"For my money, the Mizuno MP-59's are the best looking set of cavity back irons we've received in quite some time, if not ever. I honestly believe they are the best looking iron on the market in their class. If you're looking for a forged cavity back that offers a little bit of forgiveness, outstanding feel, and equally outstanding performance, based on what I've seen, for less than $1000 I don't really see how you can do any better."
Mizuno MP-59 Irons
(Written By: GolfSpy T) Few things in the golf equipment world puzzle me more than the reality that Mizuno isn't the single biggest name in irons. Don't get me wrong, we have seen some positively brilliant irons over the last couple of seasons from Titleist, Adams, and several others, but if you want to talk absolute class across an entire lineup, with enough unique designs to satisfy all ability levels and "suits your eye" preferences, nobody...and I mean nobody else in the industry delivers like Mizuno.
And yet, Mizuno isn't the #1 iron on tour. And that's fine. I think most of you here probably understand that tour counts are driven largely by dollars. Having the most clubs in play is basically as simple as paying the most to have your clubs played by the best in the world. Mizuno isn't the #1 brand of irons among the average crowd either. You can chalk that up to a relatively limited amount of advertising coupled with a prevailing notion that forged irons (which make up the lion's share of the Mizuno lineup) are less forgiving and more difficult to hit than cast cavity backs. Pffft.
With all due deference to yesteryear, the forging of forgiveness has come along way, and while the MP-59s we're discussing here are far from the pinnacle of forgiveness, not only do they get the damn job done, they're an iron I'm excited to tell you is my personal absolute favorite among all the cavity backs we've put through this comprehensive review process.
Tell Us What You Think!
- Why don't you play Mizuno irons, is there something wrong with you?
- Would you seriously consider replacing your current gamers with the Mizuno MP-59s?
- When you hear the name Mizuno what comes to mind?
The Marketing Angle
We don't like to get too bogged down in the marketing speak. You guys can get that stuff anywhere. We're working on some ideas for sprucing this up a bit, but until we get that implemented, I'm just going to drop a few bullet points on you that I find at lest a little interesting.
- Titanium forged into the muscle cavity creates a 5% larger sweet area (compared to MP-58).
- Mizuno calls the sweet spot the sweet area.
- Mizuno's Forged TI Muscle Teechnology ™ delivers increased forgiveness in a shape prefered by better players (and hacks like me).
- The world's #1, Luke Donald, just put the MP-59s in his bag (bold move considering his old irons helped make him #1).
How We Tested
To find out more about how we test our irons: CLICK HERE
For more information on our "Radius Based Scoring System": CLICK HERE
Material Composition: 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel
Though the stock shaft offering is TrueTemper's DynamicGold, we tested with Project X shafts in 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 flex.
The Mizuno MP-59s are the 3rd iron in total, and the 2nd designed for better players that we've put through our revised testing system.
Short Iron Performance
When testing with short irons (8-iron, 9-iron, or PW) our testers missed the target by an overall average of 22.59 feet. When we remove our least accurate tester from the equation, that average improves to 21.51 feet. Overall a total of 12 shots from 5 different golfers came to rest within 10 feet of the cup, which is what we consider birdie distance.
Dispersion patterns showed a slight bias to the left side of the target, and as they usually are, the biggest misses were to that same general direction.
When distance is separated from accuracy we find that our testers missed the distance (long/short) by an average of 12.85 feet. With the tester least able to control his distance removed from the equation, the number improves to 11.58 feet.
When we examine how close our testers came to the center line, our data shows that the average miss was 15.3 feet from the center target. Once again, removing the least accurate tester improves average accuracy to 14.04 feet.
Comparatively speaking, the raw numbers are very similar to what our testers achieved during our test of the Wilson FG Tour V2 irons. In fact total short iron performance differs by only one one-hundredth of a point, which to me speaks to the absolute class of both irons.
Short Iron Performance Score: 90.10
Middle Iron Performance
With targets set to comfortable middle iron distances, our testers missed the pin by an average of 29.63 feet. When we exclude the low man and revise the number, accuracy improves to 28.34 feet. Once again, the results are very similar to what we've seen previously.
If we examine the data a bit more closely to look for true birdie opportunities we discover that our testers placed a total of 11 shots within 15 feet. This equals the number of solid birdie opportunities we had during our Wilson test, however; we'd be remiss not to point out that our senior tester was not available to participate in the previous test.
With the middle irons, for whatever reason our testers weren't quite able to dial in distance as much as they would have liked. Our testers missed the target distance by an average of 18.75 feet, with the majority of misses, not surprisingly, falling short, and to the right. The overall miss was bumped up significantly by one tester who missed the distance by an average of nearly 30 feet. With his numbers removed from the equation, the overall distanced missed improves significantly to 16.56 feet.
When we look at left right deviation, we find that our testers missed the center of the target line by an average of 19.00 feet. Once again if we ignore our least accurate testers, the numbers again improve significantly (16.92 feet).
Overall, while this isn't the most accurate our testers have been from short iron distances, the results are still very, very good.
Middle Iron Performance Score: 89.68
Long Iron Performance
While we've balanced our formulas, such that the expectation is each golfer will post similar scores with short, middle, and long irons, it's not unusual for golfers who struggle with long irons to see a significant decline in score when faced with longer shots. While that certainly happened to one of our testers (he struggled to such a degree that his score was actually 12 points lower than what he posted with mid-irons; the biggest drop-off we've seen so far), 2 of our testers actually posted their best scores with the long irons.
When asked to explain the relative ease with which they were able to hit the clubs, both essentially said the same thing, "I don't know...it just felt good".
Looking at the averages, our testers missed the hole by an average of 46.22 feet. As we mentioned, we had a single tester who struggled mightily from the distance (missing by an average of over 90 feet). When his less than stellar numbers are removed from the equation, the group average improves significantly to 36.85 feet.
Surprisingly, our testers still managed to post 12 shots within 20 feet, which from long iron distance should be considered legitimate Birdie, and sometimes, Eagle opportunities. It should be mentioned that 9 of those 12 shots came from only two golfers.
Looking purely at distance we find that our testers missed the distance by an average of 30.6 feet. With our struggling (more like floundering) golfer removed, the group average improves by nearly 6 feet to 24.9 feet.
When we look at the distance from center (without regard for total distance), we see that our testers missed the center-line by an average of 28.85 feet. Once again, with the hapless swinger removed, that number improves significantly to 22.75 feet.
Long Iron Performance Score: 88.89
What's simply impossible to see from the data is that the MP-59 played, based on who was swinging it, almost like two different sets of irons. While the expectation is that a forged player's cavity back with close to standard lofts (some might consider the short irons slightly jacked up) would play shorter. In the case of roughly half of our golfers, that proved to be more or less true, as testers found they had to take more club to get the distance.
For another golfer, distances were right in line with what he'd expect from nearly any iron we test. That said, two of our testers actually said they felt like the Mizuno MP-59s flew longer than other clubs they've tested. Speaking only for myself, I found it a challenge to hit my short iron distance (125) with a pitching wedge. Perfectly, or near perfectly struck balls were better suited to a 135 distance.
With a nice, smooth swing (which the MP-59s basically forced me to take), the results were outstanding at all distances, though certainly not for all of our test subjects.
MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 89.83
The Interactive Data
The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the the Mizuno MP-59 Irons. You can click on each of 3 tabs (Mizuno MP-59 - Short Irons, Mizuno MP-59 - Mid Irons, Mizuno MP-59 - Long Irons) you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range, and the raw data (averages) for each of our testers. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfer based on handicap and proximity to the pin.
Just because we've moved to a less complicated subjective scoring model doesn't mean I'm always going to agree with my testers. While it's hard to argue with a score in the A+ range, I must admit being confounded by our two testers who rated the MP-59s below a 9. Personally, I gave them a 10, as I honestly believe they are the best looking iron on the market in their class.
Based on its place in the Mizuno lineup, the design of the Mizuno MP-59's is flawlessly executed. Sure, there will be some who might prefer a thinner topline (though it's far from thick on the 59), or less offset, but if that's what you're looking for, well...that's why the MP-63s and MP-69s exist. When looking at the current MP lineup; based on Mizuno's own handicap-based differentiation system, the MP-59 is second only to the MP-53 in terms of forgiveness and playability. Though you might not know it from hitting them, shotmaking isn't the only design aspect baked into of the 59's.
More often than not, and insert detracts from the appearance of an iron (particularly a players iron), In the case of the Mizuno MP-59s, however; the Titanium insert actually provides a subtle and appealing contrast to the rest of the back.
Quite frankly, I don't know what Mizuno could have done differently to make the MP-59s any more visually appealing. For my money, the Mizuno MP-59's are the best looking set of cavity back irons we've received in quite some time, if not ever.
MGS Looks Score: 96.75
Sound & Feel
If soft feel is your thing, consistently, and almost without fail, nobody in the iron game does it better than Mizuno. Our testing process affords me the opportunity to not only test, but also observe the sound (and to a lesser extent the feel) of the irons we test.
Not only do I experience impact for myself, I listen as others hit the clubs. While I suppose you could chalk it up to that harmonic impact technology, and sound of feel stuff, there is no denying that Mizunos simply sound different than most anything else we test. Some clubs sound like they're hitting golf balls, others like they're hitting rocks. The Mizunos...impact on purely struck balls sounds like a subtle puff of air, like smacking a marshmallow.
"A Beautiful symphony to my ears" - Mark C.
While as you might imagine, feel scores were exceptionally high (try perfect under our system), one tester pointed out that mishits can be a bit harsh.
"There's a spot high on the toe side that'll shake the filling out of your head" - Tim S.
While there's always room to disagree one way or another, quite frankly, we still don't think there are many who do feel nearly as well, let alone better than Mizuno. The MP-59s are certainly no exception. Score for these is as high as they can go, a 100%.
MGS Feel Score: 100.00!
Though the MP-59 ranks among the most forgiving in the MP lineup, forgiveness is largely why the JPX lineup exists. So while the MP-59s did surprise some of our testers by how willing the irons are to look over small mistakes, bad swings still produce big misses.
Tim felt his mishits "died quickly", while Dan added that they're probably not the most forgiving club on the market today. While that's certainly true, given their market placement, they're not really supposed to be. And while I'm inclined to agree with our tester's overall assessment, my feeling is that if you like the design (and know what you're getting into), there's nothing particularly unforgiving about the MP-59s, and nothing at all that would dissuade me from wanting to put them in my bag.
Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 83.31
Likelihood of Purchase
If you want to know what I think...I'll tell you without hesitation that the Mizuno MP-59's are an iron I would absolutely purchase without the slightest of hesitation. On my personal "hot list", they easily rank as one of the top 3 irons I've had the pleasure to test for MyGolfSpy (more on that in a bit). But that's just me.
Normally, when LOP scores start to dip it's because of something specific about the club(s) that our testers don't like. Sometimes it's the cosmetic stuff (finish, graphics), sometimes it's an aspect of the design (offset, topline), and sometimes our testers just don't like the damn club.
The MP-59 is a bit unique in that, although you can argue the LOP score is solid), the dips didn't come from anything directly related to club itself. What the testers who rated it lower told us is, that although the really (really, really) like the club, they just don't feel like it's the best fit for them.
Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 88.69
As I've tried to make abundantly clear, this is yet another Mizuno iron I absolutely love (probably my favorite of any I've reviewed). While the overall subjective score is very, very good, it's actually not as high as some we've seen. And while I would suggest the MP-59 should be near perfect for everything but forgiveness, the reality is Mizuno has painted itself into a bit of a corner where subjective scoring is concerned.
The reality is, we've seen enough Mizuno irons (and wedges) that our expectations have become unrealistically high. I basically expect Mizuno to produce a great looking, great feeling iron because, with very few exceptions, that's all I've ever known them to do. There are almost no surprises left to be had where Mizuno is concerned, which makes it next to impossible for a Mizuno iron to exceed expectations. And exceeding expectations is nearly the only way to achieve a perfect subjective score.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 93.69
Even before testing was complete, before publication of this review, I'd received more questions about the Mizuno MP-59s than any other club we've ever had in for testing. One of those questions came from a reader, who plays Miura CB-501s as his gamers. He basically asked me to compare the two because he's seriously considering jumping to the 59's. What I told him, and what I'm telling you is that my 501's were custom fit and customized from toe to grip 100% for me. I wouldn't trade them for any iron in the world...BUT...
We look at and test a lot of irons. And of the irons we've tested, apart from my gamers, there have only been exactly two sets that have truly impressed me to the point that I'd actually consider putting them in a backup bag (or mounting them on my wall) and taking them out for the occasional round of golf simply because I love hitting them. The Mizuno MP-59's is absolutely one of those sets. And while I can't override my testers, I personally give them my highest recommendation.
If you're looking for a forged cavity back that offers a little bit of forgiveness, outstanding feel, and equally outstanding performance, based on what I've seen, for less than $1000 I don't really see how you can do any better.
MGS TOTAL SCORE: 90.01
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