Aside from being popular with the pros, the Mizuno MP-33 irons are a hit with many amateurs. The satiny smooth good looks and impressive reputation make a strong statement in any player’s bag. That does not mean that the other 98% of the world’s golfers, those that don’t regularly break par, will all benefit from switching to the MP-33’s
Note: Readers should remember two rules of thumb as to who should and should not be playing blades. If your general impact pattern is larger than a fifty-cent piece, or if you can’t hit a 3-iron as well as you hit a 5-iron, then blades will probably be detrimental to your game. See: What’s the Deal with Blades? Who should play them and who should not?
Appearance-wise, most players love the simple, shiny look of the Mizuno MP-33’s. Few blades can equal the sophisticated elegance of these understated Mizunos. They are quite popular. Two of our regular contributors play them full time and swear by them religiously. A third plays them whenever he can get his hands on a set. All three have been playing blades for years and count consistent iron play as the dominant strength of their games.
These Mizunos are friendly blades. Not only is their silky feel sweetly reassuring, but their appearance comforts, as well. The larger head shape of the MP-33’s produces a look at address that is less intimidating than that of many rival blades. Others can appear small, thin and knife-like in comparison. The MP-33’s have a neutral weight distribution in their muscle-back, weight pattern compared to the earlier Miz blades such as the popular MP-14’s (photo to right). That combined to a slightly larger head size does give a touch of forgiveness to the MP-33’s. However, there is only a limited amount of real forgiveness that can be incorporated into any blade design.
Most of the MP-33’s forgiveness is perceptual, not actual. The forging process used by Mizuno gives the grain flow of the very soft, carbon steel more vibration absorption at impact than is average for forged blades. Mishits do not convey as much unpleasantness to the hands. That gives some the impression that they are receiving more in the way of shot correction than they actually are. Amateurs should not mistakenly assume that the use of the term “forgiveness” means that the MP-33 long irons will be easy to hit; they won’t be. There is minimal offset to the hosels, but these Mizunos long irons are essentially as tough for mid-handicappers to hit as are other bladed long irons.
The MP-33’s are engineered to produce a medium trajectory, but the term “medium” is relative. Mizuno gears their blades towards the preferences of very low-handicapped and tournament-quality players. Such players prefer higher trajectories than do most amateurs. That’s what Mizuno means by “Tour Specific Lofts”. The MP-14’s had even weaker (higher) lofts.
Though the lofts of the MP-33’s are typical of other modern blades, they do run a degree or two weaker than many cavity back irons. Compared to some popular, stronger-lofted irons, the MP-33’s hit on the high side. Their trajectories have been a half of a club or more higher than the new blades we have hit from Cleveland, Feel and Hogan. The Mizunos have hit trajectories that are lower and hotter than those we have seen with our Reid Lockhart blades and our elderly sets of Ram, Wilson and Hogan forged blades.
These Mizunos do hit lower than do old, small-headed blades of ten plus years ago, but players who are not in proper position at impact may hit the ball too high and soft with the MP-33’s. Only those who play the ball well back in their stance will see anything approaching “hot” trajectories. Though numerous shaft options can be ordered from Mizuno, most players will be best advised to stick with the standard True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts. They tend to hit slightly lower than most.
All in all, the Dynamic Golds are a fine, well-balanced match to the MP-33’s. Players who use softer-feeling Rifle or Sensicore shafts may find the overall feel of the MP-33’s too muted, especially if they play a soft ball. The Dynamic Golds have a brisk feel that communicates feedback from these forged heads quite well.
The gently sculpted contours of the wide Mizuno soles allow the MP-33′s to turn effortlessly through heavy lies. Divots are comparatively shallow. The leading edge on these Mizunos is rolled. That makes snagging and stubbing infrequent. Feel and sensitivity around the green are first-rate. Workability is, of course, extremely good. If it were not, the Mizunos would not be so popular with tournament players. This is not a blessing for all players, however. Some find that these Mizunos with their sharp U-grooves can impart excessive curvature to ball flight. The same spin that allows pros to reel the ball back on the greens can create too much counterproductive spin for less-skilled amateurs.
Feel and workability are the strong suits of the MP-33’s. When it comes to the ability to hit consistently straight, accurate shots, we have had better, overall results with a number of other irons. The recently tested Feel Competitor and Golfsmith Pro Forged blades have given most of our crew noticeably straighter ball flights. Each has had a punchier, more stable feel to them. They have also dug more than the MP-33’s – a blessing to some; a curse to others. This is not to minimize the effectiveness of the MP-33’s. They are just designed more for those who prefer to work the ball into the green – not for those who like to go at the pin straight on without embellishments.
The MP-33’s are moderate when it comes to length. Compared to longer-shafted, stronger-lofted cavity backs, the Mizunos are not long. Compared to the shorter-shafted Mizuno MP-14’s and other older-style blades, they are longer. As in other regards, these Mizunos are designed for those who already know how to do it right. Many amateurs mistakenly believe that a switch to pro clubs will mean more length. It won’t. The opposite is generally the case.
While this review certainly paints a rosy picture for these Mizunos, all is not perfect with the MP-33’s. The very soft, mild carbon steel used in the heads makes them vulnerable to countless, little nicks and dings. Those who are not careful with their clubs will have a beat-up set of irons in no time at all. A well-used set of Miz blades can become very unslightly when compared to more durable, cast, stainless steel irons. This can reduce their resale value. The MP-33’s are double chrome-plated, but that too can be a problem. Orange-peeling can appear in the chrome. Post-production, quality control with these Mizunos is not as high as one would like to see on an $800 set of irons. Three of the four sets we have used have had at least one visible defect. One had orange-peeling. Two have had their shaft bands applied crookedly. When asked if the crooked shaft bands were annoying, one Miz user answered, “Yes, I peeled mine off.”
The Mizuno MP-33’s are the current reigning kings of forged blades on the world scene. Their sweetness and workability are unsurpassed. They are not for everyone, however. The price is very high. Young players will probably see equally fine results at a lower price with other, more durable blades such as those from Golfsmith and Feel. Lastly, there are no LH versions currently available. That seems quite strange considering the worldwide popularity of these irons.