By James Caldwell
Mizuno is not the first name you think of when you think of golf irons -- or even golf. In a field full of companies with household recognition (Nike! TaylorMade! Titleist!), the Japanese clubmaker doesn't seem to make a lot of noise. What they do make are irons that consciously try to emphasize technology in the service of one goal: To make the best feeling clubs around.
Case in point: The new JPX 850 Forged irons. As everyone learned in grade school, top shelf iron heads have traditionally been forged from solid blocks of 1025 carbon steel. You can shape it, gouge it, cut holes in it, take it to dinner -- it will still be carbon steel. Which means all irons have shared a fundamental similarity. Until now.
For the 850 Forged series, Mizuno introduced the chemical element Boron into the forging process, something no club maker has done before. Here's why you care: Boron -- found in the Solar System, the earth's crust, and now in your 7-iron -- is 30 percent stronger than steel. This allowed the club face on the 850 Forged to be made significantly thinner. A thin face has greater flex, which means more distance on your shots.
And by more, we mean more -- ever hit a 9-iron 140 yards on the fly? We did. Using Boron also allowed more weight to be moved to the perimeter of the clubhead in what Mizuno calls its "Power Frame" design. This increased clubhead stability and enlarged the all-important sweet spot. The result of all this cosmic tinkering is a superior feeling iron that forgives the sins of average hackers, but responds to the shot making demands of better players.
The JPX 850 Forged prove again that while Mizuno may speak softly, they make great sticks. For those about to golf (with these clubs), we salute you.
-- Follow James Caldwell on Twitter @Woodlandgolfs.