PLAYING WITH … MIZUNO JPX 919 IRONS
Cost: $249 per iron (Tour); $269 per iron (Forged); $209 per iron (Hot Metal). Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
Three iron models targeted at three different golfers. Jimmy Emanuel explains why the JPX 919 series is one of the best releases he has seen from Mizuno.
MODELS PLAYED: JPX 919 Tour (3-iron to pitching wedge), fitted with True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 S300 shafts. JPX 919 Forged (4-iron to gap wedge), with True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 S300 shafts. JPX 919 Hot Metal (4-iron to pitching wedge), with Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 105 R shafts. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: When I first laid eyes on the previous JPX 900 Tour iron I was instantly intrigued, having long associated Mizuno’s JPX line with oversized, forgiving models and always preferring the MP range. Brooks Koepka’s continued success with the model only served to further peak this interest.
The new JPX 919 Tour follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, and looks even better with a slightly smaller head size and a lack of colourful paint fill, while the 919 Forged and Hot Metal models are significant visual improvements on the previous version of each.
Off the clubface all three models were very close to what I had expected. The Tour felt as a forged Mizuno iron always does. The Forged still had a nice, soft feel but was also extremely powerful off the face. And the Hot Metal was the hottest of the three and seemed to launch straight up in the air with low spin. HOW THEY PERFORMED: Testing the three models on the course and the range, the expected performance from each iron was continually delivered in an extremely positive way. With the models designed for different abilities and player types in mind, the varied performance was exactly what I would anticipate each of the target golfers would want from an iron set.
The JPX 919 Tour offers outstanding ball flight control, and a surprising level of forgiveness for such a small iron. Any desired ball flight was easily achieved and mis-hits weren’t nearly as punishing as my own blade irons.
The short irons were where the Tour model stood out for me, knocking shots down in windy conditions was easy and great fun and the slightly stronger ball flight than my own irons meant I gained a metre or two consistently throughout the bag.
From a feel perspective the Tour was outstanding and is more than deserving of the Mizuno name, which always evokes thoughts of irons possessing a pure feel.
Despite not being the style of iron I would typically opt for in my own set, the JPX 919 Forged stood out to me as the biggest improver of the new series when compared to the previous 900 models. The addition of Boron to the Grain Flow Forged HD metal allows for a thinner clubface without sacrificing feel. Make no mistake, the JPX 919 Forged aren’t the same as company’s MP-18 irons off the face, but they are certainly one of the better feeling distance irons I have tested.
The ball flight with the Forged was very strong and resulted in it even besting the Hot Metal on occasion for me when hitting the same club side by side. This, combined with the feel and decent level of workability the 919 Forged offers, seriously impressed me.
Improvements to the feel, appearance and ball flight in the design of the JPX 919 Hot Metal makes it a game improvement iron that will be more palatable for a wider range of players. And
during my testing I struggled to remember another iron that provided as good a combination of forgiveness and feel that while the firmest of the three irons is in no way hard or harsh.
The short irons and wedges look very playable at address and although a little jumpy off the face for me when trying to hit less than full shots, were extremely consistent in both flight and carry distance. But it was the long irons where the Hot Metal really shined. The ball felt like it exploded off the face and the flight was high and more often than not dead straight. Working the ball with the Hot Metal took plenty of effort but could be done, however with the almost automatic straight flight that will suit the player the most forgiving model is aimed at this isn’t really an issue.
With the JPX 919 series, Mizuno has done an excellent job of producing three models that offer three distinct ball flights and benefits. I was most drawn to the Tour model for its similarity to the irons I typically play. The improvement of the 919 Forged on its predecessor stood out to me, while the Hot Metal has maintained its outstanding distance and added better feel and very playable high ball flights.
Although I would be very comfortable playing a full set of the 919 Tour, the power and forgiveness of the Forged would tempt me to add a long iron into the mix if I were to invest in a set. A combination of Forged and Hot Metal similarly making sense for players looking for a little extra forgiveness.
The range of head options in the JPX 919 series is the best I’ve seen from Mizuno in terms of delivering varied performance to match different golfers’ needs, while the fitting software and shaft options takes this even further.