Are golfers gravitating away from hybrids and back to fairway metals? Mizuno thinks they might be so have produced new JPX800 Hot Metal clubs to cater for all tastes.
Bill Price, Mizuno's custom-fitting manager, says: “As drivers and fairway woods have increased in size, the hybrid has started to look slightly small in comparison.
“We’ve noticed a trend back to more lofted fairway woods as a result. However, our new JPX800 hybrid bridges the gap to the long irons more effectively with a larger, less intimidating head size.
“This club has also re-addressed the issue of shaft length through the lofts. There is a shorter control-type shaft in the higher lofts of the JPX800 hybrid and a longer, distance-orientated version in the stronger heads.”
Mizuno claims the larger JPX800 hybrids harness their hot metal energy better to deliver consistently high ball speeds and nearer the maximum the R&A allows.
An increased overall size and clubface, it claims, gives the feel of a lofted fairway wood, with a shorter shaft in the more lofted models adding the control needed for long approaches.
The lightweight Exsar HS5 graphite shaft is fitted as standard with a range of custom options available, including adjusting the lie to match iron sets.
The JPX800 hybrid is available in right-hand only versions of 2h (17 degree), 3h (19), 4h (22) and 5h (25) - priced at £119 each.
Mizuno's easy-launch JPX800 fairway metals are based on the appeal on Tour of their predecessors, the MX-700 model which proved more attractive, for example in the hands of the brand's latest success, Chris Wood, than the 'Tour-ready' MP version.
Andy Kikidas, Mizuno's Tour van manager, reveals: “Although it was primarily designed for amateur golfers, we had incredible success with the previous MX-700 fairway woods on Tour.
“Once we bent open the clubface, Chris [Wood] preferred the trajectory and size of the MX-700 and feedback from our fitting centres indicates that contrary to popular belief, a squarer clubface promotes a better set up and more confidence for most amateurs.
“So the Tour version of the MX-700 became the blueprint for the new JPX800 fairway woods.”
The JPX 800 fairway woods will be available (right hand only), again with the lightweight Exsar FS5 graphite shaft fitted as standard, in three models - 3- (15 degree), 5- (18) and 7-wood (21). Expect to pay £139 each.