Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Irons Buyer's Guide 2006
If you've been delaying your purchase of new irons, we have but five words: "What are you waiting for?"
GT Tech Award Frontrunner
Over the years, Mizuno has been at the forefront of iron design breakthroughs, but almost always in the category of forged blades and blade-like models that were designed primarily for more accomplished golfers. When it came to game-improvement models, the company made some solid attempts, but never developed anything most golfers would consider extraordinary. However, when company designers went to work on their newest and most unique creation, they pulled out all the stops. In fact, the new MX-900 irons ($1,265) are especially noteworthy for two reasons: 1) they feature a new construction method that allows for the careful calculation and positioning of the CG in each area for optimum performance; and 2) the impressive technologies add up to create a Mizuno iron for the masses, not just those with single-digit handicaps. As a result, the MX-900 leads a list of high-tech offerings that just may take home a Golf Tips Tech Award in 2006 (announced in the October issue).
The bulk of the MX-900’s technology rests in the 3- through 7-irons. First, Mizuno applies its patented Grain Flow Forging technique (which maintains and tightens the grains in the metal for max strength and feel) to create the steel face and neck as a single unit. To this unit Mizuno applies its HEMI COG and Hollow Body technologies. Basically, the process creates a hollow-body iron complete with a tungsten weight that’s plasma-welded with a CNC-machined faceplate. The contact area receives the company’s CORTECH application, which varies the thickness in key spots to deliver consistent feel and distance control. As expected, the tungsten weight (precisely positioned in each iron) combined with the hollow body lowers the CG and moves it away from the face, which makes launching the ball high into the air a breeze while also maximizing the transfer of energy for greater distance.
In many ways, the MX-900 is a legitimate mixture of hybrid and iron design, providing players with the benefits of both without many limitations. A great example of this fact lies in the design of the short irons (8-iron through PW), which are Grain Flow Forged from a single billet of carbon steel and feature a power bar design for extra control and accuracy. Though the short irons in the set provide a relatively traditional forged iron feel, they successfully give players a consistent look as they match beautifully with the rest of the progressively designed set. While the MX-900s are a great option for players who need extra help getting the ball airborne, they’re sure to appeal to a wide range of golfers.
For more information on the most technologically advanced game-improvement irons in Mizuno’s history, call (800) 966-1211 or visit www.mizunousa.com.
You Gotta Have Sole
Fact: The forgiveness of an iron improves as the sole gets wider. In general, recreational and average golfers benefit more from wide soles than do better players and quality ballstrikers.
Sole width, or the distance between the leading edge and the trailing edge, affects the club’s ability to repel the ground or to “bounce” through impact.
A narrow sole acts more knife-like through impact, thus concentrating the friction with the ground impact over a small area, which leads to the club digging on swings that are even the slightest bit too steep.
However, the benefit of narrow iron soles are that they allow clean, crisp contact from tight lies or low-cut fairways such as those found in professional golf venues. The wider sole distributes the friction over a larger area, allowing the gentle contouring of the sole shape to glide through the turf like the hull of a boat. Like watercraft, the wider it is, the more it will tend to stay on top of the surface.
Additionally, a wider sole means more material (and mass) near the bottom of the iron, thus contributing to a lower center of gravity.
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