Late 2009 seems like an odd time to release your most aggressively grooved wedges to date, but that's just what Mizuno is doing with the MP T-10 wedges. The wedges are similar to the company's MP-T wedges (reviewed here) but up the ante a bit when it comes to grooves. Mizuno says their new "Quad Cut" technology provides strict control of the width, depth, draft angle, and shoulder radius of every groove.
End result? The biggest grooves and the most spin allowed under the rules.
And really, the end of 2009 is the perfect time to release aggressive wedges. Mizuno has all of 2010 to assemble and sell the clubs, and amateurs like you and I have anywhere from four to fourteen years to play the clubs.
Though I don't advocate "stocking up" on wedges to "beat" the groove rule changes coming down the pipe, I do advocate stocking up on the latest wedges from Mizuno simply because they're so good!
I've spent a few weeks with the MP T-10s. Read on to see what I think of the latest scoring clubs from Mizuno (if you couldn't figure it out already).
Not a lot has changed since the MP-T, and you can't blame Mizuno for sticking with what works. Like the MP-T, the MP T-10 uses Mizuno's patented "Grain Flow Forging" technique to shape 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel into rough clubheads before they're shaped, ground, and cut to their final form.
As with the MP-T, the "T" in MP T-10 stands for "Teardrop," which describes the shape of the clubhead. The other option is a rounder shape, but the majority of golfers seem to prefer the teardrop and most wedges these days match that shape.
The MP T-10 continues to feature minimal offset and sports a new "360 Grind" sole that's intended to give players maximum playability (the grind is essentially the same as the MP-T's C-grind, but wraps 360 degrees around to bevel the topline of the club). The relief it provides in the heel and toe areas allow players to open the clubface without significantly altering the bounce characteristics. The MP T-10's rolled leading edge leads to minimal digging, and a cambered mid-sole and beveled trailing edge minimizes turf drag through and towards the end of impact.
While the MP-T wedges featured "CNC Max Milled" square grooves for optimum spin, the MP T-10 takes that up a notch with the "Quad Cut" grooves. Though these clubs don't conform to the Condition of Competition the USGA and PGA Tour will enforce in 2010 and beyond, they conform to 2009 rules and are conforming for amateurs through 2014 or 2024, depending on your level of play.
Mizuno's Quad Cut Groove Technology is essentially a manufacturing process that provides strict control of the width, depth, draft angle, and shoulder radius of every groove. By using such a precise process, the consistency of the grooves is guaranteed. Spin control is ensured from most any lie due to the aggressive nature of the grooves.
Like the MP-T, obviously, the MP T-10 is a teardrop shaped wedge. I think I'm in a fairly large majority in preferring the shape of a teardrop style wedge over the more rounded "spoony" looking wedges. The MP T-10 is a classic teardrop, with a fairly flat leading edge and a squarer high toe. The 360 Grind improves the topline by beveling it, reducing its apparent thickness. Aside from the subtle differences that make this a Mizuno wedge, it's the same wedge look most have come to appreciate and enjoy.
The MP T-10 retains the same basic adornments and stampings as the MP-T, albeit in different physical locations. The sole, in addition to the Mizuno logo (which always looked like a bit like a bird to me) and the loft, the MP T-10 adds the club's bounce in white paint-fill beneath the loft.
The back of the club features an "MP-T10" stamping (which varies from the official "MP T-10" name) in black and white paintfill. Beneath the topline towards the heel the "Mizuno" name appears, while the toe corner is adorned with a "Quad Cut Grooved" stamp and logo. "Grain Flow Forged" is stamped in block letters high on the hosel. All three of the last things mentioned remain deliciously paint-fill free.
As long-time readers know, I'm not a fan of excessive graphics or decoration. I'd be content with a wedge that listed the maker, model, loft, and bounce in unpainted stamping. The MP T-10 come close: the only paints used are black and white and the only "extras" are the Mizuno logo and the "Quad Cut Grooved" stamping. The ferrule is plain black. The face - the only thing that actually matters when you're playing golf - is 100% free of graphics or decoration.
The MP-T series offered two choices: chrome and Black Nickel. The MP T-10 comes in "White Satin" (sort of like brushed chrome) and my new favorite: Black Satin. The latter improves, in my opinion, on the Black Nickel finish substantially. The treatment isn't truly black, but it's just about a perfect smoky grey that renders glare a complete non-issue.
I've hesitated to use the term "sexy" to refer to golf clubs in the past - they're just golf clubs, after all - but the MP T-10 in Black Satin are dead sexy.
I have two things to say.
First, nearly every model of wedge from every top manufacturer is a quality piece of gear that is more than capable of hitting a golf ball well. The difference between wedges from Titleist, Cleveland, Callaway, TaylorMade, Mizuno, and any other manufacturer are small.
Second, I plan to spend the rest of 2009 and most of 2010 with these Mizuno wedges in my bag. They're the best I've ever played, bar none.
Now, to temper that second with the first, a portion of what puts the Mizuno wedges over the top of, say, my Vokeys are the looks. I like the Oil Can finish on my Vokey wedges, but the Black Satin is the bee's knees. I talked about the looks plenty in the "Esthetics" section, though, so I'm not going to keep talking about it here.
Besides, the truth is that I think I'd still like the Mizuno MP T-10 wedges over any other if they were pink with purple spots. Okay, maybe it'd depend on the shade of purple, but these wedges aren't just attractive, of course - they perform incredibly well, too.
I tested two wedges, both in the Black Satin look: a 54-09 model and a 60-05. My short game style is more Stan Utley-esque than anything, so I believe in having a good amount of bounce on my primary wedge. The 60° model is a specialty club that I might go weeks without using, so it has a bit less bounce.
Prior to testing, I'd been using Vokey Spin-Milled wedges and the Mizuno MP-Ts from a few years ago (along with, for various reviews, wedges by other companies). My wedges have had similar lofts (48° PW, 54° and 60° sand and lob wedges), so I was able to easily compare the wedges to years of playing history with 20 or 30 different wedges. As I expected, the distances were the same as with all of my other wedges, so there's nothing to write about here.
In the past, I've written a lot about grooves. All modern wedges have pretty much the maximum allowable groove volume, but some seem to be sharper than others. My Vokey Spin Milled wedges, for example, are too sharp when brand new for my taste - I take them into the bunkers to soften the edges a bit.
The MP T-10 wedges offer a bit more bite "out of the box" than the MP-T before, but the difference is barely noticeable. In my book, that's a good thing. They spin a lot without going so far as to require a "softening" session in the bunkers prior to play.
From a clean lie in the fairway, these wedges will do just about anything you can ask of them. My normal full or 3/4 shot with a 54° wedge takes one hop and pulls back a few feet. From a good lie in the fairway, I was able to pull the ball back as much as 15 yards to a front pin when necessary, and also to take a bit of spin off to allow a few feet of release.
From the rough, and given the Quad Cut Grooves, performance was almost always of the "hit-bounce-stop" variety. In drier rough, more spin was possible, but even in the thickest, juiciest rough the ball tended to sit fairly quickly.
Around the green I saw a bit more bite than I remember getting from the MP-Ts when new. The little bit of extra spin made playing some lower, more controllable shots possible, particularly the "hop up a tier and spin to a stop" shot. That shot comes off the MP T-10 beautifully.
Since adopting the Stan Utley short game methods a season or two ago, I've been using my 54° club from the sand except in the rare times when I need a lot of height. The 54° MP T-10 is a wonderful performer in the sand. The heel in particular seems to have just enough bounce to make popping the ball (and the club) out easy while not offering so much bounce that getting beneath the ball poses any trouble.
The sole grind on the Mizuno doesn't seem to have quite as much camber as the Vokey models I've been playing, but where the Mizunos really succeed is in their toe and heel relief. I found that the toe relief allows for a smoother chipping motion, which often puts the club up on its toe a bit. The heel relief really, really comes in handy when you lay the club open a bit on firm ground. Normally, a club's effective bounce increases as you do this, but the relief on the MP T-10 sole seems to keep a fairly consistent bounce, which lets me play a more sweeping shot that lets me use the bounce rather than work to avoid it.
The only time the decreased bounce may hinder play is in the bunkers, but as I said, in the Utley style, it's almost a non-issue. If you like to lay the face open, just remember that you're not adding significantly to the bounce and play accordingly.
Feel? The MP T-10 is a forged wedge, and though I believe that really doesn't matter much (I think even PGA Tour golfers would have a hard time telling the difference between otherwise identical quality forged and cast clubs), I will admit that if pressured I'd give the MP T-10s really high marks for feel. Everything is muted, soft, and conveys a fine sense of control. The word "satiny" sprang into my mind just now, so perhaps that's the finish and the "raw" nature of the wedge playing on my psychology. What's that they say - perception is reality? I feel that the MP T-10s are easily among the best wedges I've ever felt, so that's my reality.
Two glare-resistant finishes are available for the MP T-10: plated white satin and raw black satin. These wedges come in a variety of lofts, ranging from 50° up to 64°, with the 50°, 53°, 56°, and 58° models using a 35.25" True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft and the 60° and 64° using the same shaft, but a quarter inch shorter. Most lofts have multiple bounce options as well. Beware that not all models are available to lefties. Mizuno again went with the Golf Pride M-21 58 round grip as the standard. Luckily, for players such as myself that require a little adjustment, Mizuno's Custom Department offers a wide variety of customization options, from lie angle adjustment to alternate grips and shafts. They cost $120 or so.
The MP T-10 are the best wedges I've had the pleasure of using. I've been through a bunch, and there's nothing I dislike about them. Not one thing.
Spin is perfect. The looks are sleek and sexy. Even if "better feel" is entirely in my head, the MP T-10 receives high marks there as well. The sole grind continues to be one of my favorites, offering just enough relief in just the right places.
The Mizuno MP T-10 performs, and it looks good doing it.