and high launch, slightly more in the mid irons for a mid-launch flight and an aggressive taper in the short irons for a higher launch and lower trajectory.
The topline of the Mizuno MP20 muscleback blades has been made thinner than the previous MP18 model and a cambered sole increases forgiveness – but hackers beware: these are blades first and foremost.
A mixed satin-mirror finish is used to diminish reflective glare off the clubheads.
True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shafts and Golf Pride ZGRIP grips are standard, but a selection of other shafts can be fitted free of charge.
Mizuno MP20 MMC
If ever a club was deserving of the “multi-material construction” tag, the middle iron of the new Mizuno MP20 family would certainly qualify.
An extra layer of copper is another feather in the cap for Mizuno MP20 MMC irons, which boast a grain-flow forged steel frame, titanium muscle plate and a tungsten toe weight (in the 4-7 irons).
Badged as an ‘elite players’ cavity’ iron, the MP20 MMC irons are considerably more playable and
far more forgiving than their big brother, the MP20 muscleback blades.
And after feedback from tour players, the new MMC irons have been made much smaller than their predecessor, the original MP18 MMC.
They replicate the head dimensions and low-glare finish of the MP20 blades, creating a shaper, smaller and more traditional appearance but with added stability from off-centre strikes and a thinner topline.
The MP20 MMC’s titanium muscle plate spreads mass across the head to improve forgiveness and the tungsten toe weight improves launch, while a smaller plate and narrower sole on the short irons (8-PW) leads to superior shaping and flighting control.
KBS S-Taper stiff flex steel shafts and Golf Pride multi-compound grips are the stock options, but a variety of other shafts offered by Mizuno can be substituted without charge.
Mizuno MP20 HMB
The surging uptake of hollow-bodied long irons in the game has seen Mizuno embrace the concept, with the launch of the Mizuno MP20 HMB (hybrid muscle back) irons.
Designed to increase ball speed for the mid-high handicapper without diminishing workability, the irons look like a classic Mizuno blade at address but play like a hollow-bodied cavity back.
Wide soles, a progressive offset and ultra-fast faces produce red-hot ball speeds throughout the entire MP20 HMB set (2-PW) and the irons also receive the copper plating treatment, which is hidden beneath the brushed nickel chrome outer layer, to enhance feel.
The 2-7 irons have a Chromoly face and are fitted with two 12g tungsten weights for easy launch, while the 8 iron is made from the same material, minus the tungsten. The faces of the 9-PW are made exclusively from a supple 1025E carbon steel for a softer and more responsive touch.
Mizuno MP20 HMB irons can be played as an entire set (2-PW) but are just as easily slotted into a combo MP20 set alongside the MP-20 blades or MMC irons, made possible by Mizuno’s precision gapping between MP20 models.
Nippon Modus 120 stiff flex steel shafts fitted with Golf Pride multi-compound grips are standard but like the other irons in the Mizuno MP-20 family, can be substituted for other shaft options.
Mizuno MP20 SEL
Left-handed golfers can also appreciate the copper-aided feel of Mizuno MP20 blades.
The left-handed Mizuno MP20 SEL set is comprised of MP-20 muscleback blades (5-PW) and the hollow-bodied, high-launching MP20 HMB (3 & 4 irons), matched precisely for accurate distance intervals.
True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shafts and Golf Pride ZGRIP grips are standard but other shafts that appear on the Mizuno inventory can be substituted without charge.
Mizuno MP20 Specs
Australian Launch Date: September 5
Hand: Right/Left (SEL)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 (blade), KBS S-Taper (MMC), Nippon Modus 120 (HMB)
Grip: Golf Pride ZGRIP (blade), Golf Pride Multi-compound (MMC, HMB)
Design: blade, cavity (MMC), hollow-body (HMB)
Set: 3-PW (blade), 4-PW (MMC), 2-PW (HMB), 3-PW (L/H SEL)
Mizuno MP-20 Muscleback blade lofts: 3: 21°, 4: 24°, 5: 27°, 6: 30°, 7: 34°, 8: 38°, 9: 42°, PW: 46°
Mizuno MP-20 MMC lofts: 4: 22°, 5: 25°, 6: 28°, 7: 32°, 8: 36°, 9: 41°, PW: 46°
Mizuno MP-20 HMB lofts: 2: 16°, 3: 19°, 4: 22°, 5: 25°, 6: 28°, 7: 32°, 8: 36°, 9: 41°, PW: 46°
Mizuno MP-20 L/H SEL lofts: 3: 18°, 4: 22°, 5: 26°, 6: 30°, 7: 34°, 8: 38°, 9: 42°, PW: 46°