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Mizuno MP-25 irons and S5 wedges: Throwing darts and sticking greens

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Mizuno MP-25 irons
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The Mizuno MP-25 irons are sleek, powerful, and precise. (Courtesy of Mizuno Golf)

Market demands drive golf club manufacturers to introduce new clubs once or, as is usually the case these days, twice a year -- sometimes even more often. The plethora of lines and models from all these club makers can make your head spin faster than a Rory McIlroy wedge shot.

One company that does a great job of helping consumers navigate its extensive catalogue is Mizuno. Despite Mizuno's multitudinous iron offerings, golfers looking to upgrade their sticks can find a little handicap spectrum figure on each of the company's Web pages, with a range of handicaps that any given set of irons is suited for.

It's important, however, for people to realize that these ranges are sound suggestions but not hard and fast cut-offs.

Case in point: The new Mizuno MP-25 forged irons ($1000, 3-PW).

On the MP-25 specs page, the handicap chart indicates that these compact, muscle-back irons are intended for players with handicaps ranging from 0-10. To my mind, these qualify as "player's clubs." Given that I am currently an erratic 11-14 handicap (depending on the time of the season), I hesitated to give the MP-25s a try.

As it turns out, I'm grateful that I let hubris get the best of me, though, because the MP-25s are spectacular.

Playing the Mizuno MP-25 irons

Prior to testing the MP-25 irons, I had been playing forged cavity-back, game-improvement irons. These had excellent forgiveness and feel, but created some difficulties with alignment, given the somewhat more pronounced offset. In addition, it seemed like some days, I would make consistent contact on the sweet spot, but others, it was always on the toe, or low or high on the face. So I was worried that the MP-25s might be too good for me.

Nevertheless, they looked so pure, so clean in the press release, and the grain flow forged 1025 boron promised optimal weighting, forgiveness and workability all at once -- I simply could not pass up the opportunity to test them.

So into the bag and out to my home course they went, just in time to squeeze in four cool-weather fall rounds. Almost immediately, my concerns dispersed like the early-morning autumn fog.

One shot after another, the MP-25s launched the ball high -- higher even than the more extreme-weighted cavity backs I had been playing. Yet this added height did not detract from distance. Unlike many iron manufacturers, Mizuno doesn't just reduce lofts to give the impression of more distance. The boron-weighted, hot-faced MP-25s delivered the ball time and again to exactly the yardages I wanted, even in the colder weather (when my playing partners were lamenting their decreased distance). Moreover, almost every approach that struck the green hit and stopped -- or even backed up. In short order, I felt like I was throwing darts at the pins, rather than just hoping to land somewhere on the putting surface.

I honestly lost count of the times I said, "That was the best 5-iron (or 8-iron or whatever) I've hit all year."

Mizuno S5 wedges

As a bonus, I also put a new 56-degree Mizuno S5 wedge into my bag. Even though I was very happy with my previous sand wedge, the satin blue finish of the S5 was too pretty to leave at home.

The S5 was designed with input from Mizuno staff player and former world No. 1, Luke Donald. It's got a beveled, or multi-bounce, leading edge to work from any sort of lie. This includes the rock-hard left greenside bunker on the seventh hole of my home course, where I decided to pick the ball clean -- and holed the birdie chip to crush the spirit of my playing partner, who was nearly in gimme range for his own birdie.

Mizuno MP-25 irons and S5 wedges: The verdict

Thanks to my own self delusion, I discovered that the Mizuno MP-25s are an excellent blend of performance features and forgiveness. The heads are more compact than game-improvement irons, but at least for me, I felt like the smaller hitting surface focused my attention. I hit far more shots on the sweetspot with the MP-25s than with my previous larger, more forgiving irons. Furthermore, the reduced offset helped my alignment tremendously. The combined result was more memorable shots during four rounds than during the entire previous season.

As for the S5 wedges, the blue finish is gorgeous out of the box, but wears off relatively quickly. (This is a common complaint in the reviews on the Mizuno Web site, too.) The loss of luster, though, doesn't detract from the S5's performance, and, like the MP-25s, the S5 hits the ball high with lots of stopping power. The head shape and bounce grinds allow you to hit shots from any lie you can imagine, too.

The lesson here is to take blanket recommendations about which clubs you should be playing with a grain of salt. Find a reputable club-fitter (Mizuno's are some of the best), and test out the range of offerings, whatever the manufacturer. Finding the right match for your swing will let you trust your game.

For more information, visit www.mizunousa.com.

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Mizuno S5 wedge

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • MP25 test

    ema wrote on: Dec 14, 2015

    Really I've got a new set of Mizuno MP25 instead of my old Mizuno Jpx 800 Pro. Soft, easy and wonderful. Never played an iron 4 so easily. Perhaps the KBS C Taper 110 Lite seems a little to flexible but the launch is great ! Quite difficoult the iron's alignement to the target and the new grip shot the ball even with draw. The song... is Amazing. Just more attention with the pitch if you need a small running approach on the green.