For a story back in 2012, I tried to qualify for the U.S. Open.
I was working for Golf Channel at the time, and I thought it might make an interesting piece leading into the network's Golf's Longest Day coverage. I had been steadily improving as I had a chance to practice more. I thought that I might benefit from learning how to play well with a set of blades. So, I turned to Mizuno as asked if I could work with them on the story. They obliged, and I fell in love.
Those blades were amazing -- punishing but incredible. I learned how to work the ball every which way, even if not always with confidence. I forced myself to find the center of the club face more often so the club wouldn't make my hand vibrate so much after impact. I got better. Better than I ever had been.
I didn't qualify for the U.S. Open. I lost control of my driver a few weeks before and had little time to practice ahead of the local qualifier because I was covering The Players that week. Nonetheless, I became a huge fan of Mizuno irons, namely their blades.
So, when I had the chance to test Mizuno's 2016 iron offerings, I jumped at the chance. We did a review a while back of the JPX-EZ Forged irons which, while good, weren't really for me. Next up were the MP-25 irons.
Then came winter and it got tougher to find time and ground that wasn't overwhelmed with snow to play golf. Testing was spotty. However, I got to play five rounds with them in five days last week during my annual family golf trip to Orlando.
I'm again in love.
The MP-25 irons are built for a single-digit handicap player. There's no doubt about that. And what makes them great is that they have a very similar look and feel to the Mizuno blades I love so much, but with the kind of forgiveness that blades don't offer and some added distance that keeps them within range of a longer iron built for better players -- think TaylorMade's PSi or Ping's i irons, both great sets for different reasons.
Like all forged irons in the Mizuno line, the MP-25s are created from a steel alloy that includes 3 parts per million of 1025 boron, which the company says strengthens the alloy by 30 percent and allows them to thin out the face and move weight to the club head's perimeter for more forgiveness.
In the longer irons (6-iron and above), Mizuno milled in what it calls a micro slot. The cut, invisible to the eye thanks to a chrome badge, allows the face of the longer irons to flex at impact for better distance and forgiveness. Throughout the rest of the set, the irons don't have the slot and have a muscle-back look with weighting moved down from the top of the head toward the bottom of the club for a lower center of gravity and higher launch conditions.
The head is definitely bigger than your standard blade and the top line won't confuse you or anyone else into thinking you're hitting one. However, the club is compact enough in all aspects that a player who wants to work the ball will feel confident doing it. The sole is thin enough that a good player can attack all grass lengths how they choose.
With their classic chrome finish, the irons look great. There are no details that look gaudy or distract the player. This is a business iron. The sound is classic. There's no click or ping, just woosh when it's struck properly.
The gapping of the set is great, too, with 3-degree loft spacing from 3-iron to 6-iron, which then increases to 4 degrees to the pitching wedge. The stock Project X 5.5 steel shaft was an excellent fit for me, but there are 12 other steel options in addition to graphite choices as well.
At $1,000, like any Mizuno set, this is an investment. However, if you're a better player who has been scared to jump in on a blade or a player's iron with blade-like qualities, the MP-25s will be a great choice for your game.