Mizuno Pro 223 Irons Review

50 Words or Less

The Mizuno Pro 223 irons are the best Mizuno irons in recent memory.  Great balance of forgiveness, performance, distance, and scoring ability.

Introduction

My first set of new irons were Mizuno MX-23s.  As a player just starting to build his skills, they were the perfect set: a little forgiving, a little aspirational.  With the Pro 223, Mizuno has hit a similar sweet spot and created what I think are their best irons in several years.

Need an easier-to-hit long iron alternative?  Check out the Mizuno Pro Fli Hi HERE

Looks

I assumed the Mizuno Pro 223 would just be a compromise between the Pro 221 and Pro 225 [review HERE], but Mizuno went another route.  To start, they gave the Pro 223 the exact same offset specs as the Pro 225.  It’s substantially more offset than the Pro 221 [review HERE], but not so much that it’s distracting.  The sole width of the Pro 223 is also very similar to the Pro 225.  With the Pro 223, you get a slightly shorter blade length, though the difference is never more than 3mm.  What’s most interesting is the top line width.  The Pro 223 has the exact same top line from 4I through PW.  In comparison, this is wider than the Pro 225 in the 9I and PW but slimmer in the long irons.

For those who skipped that deep dive, the short version is that the Mizuno Pro 223 is a solid looking players iron. The compact head frames the ball beautifully, and the offset is well-shaped.  Because the top line is the same throughout the set, the long irons look more player-ish than the scoring clubs, but the whole set looks good.

In the bag, I think the Pro 223 looks great.  The cavity is very shallow with some interesting angles.  Mizuno’s running bird logo is left without paint fill to round out a fairly minimalist look.

Sound & Feel

Reading through the tech points on the Mizuno Pro 223, it becomes clear that this is actually two sets in one.  The 4-7 irons are “Forged Chromoly with Flow Microslot” and the 8-PW are “1025E Pure Select Mild Carbon Steel.”  Throughout the set, there’s a “microlayer” of copper under the nickel chrome plating.

I was concerned that the different constructions and materials would create a set without cohesive feel, but that concern proved to be unwarranted.  From the 4I to the PW, the Pro 223 has a crisp, solid feel.  When you strike a ball absolutely perfectly, you get the legendary Mizuno softness, too.

As you would expect from a forged players iron, the feedback is precise.  Your hands will tell you exactly where the ball met the face.  As shots get further from the center, the feel loses its sweetness in tiny increments.

Performance

The primary reason that I think so highly of the Mizuno Pro 223 is the way that it balances performance and forgiveness, distance and scoring.  In the current iron market, anything other than true blades needs stronger lofts and enhanced ball speed to compete in fittings.  The Pro 223 keeps its lofts closer to traditional specs but still offers plenty of ball speed and distance.  By maintaining “weaker” lofts, the Pro 223 retains enough spin to allow players to shape shots, manipulate trajectory, and stop their approaches next to the flag.  As a low spin player, I was longer with the 223 than the 225 because of the higher spin.

Because of the difference in construction, one of the things I tested extensively was the gapping between the 7 and 8 irons.  I was impressed to find the same distance gap that exists between the other clubs in the set.  Not only was the distance precisely gapped, the ball speed, spin, and launch were, too, so that ball flight remained consistent.

In terms of forgiveness, the Mizuno Pro 223 has enough for the aspiring player to get through their off days.  This is not an SGI iron by any means – it’s not built for players who use the entire face.  However, it’s happy to take modest misses and place them on the green.  You will see ball flight differences on thin strikes, but those shots will carry nearly-full distance.

Finally, Mizuno uses heavy beveling of the back edge of the sole in the Pro 223.  This is to accommodate the construction while providing an “authentic tour accepted sole.”  It’s another example of Mizuno striking an ideal balance between the needs and wants of different players.  The turf interaction of the Pro 223 is excellent.  It doesn’t dig but it doesn’t feel like landing a 747 either.  This sole plays thinner than it looks.

Conclusion

It’s often said that a good compromise makes everyone unhappy.  The Mizuno Pro 223 irons turn that on its head.  Tour players and 10 handicaps alike can game this set.  Whether you’re an elite ball striker looking for a little extra forgiveness or an aspiring player ready to move to players clubs, this set deserves your attention.

Visit Mizuno HERE

Mizuno Pro 223 Irons Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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48 Comments

  1. Eric Hutchens

    Nice review. My first real set was also Mizuno MX-23s. They were great. Glad these live up to those.

  2. Nice review. I have 223s in the bag right now. Matt, you’re spot on about forgiveness — especially on thin strikes, it’s pretty remarkable how easily these will still get up and go. They definitely launch higher than my JPX 921 SELs (the lefty 4/5 Forged, 6-GW Tour blend from last year). Perhaps because of the lower spin I’m finding them a little less consistent on distances than my 921s, but that might just be part of an adjustment period.

    Looks-wise, this might sound crazy, but at first glance they kind of made me think of i210s. Obviously there are differences … but both have a similarly located insert that helps with forgiveness (223s only in the longer irons) and the head shapes are pretty comparable, with 223s having just a slightly thinner topline. i210s have more bounce where the 223s, as you point out, *look* like they have really wide soles but they’re beveled off.

    • As another lefty, I hated the look of the forged and the longer blade length. I ordered a 4/5 223 and just had to adjust the loft on the 5i and they’re perfect. They really do get up and get in the air. I will say I’ve found distance control to be a little harder to control, maybe 1/10 strikes go longer than anticipated.

    • Matt,
      Thoughts on a 223 gap wedge vs a Titleist SM9 gap wedge? 223 more forgiving on full shot mishits, but the Vokey better around the green?
      Thanks!

      • Matt Saternus

        Joe,

        Yes, the 223 will be more forgiving. The SM9 will be more versatile assuming you have the right sole.

        Best,

        Matt

        • While it’s not an SM9, I can give some feedback on this from yesterday. I have a relatively new set of 223s and have been testing the set’s PW versus a Vokey SM8 raw 46 degree F grind (10 degree bounce) PW. I have only played 1 round and had a couple of range sessions, but I have found that if I need a full strength PW shot, the 223 PW is better than the Vokey at hitting the target dead on. However, if I want to use the PW for anything lower than a full shot or around the green for a bump and run, the sole of the Vokey is way better, especially on thin bermuda grass collars like we have in Texas.

          This will probably be a long-term comparison for me until my SM9s from my fitting come in later this month. If I really can’t decide between the 2, I might keep the 46 and sell my 50 / 55 / 60 in the SM8 raw. You’re probably wondering why I upgraded from beautiful raw SM8s to SM9s, and the reason is that I bought the SM8s used and the 50 / 55 / 60 3 ALL have the wrong bounce / lie / shafts and I got a big discount when buying with my fitting…that and I was getting Jordan Spieth like 11000RPM spin on the 60 degree SM9 (M grind / 8 degree bounce / black finish) with the stock wedge shaft and had about 200% tighter dispersion #s than my 60 degree F grind (4 degree bounce) which is wonderfully raw and grippy.

          Frankly, if I end up finding that some of the shots I was hitting well with the 46 degree Vokey in the SM8 aren’t happening with the 223, I’ll reshaft the vokey to get the right distance and spin gapping between the SM9 50 degree I’m getting and the 9 iron in my 223 set. I will say that I am already loving the 223s. Shockingly, my favorite club so far is the 4 iron, and I’ll be honest, if they made a 3 iron in these exact clubs, I’d probably add that and drop both my hybrid and 3 wood and keep both the Vokey 46 and 223 PW in the bag to have the right versatility on the shorter shots. Even with these having weaker lofts than my old Cobra Forged Tecs with Project X LZ 6.0 (120 gram shafts), my 223s with Nippon Modus Pro 1150gh shafts (I cannot recommend these enough…feel is amazing) are going longer, spinning more, and staying straighter even with a smaller and less “player’s distance” style iron head. For a direct example, I was struggling to get a consistent 210 and stay at all straight with the Cobra, and EVERY 4 iron I’ve hit with the 223 has been between 220-230 yards and within a standard green width of dispersion at the end.

          The point of all this is to say that I truly believe that the 223s are a great club, but at the bottom of the bag, I’m not sure they are ever going to as versatile as a purpose-built Vokey wedge.

      • So did you decide to go with the vokey for the gap wedge?! currently having this same dilemma right now lol

  3. Great review, how would you compare these to the jpx921 forged? They seem to be very similar and I was wondering how much,if any, they compare performance wise. Thanks Matt

  4. Hi Matt

    Great review. Share the same view following a fitting and am now awaiting delivery. Particular interested to read you views on gapping between 7-iron an 8 since this is not something a fitting can answer.

    • From the review:

      Because of the difference in construction, one of the things I tested extensively was the gapping between the 7 and 8 irons. I was impressed to find the same distance gap that exists between the other clubs in the set. Not only was the distance precisely gapped, the ball speed, spin, and launch were, too, so that ball flight remained consistent.

  5. I have the 225 in 5-7i and the 223 in 4-PW. Both in Recoil 95. The 225’s were insurance in the event the 223 was less forgiving. Bought these in pre-release. But I had no need to worry.

    The 223 is slightly smaller heel to toe than the 225 and the short irons look good. The offset looks good and the sole is probably wider than you may want but it is beveled to play thinner. The feel with graphite shafts is more muted than crisp, more of that softer, forged feeling, especially with the copper layer. If one was wondering about differences between the 921F and 223, the copper layer gives a softer feel to the 223 but you have the forgiveness of the 921F. I have not discerned that much difference in the feel of the forged chromoly versus the 1025E since I use graphite which mutes feel somewhat.

    I am a lower spin player and these have the spin I need. I am not a 4i guy – my hc hovers around 9-10, but I bought it to see what I could do with it. While I would not take it to the course yet, I get some high ones but mostly low-mid because my SS is that of 95 mph driver speed. The forgiveness is there.

    If you are a lower spin player, get fit. If you are thinking 225 as I was, demo the 223.

    • Thank you for the comparison to the 921f,Jerry

      • Some are saying the 223 has a slightly thinner face, too, than the 921F in the 4-7i, and you may find it “hotter” as in longer. I haven’t done enough Trackman to confirm. But it sounds logical.

  6. Pro Mulligan

    I’m still gaming my MP18 MMC and thinking about switching them out for some new and shiny irons. I’m debating between the 223 or 225 and the only way to know for sure is to get fitted. Looks wise both sets appeal to my eyes but I think feel wise the 223 will take the cake. In any case, Mizuno makes some of the best irons out there and I’m sure I will get along with either.

  7. How would you compare this iron to the MMC in terms of spin, control and forgiveness? Some reviews I’ve read don’t think it has been an improvement……. but I know you’re weren’t especially impressed with the MMC. It sounds like you are with this one

    • Matt Saternus

      Gary,

      I don’t have the head to head data for a specific comparison, but, yes, I think the Pro 223 is much better than the MMC.

      -Matt

    • It is the biggest improvement in the MP lineup according to Chris Vosh at Mizuno. The 223 has much greater ball speed and forgiveness. It is a much easier iron to play and gain distance. The multi-material did not help ball speed according to Vosh. I will leave it at that.

  8. Jerry, how did you get the 223 Pros in graphite (Recoil 95s) ? The Mizzy website only refers to steel shafts in the build, unless I missed something obvious.

    • You only need to ask what is available from your retailer, but then I don’t trust most retailers to know. So go to mizunousa.com, and then find the 223 irons and go to specs – they have a custom shaft spec where they have 20 different shafts you can choose and one is the Recoil 95. Good luck.

  9. Thanks for your information on the 223s, I’m switching from the 921 forged to the new 223s. My concern is the shaft..I’m go to put the dg s300 stiff 105 with the 223s..shaft is hard for to get the right combination, I had the modus stiff shaft in the 223s.. any advice on the shaft that’s good for the 223s?

    • Matt Saternus

      Scott,

      It always comes down to individual fit. Any shaft can work with the 223, given the right player.

      -Matt

  10. Matt- what is a more forgiving players iron in your opinion the 223 or Titleist T100? Struggling between purchasing one or the other. Both feel great not sure which offers a little more forgiveness until I get out on the course

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      My advice is always to get a fitting. I think they’re pretty close, and one might deal better with your specific misses.

      -Matt

      • Somehow I knew that would be your answer! Thank you

      • Todd Garber

        Matt,
        Enjoyed the review. I was recently fitted and the numbers for the 223 and T100s were very close. Which did you find more forgiving specifically on thin strikes?

        Thank you

  11. Keith Finley

    These seem like a reinvention of the MP52/3/4. Loved the 53s

  12. Ian Poultry

    Did you think it worth mentioning that mizuno irons are substantially flatter lie than all other mainline clubs ? This is a rather important issue for anyone with a grooved swing and non stock mizuno clubs as a reference. Why do they do this ? Targeting the shorter golfer ?

  13. Curt Walker

    I’ve got an appointment to get fitted soon. Currently play MP 18 mmc with Project X 5.0 90 g graphite shaft. I’m a5-6 hcp. Is the 223 comparable to the MP18? Is the distance comparable?

  14. Subhash Nath

    Is p223 comes with graphite shafts and if yes how much will be the cost in India?

  15. I hit the 223 (in 6 iron) longer, straighter, with more backspin, and with a better descent angle than any of the 921s in my fitting, across several different shafts too. So far in real, on-course game play, I’d concur with this.

  16. Matt Sloan

    How does this line of irons compare to the MP series?

  17. Paul Birkenstock

    Mizuno 223 not just for low handicap players. I score in the 90s and recently bought a set of 223 irons. After hitting them 15 yds further than my Callaway I asked him why articles say these are only for low handicap players. He said as long as you are a solid striker, you can hit a forged iron. They have totally changed my game. Moved from a 7 iron 150 yd club to an 8 iron. 5 iron is 190 to 200. Worth the money. Great feel.

  18. Hi Matt,
    Currently playing mp18sc modus 105 stiff, want more forgivness, do you think the 223 with graphite shafts (steelfiber i95) will be more easy to hit than the mp18sc ?
    I don’t have the opportunity to get fitted where i am
    Thanks for your answer

    • Matt Saternus

      Hicham,

      I have no way of giving you an educated answer to that question. I don’t think the heads are that dissimilar, and the shaft change could be better or worse.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Thanks for your answer.

        Lenght Standard Options mizuno pro 223
        0.25 inch longer than mp18sc except for the pw
        Have you any idea Why?

        • Matt Saternus

          Hicham,

          Most OEMs are slowly pushing longer standard lengths to enhance distance and win more fittings.

          Best,

          Matt

          • I understand, but why not for the pw ?
            They added 0.25 inch 4 to 9 but not for the pw ?
            Any idea ?

          • Hicham,

            I would only be guessing. Diminishing distance returns? Feedback from players about not wanting their PW above a certain length?

            -Matt

          • If they decided not to add 0.25 inch to the pw, what about the wedges !! If i add 0.25 or 0.5 inch to my gap wedge or sandwedge they ll be longer than the pw !!

  19. Matt,
    Long time Ping i series player. I currently play i210 and waiting for the launch of the i230. Is the Mizuno 223 a comparable iron to the Ping i210? What do you see as the main difference in the two irons. I like the looks of the 223. are the heads smaller than the i210? But, Ping has been my go for a long time.
    Dennis Edwards

    • Matt Saternus

      Dennis,

      I think you can reasonably compare those two irons. Without having them side by side I’m hesitant to offer any concrete comparisons, but I think the 223 may be a bit smaller.

      Best,

      Matt

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