GOLFMAGIC was afforded the luxury of taking a first look at the new Mizuno MP-4 iron at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club.
The bladed MP-4, a direct replacement for the impressive MP-69, is a better player iron suited for the golfer craving workability. It's the first blade offering from Mizuno since the end of 2011.
On first appearance, Mizuno has maintained its classic, traditional forged looks in the MP-4 with an extremely thin topline, thin sole and distinct running bird design, but with the addition of a little more muscle bulge on the back to create what Mizuno likes to describe as a 'sticky, soft feel' at impact.
I also noted they looked a little smaller at address than previous MP lines. In most iron sets, the blade lengths of the irons get longer as the clubs gets shorter - that’s because of the weight progression of the heads. Short irons (shorter shaft lengths) have to be heavier than longer irons (longer shaft lengths) for the clubs to have a similar swing weight.
Mizuno’s previous muscle back iron, the MP-69, had a blade length that grew approximately 1.5mm from the 3-iron to PW (76 mm). Although that doesn’t sound like a big difference, it might be for the pin-seeking golfer craving the latest MB iron.
Instead of increasing blade length, engineers added weight to the MP-4 by increasing the size of the muscle pad behind the sweetspot. It's this reason alone that Mizuno designed the MP-4 with the pronounced bulge in the back.
Another noticeable difference in comparison to previous MP lines is that the MP-4 8-iron to PW utilises a slightly more compact look. I also, rather pleasingly, noted a small bit of offset to get excited about. With the emphasis being on small.
While this set oozes a sense of class and might look rather sexy in the bag, golf is no fashion show after all, and so it was time to learn more about the club's feel and performance.
As they keep reminding us, nothing feels like a Mizuno, and thankfully the MP-4 is no different.
This is largely down to the company's innovative Grain Flow Forged design, which pitted alongside Mizuno's Harmonic Impact Technology, aids that desirable 'sticky, soft feel' at impact. Mizuno has also moved the muscle back higher up the blade to provide the golfer with even softer feel.
So I've been told by Mizuno, and if you excuse me for getting all techy for one moment, the added mass of the MP-4 amplifies the MP-4's Harmonic Number - the frequencies created at impact that golfers equate with feel.
By cranking this number, and tweaking the muscle pad somewhat to ensure frequencies are on level playing fields, Mizuno has been able to create a more pleasing sound that translates into the 'sticky, soft feel' at impact that Tour professionals and better players rave about.
MP-4 is one of the softest irons I’ve played for some time. The True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shaft I was testing the MP-4 in, also provided me with a very low-launch, low-spin shaft - perfect for my quick swing tempo.
Workability feels about as simple as 2-foot putt, as too, consistent turf interaction. Distance was about as expected, testing in both 6- and 8-irons. There's an incredibly pure sensation off the clubface when striking the ball out the middle. One thing I found, however, is that you'll be left with a horrible sting when striking one out the toe.
Verdict: Andy Roberts - 7 handicap
While I'd have no problem putting these in the bag tomorrow, if anything just to look good, I don't believe my game is quite good enough to take the plunge. These clubs are for the solid ball striker and the solid ball striker only.
Better players will love the 'sticky, soft feel' on offer with the MP-4 and the ability to shape shots both ways. Terrific feel and distance control when struck out the centre. The iron will warn you when you don't.
Verdict: Michael Smyth - 4 handicap
Big fan of the appearance with the iconic runner bird logo on the back end of each club. Inspires confidence. MP-4 irons are for the golfing purist, and for me, the softest feeling Mizuno iron yet.
You want more?
Click this link for a video about the Mizuno MP-4. Click here for Mizuno MP-4 owner reviews and click here our 2013 Ten of the Best Player Irons test.
2014 Mizuno range
JPX-EZ and JPX-EZ Forged
Video: Grain Flow Forging