Imagine if a golfer won three out of four majors, and the only reason he didn’t win that fourth was that he didn’t play? Hogan did it in ’53 and got a ticker-tape parade.
That’s the kind of year Mizuno is having – copping three out of the four 2019 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted iron titles (if only they made an SGI iron!). So, what do you do for an encore? Announce your 2020 lineup, of course.
If you sashay across this website, you can get an up-close and personal look at Mizzy’s new MP-20 iron lineup (and let the conjecture begin on how it’ll do in next year’s Most Wanted), but if you stay right here you’ll get the lowdown on Mizuno’s update to another Most Wanted winner, the T20 wedge, the replacement for the 2017 Most Wanted Wedge, the Mizuno T7.
The Wedge Cadence
Mizuno has spent the last two years realigning its entire product lineup into something a bit more logical. We now have the modern, techno-centric JPX line, the clean, simple, and classic MP line, and the stand-alone ST/GT metalwoods family. Mizuno typically released a new wedge every year, alternating between the larger-faced S-series and the more compact T-series, but in 2015 it put itself in an odd position.
That fall Mizzy released the S5 wedge alongside its MP-25 and MP-5 irons. Slightly larger and more forgiving than most wedges, the S-series (which replaced the R-series) is a more logical fit with Mizuno’s JPX line. Continuing its self-inflicted double-cross, the T7 was released in the fall of 2016 alongside the JPX 900, although it certainly would have fit better alongside an MP lineup. At some point, it occurred to Mizuno it would make sense to align its wedge families with its iron families, so when the JPX 919s came out last year, rather than update the T7, Mizuno opted for a line refresh, adding a Blue Ion option to the S18 while holding-off on the T20 wedge until it was time to launch MP-20.
“Financially, it hurt,” says Mizuno Golf Brand Manager Chris Voshall. “Our wedge market share is always pretty predictable at 5.5 to 6%. It’s dropped to about 3.5% because we essentially have an old wedge in a world of new wedges. We knew it was going to happen, but we also knew we could suck it up because of the strength of the 919 family.”
So, what does the new T20 bring to the table? How do Hydroflow Micro Grooves grab you?
Consistency is Groovy
“Our goal is consistency in any condition,” says Voshall. “It’s the biggest thing we want in a wedge. Different weather conditions, different moisture conditions can lead to dramatically difference launch parameters when you hit a golf ball.”
You may snicker at Bryson DeChambeau for having a minimum-wage lackey spraying his golf balls with water to see how it affects performance, but here’s the thing: he may be nerdy but he’s not wrong. Wet conditions can reduce spin by more than 30% while significantly increasing launch angle. PING first brought hydrophobicity to golf’s lexicon with its Glide wedges, which shed moisture through a hydrophobic finish (did I really just type that?). But since the key role of grooves is to shed moisture, Mizuno figured more grooves equals more shed moisture, why not do more grooves?
So, in addition to an added scoreline down low on the wedge face, Mizzy is giving us Hydroflow Micro Grooves, basically an additional layer of face milling to control moisture.
Both the T7 and S18 featured aggressive rotational face milling – similar to Cleveland’s Rotex milling – but for the T20 Mizuno has added additional vertical milling to the impact area.
“It’s like the idea of directional tread on a tire,” says Voshall. “It’s a bit of surface roughness to help friction, but it’s really a physical boundary that stops water flow across the face.”
How much of an effect do Hydroflow Micro Grooves have? According to Voshall, it’s significant.
“Our testing showed without the grooves there was a significant drop-off in spin rate with 60-yard shots as well as 30-yard shots. With the Micro Grooves, we actually maintained nearly all of the spin we were able to get from dry conditions.”
Like every other OEM, Mizuno tests its products head to head against its competitors, and like every other OEM, in the specific tests Mizuno shares with us its products fare better. In this case, Mizzy compared wet/dry tests against Vokey and Cleveland for both spin and launch angle. While the T20 produced less backspin in dry conditions compared to the SM7 and RTX4, it lost far less spin in wet conditions.
“If you want to spin the shit out of one from the middle of the fairway, maybe the SM7 is better,” says Voshall. “But if you want to know what the ball is going to do in any condition all the time, HydroFlow Micro Grooves can help.”
One obvious question is how well will the Micro Grooves wear? Like its predecessors, the T20 wedges are forged 1025 carbon with Boron added for longer groove life. The Micro Grooves themselves are etched into the face prior to the plating process for added protection and lasting durability.
“When you get one of these wedges in your hand the Micro Grooves are virtually invisible,” says Voshall. “We took a little bit of the shelf pop out of it, but the performance and longer life will speak for itself.”
How confident are you that the bounce you buy in a wedge is actually the bounce your getting? In preparation for the T20 launch, Mizuno measured some older competitive wedges (Vokey SM5, 6 and 7, Cleveland RTX 3) and found some interesting discrepancies.
According to Mizuno’s tests, the measured bounce on Cleveland’s various 60-degree wedges was anywhere from 3- to 4.5-degrees more than what was printed on the club. With the Vokey M Grinds – the more aggressive grinds – measured bounce was anywhere from 2-degrees to 6.5-degrees higher than labeled, while the measured bounce on the less aggressive F and K grinds are actually lower than labeled.
This shouldn’t be particularly eye-opening. Just as manufacturers have vanity-lofted drivers because golfers often buy less loft than they need, there’s been a bit of vanity bouncing as well because, coincidentally enough, golfers typically also buy less bounce than they need.
Bounce is almost always your friend.
Naturally, Mizuno asserts T20’s bounce labels are spot-on (we’ll have to check once we get samples), and its grinds are designed to flow seamlessly with the MP-20 irons. The lower lofted wedges have a standard sole since they’re used on full shots, while the higher lofted wedges feature either a subtle M-grind or a more aggressive C-grind, depending on your course conditions and types of shots you have the skill to play.
In addition, the T20s feature a progressive tear-drop head shape that gets larger as loft increases – again to blend in nicely with your iron set. Mizuno points out its overall sweet area on the T20 is measurably larger and higher than on the T7, which translates to greater launch and spin consistency.
Specs, Price & Availability
The Mizuno T20 wedges will be available in 2-degree loft increments, from 46- up to 60-degrees. The 56- and 60- degree wedges will be available in either M or C grinds, and all models will be available for both lefties and righties in Satin Chrome.
Mizuno’s Blue Ion finish will be available in right-handed only.
Mizuno is also offering a Raw version (RH only) through its custom department. One thing to note – since there’s no finish, Mizuno warns the Hydroflow Micro Grooves will wear more quickly than the finished versions. My own experience with the Blue Ion finish is that it will wear quickly on the sole, but the face holds its finish reasonably well.
The stock shaft is the Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Wedge shaft, and the stock grip is the Golf Pride full cord Z-Grip. As always, Mizuno features a full catalog of no-upcharge shafts and grips, along with a new lineup of Exotic shafts available at an upcharge.
MSRP is $150. Presales begin September 5th, with full retail availability beginning September 20th.
For more information, visit the Mizuno Golf website.