Review: Miura Special Edition Small Blades

The ball looks large compared with the face of the 7 iron.
March 11, 2013 12:27:03 PM PDT
Golf is a counterintuitive game. If we want to hook a ball left, we must swing right. To fade it right, we swing left. To get the ball up, we hit down.

Then there's the adage about how, "Bigger is better and more forgiving."

Forget it.

After trying a set of Miura's so-called 'Baby Blades,' I have opened to the possibility that smaller can be more honest, more intense, and might help anyone's game. Think game improvement through swing improvement. Read on, and you will see how smaller has certainly helped mine.

It may be intimidating the first time you place one of these irons behind a golf ball. The Series 1957 Special Editions are 15 percent smaller than a traditional blade, which is already small when compared with the oversized waffle irons most players use.

We hit golf balls with swings, however, not our eyes. Forget the oversized illusion of forgiveness. Embrace faith. A well-struck shot with these small irons feels so pure that, at impact, you may not notice any resistance from the ball. Such shots make the word, 'butter' obsolete. Think in terms of magic wands.

Miura manufactures these clubs from its most dense, 1025 carbon steel. What feels so soft at impact is, in fact, a harder material borne from the company's patented forging process. Imagine 257 grams of traditional 5-iron weight condensed into a smaller head. With so much focused force, these irons have more punch. You may hit the ball farther. Even miss-hits have been more forgiving. They make contact closer to the club's center of gravity, minimizing unwanted spin from the gear effect. They're also good from the rough, with many of the same qualities as hybrids because they do not move nearly as much grass. The Small Blades twist less, and get down to the ball.

The sweet spot of Miura's Small Blades is slightly inside the center of the clubface. At address, set the ball up practically next to the shaft. As a person who shanks occasionally, that was unnerving, at first, but a couple of flush impacts assuaged those fears.

A good fitting certainly helps. An expert built this test set. David Butler of Half Moon Bay sells and customizes Miura almost exclusively. You will pay more for his services and these clubs from whomever you might buy them, but that investment could save you money, long term, because these may be the last irons you ever buy.

Butler put me into his Trackman simulator for a couple of hours, experimenting with different lengths, shafts, and variations of them. With David, a fitting feels more like a golf swing psychic reading. When a guy can add 20 yards to your driver, 10-15 yards to every iron, and help you hit them straighter despite a multitude of swing flaws, just do what he says and let him work the numbers.

David Butler is part artist, part scientist, and in terms of club fitting, a savant. He can talk spines, droops, flexes and swing speeds until your ears bleed. After the fitting, David said he had those steel M-80 shafts bending some 30 degrees before impact, then releasing directly into the ball with no unwanted oscillations. "They need that kick in order to work," he said.

The clubs Butler built with his associate Tracy Nichols were remarkable. Good shots climbed to approximately the same height from one iron to the next, as they should. Those shots remained airborne for roughly 5.1 seconds no matter what the stick. Combined, the clubs felt like a seamless, 10-gear transmission. "Once you dial in the distances, you will score with them," David said. "Every one of those clubs descends at 50 degrees. They should land and stop."

I first used the Small Blades in a weekend tournament at my club, going out with minimal expectations. I finished with six birdies, equaling my best round there, ever. Approach shots settled softly, as if dropped by parachute, leaving a treasure trove of 10-12 footers. It was a memorable day for an inconsistent-and-worsening 7-index golfer who rarely has time to practice.

Except that the next round was better. It was my best, ever, anywhere, and not a lucky fluke. It would be unseemly to print the score, but suffice to say that I entered a realm most golfers only dream about. At first posting, the GHIN computer would not accept it.

The third time I used those blades, my game returned to Earth. Even then, however, I finished two strokes under that soon-to-be former handicap. How quickly our standards change.

So, a guy has to wonder. Can a set of well-built, smaller-headed irons really make such a difference? They're inanimate objects, after all. Two weeks ago, the cynic in me would have said, "No." Not anymore. If these clubs work for you as they did for me, their compact size will focus you. Their feel will instruct you. Soon, you will find an easier, more rhythmic and confident golf swing.

As a last note, you do not need to be a single-digit player to use the Small Blades, just a serious one. They will particularly help beginners who want to learn the feeling of a properly struck shot. The smaller size should not be an issue for golfers who have never experienced anything else.

Truly, this is a case where smaller can be better. Despite their diminutive size, Miura's 'Baby Blades' hit big.


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