Mizuno Golf isn't the first name that comes to my mind when I think of fairway woods. Not that they haven't been making them for quite some time, it's that they don't quite have the same or really anywhere close to the following they get with the irons (and if you've ever hit a Miznuo iron flush, you know the feeling). For a company that makes outstanding irons, their woods have always left a little something to be desired.
The Mizuno MX-700 line looks to change that history with offering some serious technology and what I can only describe as one of the hottest faces I've ever hit on a fairway wood. While the MX line traditionally has been geared to the mid and higher handicap range, the MX-700 certainly won't scare away anyone who has one goal in mind, hit the ball long and straight. Regardless of your handicap, that is a good thing.
Does the MX-700 fairway wood live up to it's billing as "the perfect combination of power, accuracy, and ease of use?" Read on to find out.
Design and Technology
The MX-700 fairway woods use the same "Hot Metal" technology offered up in the MX-700 driver by plasma welding an extremely strong, thin, and light weight ES230 steel face to a stainless steel 17-4 body. This setup delivers an larger COR area and increased ball speed for what can only be defined as big-time distance. The combo is quite lethal and lightweight and allows you to generate a great deal of clubhead speed.
With using the light-weight "Hot Metal" face technology, weight is redistributed for a lower and deeper COG which gives you a "high and easy launch and optimal trajectory." High, easy and straight is fine with me.
The head pretty much falls in line size-wise with most of the oversized fairway wood offerings on the market today. Spread the weight out and make it easier to use is a good design philosophy.
When I first saw pictures of the MX-700 fairway wood, I wasn't blown away by the looks. Rather a "looks kinda busy" thought went through my mind. Perhaps even distracting. That quickly changed when I held it in my hands. Yes, there are more graphics on the clubhead then what you might be more accustomed to but put the MX-700 behind a golf ball and it frames it beautifully.
The U-shaped decal that rounds around the edge of the crown blends in nicely to the charcoal finish and the "MX" alignment mark is simple enough to be figure out where to place it behind your ball. It's by far not the worst detailing and after a few rounds, I was pretty well accustomed to it and for the most part, forgot about it.
One item that took me a little time to get over was the sheer size of the head in comparison to what I currently have in my bag. I've had the same three-wood in my bag for the past three years so I'm used to the compact head size rather than some of the over-sized versions I've seen while walking through my local golf shops. The MX-700, while a bit larger does help in the confidence department as you look down and think "there is no way I can miss with the thing."
Through my years playing golf, my fairway wood was either for off the tee or off the tee. Rarely did I encounter a situation in which I needed or really had the ability to hit one off the deck. With some instruction and little practice, I've gotten better at it and will pull that shot out from time to time.
With the MX-700, that shot becomes much easier to pull off as it launches the ball quite easily and quickly without a whole lot of effort. The sole slides through the turf quite nicely as well whether you're in the fairway or the rough. With the ES230 steel face and Hot Metal technology, the ball comes off quite hot and seemingly goes for ever. If you struggle for distance, the MX-700 can certainly give you quite a boost. Going for a par five in two has never been quite so fun.
The MX-700 is geared more towards the forgiveability end of the scale as opposed to workability side. The sweet spot is quite large and shots where you though you just missed it turned out the same or very near to distance wise compared to the ones in which you pured it. Perhaps the lower handicapper will be able to discern the subtle distance but I certainly could not. Perhaps that is Mizuno's intent: it all feels good!
In my testing, I found that pretty much the entire face is hot. Oh, you can produce some ugly shots with an ugly swing but put a good swing into it and the MX-700 will reward you with a nice straight, high ball flight, regardless if you strike it more towards the heel or toe. Perhaps that's the greatest strong suit of the MX-700 series, accuracy. Which is something at which it certainly excels.
On the tee box, the MX-700 is a pretty serious weapon. If you struggle with a driver, the MX-700 fairway wood could be your replacement as it launches the ball very easily and far (I suggest teeing it quite low to prevent the potential "balloon ball"). While it does produce a fairly high ball flight, it bores through the wind pretty well and only when I teed it up too high would I have a problem with a shot that got hung up in the air. If you're looking at working the ball however you might want to look elsewhere as for the most part, the MX-700 wants to go in one direction: straight.
I did have one slight problem, though, and that is with the Exsar FS4 graphite shaft. Simply, it was too light for my tastes. I've always played with a heavier shaft in my fairway wood and the stock offering in Stiff only comes in at 65 grams, which is 20-plus grams lighter than what I've played with in the past. I tend to have a faster tempo and I found with the current stock offering, I had to force myself to slow down in order to get the most the MX-700 had to offer, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something I'm not sure I want to make that big of an adjustment for one club.
Mizuno does offer a nice variety of custom shafts though and that may be the route I end up going with. As always, your experience may be vastly different than mine and you should certainly demo one out and be fitted to ensure you get the best club/shaft combination for you.
Specs and Extras
The MX-700 fairway wood I tested came with Mizuno's Exsar FS4 graphite shaft in a Stiff flex with a weight of 65 grams which according to Mizuno produces a "mid" ball flight. Shaft flexes in the stock shaft come in Regular, Lite, and Ladies and if those don't suit you, Mizuno can customize yours with shaft offerings from Fujikura, Grafaloy, Mitsubishi, and UST. The MX-700 retails for about $200 with the stock shaft.
The headcover is pretty nice and is sock-style that slides easily on and off. It's a bit firmer around the clubhead in order to keep it protected and adequately covers the graphite shaft to prevent any potential bag chatter with your other clubs. Nice and simple design with some snazzy black and yellow graphics.
Club LH Loft° Lie° Offset Length " Bounce° 3 yes 15 58 none 42.75 42.25 5 yes 18 59 none 42.25 41.75 7 n/a 21 59.5 none 41.75 41.25
Overall, the MX-700 fairway is quite impressive and should be one you try out during your next trip to your favorite golf shop. I think you will be quite impressed by the latest that Mizuno has to offer regardless of your handicap. While their irons have received accolades of almost mythical proportions, their fairway woods have lagged behind. The MX-700 series looks to close the door on that part of their history and begin a new chapter in establishing the benchmark of what a fairway should offer to today's golfer.