During Demo Day at this year’s PGA Show, I must have hit a 1000 golf balls. But then I do that every year here in Orlando. It’s the most fun you can have with your golf gear on as you wander round 20 of the world’s finest club-makers testing out their wares.
It’s a bit random, simply picking up irons from each manufacturer without getting properly fitted, I know. But ‘needs must’ and certain characteristics from each club do seep through. Here are my impressions of what I believe are the best of this year’s iron offerings.
When it comes to irons, Mizuno have always been sweet sirens of seductiveness. My affair started with a set of MP 33s back in the mid-90s and I have since longed for their effortless affections and sensual feel. But it was an off-and-on affair! My meandering swing just couldn’t keep up with the demands of these nimble, professional blades and I had to move over to the more forgiving JPX 800 Pro series – with very good results, I might add.
These past recent years, Mizuno seems to have dropped off my personal iron radar but it looks like they might be back with the latest version of the JPX.
I took a closer look!
With just a few swings, it was clear that the JPX919 Forged is for the better player and they’re in a different league than my old JPX800 Pros. I persevered and began to warm to these sleeker-top-line siblings. Once my swing settled, the 919s offered clearly more distance and forgiveness with a really nice, crisp feel when you caught it well. I think I could get to like these.
The JPX919 Hot Metal on the other hand, with it’s vast, cast cavity back and satisfying good looks will fit the bill for mid-handicap chaps. It doesn’t look like a ‘game-improvement’ iron at all; almost as sexy as my old MP33s – well, not quite – but much easier to get along with. And if you still want a challenge, there’s always the smaller sister, the Hot Metal Pro!
A friend introduced me to a Wilson C300 7-iron messing about on the range at Camperdown Golf Course in Scotland last year and I must say, I was surprised at the smooth feel, penetrating trajectory and easy speed from what felt like a lighter club. The C300 irons are forged, cavity-backed with a head peppered with power slots or, as Wilson like to say, their FLX Face™ Power Hole technology Whatever they’re calling it, it translates into implosive speed, greater distance and forgiveness and a great feel which is all good for us mid to low handicap golfers. I hit a few balls at the show and confirmed the C300s are definitely worth considering. They’ve been around for a while now and are a bit shiney for my current tastes but I’d like to take a fitted set out for a spin soon especially as they’re also very good value for money.
An iron at the opposite end of the value scale is Miura’s CB-301s. And I think I might have found a new love!
I spent nearly an hour at the Miura stand working through their iron selection and have to say, when it came to feel and precision, the new CB-301s are as responsive and communicative as you can get. I truly think Miura are onto something here! The fully-forged, cavity back delivers an incredibly tactile strike and the (non-fitted) sleek, black ACCRA 85 shaft seemed just about right for me. We were getting along famously.
I’m getting on a bit and need lots of encouragement from my irons and Miura CB-301s flatter even the fattest or indeed thinnest mishit. It can’t be easy to find the perfect combination of feel and forgiveness, distance and ball control but the new Miura offering seems to have achieved this – better than any club I’ve thus far tried. And all wrapped up in a very simple, sexy package. Their sleek, no-nonsense allure inspired me in every way.
At $280 per club, Miura are one of the most expensive irons you can buy but you clearly get what you pay for here! Miura are still something of a cult club in the larger golfing world and rarely tout for professional endorsement. But I think, quietly and confidently, with the CB-301s (and might I add, a new putter – hopefully more on that later) Miura are on the move towards becoming a more recognised, highly considered golfing phenomenon.
It’s a bit too easy to get carried away with such a fine golf piece of precision at first go-round at the PGA Show so I’m going to sign up for a proper fitting and see if these really are the new irons in my life.