Mizuno are renowned for making irons that are aesthetically pleasing, provide wonderful feel and great shot-making capabilities. These characteristics are attributed most to their MP (Mizuno Pro) line of iron products – here we review the 221, 223 and 225 Mizuno Pro irons.
The launch date, initially scheduled for September 2021, was pushed back to February 2022 meaning we’ve had to wait a little longer to get our hands on them and find out what they can do!
There are 3 heads in this latest iteration – MP221, MP223 and MP225 – each aiming to offer something slightly different – much as we saw with the previous MP20 models. The naming may seem a little spurious, but one imagines it translates to MP22 – 1, 3, and 5.
Anyway, I digress – it’s time to put these new Mizuno irons through their paces.
Table of Contents
- 1 Mizuno MP Irons review
- 2 Looks
- 3 Distance
- 4 Feel
- 5 Control
- 6 Forgiveness
- 7 Shaft options
- 8 Combo sets
- 9 Value
- 10 Mizuno Pro Irons review – Golf Insider verdict
- 11 Alternative Models to Consider
- 12 Frequently asked questions
- 13 Mizuno Pro Irons Review – Summary
Mizuno MP Irons review
Use the links below to jump to a section:
- Shaft options & combo set
- Golf Insider verdict
- Alternatives to consider
Quite often when a new product gets released – especially irons, one of the first things we want to know is what they look like?
The 221 – a direct replacement for the bladed MP20, looks well… like the MP20. That’s not a bad thing at all, it is once again an exquisite looking golf club – a thin top line with minimal offset married with a small but beautifully traditional shaped head with soft lines.
Mizuno say the top line has been made to appear thinner than its predecessor by some clever bevelling, but in all honesty, it looks pretty similar. It’s quite hard to tell them apart – don’t just take my word for it though, even Luke Donald was of the same opinion Luke Donald tests Mizuno Pro 221, 223 and 225 irons
The 223 replaces the MP20-MMC and I would say there is a bigger divergence here. For a start, the head appears slightly larger, there’s a noticeably thicker top line, and it seems to pack a little more muscle than the old MMC did.
The sole is slightly wider and there is a small increase in the amount of offset when you compare with 221. It still looks workable, but perhaps a little more powerful and forgiving than the previous model. It has been said that the 223 is intended to be a crossover between a traditional MP series iron and the current JPX 921 Forged, and this is perhaps a good description.
Finally, we have the 225 which replaces the MP20-HMB. A hollow-headed, powerful iron that will still appeal to the golfer who places looks high among their priorities when choosing a new set of irons. I always felt the old HMB looked a little chunky when compared with comparable irons, but the top line on the new 225 does appear a little more refined this time around.
Mizuno have again done a good job in ensuring that through each set, the scoring clubs become slightly more compact, and the longer irons a little more forgiving. There is no further increase in offset from 223 to 225, however the head is slightly longer from heel to toe, inspiring confidence at set up.
Mizuno Pro Irons loft & offset
One final point of note is the retro “Mizuno Pro” stamp on the back. This follows a trend of Mizuno bringing back ideas from historical models, just as they did with the copper underlay from the TN87’s, that was re-introduced with the previous model and once again features in these new models.
I have to say at first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the retro stamping, but with time to reflect it’s growing on me. I’m sure everyone will form their own opinions and these may be polarised to some extent which is absolutely fine, it’s certainly a talking point though.
Let’s start with the 221. It’s the most traditionally lofted option (34 degree – 7 iron) with the smallest head and least speed-inducing technology built in. A club designed for the better golfer aimed purely at increasing precision and control.
TrackMan dispersion – Mizuno MP221, MP223 & MP 225
It comes as no surprise that the 221 is the shortest of the three options, the one producing the lowest ball speed, and highest backspin numbers. If distance is a primary concern for you, there are a plethora of more powerful irons on the market.
All that said though, in initial testing I didn’t see a massive drop in carry distance between 221 and 223 – only around 5 yards on average. This really surprised me – so much so, I took them both on the course afterwards to hit again with some Titleist Pro V1’s and still found the 221 to be highly competitive.
Testing data – Mizuno MP221, MP223 & MP 225
|Ball Speed (mph)||Carry (yds)||Total (yds)||Launch Ang. (deg)||Spin Rate (rpm)|
Nonetheless, the 223 gave me an extra 2 mph of ball speed on average, without a large drop in spin. With its slightly more forgiving head size and shape, it would represent a good option for the majority of good players.
Now then – let’s talk about the 225. In terms of pure distance, this was pretty epic. Compared with the 223, there was again a slight loss in spin as you might expect from a hollow-headed design – but an increase of 3.5 mph average ball speed led to a further 10 yards through the air and a small amount of additional rollout.
If you’re looking for a compact iron that packs some punch – you’ve got to try the 225.
Mizuno proudly claim that “nothing feels like a Mizuno”. They might in fact be right – I can’t recall hitting anything recently that feels quite as buttery soft as the 221 – including competitor models such as the Ping i59, Titleist T100.
The only thing from memory that would match it would be the Ping Blueprint – but eh…realistically how many of us are going to consider putting those in the bag!? Perhaps PXG might have something to say on this also, but again they fall into the same category as Blueprint in my eyes.
All of these models have been produced using Mizuno’s patented grain flow forging technique and have a thin copper layer under the face which Mizuno claim provides a softer, more responsive feel.
The 221 features their 1025E Mild carbon steel throughout the set for the softest feel, whereas 223 and 225 have forged Chromoly in the longer irons, with the 1025 steel reserved for the shorter irons and wedges. Having hit the 7-irons in each model, there is a bit of a difference between the Chromoly and the 1025E but the former still produces a satisfying sensation when struck well.
Greater control of ball flight is something that all golfers will benefit from, although quite often when choosing equipment there is some form of a trade-off between control and power/forgiveness.
Control and workability are generally achieved by increased spin rate – this allows the golfer to shape shots, and also have better control over the ball’s behaviour on landing. This can be particularly useful when playing on small, firm greens, and also when hitting from longer grass.
As you would expect, the 221 achieves this better than the other models. This is largely down to the traditional loft and higher centre of gravity ensuring increased spin (avg = 5712)* whilst maintaining a good launch angle – and therefore the average roll out was only 8.0 yards. Workability is also enhanced by a thin sole to improve turf interaction at strike. This will be of particular benefit if playing from firm, tightly mown fairways.
The 223 sits in the middle of these three models, spinning a little less at 5466 and running out 9.9 yards. The 225 spun less again at only 4893 which is to be expected from its stronger 7 iron loft of only 30 degrees, but impressively only ran out 10.6 yards – still demonstrated good stopping power.
What also impressed me about these models is the fact that despite the 4-degree loft gap between the 221 – 223 – 225, the average launch angles across these models were covered by only 1.7 degrees and all were in what I’d consider a good window (15.6º – 17.3º) – meaning the heads have been well designed in terms of centre of gravity, considering the various head constructions.
* I would expect these spin rate numbers produced above, to be a little higher with a better quality ball – roughly increasing by 500 rpm
When the very best players in the world openly admit they don’t always hit the middle of the clubface, you realise what a difficult game this is we all play. It goes without saying that a little forgiveness from our equipment can be a great help.
One way we could assess the relative forgiveness of these models would be to look at the difference in ball speed between best and worst strikes. By this measure, the 225 performed astonishingly well with only a 3.1mph drop off.
Interestingly the 221 came next with 5.4mph and the 223 was a sizable 8.2mph!
There is a caveat with the 223 though in that data set, where I seem to have caught one particularly well. Removing that outlier it comes back down to 6.3mph. For context here – 1 mph of ball speed usually equates to around 2 yards in distance
In my mind, this says less about the 223 and more about how impressive the 221 is for a club most people would assume is very unforgiving.
Another aspect of forgiveness to consider is direction. Slightly greater offset on the 223 and 225 will help those who occasionally struggle with either a push or push fade shot shape.
There are more forgiving models on the market that would better suit the higher handicapper, but given that these irons are targeted at mid-low handicap players, whose ball striking tends to be a little more consistent, they perform admirably well – particularly the 225.
From a retailer and fitter’s perspective, and naturally by extension a consumer’s viewpoint, the range of shaft options that Mizuno offer at no upcharge is a real plus point.
At any professional stockist, you will have access to over 60 shafts in flexes to suit every golfer. The Mizuno-designed “Shaft Optimizer” is a great tool, dynamically calculating factors such as your swing speed and rhythm, the way you load the shaft and release the club. It even calculates the lie angle for you at impact, so no need to hit balls off those ghastly boards.
From this data, it can match the DNA of your swing to the correct weight, kickpoint and flex shaft for you, and your professional should be able to guide you through this process and show you additional detail including shaft bend profiles and more.
Of course though, no matter how much tech there is, shaft fitting also comes down to individual preference. Not only does it need to feel good and perform consistently, but you may also have a preferred trajectory/launch numbers you would like to achieve, and the shaft can play a part in this.
A few recommendations to look at based on various characteristics would be as follows:
- High flighted: Nippon NS Pro Neo / Recoil ESX (graphite)
- Low flighted / Low Spin: KBS C – Taper / Project X LS
- Mid flighted: Modus 105 / Modus 115
- Early release / Shallow Angle of Attack: Project X LZ
On the one hand, Mizuno have put effort into ensuring that through each set, the shorter irons and wedges are more compact and therefore more controllable. This includes details such as changing the steel to the softer 1025E and reducing the amount of hollow body in the MP225 as you get down to the lower end of the set.
If you opt for the MP221 or 223 though, you might consider replacing the longer irons with the forgiveness of the MP225, and this wouldn’t be a bad option at all.
One thing to bear in mind is to get the loft gaps right though, which may mean weakening the loft of the 225 and/or strengthening the loft of the 221 / 223 to ensure an even flow through the set. Mizuno are good with requests like this, and if you ask for specific clubs to be built stronger or weaker, they will build them for you.
I’ve always believed value represents a product giving the consumer the benefits they are looking for, relative to the price. In this context, the value depends on the individual golfer choosing the correct iron for them.
Price point wise, the new MP series irons are fairly expensive when compared to models from other brands, rising in price from 221 up to 225. However, if you are looking for an iron with excellent looks, impressive power, and good forgiveness – in my mind the 225 represents good value.
By equal measure, the 221 in my opinion is perhaps the best-bladed style iron on the current market and would represent excellent value for the strong ball-striker who is looking for greater precision and control.
The 223 is also an excellent iron, but for me it sits kind of in the middle of these, neither being fully one thing or the other. With this considered, you may find other offerings out there that perform similarly at a lower price point.
Mizuno Pro Irons review – Golf Insider verdict
Mizuno Pro 221
These stunning looking irons are best suited to a highly competent ball-striker, for whom the greatest priority is control and workability, rather than increased distance.
Mizuno Pro 223
The MP223 will suit most solid ball strikers who are looking for an all-around iron that offers competitive distance in a compact head allowing for some workability and control.
Mizuno Pro 225
The MP225 is the epitome of the “players distance” iron. Impressive power and forgiveness is packed into a compact and stylish looking clubhead and could suit a mid-low handicap golfer.
Alternative Models to Consider
Whilst in my opinion, the MP221 is my favourite of the current bladed style irons that I’ve tried, I’d recommend giving the Ping i59 and Titleist T100 a hit too. If you are specifically looking for increased spin – the i59, in particular, is pretty impressive for this with its extra grooves on the face.
The MP223 has been described as a more compact version of the JPX 921 Forged head, and therefore it would make sense to try these together. I’d also recommend considering options such as the Ping i210, Callaway Apex Pro and both Titleist T100.S / T200.
The MP225 offers a powerful hollow design in a sleek players’ style head, and would find itself in competition with the Taylormade P770 / P790. Don’t discount new releases such as the Callaway Rogue Pro and Ping i525 that will shortly be available too.
Frequently asked questions
Below are some frequently asked questions when buying Mizuno irons.
Are Mizuno irons hard to hit?
As with any brand, Mizuno offer bigger, more forgiving models for the average golfer, along with smaller models that require greater precision, and are better suited to the lower handicapper. They perhaps unfairly gain a reputation for being difficult to hit, as it’s their bladed irons for which they are so well revered.
As you can see from the testing above though, even the MP221 – the smallest model in their line up still offers relatively competitive forgiveness, so you can bet the larger models do too.
Why do Mizuno irons feel so good?
Craftsmanship and innovation are engrained and appreciated in Japanese culture, and you can see that reflected in the quality of the irons they produce. Another Japanese concept – Kaizen (continual improvement) is also evident in the way they have enhanced their unique Grain Flow Forging process to produce irons from a single billet of steel that gives truly remarkable feedback to the user.
You can learn more about this process here.
Can high handicappers use forged irons?
Of course, forging is not intrinsically linked to forgiveness. It is however a more labour-intensive, and therefore costly manufacturing process, and so by market nature, it tends only to be used in irons aimed at the more serious golfer.
Bearing in mind that the average handicap for golfers is above 20, that is where the mass market lies, and so forgiving / power-friendly irons tend to be made using the cheaper method of cast heads.
Do all pro golfers use forged irons?
By nature of the above, it is likely that most professional golfers would have forged irons.
What are the most forgiving golf irons?
There are almost too many on the market to mention, but forgiving irons generally comprises of a large head, plenty of perimeter weighting and a generous cavity on the back to produce good launch and speed, even on off-centre strikes. The Titleist T300, Mizuno JPX921 Hot Metal and Ping G425 are all good options currently available.
Are Mizuno irons good for beginners?
This depends on choosing the correct model. Generally speaking, I would encourage beginners to look for a forgiving head such as the JPX 921 Hot Metal. The MP series irons reviewed above are likely to present too great a challenge for beginner golfers.
Why do custom golf clubs take so long?
This is a very complex question. Rewind two years to pre-pandemic times, and custom orders rarely took more than a week or two to arrive. In today’s times, the situation is vastly different. This is largely down to bottlenecks in worldwide manufacturing, logistics and shipping, coupled with a considerable increase in demand as more people have turned to outdoor recreational sports like golf.
Bear in mind that golf clubs are full of different components, made by multiple companies, including shafts, heads, ferrules and grips. These are manufactured in various countries around the world.
Another issue is the astronomical increase in the cost of shipping containers, meaning that for companies to maintain market prices, it becomes ever more imperative to ensure full container loads. All of these factors lead to a situation where supply cannot currently meet demand.
Mizuno Pro Irons Review – Summary
That concludes our review of the Mizuno Pro irons. Feel free to leave any questions below and we’ll get back to you.
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