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.
Mizuno MP-20 MB iron
RRP: £150 per iron / Availability: 3-PW (LH 5 – PW with #3+4 HMB) / 7-iron loft: 34°
A pure muscleback with a new tapering blade thickness tech. The idea gradually positions extra mass higher and lower in the blade (without thickening the topline) as the irons get shorter. Mizuno says it enhances vertical stability and forgiveness on high and low face impacts, and improves distance control consistency in the scoring clubs.
In response to tour player feedback the top line is thinner than any recent MP iron model. As you’d expect the MB has a classic tour-ready profile, just like the original TN-87, and there’s a new satin and mirror chrome finish, which eliminates high glare in the address position, often an issue with shiny blades.
What Mizuno say about the MP-20 MB iron
This pure muscleback’s ‘tour-ready’ profile has been honed by studying elements of Mizuno’s most played/retained tour iron models by both contracted and non-contracted tour players, with usage among the tour’s new breed of ‘free agents’ adding a new perspective.
A discreetly tapered topline and cambered sole allow a fuller spread of weight to enhance vertical stability and forgiveness on strikes from high or low in the face, while retaining a traditional muscleback appearance.
The topline has been refined in response to tour player preferences and is Mizuno’s thinnest among recent generations of MP irons, while the blend of satin and mirror chrome finishing has been engineered to eliminate areas of high glare in the playing position.
“We kept asking ourselves why players still talked about the feel of older Mizuno blades – TN87, MP14, MP29, TP9,” says Voshall. “Despite our Grain Flow Forging process tightening up and an evolving CAD process that predicts vibration patterns, we were still missing something. The one element left from the old classics was a layer of copper. After blind testing our players at the Valspar it was more than nostalgia - our test pool universally preferred the prototype with copper plating.”
Mizuno MP-20 MB iron specs