Review of New Mizuno MP-54 & MP-4 Irons
By mustang6560 on 10/21/13
By Nathan Trifone, Index 9.6
I love the fall. In addition to college football and cool weather, it's also the unofficial start of the new equipment season in golf. All of the OEM start gradually announcing new products for us to drool over like the Mizuno MP-54 and MP-4 irons, the latest "player" irons from the company that is known for its "player" irons. Mizuno sent us a set of each to demo and we decided to review the two together to highlight a few of the similarities and differences for your reading pleasure.
About the Mizuno MP-54:
The MP-54 is a thick, powerful Grain Flow Forged iron crafted to awaken the shotmaker in players needing just a little forgiveness.
About the Mizuno MP-4:
The MP-4 is the purest of forged muscle backs for shot-makers seeking the ultimate control over their ball flight.
In my opinion, the best looking iron ever created was the Mizuno MP-33. It might seem unfair (because they are so beautiful), but I compare every new iron to it. The simple beauty of the MP-33 is rarely matched, mainly because the golf industry is less focused on the design of a club and more focused on the technology in a club. And the more "technology" you put into a club, which makes it longer, more forgiving, et cetera, the more obtrusive the design becomes. It's unfortunate, but it is the reality in which we live.
As I mentioned, the true beauty of an iron is directly related to the simplicity of its design, like the new MP-4. With a subtle muscle bulge (or muscle pad) on the back, thin top line, and narrow sole, it has a nice clean, handsome look. In addition, the MP-4 has a brilliant double nickel chrome plating finish, which gives it a sharp curb appeal. That said, I prefer a satin finish over chrome because it's less shiny, which reduces glare on bright, sunny days.
Like the MP-4, the MP-54 is a forged iron, however, it is one step above a blade, so the design isn't as simple. In addition to a wider sole and a thicker top line, the MP-54 features a Milled STEP Muscle (3-7 iron) built into the back of the clubface, which is the technology in the iron. The technology, which we'll get to in a moment, adds additional mass, however, the engineers at Mizuno did a nice job of blending it into the design so it's not bulky. At address the MP-54 closely resembles the MP-4.
Like all Mizuno MP irons, the MP-54 is Grain Flow Forged out of 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel billets to deliver the superior (or buttery smooth) feel at impact Mizuno is known for (you can read more about the forging process here). There are only a few feelings in life that can rival the feeling you get when you hit a golf ball flush on a forged iron. That said, the opposite is also true. The feeling of an off-center shot is much more noticeable with a forged iron than a cast iron, which leads me to the signature feature of the MP-54 -- the Milled STEP Muscle.
The MP-54 was designed to be a traditional, yet aggressive iron. Workable, yet forgiving. To achieve both elements, the engineers created the Milled STEP Muscle. The milling of the pocket cavity moves weight to the perimeter and creates a deeper center of gravity to improve stability and launch conditions on off-center shots. The cool thing about the MP-54 is it's essentially a combo set as the Milled STEP Muscle is only in the 3-7 (see graphic below). The 8-PW features a Solid Muscle Design in order to provide maximum playability.
The MP-4 is the new iconic "player" iron from Mizuno. It is designed for golfers with a handicap between 0-4. It's not for the faint of heart or the player who is struggling with his ball-striking. That said, I was surprised how "hitable" the MP-4 is. One of the key features of the iron is the Variable Muscle Thickness (see graphic below), which creates a consistent height in the sweetspot (with the "Run Bird" logo) for easier workability in the shorter irons and optimal launch trajectory in the long irons. I am not currently in the target handicap range for the MP-4, mainly because I am not able to work the ball left to right and vice versa very well. But I did notice I was able to more easily control the trajectory of my ball flight, which is huge for me as I tend to hit the ball too high.
The key difference between the MP-54 and MP-4 is forgiveness. With the Milled STEP Muscle in the long irons, the MP-54 offers forgiveness on off-center hits, or as I like to call it, peace of mind. The way I see it, the question a golfer must ask himself prior to purchasing a new set of irons is, From 175-yards over water, which club would you feel most confident hitting? Surprisingly, I hit the "pure" shots farther with the MP-4 than the MP-54, however, I hit the off-center shots significantly shorter (and I hit more off-center shots). In my opinion, unless you're a scratch (or near scratch) golfer or you want to improve your ball-striking (and you have the time necessary to do so), you should opt for the extra forgiveness of the MP-54 in lieu of the extra workability of the MP-4.
On the patented oobgolf Rating Key, I give the MP-54 a 9.4 and the MP-4 a 9.3 as each set is "Awesome"! The reason the MP-54 has a slightly higher rating is because its target handicap range is wider. I would encourage 10-15 handicaps who are in the market for a new set of irons to consider the MP-54 as it will improve your shot making without sacrificing your enjoyment of the game. And if you're a player and you want the purest "player" iron on the market, then the MP-4 is for you. There is a reason Mizuno has a reputation for producing the best forged irons and the MP-4 is further evidence. You can pick up a set (3-PW) of the MP-54 and MP-4 irons on Golfsmith's website for $1,000.
Learn More About the MP-54 Irons
Learn More About the Mizuno MP-4 Irons
[ comments ]
Torleif Sorenson says:
Now I need a new keyboard. I've been slobbering all over this one just looking at this article. I first became aware of the MP-54s several weeks ago and would really like to try that Milled STEP Muscle to see how they feel.
If I can ever afford a new set of irons, the decision will be between Mizuno's MP-54s and their MP-64s, with which I publicly fell in love one year ago.
Panerai is right. Double give away 1 month before christmas? This way two of us will know not to add an iron set to our christmas list?
this test comes to a perfect time: I am looking to upgrade irons as we speak!
Solid Review, Nathan.
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