Are there such things as forgiving irons?
Many brands will tell us that there are but we wanted to put it to the test.
And how on earth were we going to do that?
Well, when it comes to irons, who better than Mizuno to help us out.
Forgiving irons test: Mizuno MP-18 vs. JPX Hot Metal
The Mizuno MP-18 blade is one of the sleekest irons on the market.
It’s all about stunning looks and buttery-soft feel with very little in the way of ‘helpful’ technology.
When it comes to Mizuno’s forgiving irons, then the JPX900 Hot Metal is the brand’s largest, fastest and most helpful.
The MP-18 is effectively a lump of metal, forged using a high density process to create the best possible feel.
The JPX900 Hot Metal has a cavity design with a really thin, flexible face to create more ball speed.
Forgiving irons test: The numbers
We gathered some Trackman data on a recent trip to Abu Dhabi hitting 7-irons in both the MP-18 blade and JPX900 Hot Metal.
I got these numbers at the back end of a long day of filming and my strike was a bit all over the place.
But that’s exactly what can happen on the golf course. I get tired I make bad swings. I’m sure everyone can relate to that?
With the JPX900 Hot Metal, I can get a 153-yard average carry. And that was far from my best swings.
I can’t get that with the MP-18. On a good strike I can get up to 140 yards of carry.
Weaker lofts combined with my poor technique, which adds loft, I can’t get the same distance at the Hot Metal.
But they feel superb and are actually quite consistent shot to shot.
So if I knew my average carry was 135 with a 7-iron (that would be depressing) but I feel I could be consistent with them.
My worst shot with the JPX900 Hot Metal carries 148, my best with carries 160.
I think 12 yards is quite a lot.
But I’m often counting on a seven or an eight out of 10 strike out on the course. That 10/10 strike which carries 160 isn’t coming very often.
The last thing I want when attacking a par-3 is to come up short and if I can comfortably carry 145 even with a 7 out of 10 strike then I’m happy with that.
Forgiving irons test: NCG verdict
So do forgiving irons exist?
Are some irons more forgiving than others?
I’m not sure this test proves that one way or the other.
I think it proves that some irons go further than others based on some of the technology I talked about earlier.
Is there an iron out there which can “improve” your game? I don’t think there is.
No level of forgiveness can handle hitting the ground an inch before the ball – trust me I know.
Forgiving irons perform well on mis-hits but the difference between a mis-hit and a middled hit was actually greater on the Hot Metal compared to the MP-18.
Now we call the Hot Metal the ‘game-improvement’ iron but maybe the blade would actually help me improve my game by giving me more feedback on strike?
They really let you know about it if you catch it a bit thin or out of the toe – that sends a message to your brain and can really help you focus in on getting that more middled strike.
You’re lying if you say you don’t.
There’s a lot of bravado in golf and we’d all rather take an 8 or a 9 to that 155 yard par 3 than a 7 or a 6.
The reality for me, is I don’t quite have the swing speed or skill to make an MP-18 blade work for me out on the course – however much I love the look of it.
I don’t think giving up that distance is going to help me shoot a better score in the monthly medal next week.
But maybe over time, using a blade might actually help improve my strike?
For now, I’m taking the easy distance on offer.
More information on the MP-18 and the JPX900 Hot Metal can be found on the Mizuno website.