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The Club Report – Miura CB57 Irons
It seems almost unfathomable, but it’s been 3.5 years since we took a close look at a set of Miura irons.
That’s the thing about Miura…in a time where even the most conservative of golf companies are releasing irons on a predictable 2-year cycle, Miura seems oblivious to the calendar. Miura designs are timeless and the company’s release cycles reflect that.
New products are released only when there is a reason, and only when they are absolutely ready.
For those as yet unfamiliar with the Miura brand, here’s a quick list of what you need to know.
The CB57 is Miura’s first new iron offering since the MB-001, which was released in October of 2013. It’s been a year and half between releases, and it’s not like the CB57 supersedes anything in the Miura lineup. With Miura newer often also means different.
The CB57 is positioned comfortably between Miura’s MB-001 blade and the CB-501 cavityback. It’s more forgiving than the former, but a bit more compact than the latter. Those alternatives along with the PP-9003, and Miura’s legendary small or ‘baby’ blade remain current in the Miura lineup.
The CB57 is part of Miura’s Series 1957 lineup, which also includes the baby blades and K-Grind wedges. Named for the year in which Miura Golf was founded, and denoted by the 1957 crest, clubs bearing the Series 57 distinction are the most favored designs of the company. Series 1957 clubs are benchmark products in the company’s history. They are the most revered among the Miura offerings.
Our set of CB57 irons was built to my specifications and assembled by our friend Josh Chervokas at the New York Golf Center. At the risk of offering a shameless plug, when you’re in the greater NYC area, you absolutely must add the New York Golf Center to your list of stops. Josh and his team are among the most knowledgeable and respected fitters and builders in the golf industry.
One of the various Miura taglines is “Commitment to Tradition“. The CB57 is most certainly in-line with that mantra. While technically a medium-sized cavityback, the CB57 features one of the most compact heads currently in production. As others have moved to larger footprints, even in their more player-centric designs, Miura continues to produce irons for golfers who love irons.
Simple, understated, and unquestionably beautiful. Miura knows no other way.
Toplines are absolutely minimal by the modern standard, as is offset. It’s a virtual certainty that some will find the design intimidating. On aesthetics alone, the Miura CB57 probably wouldn’t be your first choice as someone looking to begin the transition from game-improvement irons.
For players who are either accustomed to, or simply prefer the look of a more compact iron, however; the vintage good looks of Miura’s latest offering will be one of the more appealing designs you’re likely to come across.
Miura’s steel is the topic of some debate. The company certainly professes to have a superior product, while detractors argue that steel is steel and what Miura uses can’t possibly be better than anyone else’s. I’m not about to delve into the finer points of metallurgy, but I will say that between the forging process, and the spin-milled hosel, Miura has engineered a superior feeling iron. We can haggle over Mizuno and a few others, but sufficed to say, Miura’s offerings are in the top tier.
I’m spoken about it in the past. Those accustomed to the feel of a Mizuno forging may find Miura offerings (including the CB57) a tad clickier, but my opinion is that shot for shot, no iron provides more rewarding feedback than Miura.
We must also acknowledge that feel is completely subjective and so while one of our club testers (a low single-digit golfer who currently play Titleist blades) described the CB57 as “the most f#%$ing incredible feeling iron I’ve ever hit“, we each have our unique preferences, and yours may lay elsewhere. I’m totally cool with that.
For me, hitting the CB57 made me realize how much I miss hitting Miura irons.
Given that all Miura irons are custom built, it’s difficult to really compare Miura to an off-the-rack offering. To provide a general sense of how the CB57 performs, however, we hit it side by side with a modern blade offerings. Noteworthy, while the irons tested were built to the same playing length, the CB57 is a degree stronger in the 4-iron, 2 degrees stronger in the 7-iron, and 1 degree stronger in the pitching wedge. All of this suggests that, number for number, the CB57s should be a bit longer.
The Miura CB57s are shown in blue, our control blade in red.
In the long irons, the Miura CB57 produced similar launch and spin numbers while carrying an average of just under 5 yards farther (likely due to ballspeeds that were on average, 3MPH faster). Noteworthy is that across all shots, the CB57 produced a tighter dispersion pattern, and was, on average, closer to the target line.
In the middle irons, the Miura CB57 launched just under a degree lower, produced 400 RPM less spin, and carried an average of roughly 4 yards farther. Ballspeed numbers again favored the CB57. Despite the initial launch conditions, differences in peak height were negligible, and the dispersion pattern was once again tighter for the CB57.
As irons get shorter, loft becomes less of a contributing factor in distance. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that despite launching lower and spinning less, the CB57 was only marginally longer than the blade we tested against. Comparatively speaking, the CB57 showed significantly better dispersion as well.
While it’s reasonable to suggest that the CB57 probably isn’t the best option for mid to high handicap golfers, our testing suggests that for better golfers who prefer the look and performance of a more traditionally designed iron, Miura’s latest offering brings more to the table than just a pretty face.
While nearly every aspect of the design begs to be in the hands of a better player, Miura believes that golfers should play whatever clubs bring them the most pleasure. The subtext is that it doesn’t always need to be about shooting the lowest score. There is enjoyment to be found in the game itself.
That’s thinking that should be easy to rally behind.
As a current game-improvement player I managed to convince myself that what I’m playing feels almost as good as the CB-501s I previously gamed. 3 swings with the CB57 and I’ve realized the extent to which I’ve fooled myself. It’s nowhere near the same. I’ve rediscovered perfection and I’m finding it difficult to walk away.
Pricing for Miura CB57 irons begin at $275 per iron (custom fit and built), and are available through an authorized Miura Dealer near you.
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Channels and slots seem to be the big thing these days. TaylorMade’s got the Speed Slot. Adams has a similar technology in some of its clubs.
A deep undercut is designed to create a large unsupported face, which should produce even more speed. Then, to make all of this feel and sound good, a “harmonic insert” of thermoplastic has been injected into the rear of the clubhead.
I’ll take a set in blue, please.
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First Look – Nike Golf’s Ultra-Exclusive MMProto Irons
Written By: Tony Covey
You probably saw the Nike MM Proto 2-iron that Rory McIlroy used to win The Open Championship.
At the time, most of us assumed the MM Proto was a one-off driving iron not too dissimilar from TaylorMade’s Ultimate Driving Iron. It turns out Rory’s 2-iron was really just the beginning.
Nike staffer Thorbjorn Olesen posted a pic to Instagram yesterday which basically let anybody who was paying attention know that the Champion Golfer of the Year’s 2-iron would soon be joined by a 3, 4, 5…you get the idea. The MMProto is a full set of irons.
The MMProto irons go on sale August 4th, and here’s my prediction, they’re going to sell out…and fast. If you want them, you better show up early because there’s not a doubt in my mind that demand will exceed supply.
That’s right…Nike…blades…sold out. FAST!
I’m calling it right now.
Yeah, I probably should have led with the fact that only 40 sets of the MMProto irons will be available to the public.
You want exactly what the pros play? Here ya go.
Each of the 40 sets will be laser engraved with Nike’s the Oven logo, and will be individually numbered.
Buyers will be able to work one-on-one with a Nike Golf expert to get your specs dialed in, get you sorted out with the shaft and grip of your choice, and if you so choose, some custom stamping and paintfill as well.
Your clubs will be meticulously inspected before they ship to you.
As with all things golf industry-related, there’s sure to be some frustration. The 40 sets are all right-handed. They’re available to US residents only, and there’s a limit of one set per person.
Also, they’re $1500.
Unspecified other restrictions may apply, and Nike reserves the right to cancel or modify this offer at any time.
Even I’d hate to venture a guess as to whether or not Nike would release a non-Ovenized version of the MM (no longer proto) to the masses. I hear a fair amount of grumbling from guys about Nike not offering a full set of true blades, but realistically, blades are nobody’s top seller.
It’s very possible that enough for the tour guys, plus 40 sets for the rest of us is the right number, but you never know.
If nothing else, this is a clever and cool way to all but guarantee you can get people to pay a little attention to your brand, while moving product with relative ease. It’s not unrealistic to think that this small batch, super-limited, custom release thing will eventually be a part of every golf equipment manufacturers arsenal.
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SPY PICS! – 2015 Bridgestone J15CB, J15DF and J15DPF Irons + J15 Wedges
As we reported a few weeks ago, Bridgestone Golf will be launching no less than 3 sets of new irons in 2015. We did some digging around and have come up with the most comprehensive look at the new clubs to date.
The closest thing to a game-improvement iron (though I’d be hesitant to call it that) we’ve seen from the 2015 lineup is the J15DPF. As it did with previous generations of Bridgestone Irons, the DPF stands for Dual Pocket Forged (Bridgestone’s way of moving weight to the perimeter of a forged iron).
The DPF features what appears to be a dampening insert which is being called Dual Pocket Turbo Rubber. Here’s hoping that’s one of those things that gets completely lost in translation.
The J15DF (Driving Forged) has the looking of what I like to call a transitional iron. It’s likely designed for low to mid handicappers looking for a relatively traditional appearance and the feel many believe can only come from a forging.
While we have no idea what it means from a technology standpoint, the DF irons feature Ultimate Strong Metal, which no doubt offers some really awesome benefits.
The most traditional of the new cavity back designs, the J15CB features a classic, understated cavity back appearance, that’s reminiscent of Titleist’s current 714CB or Mizuno’s MP-64. It’s a simple-looking design for guys who like it that way.
The images suggest an iron with a thin topline, minimal offset, and a Sure Contact Sole design, which we assume has plenty to do with turf interaction.
For 2015 Bridgestone will be offering up two models of wedges. Both the standard model and the M-series will be available in both satin chrome and black finish.
Presumably the M references and alternative grind. Assuming that means an M-grind, the secondary option will offer additional heel and toe relief. As with their new metalwoods, Bridgestone has baked a few bits of technology into the new wedges.
With nearly any wedge, sole design is almost always about versatility and turf interaction. Expect Bridgestone to tell some version of that story.
Nearly everybody with a wedge on the market has a groove and face milling story. Why should Bridgstone be any different? You can bet this has something to do with spin, and probably spin from any lie.
Now. This. Is. Interesting.
When you find the right wedge, you don’t want to let go. You want it to last forever, but invariably, grooves wear, and our old friends simply don’t spin the way they used to. It’s not uncommon to hear stories about guys who’d buy 2 or 3 of exactly the same wedge (especially back when you could still buy non-conforming wedges), so that when one (and the one after that) wore out, they’d have another ready to go.
With Durable Groove Technology, it appears Bridgestone has developed some sort of process that will keep your wedge grooves fresh (and producing spin) longer than you could have hoped for otherwise.
As you may recall, Bridgestone applied for Trademarks for both J15 and J18. Are these irons? Metalwoods?
PING G30 Irons – Longer and More Forgiving
Written By: Tony Covey
The bad news for those of you who’ve already read our story on the G30 drivers and have fallen in love with the Turbulators; there aren’t any on the irons.
You probably should have seen that coming.
More bad news too for those of you who aren’t exactly fans of PING’s G-series irons. There’s probably nothing in the G30 iron that’s going to radically change your perceptions.
It’s very much true to PING G-series designs.
The good news for those of you who love the G20, G25, and basically G-anything else, as well as those of you who might have been straddling the fence a bit; PING is offering up a series of subtle refinements that make the G30 a worthy and compelling replacement for the G25.
With the increasing prevalence of distance irons, unsupported faces, which offer more deflection and greater ball speeds, are now among the hottest trends in iron design.
The downside of wholly unsupported faces is that they often negatively impact dispersion. They fly farther, but don’t always put you closer to the pin. That’s not generally the sort of trade-off PING is down with.
Among PING’s goals with the G30 was to better control the bending of the face to create an iron that gives you the distance you need, while also keeping you tighter to the pin.
To than end, the faces on the G30 are slightly thinner (compared to the G25), and while that does create a bit of extra ball speed, the primary purpose for thinning the face was to free up some additional mass, which PING very quickly relocated low and back.
Quite frankly, this movement of discretionary weight, especially to the low/rear portion of the clubhead, isn’t anything we haven’t heard before (lots and lots of times), but it has to be mentioned (again). As low and as far back as they can put it…that’s where PING wants the weight in the G30 irons.
As you can see from the photos, while still very much a game-improvement iron, the G30 is considerably more refined (my opinion anyway) than the G25, but it most certainly still looks every bit a PING iron.
Heads are still large. There’s still a ton of offset too, but the lines are generally softer, and cleaner (aesthetically I thought the G25 was a step backwards for PING). From top to bottom and toe to heel, the steel flows across the eyes just a bit better.
As is usually the case, PING is leveraging a soft, elastomer badge to help improve sound and feel.
One of the more significant design changes is the addition of an extra 2° of bounce (average) to the G30′s sole. Effectively PING has borrowed a large portion of the G30′s sole design from the i20 and i25 irons. It’s a design which PING claims works very well for any angle of attack, and serves to further increase the playability of the new model.
The one pronounced difference between the G30′s sole and that of the i25 is that the G25 is wider on the trailing edge. It’s not a portion of the sole that comes into play as far as turf interaction is concerned.
Instead, the extra width allows more mass to be placed…you guessed it, low and rear.
When you look at the spec sheet (below) for the irons you’ll no doubt notice some unusual numbers in both the length and loft columns. Rather than the standard 1/2″ difference between irons, PING chose to use a longer 5/8″ progression (same as their Karsten irons). Many would also consider the gaps between lofts to be equally non-standard.
For whatever it’s worth, if you were to strip the numbers of the sole of the clubs, the length to loft ratio of the G30 iron is almost identical to that of PING’s beloved Eye2, so this isn’t exactly a first for PING.
Of course, the 6-iron from an Eye2 set would more or less qualify as an 8-iron today, so there is that.
What can we say? This probably isn’t an iron for the purist.
As a tradeoff for increasing the lengths of the shafts, PING had to reduce head weight throughout the set. Lighter heads usually result in a reduction of MOI (bad). To offset that loss, PING increased blade lengths slightly. That, along with the all of that other weight relocation stuff we covered actually produces a net gain in MOI over the G25 (good).
As you probably guessed, PING created those weird progressions for a reason. The idea is to provide additional distance where it matters (the middle and long irons), while improving gapping throughout the entire set.
For the most part, there’s no practical reason for your new wedge to go any farther than your old one, so PING more or less left wedge performance alone.
What they did do was squeeze another 3 yards on average out of the 7 iron, and 4 yards (again, on average) out of the 4 iron. While there is some strengthening of lofts, what the PING guys are exceptionally proud of is that there were actually able to increase the average max height for both the 7 and 4 irons.
The net result of their efforts is more consistent…let’s just call it better…gapping throughout the set.
Farther, higher, softer, and somehow more forgiving….there’s your takeaway.
PING G30 Irons will be available in golf shops late July/Early August. Retail price for the irons is $110 each steel, $125 each graphite.
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