For many, there is nothing better than getting a new driver in the bag. The thrill of hitting a new big stick is an awesome one, especially when you pipe it down the fairway past all of your buddies. If you ask me though, while hitting the big drive is nice, sticking it in close to the hole or making a crucial up and down to save par and keep the round going is even better. To do this though, you have to have confidence in your short game and having the right wedges in the bag is a big part of that. Mizuno's newest wedge, the MP-T4 looks to fill that spot in the bag. Read on to find out if their attempt was a success.
Test Model Details
For the purpose of this review, I received three wedges in the white satin finish. Mizuno sent me a 50° gap wedge, a 54° sand wedge, and a 58° lob wedge. I chose these lofts based off of my current iron set (Mizuno MP 64's) so that I would have a consistent four degree gap through my short irons and wedges. The wedges have Mizuno's standard M-31 Round grip (essentially a Golf Pride Tour Velvet) and the Dynamic Gold Spinner shaft.
Design and Technology
Mizuno designs wedges in two basic shapes, round and teardrop, and given that theses have the "T" designation (as opposed to the "R" series of wedges), these fit into the latter category. The MP-T4 wedges are available in two different finishes, a white satin chrome finish and a black nickel finish. The wedges are made using Mizuno patented Grain Flow Forged Technology from 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel. While Mizuno doesn't offer every loft, they come pretty darn close with heads available in two degree increments from 50° to 60°. If you are looking to replace a pitching wedge with one of these, you won't be able too, but for those looking for a basic gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge set up there are no problems here as both the standard 52°, 56°, 60° set-ups can be made as well as what I did (50°, 54°, 58°).
While keeping consistent gaps is important in my opinion, it is also important to consider how each club will be used. The new T-4 wedges feature Mizuno's Quad-Cut groove technology and this year, the way those grooves are applied is different depending on the loft of the clubs. The wedges in the MP-T4 family with less loft (50°, 52°, and 54°) feature grooves that are deeper and narrower. This gives more control on full shots. The higher lofted wedges (56°, 58°, and 60°) have grooves that are wider and shallower to give extra spin on short shots. For me, I tend to reach for my lob wedge for short shots around the green and use my gap wedge and sand wedge for more full shots so having the narrow/deep grooves in the two lower lofted wedges and the shallow/wide grooves in the highest loft made sense. If you tend to use the sand wedge more around the green than I do than a 52°, 56°, 60° set up might make more sense as you'd have the shallow/wide grooves on two of the clubs.
The clubs were also designed with the True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner shaft as the stock shaft. The 50, 52, and 54 degree clubs use a 131g version of the shaft with a "Wedge+" flex while the 56, 58, and 60 degree clubs use a slightly lighter (123g) "Wedge" flex shaft. This should also play into how you choose to make up your wedge set as the stiffer, heavier shaft will suit full shots better, while the lighter shaft should be better on short shots. All that being said, if you should want a different shaft all together, Mizuno has many different custom offerings.
One area where Mizuno seems to have skimped a little is in the bounce offerings. Each loft has a single bounce option with the exception of the the 56° and 60°. Each of thoe lofts have two options. This is ok if you go with a typical 52°, 56°, 60° set up as you at least have a choice on two of your three wedges, but if you get a set up like mine, there is no choice. Also, if you wanted a lob wedge with a high bounce, you won't find it here. The two options for the 60° wedge are 5° or 8°. The 58° wedge does have 10° of bounce, which is better but still not very high.
While the bounce options are limited, the sole has aggressive heel and toe relief. This allows for versatility in shot making as it is easy to lay the wedge open or play from a variety of spots on the course.
Here is a full list of the MP-T4 models, specifications, and options:
Club # 50-06 52-07 54-09 56-10 56-13 58-10 60-05 60-08 RH White Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes LH White No Yes No No Yes No No Yes RH Black Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Loft° 50° 52° 54° 56° 56° 58° 60° 60° Lie° 63° 63° 63° 63° 63° 63° 63° 63° Bounce 6° 7° 9° 10° 13° 10° 5° 8° Lenghth 35.25" 35.25" 35.25" 35.25" 35.25" 35.25" 35.00" 35.00"
From a looks stand point, Mizuno has hit a home run in my opinion. They have always made some of the best looking irons available and with the new MP-T4 wedges, I think you can say the same about the wedges. While shiny chrome can be pretty (I love the look of my MP-64 irons) I find it to be distracting on wedges, which is probably the reason that I am a fan of the white satin finish. The lighter color still gives it a classic classic look but without all of the glare that you get on a sunny day. The back of the club looks great as it features the Mizuno wordmark at the the top with a large, groove like cutout running the length of the blade underneath it. This groove is filled in with black and contrasts nicely against the rest of the club. In the center of the groove is a badge sporting the clubs model (MP-T4), and in the right portion of the groove are the words "Quad Cut Grooves." The toe has the Mizuno Runbird logo stamped onto it and the sole of the club has only the loft and bounce stamped onto it. This is nice as you won't be having to clean dirt out of some logo on the sole that doesn't really need to be there.
For those looking for something a bit more unique or those that prefer a darker finish on their wedges, Mizuno also offers the wedges in a Black Nickel finish. As stated earlier, the finish on the clubs helps to reduce glare, so at address these frame the ball very nicely and let you concentrate on the shot at hand.
As far as performance of the wedges goes, I have had multiple opportunities to use them. Given my handicap (12ish) I often miss getting to the green in regulation and have short pitches for my third shots. On par fives I often can't get to the green in two, but a lot of times I have around 100 yards left on the third shot. All of these situations afford me the opportunities to use my wedges on a regular basis.
For the shots around the green, my go to club has become my 58° wedge. Overall it performs well and I like it because it has more bounce than my previous lob wedge (10° as opposed to 8°). I use a pretty basic pitching technique on nearly every shot from within 70 yards or so and these clubs work pretty well for that.
Out of the bunkers, the 58° is also my go to club, however, I will at times use the 54° it is a longer sand shot (pin in the back, when I'm in a bunker at the front), etc. Like other shots around the green, I've taken to using the same pitching technique out of the bunker and have found pretty good results with my only wish being for maybe a little more bounce. It's actually getting to the point for me where I don't dread being in a bunker, and even at times will see the bunker as a better place to miss, which was never the case before. With all of these shots around the green I have not encountered a problem that I can really blame on the wedges. Hit with the right technique, I am able to have the ball come out high and land soft or a little lower and run a little more.
While my 58° wedge is the go to around the green, I often hit 3/4 to full shots with the 50° and 54° clubs and have found a lot of confidence doing so. Previous to having these clubs in the bag, I would often lay up to around 130 yards on a par five so I would be able to hit 9 iron into the green. I just didn't have the confidence in my wedges that I'd be able to stick it close (or even on) when I was 80-110 yards out. That is no longer the case as my second shot on a par 5 is all about getting the ball as close to the green as possible. Hitting full shot with the wedges produces high shots with good spin. While I'm not hitting shots that spin back, I am often repairing pitch marks next to my ball.
The only knock I have on these is once again the lack bounce options. As I learn how to use bounce more effectively, I find myself wanting more of it and sadly these don't offer it. Right now I feel like the bounce that these have is just enough but I think a little more would be better.
Overall, the MP-T4 wedges are very solid wedge offerings and compare well to just about anything else available. They are, without a doubt, the best looking wedges that have been in my bag and look as good, if not better, than any other wedge currently available. To me, a good wedge will not only perform well but give you confidence, and that is what these are doing for me. When you don't have that confidence in the short game, everything else has to be so precise; with these, I feel like if I'm a little bit off, no big deal. For those looking for wedges with low to mid bounce, their quest should end with these. For me, the only thing that may get MP-T4's out is something with a higher bounce, but at this point I'm still finding plenty of success with these.