If you have followed The Deep Rough over the years, you know that I am a huge fan of Mizuno irons. The first set of Mizunos I had played were the MX-23s, then I moved onto the buttery soft, absolute dream of a club, the MP-33 irons. About a year ago, I got my hands on the MP-57 irons, a set we reviewed and found to be a great combination of buttery soft feel and playable forgiveness. While not as soft as the MP-33s, they let you get away with some slightly off swings.
Today, we are going to have a look at the next in the line of Mizuno MP irons, the MP-52. The MP-52 offers up even more forgiveness, in a players style iron. There are a lot of pictures in this review. If you would like to see a larger version of the image, just click on the picture. You can also see most of the MP-52 Pictures I took on my flickr site. As always, we will start with some information from Mizuno, and then onto our detailed thoughts.
The new MP-52 irons with Dual Muscle Technology are the most playable MP irons ever! The performance of the MP-52 iron set is based upon two innovative technologies. Making up Dual Muscle technology, is an outer muscle pad allows for a precisely placed, lower and deeper center of gravity, offering enhanced playability and an ideal launch angle, and an inner muscle pad that provides the unparalleled feel and the feedback that better players demand. The second innovation that sets the MP-52 irons apart and advances MP iron playability to a whole new level is a patented CNC milled pocket cavity. Two deep crescents milled into the club head allow for the redeployment of 14 grams of mass for a lower and much deeper COG. The performance advantage of this feature is increased playability on mishits and a superior launch. These advanced features are combined with a classic head profile to deliver tour level looks, feel and playability.
The clubs we are reviewing are fitted with Dynamic Gold S300 shafts. Here are the standard specifications for the clubs. Since these clubs are forged, they are quite easy to have adjusted by your local clubfitter.
As always, Mizuno has nailed it in the looks department. With the MP line of irons, they have always put together a classic looking club that really suits the eye. While the MP-52 has integrated a deeper cavity back, at address the iron still looks like a solid piece of equipment that you can use to execute a shot with surgical precision. Have a look at this picture on the right and tell me if you can tell the difference between the MP-52 and MP-57?
If you would like to see how it compares to an MX-23, MP-67 or MP-33 at address, have a look at our MP-57 review. Since the MP-52 and MP-57 are so similar at address, there is little need to take additional images here.
Really, the only major difference you will notice is the slightly more ‘busy’ cavity back. But, as I have said here in the past, who ever looks at the back side of the club? If you are looking for a little game improvement in your irons, but want to retain that classic player look at address, it is tough to go wrong with this line.
Butter. Sure, it is not quite the same as a pured MP-33, however, if you have only ever hit super game improvement irons from the major club manufacturers, you owe it to yourself to feel a well struck shot on a Mizuno club face. For me, the only thing that has come close, is a Miura forged blade…but Mizuno will leave a lot more cash in your wallet!
Unfortunately, the MP-52s I have reviewed here were fitted with some Dynamic Gold shafts vs. Project X shafts in the MP-57s, so right there the clubs will have a slightly different feel to them. However, off the club face you can instantly tell where you have missed a shot, a little to the toe, a little thin…you will know it. Sure, you can get away with a slightly off center hit, however you will not be rewarded with a nice feel. This is one thing that has always bugged me about other game improvement irons…your subconscious brain is rewarded with a decent feel even when you do not hit it in the center of the face. That is not game improvement. So as long as you are willing to deal with some pain when you hit a thin shot in the cold, these MP-52s should also help you start hitting the ball on the center of the club face more often.
Again, with the shaft difference, it is difficult to directly compare performance between the MP-57 and MP-52. Here, I will go with what Mizuno says, and say that the MP-57 has a slightly smaller sweet spot than the MP-52. Given that there is a little more meat toward the sole of the club, I would also suspect that these clubs launch the ball a little higher, with a little more spin than the MP-57s as well.
Along with the MP-52s, I have been playing an older set of Callaway Fusion irons, with identical shafts/setup. The Fusion irons are clunkers to look at from behind, but setup nicely and are extremely forgiving. They also cannot hold a candle to the MP-52s in terms of accuracy/consistency. With a good swing, I find the MP-52s are extremely consistent distance wise. If you have not done this yourself, take a shag bag, 20 or so balls, and an iron of your choice. Put a stake or something in the ground as a target, and pace back the distance you believe you hit that iron. Hit 10-20 balls at that target, and see how consistent you are distance wise. It is very easy to spray the ball a little left or right. But the distance the ball travels should be pretty close. With the MP-52s, it is extremely close. With the Fusions, I find I catch one here or there that just launches an extra half club.
While the MP-52s are slightly more forgiving than the MP-57s, do not mistake these for a set of Ping G-10 irons. They will not simply go high and straight with whatever you throw at it. They are workable, have a very playable sole and are great performers assuming you have a somewhat repeatable swing. Again, I say this, but I do not think that should scare away the 20 handicappers out there. People might say you have no business playing a club like this, but honestly, if you are on the right track with your swing (you have had some lessons, things aren’t too fundamentally awful), a club like this can only HELP your game. If nothing else, they are great to practice with at the range until you feel confident enough to take them on the course.
This review probably sounds an awful lot like the MP-57 review. And honestly, they are quite similar clubs. Ultimately, if you are trying to make a decision between the MP-57 and the MP-52 it is going to come down to personal preference. I would suggest heading to the range and hitting both of them side by side. If you can find a range with a launch monitor, that would be even better. See which of the two clubs fits your swing best. If you are looking for something with a little more forgiveness, but still some of that Mizuno buttery soft feel, check out the MX-25 or even a used set of MX-23s.
Just remember, no set of irons is going to ‘fix’ a bad swing!
You can find the Mizuno MP-52 Irons at most major golf retailers for $899 with standard steel shafts, $999 with Project-X shafts or for around $450-700 for a used set on eBay (just be sure to pay attention to the seller rating and watch for fakes!).
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