"Nothing compares to the feel of Mizuno irons", said every golfer who has ever hit Mizuno irons.
I have played Mizuno MP68 irons for 8 years, so I am one of those people. Which is why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take full sets of Mizuno JPX 919 irons out to the course for some extended on-course testing. Before we get to how the irons played, I’d like to go through some of the history and technology that makes up the Mizuno JPX 919 irons.
In 2002, Mizuno introduced the newly branded MP line of Players irons. Ever since, the MP line has stood as the gold standard in Players irons. The current iteration is the MP-18 lineup that features the MP-18, MP-18 SC and MP-18 MMC iron sets.
The MX line, a more technology driven line of irons was also introduced in 2002, but that line was later replaced by the JPX line in 2011. The all new Mizuno JPX 919 lineup of irons features three models, the Tour, Forged and Hot Metal.
The Mizuno JPX 919 lineup is built around the Stability Frame. A cavity back design where the heel is opened to optimize weight in the toe and perimeter, the JPX 919 irons have more forgiveness than the MP-18 irons.
While the JPX line is traditionally a Game Improvement class of club, there is a JPX 919 option for all players.
Mizuno JPX 919 Tour Irons
Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Irons
Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Irons
The Tour heads are Grain Flow Forged HD from a single billet of 1025 Pure Select mild carbon steel and the Forged heads are also Grain Flow Forged HD from a single billet of 1025 Boron steel. The JPX 919 Hot Metal irons are made from a Chromoly 4140M, picked for its high strength to weight ratio and its malleability. A flexible metal allows for a thin, high strength club face, but also a bendable hosel designed for fitting.
All companies forge irons, so what’s so special about Mizuno’s forging process you ask? Well, their engineers devised a way to make the bottom of the club head denser than the top line. In basic terms, this means the metal is more compact near the sole of the club than the top. This forging process increases the density of the metal lower in the head for enhanced feel and playability.
I decided to spend the on-course time focusing on the Tour and Forged heads. These are the two sets that fit my game best. The shafts on the JPX 919 Hot Metal irons were way too light for me, so I decided the best option was to hit a few shots at the range with the Hot Metal set to get an understanding of how they felt and look.
The first round I played, I packed both the Tour and the Forged heads into my bag and played 9 holes with each. On the front nine I played the Tour version and on the back nine I played the Forged version.
Mizuno JPX 919 Tour Irons
Right off the bat, I really like the way the Tour irons felt in my hands, it has a very balanced feeling to it and a true, thin top line. I felt a little more weight lower in the clubface when the club hung above the ground which gave these irons a solid feel.
Compared to the JPX 900 irons, I like the styling and design of the JPX 919 more. The low-glare Pearl Satin finish is pleasing to look at, the lines are clean, and the open heel construction has a cool and confidence building look to it.
Jumping on an earlier tee time, it took me a few holes to get completely into my groove with the JPX 919 Tour irons, but once I did I absolutely love them. The turf interaction is incredible! Mizuno has done a really good job beveling the edges to create a superior turf interaction.
The major thing I noticed was how straight the JPX 919 Tour irons ball flight was for a Players iron, there was very little movement left or right. I also found that even if I missed the center a little bit, the ball still jumped off the face with clean contact and carried virtually the same distance as a perfectly struck shot.
On the back nine I played with the JPX 919 Forged heads and felt comfortable with these irons right away. They performed wonderfully, and while the shafts I had were a little too light for me and had a few shots balloon, once again I really liked the turf interaction. The ball came off the clubface hot and flew straight.
Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Irons
The footprint of the JPX 919 Forged heads isn’t too much larger than the Tour heads and most of the added bulk to the Stability Frame is still hidden by the thin top line at address. For someone who has played with a blade for the last 8 years I didn’t mind the extra bit of forgiveness from the increased cavity and thinned face. In terms of feel and sound they weren’t quite as smooth and crisp as the Tour heads, but they still rank as some of the best feeling cavity back irons I’ve hit.
The next day I decided to give the Tour heads another shot and I’m glad I did! Playing just one set of irons versus switching sets at the turn gave me a chance to focus on simply playing the game as versus the testing itself.
Right from the get-go I was on fire. I ran together a string of 4 birdies in a row in the middle of the front nine, taking dead aim at any and all pin locations. I missed an ace by no more than a foot on a 195-yard par 3, I was fully dialed in.
Having only played with the Tour heads for 9 holes, I was astonished at the level of confidence I had already gained with them. It got to the point during the middle of my round where I would walk up to my ball, look at the target, address the ball and swing. I knew exactly where these shots were going, every time.
The ball flight was right on point and while the standard shots stayed on a rope, if I really needed to turn the ball one way or the other I had no issue doing so. The only difference is that the movement was more controlled than with my MP blades. The Stability Frame gives these irons a stable feeling and one that seems to promote a repeatable swing.
At the end of this round I took a look at my score card and saw I had shot one of the best rounds of my season. I attribute that score to the fact that the Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons minimized the damage of my bad miss, which is a snap hook.
After the second round I went to the range to hit the Forged irons a little bit more and get a feel for the JPX 919 Hot Metal irons. Both of these versions have stronger lofts than the traditional-lofted Tour heads, so I wasn’t surprised to see the ball really jump off the face of the JPX 919 Forged irons at the range. The utilization of the 1025 Boron metal allowed Mizuno to CNC mill out the back of the face higher up on the clubface to produce a thinner section with more spring to it.
The Hot Metal irons are as advertised, the ball definitely jumps off the face. The thing I was most impressed about with the Hot Metal irons was the amount of detail Mizuno put into them. Despite the incredible technology packed into the Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons, Mizuno managed to keep the impressive looks consistent from the Tour version through Hot Metal version.
Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Irons
It was nice to see the beveled leading and trailing edges on this true game-improvement iron. This design feature will assist players with striking inconsistencies to experience better turf interaction, which will lead to better ball striking.
The final bit of my testing took me over to Pro Golf Discount in Bellevue, Washington, where I pit the JPX 919 Tour head against the MP-18 SC head. Mizuno used 6-irons as their demo club through the MP-18 lineup, but decided to update to the industry standard 7-iron with the JPX 919 lineup. While I wasn’t able to get a perfect apples to apples comparison, I was able to gather some valuable data.
Based on the data, the Mizuno JPX 919 irons are just a touch shorter than the MP18 irons simply due to the cavity back, but the major stand out from the numbers was the right to left dispersion. The JPX 919 almost halved the right/left offline average, which is a pretty significant finding. I would happily sacrifice 2 to 3 yards to gain that kind of narrowing of offline dispersion.
The JPX 919 irons may come from a line of game improvement clubs, but through my testing I found there is a JPX 919 set for all players, from beginning amateurs to a PGA Tour major winning champion. Put simply, these things flat outperform. The look of the satin finish is incredible, the redesigned back-end is modern, and looking at address, the JPX 919 irons make me want to pull the trigger and hit it close every single time.
Mizuno’s quality of craftsmanship continually sits atop the industry and seems on another level from the other manufacturers. Mizuno irons are clean, they are classic and are built from the finest metals.
Yet strangely, when I look around the bags at my local courses, I see a lot of TaylorMade and Titleist and Callaway irons, but only a few sets of Mizunos. Whether that’s due to strong marketing from the major manufacturers or golfers simply wanting to play the same brand as their favorite pro on Tour, it’s tough to say.
In either case, take this reviewer’s advice and next time you see a Mizuno demo day or test irons at a shop, add Mizuno to your list. Experience what their irons are all about, you won’t be disappointed!
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