What we say...
Mizuno has made many great irons during its 113 years, but there’s one particular model that’s known among forged iron connoisseurs as the “father of the modern muscleback”.
That’s the Mizuno TN-87, which was produced in the mid-late 1980s for Japanese legend Tommy Nakajima.
Forged iron stickler Nick Faldo loved the shape of Nakajima’s irons, so his favourite blades were based on the TN-87, and over time, the iron became the Mizuno MP-29, which Tiger Woods played early in his career. And if rumours are to be believed his MP-29s have formed the blueprint for his Titleist, Nike and TaylorMade musclebacks since.
Mizuno is well aware of the nostalgia that surrounds the TN-87, and they’ve taken inspiration from the classic iron for the new MP-20s.
Which Mizuno MP-20 iron suits me?
Musclebacks are notoriously difficult to amend and improve, but there’s one stand-out change with the new model, and that’s a very thin copper layer which was on Mizuno’s historic irons, but not on recent MP models.
“We kept asking ourselves why players still talked about the feel of older Mizuno blades,” said Mizuno’s Chris Voshall.
“Despite our Grain Flow Forging process tightening each heads structure (which improves feel), and tuning each new design’s vibration pattern through computer aided design, the very best felt something was missing when comparing our latest musclebacks head-to-head with the classics,” Voshall added.
According to Mizuno, the only missing element from the classic models to the latest MP irons was a thin copper coat encapsulating the head. And just to see if players could spot the difference, six Mizuno tour pros blind tested these new copper models against none-coated models and all six felt the copper irons delivered better feel. Unsurprisingly, this tech comes on all three new MP-20 irons – the MB, MMC and the hollow-body HMB.
Review: Mizuno MP-20 HMB iron
RRP: £180 per iron / Availability: 2-PW / 7-iron loft: 32°
Hollow body irons as a category was only really created in 2015, when PXG appeared on the scene. But it’s grown significantly since, and now TaylorMade, Ping and Titleist all have hollow body irons in their line-ups. Not wanting to get left behind, Mizuno has introduced one, too.
The MP-20 HMB (Hot Metal Blade) has a forged chromoly steel face (where the brand’s JPX919 Hot Metal and Hot Metal Pro are cast). Mizuno says forgiveness performance is very similar to the MP-20 MMC. But, thanks to a generous sole width and two internal 12g tungsten weights (in the 2-7 iron), there’s a deeper centre of gravity which helps HMB flight shots higher. Mizuno says the HMB is aimed at consistent golfers pursuing extra ball speed without sacrificing shot-shaping potential.
What Mizuno say about the MP-20 HMB
The MP-20 HMB offers a full set of performance hybrid irons in a sharp ‘tour-ready’ profile, built on the ball speed of Mizuno’s Chromoly material in the face and neck, supported by a precision stainless steel body and tungsten weighting. It offers the proportions, topline and offset transition of a classic Mizuno players’ muscleback with a generous sole width that’s hidden at address, and is designed to help consistent players pursuing added ball speed without sacrificing their shot-making options.
The heads feature a brush satin durable plated finish and a complex, loft-specific construction. From 2- to 8-iron, Mizuno’s multi-thickness Grain Flow Forged Chromoly face and neck is dialled in to be consistently hot across the clubface. From 2- to 7-iron, twin 12g tungsten weights deliver stability and an easy launch, while use of a softer 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel from 9-iron to PW makes the short irons soft and responsive. MP-20 HMB is designed to be played as a full set or mixed with any MP-20 set, with recommended break points between the 4- and 5-iron or 7- and 8-iron for blended sets.
“A few years back it was a surprise to see truly elite tour players with more than one long iron replacement,” says Mizuno’s Chris Voshall, “but now that we’ve found their acceptance point on offset, size and proportions, there’s a new set who are open-minded to the 5-iron and beyond. We’re excited to see what happens when they experiment with the HMB.”
Mizuno MP-20 HMB iron specs