ClubTest 2022: The inside story behind Mizuno’s new driver line (plus reviews!)
This year’s ClubTest is bigger and better than ever. To help you make sense of the mountain of high-tech new clubs on the market, we put all of the latest offerings from the top golf club manufacturers to the ultimate test, making use of a state-of-the-art swing robot to put each club through its paces. Below you will find our deep dive into Mizuno’s newest drivers, including full reviews and test results toward the bottom of the page.
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We’re not going to ruffle any feathers by saying that Mizuno is a company best known for its irons, not for its metalwoods. The folks at Mizuno know full well that their reputation hinges mostly on its latest steel forgings and, more concisely, how well Mizuno continues to develop new iron technologies that mix classic good looks with new levels of playability.
“Because we’re best known for our irons, there’s a real sense of openness and freedom to think outside the box when it comes to our wood designs,” says Chris Voshall, product manager at Mizuno. “But it wasn’t always that way. For years, we developed our woods alongside our irons, with similar flows of research and development and product cycles, etc. It’s almost like they were piggy-backed on. And, in the process, we still churned out some amazing iterations of drivers and fairway woods.”
Voshall continues, “But there was a problem to that approach. Our woods always fell second to our iron designs, and we didn’t lend the focus and attention that our woods lineups truly deserved.
So we completely flipped the way we approach our woods line and embarked on what we called a ‘three-year rapid-fire development.’ We stopped trying to keep up with our irons and instead approached our woods division as something entirely new and different.”
This change in perspective at Mizuno is what shaped the latest crop of ST woods (ST-G 220, ST-X and ST-Z) available today. “The ST line not only embodies the best woods we’ve ever made, it’s also the line of woods we’re most proud of,” says Voshall. “The technology we’ve employed is the result of sticking to our commitment to building high-performance, precision-made golf equipment but also due to our willingness to try new things and experiment with different technologies. It’s our best stuff yet and a direct result of our full commitment to making woods freely and unencumbered by other product lines here at Mizuno.”
What stuff you ask? The leading technology in the new ST line of drivers and woods is the material used to make them. The face of the drivers is made of forged SAT2041 beta-titanium, which, for non-metallurgists like us, means it has 17 percent more tensile strength and is 8 percent more flexible than the traditionally used 6-4 titanium found in some other woods. “The titanium we now use has a grain structure that makes it more powerful than any titanium we’ve ever worked with,” says Voshall. “What people ought to know is an alloy is actually a metal made of a combination of different elements, and we carefully select ours for maximum performance and long-lasting durability.”
Also, the face of Mizuno’s drivers employs CORTECH — a technology used in the broader line of Mizuno products, including its aluminum baseball bats. According to Voshall, “CORTECH allows us to make the walls of the clubface thinner around the perimeter, making the sweet spot and the area around it hotter and much more forgiving.”
Carbon composite tech can also be found in the ST line. “Composites aren’t new for us, and we’ve used carbon to manipulate weight in our woods in previous models. And in our latest offerings, we’ve added even more,” says Voshall. “However, we don’t just think weight displacement and strength in how we employ composite technology. We also heavily factor in feel and sound based on what our Tour players prefer. So not only are our woods weighted optimally for maximum distance, forgiveness and playability, they look, sound and feel as pure as our irons do.”
Within the ST line of drivers there are three models, each designed for a different type of player. It starts with the new ST-X, a draw-biased clubhead with internal weighting skewed along the X axis to help golfers mitigate slices and hit straighter and longer drives. Next is the ST-Z, a neutral, deep-weighted driver favored by players who want a penetrating ballflight that still affords some shotmaking capabilities. Last is the ST-G 220, a bomber with three weight tracks and two movable weights.
“We have three drivers in the ST line, each with a different set of performance benefits but with similar attributes and features,” says Voshall. “What excites us is all three drivers have proven themselves as viable options for practically every type of player. Case in point: We’ve had Tour players loving the ST-X, which on paper is an ‘anti-slice’ driver! It really boils down to the individual player’s wants, needs and likes, and I think we run the gamut of player types with this trio of clubs.”
All three drivers come with legacy Mizuno tech, including an Optimized Wave Sole (to boost face flex at impact) and an eight-point adjustable hosel sleeve for a custom ballflight. Mizuno’s fairway woods come in last year’s ST-Z profiles and, new for this year, ST-X models for more forgiveness and higher launches. Says Voshall, “We found inspiration for our woods by both looking to the past to see what’s worked so far and by seeking input from the best players—and keeping an open mind.” — Ryan Noll
MIZUNO DRIVER REVIEWS
Mizuno ST-G 220
We tested: 9° (loft ranges between 7° – 11°)
Our take: Mizuno’s latest drivers are the best drivers we’ve ever seen from the company — not just because they’re the newest, but also relatively speaking from year to year. The ST-G is the newest from the company, affording a tremendous level of customization via multiple weight options on the sole. Which even if it didn’t have that, this driver would still contend on its killer looks, the carbon crown and adjustable hosel tech. It also has one of the most satisfying sounds of any carbon-crowned drivers we’ve tried this year.
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Mizuno ST-G 220 driver
The details: The two weight tracks on the sole (one towards the heel the other towards the toe) afford greater trajectory and spin customization, and the rear weights further that effort even more via options for an even deeper CG. Also comes with a composite crown for a lower center of mass, a multi-thickness CORTECH face, Wave Sole and quick switch capability for adjusting lofts up to four degrees.
Mizuno ST-X 220
We tested: 10.5°, 12°
Our take: We wouldn’t categorically call the ST-X an anti-slice driver by any means, but the added draw bias does in fact work its hardest to counteract slices thanks to internal weighting that favors the heel region. This speeds up the toe through the hit, helping prevent open-faced clubheads and aids in reducing left-to-right spin. It works, but it’s subtle. If anything, we found it didn’t produce draws, it allowed for straight to slight fades, which we’ll take any day of the week off the tee.
Mizuno ST-X 220 driver
Robot’s take: The ST-X has the higher launch of the new Mizuno drivers and, with the built-in draw bias, produces an equal dispersion on off-center hits. Spin was mid to high for max distance.
The details: Comes with a composite crown that’s been pushed out further towards the toe for both a lowered CG and internal weighting more towards the heel. Also comes with a forged Beta-Ti CORTECH clubface for faster ballspeeds and an adjustable hosel for even further trajectory configurations.
Mizuno ST-Z 220
We tested: 9.5°, 10.5°
Our take: For those who want a drive that produces a penetrating loft with medium-to-low spin rates, the ST-Z has proven itself among the best drivers in that category. According to our testers, “the ball launches with added power and it feels like I can shape shots if I need to.” Furthermore, another tester is on record saying, “I like how the carbon crown makes it easy to see the tech inside and the ballspeed has been incredible.”
Mizuno ST-Z 220 driver
The details: Featuring a composite crown section and a high-strength, forged Beta Ti clubface, the ST-Z is designed for players who want a penetrating launch with low-spin to lessen curvature to the left or right. Comes with an 8-point adjustable hosel for flight and loft adjustments up to four degrees.