Introducing the Mizuno MP-18 Irons

MP-18 irons

Few companies generate the kind of buzz Mizuno does when announcing new products. Good looks, quality production processes, and using quality materials are traits the company is known for. The upcoming release of the Mizuno MP-18 irons is no different. We introduce you to the 4 new models in the MP-18 irons line, their features, how you can combine them and why there is so much excitement about them.

MP-18 Irons: Models

The 4 models in the MP-18 line are the MP-18, MP-18 SC, MP-18 MMC, and MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi. The first 3 irons are “standard irons” and share a few features. The MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi irons are hybrid irons, giving you the forgiveness of a hybrid with the look of an iron.

Mizuno uses 1025E Pure Select Carbon steel in the MP-18, MP-18 SC, and MP-18 MMC irons. This steel has 6 times tighter tolerances to make it purer than other carbon steels. Mizuno also uses a new grain flow forging process, called Grain Flow Forged HD. The “HD” stands for High Density. The old Grain Flow Forging process created a long, continuous grain structure. The new process differs from the old by creating a tighter grain density, especially in the impact area, giving the MP-18 irons their soft, solid feel. These irons also share a satin nickel chrome finish that doesn’t produce a glare. Now, a closer look at each iron.

MP-18

MP-18 irons

The MP-18 is a pure blade, appealing to the best ball strikers. Its short blade length, minimal offset, and thin rolled top line inspire shot-making ability. The MP-18 is available in 3-PW, however only in right-hand.

MP-18 SC

MP-18 SC irons

The “SC” stands for split cavity. A slightly bigger head than the MP-18 and cavity make the MP-18 SC more forgiving. The sole on the MP-18 SC is also wider and more rounded, helping it get through the turf better. These irons are geared for very good players that want just a touch of forgiveness. Righties and Lefties can get these beauties in 3-PW.

MP-18 MMC

MP-18 MMC

Moving along the forgiveness scale, next is the MP-18 MMC. Made with multiple materials (the “MMC” part), ball striking isn’t as much of a priority with these irons. A 20-gram tungsten weight in the toe increases the size of the sweet spot and the MOI. Placing the weight low moves the CG closer to the center (better sweet spot) and gets the ball in the easier as well. An 8-gram titanium weight is forged into the back of the club. This weight makes the iron more forgiving by moving weight to the outside of the club. Right-handed players can choose from 4-PW.

The MP-18 MMC has a similar profile to the MP-18 SC, with the added material for forgiveness mentioned above.

MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

MP-18 MMC Fli-HI irons

Mizuno fans remember the “Fli-Hi” name and will be impressed with the newest iteration. The MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi have a hollow body construction, pushing the CG low and deep for a high launch. As in the MP-18 MMC, the Fli-Hi has a 20-gram tungsten weight in the toe to increase the MOI. Unique to this club is its 1770 Maraging Steel face. This steel is super strong, letting engineers make the face thin. A thin face flexes more and increases ball speed for more distance.

Righties can buy the MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi in 2-6 irons.

Final Thoughts

The lofts on each MP-18 model make combining models easy. Get a little more forgiveness in the long irons and more control in the short irons. One possible set makeup is 3 and 4 MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi irons, 5-PW MP-18 SC. Mizuno also offers many shaft and grip upgrades at no charge.

After only a few swings with these gorgeous clubs, you understand why nothing feels like a Mizuno. The hype is definitely real.

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Fall TaylorMade Tour and Equipment Updates

fall taylormade tour

The regular season is over and the FedEx Cup playoffs are in full swing. This month, we take a closer look at the Fall TaylorMade Tour performances and the equipment that is set to launch.

Fall TaylorMade Tour Updates

FedEx Cup Playoffs

A measure of how the year has gone is participating in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Only the top 125 players make it to the season-ending competition for a trophy and sizeable check. Each tournament in the playoffs cuts the number of entrants leaving only the top 30 competing in the final stop.

The first stop, The Northern Trust, started the Playoffs with a bang for TaylorMade. World #1 Dustin Johnson needed to chase down Jordan Spieth, a Player of the Year candidate, in the final round. Johnson, well-known for his length off the tee, used a deft touch in his wedge game and a hot putter to chase down Spieth. DJ forced a playoff by sinking a clutch 17-foot putt on the last hole. On the first playoff hole, Johnson used his famous length to bomb a 341-yard tee shot, over the water, setting him up for a wedge shot and putt, securing his 4th win of the year. You can admire the tee shot below. The win jumped Johnson back into the conversation for Player of the Year honors.

The following week, rookie phenom Jon Rahm continued his strong year with a T4 finish at the Dell Technologies Championship. Using a full bag of TaylorMade clubs, Rahm led the field, comprised of the top 100 golfers, in strokes gained off the tee and putting.  Combined he gained almost 14 shots on the field!

The President’s Cup

2017 presidents cup teams

At the conclusion of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the top players from the U.S. and Europe compete for the President’s Cup. In the bi-annual competition the top 10 players from each group, plus 2 captain’s picks, compete in the match play event. TaylorMade is well represented, with 2 players on each team. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, and Si Woo Kim tee it up with TaylorMade equipment in their bag.

Fall Equipment Updates

MCGB irons

This fall sees the release of 3 new TaylorMade irons, filling the gaps in their line up. At the end of September, TaylorMade is releasing a super game improvement iron, called MCGB. Maximum distance and forgiveness are the names of the game with these bad boys. Engineers were able to max out the COR (energy transfer) on every iron in the set. The result, as TaylorMade says, is a “bag full of drivers.”

p730 irons

On the other end of the playing spectrum is the P730. These irons are compact, muscle back blades that provide the most shot-shaping ability of the iron lineup. If they look familiar, Rory, DJ, and Justin Rose currently game the P730 irons. If precision and accuracy are hallmarks of your game, you’ll love these irons.

p790 irons

Filling the gap between a player’s and game improvement irons is the P790. A variety of construction techniques and exotic materials give the P790 irons forgiveness and playability. Our full review of the P790 irons goes into detail how TaylorMade packs big performance into such a good looking club.

Until Next Time…

Thanks for checking out the Fall TaylorMade tour update. Join us next month, where we look at the results from the end of the season and preview more new products from TaylorMade.

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A Guide To Understanding the PING Fitting Process

Not long ago, buying a set of golf clubs simply involved visiting our local golf shop and purchasing a set right off of the floor. All clubs were made to the same standards. The biggest choices to make were regular or stiff flex shaft made of steel or graphite. Today, every company offers some form of fitting process to ensure the clubs you get are a perfect match for you and your swing. PING is the innovator of club fitting and today I dive in and explain the PING fitting process for irons.

PING Fitting Process

How it Started

PING was the first company to take club fitting seriously. In the 1960’s, founder Karsten Solheim realized he could help tour professionals by calibrating their equipment to fit their particular build and swing. Many of these players went on to play extremely well or even win at the next week’s event. With that early success, he went on to develop PING’s famous color coding system, which designated a particular color code for irons at a certain lie angle. This simple system has evolved over the years to the complete PING fitting process used today. It all starts with the interview.

The Interview

The interview covers many aspects of the player’s game. A player’s current handicap, how far their 7 iron travels, current and desired ball flight, and possible set configurations help narrow down the 10 million+available  iron combinations. The final step is an inventory of the player’s current clubs and any likes or dislikes about them.

Model

Ping fitting process irons

After the interview is completed, the fitter recommends a PING model based on the answers. There are three types of models: the compact iron, mid-sized iron, and over-sized iron. Each model provides varying degrees of workability, forgiveness, and trajectory. Finding the correct combination of these traits gets the player in the best model to play better golf.

Static Fit

Ping fitting process static fit

Once the model is decided upon, the player undergoes a static fitting. Fitters use a combination of the player’s height and measurement from their wrist to the floor. From the information, PING’s color chart will recommend a length and lie angle as a starting point. These two steps greatly narrow the number of options and get the PING fitting process started in the right neighborhood.

Shaft Flex

Ping fitting process shaft flex

It’s time to make an initial shaft selection. PING is on top of this thanks to its comprehensive chart (above). The chart shows recommended flex based on how far a 7 iron is hit and the different trajectories provided by each of their available shaft options. Again, this provides a great starting point for the fitter.

Now that the static fitting has been completed, a dynamic swing test is performed to fine-tune options.  After all, every golfer sets up and swings slightly different so these variations have to be taken into account when finding the perfect match.

Lie Angle

Ping fitting process lie angle

Determining the lie angle of a club shows where the club hits at impact. Heel-side impact causes shots to go left for the right-handed golfer. The opposite is true for toe-side impact. For the test, the fitter places impact tape on the sole of the club. The player swings at a ball sitting on a hard plate, making sure to hit the plate like they would the turf. Fitters adjust the color code up or down until the impact mark is centered. Next step, dialing in the length.

Shaft Length

Ping fitting process shaft length

Refining the shaft length is easier thanks to the static fitting done earlier. The goal is to find the length that provides the most consistent contact in the middle of the club face. The fitter puts impact tape on the face and has the player hit several shots. Analyzing the results, the club may require going up or down from the recommended length established in the static fitting.

Set Make-Up

Ping fitting process set make up

The penultimate step is deciding the best combination and set makeup. The set makeup is determined by looking at the distance gaps between clubs. For example, if a player hits their 4 iron nearly as far as their 3 iron, replacing the 3 iron with a 3 hybrid gets a better distance gap between clubs.

Grip

Ping fitting process grip

The final step is deciding on a grip type and size. Grip size is determined by using the chart above. Fitters cross-reference the overall length of the hand with the length of the longest finger. The result is the ideal grip size for the player. The grip type will be primarily driven by player’s preference in feel and firmness.

PING Fitting Process Summary

And there you have it, a comprehensive look at the PING fitting process for irons. It sounds tedious but it’s well worth it. The benefits of properly fit clubs will bring much more happiness and success.

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