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Devil Ball Proving Ground: Mizuno’s MP-R12 wedges

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Mizuno MP-R12 wedge / Mizuno

Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today, we take a take Mizuno's MP-R12 wedge for a spin around the course.

Testers -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.4

Target Golf Audience -- Scratch to 10 handicap

You've likely heard this before from your local club professional, but you should never buy a club straight off the rack and put it in play the very next day -- especially if that club happens to be a wedge. If you have aspirations of getting to a single-digit handicap or possibly contending for your club championship, you need a set of wedges that are not only tailored to your game, but give you the confidence to stand over a critical shot, take dead aim, and stuff it within a couple feet of the hole for birdie.

Mizuno's MP-R12 wedge may or may not be for you, but it's definitely worth adding to your list of potential suitors ... especially if you get properly fitted for it before it goes in your bag (yep, we're going to keep hammering home the importance of getting fitted).

After taking a quick look at these wedge, we were certainly impressed with the overall design, but as you already know, the only thing that matters is how it performs on the course. Here's our review of Mizuno's latest wedge.

Initial thoughts

I never put a lot stock into what tour pro is playing what brand, because most of the time it comes down to money. But when you look at Luke Donald's relationship with Mizuno, you can tell the two are still together after all these years -- he's been playing the company's clubs since he was an amateur -- for one reason: Donald believes in the clubs.

That's not some marketing pitch Mizuno passed along. If you've ever picked up a Mizuno stick before, you know the quality and craftsmanship that go into their irons. These clubs not only look good, they usually feel incredible coming off the face when you pure one.

While Mizuno hasn't been a major player in the wedge market, you can tell they spent a lot of time perfecting the MP-R12. I didn't think it was possible to improve on the T11 (one of the best looking wedge I've ever seen), but the MP-R12 looks good. Really, really good.

The mixture of two chromes (a shiny and a matte version), gives this wedge a classic look that falls in line with the Mizuno's MP iron line. The rounded head, while slightly larger than the T11, still looks compact enough to be a tour wedge.

The Grain Flow Forged 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel body and Quad Cut Grooves on the face also give this wedge the perfect blend of new-aged technology and all-world feel.

Also, if you're like me and have trouble finding a wedge with a leading edge that doesn't sit dangerously close to the ball, you'll find the MP-R12 to be a breath of fresh air. If you're looking for one that can "pinch" the ball on those tight lies, this is your wedge.

On-course thoughts

The MP-R12 is definitely a wedge for lower handicap golfers, but don't let that deter you from trying it out. While most golfers are just trying to make solid contact with the ball, these wedges are built with the better player in mind.

The "loft specific sole geometry" allowed me to hit a number of different shots with each wedge -- from a high fade to a low spinner. I'm used to having a set of wedges in the bag that do what their told (most of the time), but there always seems to be a couple of shots that I'm never really comfortable with for one reason or another.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was able to stand over every shot from 125 yards in and feel like I could execute the shot. Now I'm not saying I pulled everyone one of them off, but just having the confidence to play various shots with each wedge is huge.

Also, and this may not be a big deal to some people, but these wedges still looked incredibly fresh after a month of heavy use. I put them through the ringer -- lengthy range sessions, hours spent working in bunker, 36 holes in one day -- and the chrome still looked fresh as the day I pulled them out of the box. That's never a bad thing when you're spending hard-earned cash on a new set of wedges.

And if you're wondering about the Quad Cut Grooves, they more than lived up to the hype. I'm always worried when a company touts grooves that hold coming out of the rough because, more often than not, they end up cutting up my ball.

I can report back that not only did these grooves do the job, they also managed to keep the cover on my ball at the same time. If you happen to play ProV1's or another ball with a soft cover, you can rest easy knowing this club won't leave you light in the wallet from buying boxes of balls by the dozen.

Final verdict

Mizuno will always be known as an iron company, but with the addition of the MP-R12 to go along with the T11, you can tell the company is dead serious about being a player in the wedge game. After putting the MP-R12 through the ringer, I'm confident saying this is one of the best wedges on the market.

If you're looking for a wedge that does it all and gives you the confidence to pull off every shot imaginable, you need to give the MP-R12 a serious look.

Price: $119.99

Got a product you want us to review here at Devil Ball? Shoot us an email at jonathanrwall@yahoo.com or reach us on Twitter at @jonathanrwall.

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