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Mizuno MP-54 irons: Take your golf game to the next level

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Mizuno MP-54 irons
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Mizuno MP-54 irons bridge the gap between players irons and game-improvement irons. (Courtesy of Mizuno)

Sometimes one starts to wonder how golf equipment manufacturers can keep moving forward. This is especially true for leaders in a given area. Take Mizuno, for example, whose irons are considered by many to be an industry leader.

Nevertheless, each year Mizuno introduces models that do more than replace previous ones. Mizuno's MP-54 irons, new in 2013, are an excellent case in point. With milled pocket cavities on 3-7i, and thickened muscle-backs on 8i-PW, Mizuno comes closest yet to melding modern forgiveness with traditional feel and workability.

The result is an iron that is ideal for players who find their handicaps falling and desire to improve their shot-making even further.

Playing the Mizuno MP-54 irons

The MP-54s embody the true "missing link" between game-improvement irons and players' irons. The grain flow forged clubheads are reminiscent of real blades in their size and look at set-up, with just a hint of thickness from the muscle-backs and pocket cavities. Importantly, shots struck in the sweet spot are milky soft -- so soft, in fact, you at first wonder if you've even hit the ball. (Or at least I did the first few times, so unused was I to such pure contact.)

Despite the "players" feel, though, the MP-54s' cavity backs and lowered center of gravity get the ball in the air easily. I actually tended to hit the MP-54s higher than the Mizuno JPX 825 Pro irons that have been in my bag since I reviewed them last year.

Why might this be? As far as I can tell, the narrower sole and somewhat sharper grind on the leading edge of the MP-54s make crisper, cleaner contact on the ball, allowing me to get one or two more grooves on the back of the ball. The way the ball hits and sticks seems to support this speculation.

The MP-54s are somewhat less forgiving than the JPX 825 Pros, especially as contact migrates out towards the toe. At worst, though, the yardage loss maxes out around 10 yards, and center-struck balls carry every bit as far as with weightier game-improvement irons. And the feedback is exquisite -- you know immediately upon contact where you struck the ball and what direction it's headed.

Mizuno's MP-54 irons: The verdict

The Mizuno MP-54 irons ($999) are balanced precisely on the edge of double-digit and single-digit handicaps. The company recommends them for players in the 0-12 handicap range, but that might be stretching the top end a little bit. I'm currently back down to an 11, but I feel like I can "play myself into" the MP-54s to fully appreciate -- and exploit -- their shot-making capabilities. Single-digit handicappers will find an ideal blend of merger of form, function, feel, and performance from the very first shot.

For more information, visit mizunousa.com.

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Mizuno MP-54 iron

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
  • Mp 54 vs Mp 53

    Joe M. wrote on: Dec 14, 2013

    Hi Kyle, Do you have any impression of these vs. the Mizuno MP 53s? I play tt gem and am wondering if it's worth an upgrade to either the 54 or JPX 825 (825 Pro unavailable left handed) thanks!


      • RE: Mp 54 vs Mp 53

        Kiel Christianson wrote on: Dec 16, 2013

        Great question, Joe M. I have a good friend and regular playing partner who plays the MP-53s. He's 61 years old and a 6 handicap, and he hits a LOT of greens. After looking at my MP-54s and reading my review, his impression is that the MP-54s are pretty similar. The pocket cavity on the 7-i and up makes the MP-54s a little more forgiving, as far as I can tell, but they are still very traditional in appearance at set up. The JPX 825s definitely are a bit "chunkier" at address, and less workable, but also even more forgiving than the 54s/53s. The best part about forgiveness is the diminished difference in distance on off-center hits. I tend to drop the club too far inside on the downswing, and make contact a bit out towards the toe. With the JPX 825 Pros, I lost minimal yardage when I did this -- maybe 5 yards. The MP-54s feel easier to hit the sweetspot, but when I miss, I lose 10 yards. Also easier to accidentally hook the MP-54s than the 825s, but my revamped swing is more consistent, so I like the flexibility of working the ball more and worry less about accidental hooks. So, getting back to your question: if you're happy with the MP-53s, I don't think an upgrade will get you much. But if you're looking for a bit more forgiveness, and if your handicap is single-digit or very low double-digits and you regularly work the ball, the MP-54s would be a good choice. If you are a bit higher handicap or simply want to hit most shots dead straight, the 825s are worth a demo. Definitely demo them, and compare them--and your current clubs--side-by-side. Maybe even take the time to get fit -- Mizuno is one of the best at training clubfitters.


          • RE: Mp 54 Gap Problem

            Tim Bell wrote on: Mar 23, 2014

            After migrating from the Titleist AP2's to the Mizuno JPX Pro 825's, I have now added the Mizuno MP-54's to my bag. The 54's are very high quality clubs with only one serious flaw, the exclusion of a gap wedge. Mizuno has gone down the same road as other Iron manufacturer's strengthening their lofts and creating a large gap between the standard PW and Sand Wedge (which most manufacturer's have started to fill with a gap wedge around 50 degrees/the same loft as a PW from 20 years ago.) My AP2's came with a gap as did my JPX Pros from Mizuno. But, for some reason Mizuno has decided to not include a gap wedge in any of their MP lines. Sure, you can purchase one of their MP T4 wedges but, I can assure you from some resent testing of gap -filling wedges that it does not match the feel of the MP 54 irons. The MP T4 is a quality wedge, (every bit as good as the Tilteist Vokey) but it does not have the same feel as the MP 54's. In fact after testing a dozen quality wedges with identical shafts and swingweights, the 50 degree wedge that felt the most like the MP 54 irons was the Scor 4161 V-Sole. Mizuno should get smart and be conscious of this issue because they are providing a dis-service to their customers by not producing an MP gap. For me, until Mizuno makes this right, the Scor wedge will fill the gap. I guess I should feel lucky that there IS a gap wedge out there that DOES feel like my MP-54 irons.


              • RE: RE: Mp 54 Gap Problem

                Kiel Christianson wrote on: Mar 24, 2014

                This is an excellent point, Tim, and one that I hadn't considered because I usually play 3 wedges (gap, sand, lob) that are different from my irons (which always end with PW). Coincidentally, my wedges have also been Scor for many years. However, I'll soon be testing/reviewing the new Edel wedges (Nick Faldo's club company, which debuted just last year), and I might be persuaded to change...stay tuned!