We Tried It: Mizuno JPX EZ Forged And Volvik Vista iS
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Not to gloat, but here at GTHQ, I'm lucky to try a lot of new equipment and put a wide range of products through the rigors of 18, 36 and sometimes even more play testing. What is "play testing" you ask? Simple. It's a live testing on the golf course under normal playing conditions. We choose this format of test, based not only on combined decades of experience testing new gear, but because it's the most real-world, applicable form of testing we think our readers want to know about.
Looks And Feel: These irons are forged? They look almost nothing like the company's MP-Series irons, which are known for precision, Grain Flow Forged construction. But guess what? They are Grain Flow Forged, and they feel as soft and buttery as you might expect from an MP-Series iron. I'm not just saying that, by the way. Only this time, the form comes in a rugged, cavity-back design that's more streamlined than the JPX-EZ iron, and is still a bigger head shape than I had expected. The slightly radiused, mid-thickness topline, Black Nickel Plating and the composite badge in the cavity combine to create an aggressive appearance that made me more comfortable swinging each iron a little harder and with more confidence. And oh yeah, back to how they feel. These irons have a buttery feel when hit from the sweet spot, but once you deviate from the spot, instead of a thud of a missed blade, you get the extra pop of a cavity-back design. Translation: Missed shots still feel pretty good, especially on the toe where I usually miss.
Performance: I've come to expect a high standard of performance from Mizuno irons, and the JPX-EZ delivered in a category that I'm really happen to see them in. Shots fired off the face with a mid-to-high trajectory (which is what I'm used to), and I noticed a gain on average of three to five yards over the irons I usually use. That's great, but I'm not the kind of player looking for distance. I want an iron that feels like a forged blade but forgives me like a cast cavity-back. Knowing this, I'm okay with sacrificing some of the shotmaking controls I usually get with my set of blades (yes, you caught me, I play blades), so long as the irons feel soft and forgive me a little more. The JPX EZ performed exactly as I had hoped for. I lost some ability to curve the ball on demand, but I gained some added forgiveness where my blades fell short. They aren't the most forgiving irons, and they aren't the most maneuverable either. But they're among the best irons that combine the forgiveness and shotmaking control that I've tried all year. Also, I really like that the set has the inclusion of a gap wedge (there is no 3-iron.) Smart play, Mizuno. I wish more companies did that.
Recommendation: There's a lot of high-tech stuff going on in the DNA of these irons. Grain Flow Forging, CORTECH face thickness, Harmonic Impact Tech and more, but I still can't shake the fact that the real selling point in these sticks is the fact that they're forged. Seriously, building a forged iron that feels good is easy. But building one that feels great, performs well and forgives more than I expected, all in a cavity-back design is a monumental success. I recommend this iron for the good-to-better player who needs more forgiveness in their set, but who doesn't want to give up on the feel of Mizuno's forging. And trust me, you can still hit a draw and fade with 'em if you really want to. You just won't need to, that's all.
Mizuno JPX EZ Forged (4-GW)
True Temper Steel Shafts (X100)
Mizuno M-31 Grip
Mizunousa.com | ($800/set)
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