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 MMC iron
RRP: £165 per iron / Availability: 4-PW / 7-iron loft: 32°
Mizuno’s previous MP-18 line-up featured a SC (split cavity) iron which has been retired for this new MP-20 line. Mizuno’s thinking is that MMC was far more popular, as golfers choosing between either a muscleback or more forgiving option inevitably plumped for the extra forgiveness and great looks of the MMC (multi-material construction) instead of the split cavity.
The new MP-20 MMC has narrower short iron, and wider, long iron soles which deepen the centre of gravity to flight shots consistently across the set. A titanium cavity badge in the 4-7 iron frees up weight which is located as a 12g tungsten toe weight to improve MOI stability and off-centre hit forgiveness. A titanium badge in the 8-PW increases perimeter weighting in this super looking “elite players cavity” iron.
What Mizuno say about the MP-20 MMC iron
The second generation of Mizuno’s multi-material concept is engineered to be more playable than the MP-20 MB courtesy of its titanium muscle plate and tungsten sole weight. It promises stability in a tour-preferred profile, with a titanium muscle spreading weight for forgiveness on off-centre strikes while maintaining centre-portion thickness for the feel and feedback associated with a muscleback iron.
The multi-material construction comprises a Grain Flow Forged 1025E mild carbon steel chassis and Ti muscle pad throughout the set, with a 12g tungsten toe weight from the 4- to 7-irons that adds ease of launch in a compact playing profile.
A second Ti muscle pad improves set flow by allowing for a narrower sole from 8-iron to pitching wedge. The topline is dramatically thinner than on the MP-18 MMC (0.3mm thinner in the 4-iron and 0.4mm in the pitching wedge) while remaining only 1mm thicker at address than the MP-20 MB. The chrome finishing is a mix of satin and mirror.
“The new MMC is the smaller, sharper version of the original,” said Mizuno's Chris Voshall. “For a player with a traditional eye looking for a little stability on off-centre strikes, but comfortable with their distances and ball speed, this is the iron.”