FIRST LOOK: In-hand photos of unreleased Mizuno Pro 221, 223 and 225 irons
LAS VEGAS — Back in July, at the 2021 Open Championship, Justin Rose switched into never-before-seen Mizuno Pro 221 irons. That same week, three new Mizuno Pro irons popped up on the USGA Conforming List, including the Mizuno Pro 221 blade-style irons (Rose’s irons of choice), Mizuno Pro 223 cavity-back style irons, and the larger Mizuno Pro 225 models.
Usually when irons appear on the USGA Conforming List, that means a retail release is on the horizon. And, as confirmed in a recent video on Mizuno’s official YouTube channel, Mizuno is set for a February 2022 launch of the Mizuno Pro 221, 223 and 225 irons (plus a stand-alone Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi driving iron option).
While we’ve seen the black-and-white photos of the Mizuno Pro irons on the USGA website, and caught a glimpse of the 221 irons when Rose used them in competition, GOLF.com finally got its first look at the irons in person this week.
At the 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, both Keith Mitchell and Rory Sabbatini had Mizuno Pro irons in their bag. Mitchell was spotted with a set of Mizuno Pro 221 irons, plus a 225 2-iron, while Sabbatini had a full set of Mizuno Pro 223 irons.
Mitchell told GOLF.com on Tuesday that he switched into the new Mizuno Pro 221 irons because, “They launch a bit lower, I like the new shapes, and they’re soft … like scary soft.”
Sabbatini, on the new 223 irons, said, “If I can hit these, anybody can hit these.” That was Sabbatini’s way of saying that they’re quite forgiving on off-center hits.
The new “Mizuno Pro” nomenclature and script logo may be unfamiliar to some, but as Mizuno’s head of product Chris Voshall explains in the YouTube video embedded below, it’s actually a nod to the company’s history. The Mizuno Pro name was used on popular iron releases back in the 80s, such as the Mizuno Pro TN-87, and has been commonly used on Japan releases for years.
While traditionalists may be excited that Mizuno is returning to a historical name and logo, Voshall assures there’s modern technology under the hood.
“They might be a little disappointed if they’re going, ‘Oh, traditional logo, that means everything is going back to how it used to be,'” Voshall says. “That’s not at all what it is. When we use that Mizuno Pro logo, or even the MP logo, our goal is not to make the most traditional, boring club that could have been made 20 years ago, but it’s super clean looking. There’s a lot of technology that we pack into it.”
Rather than making traditional-looking-and-performing irons, Voshall says the goal was instead to “put out what the better player needs. And often times, it’s things that the better player is afraid to ask for.”
Voshall went onto explain why the company is launching the Mizuno Pro irons in February 2022, rather than in September or October of 2021 as originally planned.
“The honest answer is because it was the right thing to do,” he said. “We had planned to launch these in the Fall. That was the plan all along … with all the things going on on the supply chain side, getting product, just delivery times from the entire golf industry, it’d be a shame to order your brand new set of Mizuno Pro irons and all the sudden you order and you have to wait 6-12 weeks to get them. So we wanted to right some things internally to make sure that when we execute on a proper launch, that’s what we do. So we’ve pushed to a February launch so when it’s time to delivery them to you, we’re going to deliver them to you pretty quickly.”
In the video, Voshall also broke down the differences between the 221, 223 and 225 irons. Below, we feature our in-hand photos of the new Mizuno Pro irons as spotted in the bags of Mitchell and Sabbatini at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, with commentary from Voshall on what each iron is designed to do.
Mizuno Pro 221 irons
Voshall says: “The 221 is the muscle-back. It is what you expect from a Mizuno muscle-back. It’s small, it’s sleek, it feels amazing. Copper underlay, a slight tapered blade with an ever-so-slightly adjusted center of gravity throughout the set. But it’s not designed really to flight the ball as much as it’s designed to be the most consistent set from pitching wedge all the way to 3-iron. So the 221 set is the most traditional blade going, and one of the things we emphasize is making those scoring irons even smaller, even more compact, really all the things a better player’s looking for.”
Mizuno Pro 223 irons
Voshall says: “The 223 is a really interesting one in between [a 221 and a 225], because that’s the one that’s taking a big jump. The 223, you look at where that iron lived in the past couple generations, it was a shallow cavity, and then it was an MMC, and now it actually features a Chromoly forging with a microslot. But, it’s in a very compact head. It’s smaller than the MMC was beforehand. It’s almost like the performance of the JPX 921 Forged, really dialed down into the head size that even a better player has no idea how much pop they’re going to get out of it.”
Mizuno Pro 225 irons
Voshall says: “The 225 is the larger of the heads. It’s our hollow construction. It’s the next iteration of the HMB. It’s a Grainflow Forged Chromoly face and head with a welded back piece, with Tungsten that lives very deep in the head. But, unlike the HMB beforehand, [the design] started as a set of irons as opposed to starting with a Fli-Hi. So it became even more iron shaped, smaller scoring irons, more iron-like appearance from top to bottom. It’s a fantastic set of irons that’s going to deliver a lot of performance and a lot of ball speed.”
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