Review: MP-68 Irons

Golf is a game of centimeters
Golf is a game of meters, centimeter, even millimeters.  I’m sure that every golfer can remember the “almost” and “just missed” and “how did that not go in?” moments in their golfing careers.  On a course of 7000 yards, being off by just a centimeter can make a big difference.  I also believe that Mizuno designed the new MP-68s down to the centimeter.

Upon first look the MP-68s are just another set of blades from Mizuno.  They have been forging these things forever, or so it seems.  The grain-flow forged heads always offer the softest feeling shots of any club on the market.  They combine that awesome feeling with stunningly simple looks.  These things are just a given from Mizuno.

But it is the centimeters that make the MP-68s different. The first indication of difference is the size.  These are not tiny little butter knives; these are more like a good steak knife.  It little bigger and a little bolder.  By no mean, bulky, but just a little bigger overall.  I compared them to a couple of other blades I have and these were longer and taller than the others.

The muscle back portion also has a couple centimeters of difference.  Right in the middle behind the sweet spot, the muscle is shaved-out some and moved to the bottom for a little deeper, lower COG.  As the muscle nears the toe, it is angle notched to cut just a little weight from the toe area, leaving a perfectly balanced head.

I had mine matched with KBS Tours and topped with Mizuno Velvet Grips.  If you haven’t noticed from my other reviews, these are my favorite shafts on the market right now.  They simply offer the straightest, highest, longest ball flight for my game.  Being that they were back-weighted I hoped my irons would come in at a good swing-weight.  Every MP-68 iron was spot on; each club was a solid D2.  

The fear is that an 8 handicap can’t handle blades, but with the centimeters of changes, I found them just as forgiving as my cavity backs.  I lost little distance on the slightly off center hits and was penalized the same on bad swings as any club would do, there is not swing fixer club.  With almost no off-set these will be tough for the slicer to play.  But I actually played some of my best rounds of the year with these blades.  I shot a low score for me at one of the toughest courses in WI (the Bull).  

I continue to prefer the traditional lofts that Mizuno offers in the MP line, and the MP-68s were no different.  These traditional lofts allowed me to keep the same wedge and hybrid set-up.  These traditional lofts mean higher shots from most of your irons.  I found these simple to elevate, even the 3 and 4 irons.  Matched with KBS shafts the trajectory on these are quick and strong.  They are right in my normal range for distance, maybe even a touch longer.  Even with the higher launch angle, I didn’t have out of the ordinary ballooning into the wind, since the height is not generated by spin, but by the initial launch angle.

The grind on these heads is very clean and versatile.  I liked the little sharper lines on these than on some sets.  I like to take a clean healthy divot without digging to China and the MP-68 cut nice shallow divots.  

The cult following for Mizunos comes from their grain-flow forging which offers the best feeling iron-heads on the planet.  They are so soft, but never mushy.  It is just a soft click shot after shot.  As with all forged sets, there is that fear that some stone might have its vengeance on these clubs.  Sure enough, I found an imbedded stone in the middle of the fairway.  GGRRRRR!!  It is an aesthetic ding, but still frustrating.  Bag chatter can also be an issue, but these held up pretty well.  The chrome finish does seem as durable as any.

The final benefit of getting yourself a set of MP-68 is that they have conforming grooves for 2010 and beyond.  It didn’t find a noticeable difference off the fairway and out of the rough it was negligible.  I’m not sure the new rules are going to solve anything.  I think I won’t miss the grooves as much in my irons as I might in the wedges.

I was surprised that with just the slightest movement of metal, blades could become much easier to hit and more playable for the golfer.  I think these will still appeal to the purist and the low handicapper, but if you want that set to push you to get better, these are it.  Mizuno has mastered the game of centimeters.

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