The 5 Most Forgiving Mizuno Irons

Published on 10/21/2023 · 9 min readLooking for more forgiveness out of your irons? Check out these 5 forgiving iron options from Mizuno Golf!
Ryan Haley, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Ryan Haley

Photo by Daxiao Productions

Most golfers have heard the expression, “Drive for show, putt for dough” in some capacity. Distance off the tee is becoming more and more of a focus in the sport, but however you feel about the importance of hitting your drives straight (or how fun it is hitting them far), iron play always tends to get lost in the shuffle.

Long drives can lower your average score, but a great iron game can be the key to a personal best score. There are few things in the game more frustrating than pounding a drive down the middle of the fairway, having a pitching wedge in your hand, thinning a shot into the back burner, or hitting a high push into the pond.

Approach play was actually Tiger Woods’ calling card. From the inception of Strokes Gained in 2004 until his injury in 2008, Woods finished no lower than sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach. In fact, in 2007, the difference between Woods and the second-best iron player, Ernie Els, was the same as the difference between Els and Anders Hansen in 39th. He led the Tour in the same category again in 2012 and 2013 when he returned to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Obviously, he was also just Tiger Woods. But, while he routinely ranked inside the top 30 on Tour in the other three categories (Off the Tee, Around the Green, and Putting), Approach the Green was the only category in which Woods finished within the top 10 every single season of those time frames. I know I just threw a lot of numbers at you, but long story short, when he was the best player in the world, it was mostly because of his irons and wedges.

Why Look for a Forgiving Iron When the Pros Play Blades?

This is a fair question and one a lot of weekend warriors run into. A thicker, game improvement iron with a wider sole carries a stigma for high handicappers, an old notion that they need extra help from the fairway. For years, tour-style irons have been blades.

Blades with a thinner clubhead allow greater workability because of their head shape. The effects are greater for players who produce high ball speeds, and the decreased weight and different clubhead shape means it’s easier to sling hooks and slices if you want to shape the ball a little more. But forged irons like blades have a much smaller sweet spot that produces much more frequent mis-hits, with intense vibrations up the shaft if you catch the ball on the heel or the toe. For someone trying to turn 70s into 66s, that extra feedback can provide an immediate swing tip, but if you don’t have time to hit multiple buckets of balls each day, the frustrations far outweigh the temptation.

I’ve played golf for more than a dozen years, and I’ve never once played a bladed iron. I’ve had the same Mizuno cavity back set for the past several years, and I reached a handicap as low as 2.4 with a handful of under-par rounds. I don’t tell you this to brag but rather to show that it’s possible to become an exceptionally good golfer (or pretend to be one, in my case) without a bladed iron. My Mizuno irons were an indispensable part of my improvement.

As someone with a penchant for the occasional foul ball and who plays courses with quite a few hazards, I always found the forgiveness of a thicker iron offset the ceiling performance of a blade. I rarely needed to move a ball more than 10-20yds in either direction, something a cavity back iron can still do with ease, and I hit four or five fewer iron shots into bunkers or penalty areas each round. Even PGA Tour players are starting to agree that the benefits of more forgiving irons outweigh the performance of blades, with an increase in cavity back irons over the last half-decade.

Graphite Shaft or Steel Shaft?

The last question you’d need to answer when looking for the perfect iron for you is whether you’d want graphite shafts or steel shafts, two options available for the Hot Metal models we’ll go through below. Generally, steel shafts are a little heavier to produce a more consistent swing, and they tend to be more affordable, but the extra weight can put a lower ceiling on your distance. A graphite shaft will fly farther and higher upon a perfect strike, but the lighter weight means the club is more susceptible to any imperfections in your technique. Here are some of Mizuno’s best options on the market if you’re looking for a more forgiving iron.

1. Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Irons

The Mizuno Hot Metal irons are the best the brand has to offer in terms of balancing forgiveness and performance. The JPX923 models feature something called Nickel Chromoly, a new material stronger than previous iterations that lets the face be a little thinner while still holding up as well upon contact. The thinner face allows someone with a more moderate swing speed to more easily generate greater ball speed. The neat design you see on the back, with the many ridges that almost look like wrinkles, is a V-Chassis design built to provide a more solid feel for your hands despite the thinner face, providing a satisfying vibration upon contact. The sole is wide to ensure you don’t lose as much ball speed if you don’t quite find the sweet spot, making this Mizuno’s most forgiving model on the market.

Even visually, the chrome finish and the ridges on the back provide an eye-catching appeal, and it’s not plated to reduce glare from the sun if you happen to be playing back into some intense light. These irons won’t blind you if you look down at the wrong moment.

Our Curated Experts agree this club is incredibly forgiving without much distance lost on imperfect swings, but they warned that these sets come with stronger lofts, which could create larger distance gaps toward the top of the bag.

2. Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL

Another JPX923 model with a twist, the Hot Metal HL is the best Mizuno iron set for maximizing your launch angle and apex on each and every swing. It has all the same bells and whistles as the standard JPX923 Hot Metal design above, from the Nickel Chromoly and the V-Chassis to the glare-resistant finish. The HL models have a deep center of gravity, however, which maximizes launch angle and landing angle. In layman’s terms, this iron flies higher and lands softer.

One of our Curated Experts said they were “very surprised by how easy these were to hit and how consistently they performed,” and our Golf Experts are in unanimous agreement that the Hot Metal HLs are a great choice for those who want to get the ball up higher in the air while also keeping it between the red stakes. These aren’t the most workable irons on the market, so if you’re looking for a dependable iron to move more than a few yards to the right or left, you might be tempted by other options Mizuno has to offer. But this is the best combination of trajectory and forgiveness.

3. Mizuno Pro 225 Irons

The Mizuno Pro series irons are meant for lower handicap players than the Hot Metal series, which is important to keep in mind. The Pro 225 model best strikes the balance between performance and forgiveness, however. The face is Grain Flow forged, a process that brings a more consistent feel strike after strike. The face has a thin copper underlay for a softer feeling on impact and a tungsten weight behind it to provide the center of gravity for a higher ball flight.

The Pro 225 definitely sports a smaller head than most, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t forgiving. The distance and shot-shaping control are top of the line, but all the boosting technology in the clubface listed above provides a repeatably consistent strike. Our Curated Experts even pointed out how, in their testing of the Pro 225, the club offered more forgiveness than they expected for its face shape.

Plus, I think this is the most visually appealing model on the list. The head might be a little too small for a golfer looking for all the reassurance they can get, but I think the sleek and compact look offers a boost of confidence. If you want a club that offers the look (and the clout among your playing partners) of a forged blade iron but doesn’t punish you for each little swing flaw, this is a match made in heaven.

4. Mizuno JPX923 Forged Irons

I’ll keep this segment briefer since this is the third iteration of the JPX923 to appear on this list. It has a similar ridged look to the Hot Metal iterations seen above, but the Forged Irons are made for those who seek the best of both worlds. They’re still more forgiving than most blades or even most other forged models, but they aren’t quite as forgiving as the Hot Metals. They’re more workable than the Hot Metals but not as workable as blades. If you have confidence in your ball-striking ability, maybe you already hit close to half your greens in regulation, and you just want that extra push toward scratch, these are the irons for you.

5. Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi Driving Iron

Okay, I’m tweaking the qualifications slightly to include this one because it’s one of my favorite clubs on the market. As a preface, driving irons or any iron lower than a 4-iron should probably be reserved for longer hitters with faster swing speeds than usual. The lower loft makes it more difficult to activate the ball (compress the cover of the ball hard enough to reach the core). But if you have the swing speed for a driving iron, this is the most forgiving one on the market. It’s easy to shape this club in either direction, and it produces both a reliable ball flight and height. For a club this low-lofted, it’s very forgiving for imperfect swings. Balls rarely turn over too far in either direction, and you need to almost miss the ball for it to not fly most of its normal distance. I first started using Mizuno Fli-Hi driving irons at 16 years old, and I haven’t even considered another brand since.

Find the Right Mizuno Irons for You

Photo courtesy of Mizuno

All the options on this list have their own strengths, from maximum forgiveness to a consistently higher launch angle. If you have questions about which one of those benefits would help your game the most, which shaft you should pick, or if you don’t know and want a second opinion from someone with years of experience, don’t hesitate to chat with one of Curated’s Golf Experts for free, personalized advice.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Golf on Curated

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Irons
$962.45
Mizuno Pro 225 Irons
$1,311.95
Mizuno JPX923 Forged Irons
$1,050.00$1,312.50

Browse more Mizuno Golf

Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi Driving Iron
$224.95
Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL Irons
$962.50
Callaway Rogue ST Max Irons
$914.24$1,257.12
Callaway XR Packaged Complete Golf Set
$1,499.99
Cobra LTDx MAX Driver
$199.99$499.00
Callaway Mavrik Irons
$514.28$685.68
Epec 7 Club Complete Golf Set
$329.99

Browse more Mizuno Golf

Read next

New and Noteworthy