When most of us think of the Mizuno JPX line, two words come to mind - game improvement.
Allow me to be the first (or maybe the second) to tell you that's not what JPX is about. According to Mizuno, the JPX name is reserved for the company's more technologically advanced equipment. MP is classic; JPX pushes the envelope.
Think back to the 2014 release of the JPX 850 irons - the first ever clubs to utilize boron in the forging process. Now consider the hyper-adjustability of the new JPX 900 metalwoods.
Let's look at it another way. Is there any way that the JPX 900 Tour fits comfortably in the game improvement space? It has nearly everything that elite players are looking for in a compact iron. It's practically a blade, but with its subtle perimeter weighting, it's the example that proves the rule.
If you've always considered JPX to be for average to below-average players, it's time to reset your expectations.
Three Clubs For All
The JPX 900 series includes three distinct, yet not totally dissimilar models designed to fit the needs of golfers across a range of ability levels.
The 900 Tour offers the smallest head Mizuno has ever produced in the JPX line. The compact profile boasts a shorter head length and a substantially larger sweet area over its in-class competitors. From address, it could almost be mistaken for an MP blade, but turn it around, and you'll find a slight cavity which adds just that bit of forgiveness we all need.
Replacing the popular JPX 850 Forged, the 900 Forged is designed to be a balance between forgiveness, feel, and workability. The 900 Forged is constructed from 1025 Boron carbon steel, which is 30% stronger than traditional forging steel. This allows Mizuno engineers to thin the face and use discretionary weight elsewhere, without compromising feel and workability.
The 900 Hot Metal is where the technology of the JPX line really shines. These clubs utilize another tech advancement from Mizuno, Chromoly 4140m steel. For anyone who isn't a machinist - Chromoly is a steel alloy containing chromium and molybdenum. Plain and simple, these irons were built for speed. Mizuno has gone as far to say these irons produce offensive ball speeds.
We'll try and keep this polite...
At MyGolfSpy, we think talk is cheap. We put all three irons to the test to see if they can walk-the-walk as well as they talk-the-talk. Here's what we found:
HOW WE TESTED
- Three Mizuno JPX 900 iron sets were tested (Tour, Forged, Hot Metal)
- Comparison testing was done with the 5-iron, 7-iron, and Pitching Wedge from each set.
- Seven golfers with handicaps ranging from 0-15 and driver swing speeds between 90 and 110 mph participated in this test.
- Each tester hit 12-14 shots for each club from every set (frequently rotating between clubs).
- Gross mishits were eliminated and are not included in the shot counts.
- Remaining outliers were identified using Median Absolute Deviation (both distance and offline), and dropped before calculation of the final averages.
- All testers hit Bridgestone B330-RX Golf Balls.
- Ball Data was recorded using a Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor.
In addition to our standard launch monitor data, we've also included down-rage dispersion plots of each tester; along with a composite average.
- Shots hit with the JPX 900 Hot Metal finished, on average, closest to the center line.
- The Hot Metal also achieved the highest average spin rate across the testing pool; most likely attributable to its lower and deeper center of gravity and softer tipped shaft.
- Delving further into the data, standard deviations for both ball speed and carry distance suggests similar consistency at PW length.
- This is likely attributable to the shorter wedge shaft promoting more consistent contact and ultimately minimizing differences related to perimeter weighting/forgiveness.
Shot area is used as a measure of consistency in individual testers. We've also provided a composite average.
- For all but two testers (DI and BH), the JPX 900 Tour produced the tightest shot area among the three clubs tested.
- This is admittedly an unexpected result and may be a reflection of our testing pool and may not be relevant to higher handicap golfers.
- The JPX 900 Forged produced the largest average shot dispersion among the testers; however much of that can be traced to testers AM and BH who produced significant left/right dispersion with the club.
- The JPX 900 Hot Metal achieved the highest ball speeds, carry and total yards on average.
- The JPX 900 Hot Metal 7-iron also produced the highest launch and the most spin among the tester pool.
- Shots struck with the JPX 900 Tour finished, on average, two yards closer to the center line.
- The JPX 900 Forged launched slightly lower with the least amount of spin. However, other metrics place it squarely between the 900 Tour and the Hot Metal.
- While the JPX 900 Tour flew the shortest, more than half of the testers achieved their tightest dispersion with it.
- While the JPX 900 Hot Metal produced the highest average carry distance, the average shot area was also the largest.
- Using standard deviation of carry as a measure of forgiveness, the JPX 900 Tour produced the higher standard deviations suggesting an appreciable loss in comparative forgiveness.
- At long iron length, we see significant differences in ball speed between the three models tested.
- The JPX Hot Metal produced an average of 5 mph more ball speed. This is likely attributable to the hotter face and appreciably more forgiveness.
- Again we find that the JPX 900 Tour finished closest to the center line. We've seen this in previous tests - more compact blades will incur a forgiveness and often a distance penalty; however, we often see shots finish, on average, closer to the centerline.
- The Hot Metal 5 iron launched the lowest while producing the lowest spin rates among the tester pool; this is to be expected with lower lofted distance irons.
- Although the Hot Metal was the longest, using yards from the centerline as the metric, it was the least accurate of the three irons.
- While the Hot Metal produced the greatest average distances, using shot area as the metric, it was the least consistent at 5-iron length, primarily due to wide left/right dispersion.
- While the composite average shows that the JPX 900 Tour had the tightest shot dispersion, on an individual basis, that holds true for less than 50% of the testers.
- It is interesting to note that when using standard deviations (carry and ball) as a measure of forgiveness, numbers from the JPX 900 Hot Metal suggest less consistency. We suspect this is attributable to our testers making less centered contact with the game-improvement iron.
As we continue to refine out outlier detection methodologies, we stumbled on some interesting insights which provide a more complete picture of forgiveness and consistency.
- At 5-iron length, we detected the highest number of outliers with JPX 900 Hot Metal (one more than the JPX Tour, and nearly double that of the JPX Forged.
- While more detailed analysis is required, the suspicion is that in the case of Hot Metal, our testers were more inconsistent with respect to where shots were struck on the face.
- In the case of the JPX 900 Tour, the higher number of outliers are likely a reflection of the design itself being less forgiving.
- At 7-iron length, the JPX 900 Tour produced significantly more outliers.
- We believe this is the most revealing bit of data as testers tend to be more comfortable at 7-iron length (relative to a 5-iron), but aren't inherently as consistent as they are with a wedge.
- While further study is required, it' likely that middle iron lengths likely provide greater insight into forgiveness.
- Across all three irons, the JPX 900 Forged produced the most consistent number of total outliers, with only two dropped shots separating the Pitching Wedge from the 5-Iron.
- Across the entire test, the JPX 900 Forged produced the least amount of outliers; one less than the JPX Hot Metal, and nearly half the number produced by the JPX 900 Tour.
As you would fully expect, Mizuno has produced another in a long line of quality golf equipment. With the three models in the JPX 900 Series, the Hot Metal, Forged, and Tour, Mizuno has covered a wide range of golfers, while leaving enough overlap that personal preference shouldn't be totally ignored.
So which one is right for you?
While the inconsistencies shown by our data give us some pause at 5-iron length, we believe that for higher handicap golfers seeking greater distance with more forgiveness (7-iron and PW outlier counts were the lowest among the three irons), the JPX 900 Hot Metal is the clear choice.
Our lowest handicappers saw significant dispersion benefits with the JPX 900 Tour. It's not the longest, it's not the most forgiving, but it's not expected to be either. If you're looking for a compact iron with a bit of legitimate technology baked in, it's definitely worth a look, but understand that the forgiveness sacrifice is real.
We didn't discuss the JPX 900 Forged much, and that's largely because, more often than not, we found it fitting squarely in the middle (where it's supposed to be). While we sometimes flippantly throw around the phrase no compromise, compromise, there's certainly a bit of that in the JPX 900 Forged. There's enough of a compact player's look to satisfy those of us who don't love the bulk of a game-improvement irons, and yet it retains enough forgiveness that many of us won't notice what we gave up by not taking a harder look at the Hot Metal.
Based on the feedback we received from you in our recent surveys, our gut is that of the three irons in this test, the JPX 900 Forged is most likely to be in the wheelhouse of the majority of our readers.