When golfers ask what drivers they should consider beyond “the usual”, the name Mizuno should definitely be in the conversation. Since the introduction of the ST190 series in 2019, the reputation of Mizuno metals has continued to rise.
That’s no surprise, that model was the start of a three-year, intensive driver-development program for the Japanese manufacturer. It produced the ST190, the successive ST200, and, for this year, the ST series.
They’re not to be ignored when consumers scan the deep field of contenders as they look to spend their driver dollars. Of course, that is also where these new Mizuno woods begin to stand out. Drivers will sell for about $549 (CAD) while fairways check in at $399. That gets your attention immediately in a market where premium products can cost $200 more than that.
Fear not though, these are not some diluted down product made to sell at a price point, they are already seeing use on Tour with PGA TOUR member Keith Mitchell, for example, blasting his way around courses with one.
Same Face Material, Pushed Forward
So where do the new ST-Z and ST-X models push ahead considering they also utilize the same face material, Forged Beta SAT2041 Ti, as the ST200?
Mizuno’s Chris Voshall explains, “Most of our ST200 tour feedback was on the sensory side, a desire for a sound our players generally described as solid or dense,” said Chris Voshall from Mizuno. “We spent the next year working on improving feedback, hand in hand with releasing the additional ball speed we knew was left in our SAT2041 Beta Ti face.”
As the only part of the club that (should) come in contact with the golf ball, the formulation of the face is critical to the success of a driver product and the very expensive Super Alloy is both stronger and more flexible than the commonly used 6-4 Titanium, creating more potential for ball speed, and over a wider area of the face. The material took half a decade to develop and carries over from the automative industry.
The face material is used in both of the new drivers, with each deigned to be a fit for a different style of player, with varying ball flight requirements.
Consider the ST-Z model driver the Swiss Army knife of the new Mizuno driver models. It should handle the required tasks for most golfers with a high level of stability via the use of a deep back weight but but balanced in construction for neutral ball flight bias.
“The ST-Z’s predecessor the ST200 had a reputation for being a straight-line bomber favoured by our longer hitting tour players, and the ST-Z profile is no different,” said Chris Voshall. “But with a year’s extra experience of engineering Forged Beta SAT2041 Ti. we were able to release a little extra ball speed and a much more satisfying experience off the clubface.”
The look of the ST-Z at address is more “spread out” than the ST-X with shallower profile that inspires confidence. The Quick Switch adjustable hiosel
A balanced use of carbon composite on the sole and a deep central sole weight are biased towards a straight-line flight and low spin efficiency. The ST-Z driver has a wide, low footprint, with a neutral visual lie angle and comes with 4 degrees of quick switch adjustability to fine-tune look and trajectory.
While the ST-X driver sports a heel-sided sole weight intended to create some draw bias, that is tempered by a different shape than the “flattened-out” ST-Z model.
“In testing, a lot of our tour players preferred the ST-X over the ST-Z for its deeper shape and slightly smaller profile,” said Chris Voshall. “I’d recommend starting with an open mind and dropping the ST-X alongside the ST-Z in the address position. For a draw bias driver, it’s not going to be what most players expect.”
In the ST-X golfers will see a more compact head that appears more upright, and purports to have a denser sound and feel. Like its sister driver, it brings with it the four degrees of adjustability in the hosel.
A nice add-ion for ST-X users will be the option of Japanese specification shafts, including a 39gram model that slow swinging players may benefit from.
Those with mid-lower swing speeds will benefit from the J-Spec, Japan Specification, incorporating an incredibly lightweight 39g MFUSION graphite shaft.
From The Fairway
Mizuno fairway woods have continued to improve both in appearance and performance and the new ST-Z fairways (3 and 5 woods) lean on the MAS1C face that two previous fairways from the company did.
Overall, it’s a versatile package, one that does not push too hard on the low spin nor the high launch story. The result is a universal product, with extreme loft and face angle adjustability to turn them into the clubs you need.
Traditionally shaped, the dark finish gives a sleek overall appearance at address. At the same time there is hint of modern attributes with a lightweight carbon crown to help push mass lower. In the sole the familiar WAVE Technology design returns, encouraging the lower part of the face to flex more to reduce spin on thin strikes.
“The fairway wood might be the least regularly changed club in any bag so we spent a lot of time looking at older models that our tour players had hung onto over the years,” said Chris Voshall. “It ended with a lot of really subtle touches on the ST-Z, like leading edge and transition into the hosel. There’s a lot to like at address.”
The entire line of ST metals have plenty of shaft and fitting options, many at no extra charge. They will be available at retail in February.