In a golf equipment atmosphere where being “the longest” seems to take precedent, one company is putting their faith in distance as well, but promising for it to take place more often with their latest metal woods designs.
Today, Mizuno Golf took the wraps off their ST 220 series of metal woods, products that will be available through their fitting accounts in early February.
More condensed than in years past from the company, the family of metals includes two driver models and singles in the fairway and hybrid category. It’s simple to comprehend for consumers, while still offering enough range to cover off the needs of many golfers. The reduction in overall offerings likely helps to keep the retail pricing lower, being notably so versus many other competitors.
As mentioned, consistency in both speed and dispersion is a focus this year for Mizuno, especially in drivers, and that was facilitated by expanding the carbon area of the sole by some 40%, trimming the titanium inclusion, and bulking up the stabilizing back weight by two-fold.
“Any twisting or deflecting at impact due to an off-center hit is an energy loss and varies launch conditions,” says Mizuno’s Director of R&D David Llewellyn. “By working with the prior ST driver platform and familiar materials, we were able to find several adaptations to impact the internal weighting. Creating far more stable tendencies in both the ST-Z and ST-X.”
With maximum ball speed heavily regulated and normally achieved off a very small portion of the face, the team at Mizuno put their focus on the off-center areas – seeking greater performance from the places where most golfers happen to hit the ball far too often. We’ve all been there.
“By early 2021, with the vast majority of tour players we tested, the ST Series drivers were able to improve on their current driver for ball speed, looks and feel,” says Mizuno’s Director of Product Chris Voshall. “The occasional barrier to getting a driver in play was the distance drop off from off-center strikes. Our engineers isolated and tackled that last dimension with the new ST-Z and ST-X. We’re now seeing the results – ball speed drop-offs are negligible, and we’ve massively tightened the overall ranges of launch and spin.”
Mizuno ST-Z 220 Driver
For golfers wanting stability but needing lower spin rates to match their impact conditions and ball flight needs, the ST-Z 220 steps in as the more likely alternative. It should cover off the preferences of more players.
It will address that through a balanced heel-toe design, with heavy (20 gram) central back weight, and a wide, stable 460cc profile.
“The ST-Z is the most played of all our drivers. It’s a modern driver for players who have grown up hitting long straight bombs rather than shaping the ball. The addition of a 20g back weight also makes it an exceptionally forgiving option,” says Chris Voshall.
The ST-Z driver features Mizuno’s Z-Axis design with weight evenly distributed across toe and heel, encouraging a low spinning stable straight flight. A highly resilient forged SAT2041 Beta Ti face and multi-thickness CORTECH design produce increased ball speeds.
Mizuno’s Harmonic Impact Research has built sound into the design, delivering vibration patterns elite players associate with a ‘solid’ feel. The optimized Wave Sole delivers an additional contribution to ball speeds, particularly from low on the clubface while 4 degrees of loft adjustability allows for fine-tuning of launch and trajectory.
Availability: Right hand – 9.5 and 10.5 degrees.
Left hand – 9.5 degrees only.
Mizuno ST-X 220 Driver
For players needing a little more spin (mid-level) and maybe a little draw bias (but not “anti-slice” – many good players will appreciate the ball flight it can deliver), the ST-X 220 is the appropriate Mizuno Golf driver model for 2022.
The heel-biased 20-gram back weight increases the opportunity for a draw ball flight and the center of gravity position also encourages a higher ball flight and slightly increased spin rate (over the ST-Z) for more ball flight stability.
Of note…the fitting range for the ST-X driver gets wider with the availability of a J-Spec option, with lightweight shafts more suitable for seniors and slower swinging golfers.
“For a lot of golfers, the modern low spinning driver design preferred by tour players is a serious distance killer,” says Chris Voshall. “The ST-X’s extra spin, slight draw bias and a higher flight will add driving distance for a surprising number of players.”
The head shape is more rounded but, like the ST-Z variation, equal attention is paid to the carbon/titanium design configuration and sound characteristics.
Availability: Right hand Only– 10.5 and 12 degrees.
ST-X 220 Fairway Woods
As fairway woods have become hotter and faster across the overall marketplace, some golfers have found that it takes away their ability to actually have fairway clubs that are a functional addition to their bags. When we start to see golfers looking at hybrids to replace their fairway woods, that can lead to some confusion in set-up. Mizuno is addressing that this year with a single model of fairway wood, one that is easier to launch, and with a slight draw bias.
A hearty sized profile with a deep back weight promotes a higher ball launch, even for golfers with a moderate swing speed. It also leads to having clubs that can actually have effective landing angles and not just be one-dimensional distance machines.
At the same time, there is plenty of speed (applied in the right way, with effective launch angles and spin rates) buoyed by a full titanium construction and SAT2041 Beta-Ti face
The three wood is supported by more compact 5 and 7 wood options.
“There are a lot of forgiving looking fairways woods that don’t launch high enough for the average amateur,” says Chris Voshall. “Size and footprint is only one part of the equation – most of us need a little more spin and elevation to carry the ball to our full capability. The ST-X is designed to solve that issue.”
Availability: Right hand only – 3 wood (16), 5 wood (18.5), 7 wood (21.5) degrees
ST-X 220 Hybrids
The ST-X hybrids are meant to fully complement the fairways with a similar range of design features.
That means deep internal weighting for higher launch with some draw bias built-in.
At 1.8mm, the high-speed MAS1C face is Mizuno’s thinnest hybrid face to date, and it produces the highest recorded ball speeds from center strikes (compared to previous ST-X and CLK Mizuno models).
The Optimized Wave Sole is a hybrid-specific design that helps create higher ball speeds from low on the face – suited to strikes directly from the turf.
“The ST-X is a great hybrid option for players with moderate ball speeds,” says Chris Voshall. “With the new thinner face and internal weighting, it’s a nice alternative that will suit a lot of amateur golfers.”
Availability: Right hand only – 4H (20), 5H (23) and 6H (26) degrees.
Golfers can get access to Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers and ST-X 220 metal woods at a Mizuno Swing DNA Fitters starting on February 3rd, 2022.
Retail pricing for ST-X 220 and ST-Z drivers in Canada will be around $599.99 CAD, ST-X Fairway Woods check in at $399.99 (CAD), while ST-X 220 Hybrids will be $299.99 (CAD).