The Mizuno Golf JPX-EZ Forged irons are a little counter-intuitive.
They're a beautiful, forged iron built with an emphasis on game-improvement features. Those ideas, we've been taught over the years, contradict. However, in this package, they work, albeit perhaps in a tighter range of player than Mizuno might suggest.
The idea behind Mizuno's JPX line is to offer the same quality found in their player's irons, particularly their blades, in a set built to help inspire confidence, get the ball airborne more easily and offer the kind of forgiveness that an average player needs.
For 2016, the JPX offerings maintain the same name, JPX-EZ, and, like the previous generation, offer a cast and a forged set. However, the difference is the use of 1025 Boron, combining stainless steel with 3 parts per million of boron, which the company says makes the alloy 30 percent stronger. This, the company says, allowed designers to move weight to the edges of the club for improved forgiveness and to create a thinner face -- at 1.7 mm, 50 percent thinner than using steel alone -- for better energy transfer at impact, leading to more distance no matter the quality of contact.
The end product is an eye-catching club with a black nickel finish that is the golfer's equivalent of light for a moth. They're gorgeous. The styling is a simple contrast of blacks and grays, more appealing than the prior generation.
The soles on each iron are triple-cut, with beveling on the leading and trailing edge. Getting through the turf is easy, and you can come in steep from the rough to escape without much trouble (unless you're playing in U.S. Open kind of stuff, in which case, only God can help you).
The forged difference is evident from the first swing. Great contact feels like a knife going through butter, while off-center hits still feel pretty good thanks to the larger club face and pushing weighting toward the edges. That bad-shot numbness, however, may not appeal to every player. Some people, including yours truly, prefer some more auditory and responsive feedback when hitting a bad shot. That's not to say you'll get nothing, but what you get isn't as obvious compared to Mizuno irons built for better players. For a player who shoots in the mid-80s to low-90s on a bad day, that kind of feel could well be very appealing. No matter how you come down on feel, it's interesting thinking of forging as a way to augment game-improvement feel.
The top line will be a little thick for some players' tastes. It is a game-improvement iron, or at least a quasi- one, so that's to be expected. But it'll jar folks who have preconceptions about what forging should look like. Ultimately, that's weight at the extremes, which is how to achieve forgiveness.
Mizuno says the JPX-EZ Forged irons are built for players ranging in index from 8 to 16. We'd suggest the range is smaller than that, more likely 12 to 16.
For players on the cusp of consistently breaking 80 -- players in that 8-10 range -- the scoring clubs are a little too clunky to dial in properly. They lack the traditional, aggressive styling that is going to help a player dominate from inside 125 yards, which is precisely where, at that skill level, strokes come off the index. The dispersion was largely fine, but the feel with the pitching wedge and 9-iron wasn't what I like, which is to feel like those scoring clubs are practically an extension of my arms.
The mid-irons are the highlight of this set. After the 8-iron, the irons have a pocket cavity and a progressively wider sole. Getting the ball airborne with them is a breeze, thanks to a design which increases the center of gravity through the set. As a high-ball hitter, the 5- through 7-irons flew higher than normal but didn't balloon, even in windy conditions. At the 4-iron, however, it became more difficult to achieve that same kind of moon-ball height. That may be a concern, depending on how -- or if -- you use your 4-iron.
At $1,000, the Mizuno Golf JPX-EZ Forged irons are an investment. If you have some talent, like to play and have no time to work on your game, which is probably a lot of people, this is a great set for you. You'll appreciate the feel and forgiveness. They look incredible.
If you're spying the 70s in 2016, look at stepping up to the MP-25s, as they offer a blade look with significant forgiveness and the benefits of the boron-infused alloy. Also, if you want to stay in the Mizuno family, look at a TP-5 wedge or another which strikes your fancy, get fit and work those bad boys to death.