Mizuno JPX 923 Hot Metal, 923 Hot Metal Pro, 923 Hot Metal HL irons

·5 min read

Gear: Mizuno JPX 923 Hot Metal, 923 Hot Metal Pro, 923 Hot Metal HL irons
Price: $137.50 each
Available: Oct. 13 (available for pre-sale Sept. 23)

Specs: Cast nickel chromoly heads. Hot Metal, 4-LW; Hot Metal Pro, 4-LW; Hot Metal HL, 5-SW.

Who it’s for: Golfers who want the looks and feel of better-player’s irons but need distance enhancement, forgiveness and spin.

The Skinny: The three JPX 923 Hot Metal irons were designed to cosmetically mix and match seamlessly so golfers and fitters can blend clubs to make a set. The offset and sizes vary, but all three have thin, fast faces for more ball speed and sound-enhancing features to go with sleek, modern looks.

The Deep Dive: For decades, Mizuno was known as a company that specialized in some of the finest muscleback blades for accomplished players and professionals. They were aspirational. Golfers with single-digit handicaps and powerful, repeatable swings loved the soft feel and control, while players who typically shoot in the mid-80s and higher yearned to be good enough to play them someday.

With the release of several JPX models of irons, most of which offered perimeter-weighted game-improvement clubs alongside a pro version for low-handicappers, Mizuno found a larger audience. The Japanese company started using different materials, such as Chromoly, stainless steel and tungsten, to get better performance and more forgiveness out of the JPX lineup without making the clubs so big that they no longer looked like the Mizunos golfers wished they were good enough to use.

Mizuno JPX Hot Metal iron
Mizuno JPX Hot Metal iron

Mizuno JPX Hot Metal irons (David Dusek/Golfweek)

With the release of the newest JPX Hot Metal family – the JPX 923 Metal, 923 Hot Metal Pro and 923 Metal HL – Mizuno is trying to expand its footprint across an even larger segment of the market, all while making clubs that look and feel (as much as possible) like the musclebacks used by Keith Mitchell, Luke Donald and other tour pros.

The 923 Hot Metal irons are all cast using a new material called nickel chromoly. Mizuno has used chromoly for several years, but adding nickel, according to Mizuno, makes the chromoly alloy 35 percent stronger. It is so strong that it is used in airplane landing gear assemblies and gears in automobile transmissions. 

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal
Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal

The Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal irons have thin, nickel chromoly faces. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Nickel chromoly allowed Mizuno to make the faces thinner and lighter without worrying about durability, so the center of the JPX 923 Hot Metal’s cup-face hitting area is just 2.05 millimeters thick, with the perimeter being 1.75 millimeters. That allows the hitting area to flex more efficiently at impact across a larger area for more ball speed while also reducing weight.

To ensure the feel at impact matches what golfers expect from a Mizuno iron, even though the face is thinner, engineers reinforced the cavity area in the back of each head, especially in the toe area and under the topline, using a series of small tooth-like pieces. They help reduce vibrations that cause low-pitched tones that sound like cracking.

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal
Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal

The standard Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal irons have moderate offset and soles designed to keep the head moving quickly through the impact area. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Around the Mizuno offices outside Atlanta, Mizuno designers refer to the JPX 923 Hot Metal as the fastest-stopping fast iron. That means that in addition to creating more ball speed, the JPX 923 Hot Metal produces slightly more spin, giving shots more lift and a steeper descent so shots repeatedly stop quicker for better control and consistency.

All three JPX 923 Hot Metal irons were designed to have a premium look that appeals to better players, making it very easy to mix and match the clubs with the help of a custom fitter to create a personalized, blended set.

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal Pro
Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal Pro

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal Pro (David Dusek/Golfweek)

The JPX 923 Hot Metal Pro has a shorter blade length than the standard model, along with a thinner topline and slightly less offset, but the Hot Metal and Hot Metal Pro have the same lofts (5-iron, 22 degrees; 9-iron, 37.5 degrees). 

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL
Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL (David Dusek/Golfweek)

The JPX 923 Hot Metal HL (which stands for high launch) is a super-game-improvement club designed to maximize forgiveness and deliver more ball speed and height. It has a thicker topline, wider sole and the lowest center of gravity, but the most interesting thing Mizuno did with the JPX 923 Hot Metal Hot HL was to make the lofts 2 degrees weaker than the standard JPX 923 Hot Metal.

Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL
Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL

The Mizuno JPX 223 Hot Metal HL is the most forgiving Mizuno iron. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Many brands make the lofts stronger in max-game-improvement irons. Still, Mizuno discovered that with lower-lofted clubs like a 5-iron, slow and moderate-swinging golfers (below 75 mph with a 7-iron) who typically buy max-game-improvement irons have trouble getting the ball up in the air with the stronger-lofted clubs. So, carry distance is reduced and overall distance is not maximized. For these players – who research showed Mizuno was about one out of every four players – adding loft created more carry distance, and for players in this category, that means more overall distance. Fitters have used the same logic for years when they recommend that slow and moderate-swinging players use higher-lofted drivers to maximize distance.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek