When golfers think of buying a new driver, Mizuno might not be the first name that comes to mind.
But the manufacturer's most recent addition might make amateurs change their mind. The company, known primarily for its beautiful blade irons, has unleashed the ST 180 Driver on the golfing world and early reviews are glowing.
The driver is easy to look at and easier to hit, giving golfers of all skill levels another weapon to consider when they hit the opening tee.
Mizuno ST 180 Driver Review
Mizuno really opened up the playbook with the design of the ST 180. It copied some of the technology which has made the recent Ping drivers so popular with golfers of varying abilities.
Specifically, moving the center of gravity back not only makes the club more forgiving for those of us who don't hit the sweet spot consistently, but it also produces a slightly lower spin rate and launch than some of Mizuno's recent offerings.
There are no moveable weights on the club and the internal waffle design reduces the overall weight of the crown by five grams.
Another perk to the ST 180 is the new material Mizuno cranked out on this one. The company used Forged SP700, which is a high-end titanium alloy.
Mizuno makes the bold claim that this titanium is 10 percent stronger than the 6-4 titanium used in most drivers. Because of this strength, the sweet spot is a whopping 30 percent larger than previous Mizuno offerings.
A finer grain on the face helps the sound and feel of the club and improves the ball speed. So does the CORTECH technology on the face. It's a multi-thickness design that helps out those strikes that are not made in the center of the face.
And by putting those unsightly waves on the sole of the club, the face is allowed to flex at impact. This flex leads to more speed transferred from the clubhead to the ball and could mean a few extra yards for most players. And we could all use a little more speed and a few extra yards.
Loaded with Options
The Quick Switch Adapter is a feature Mizuno introduced on prior driver models. It enables the golfer to choose easily between five stadard lie lofts - 7.5 degrees to 11.5 degrees. This also allows golfers to switch between three upright lofts as well - ranging from 8.5 to 10.5 degrees.
Mizuno likes to give golfer's options. And who doesn't love options. When it comes to stock shafts (with no upcharge), choose between the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi Dual Cor, the Tensei White, Orange and Blue, and the Bassara E42. Each is available in either stiff or regular flex and between the group golfers should be able to find a shaft to match their swing.
This is a good-looking driver that's built for booming drives. Early indicators have this driver on the top end of ball speed on the market.
Probably not the most workable driver. But let's face it, for most of us the days of sliding cuts and rolling draws off the tee are fading. If a golfer can hit a consistent, straight, high ball, he can find the fairway and play well on most any golf course.
Mizuno checks all the boxes in this category as well. Those off-center hits should still find the fairway without losing significant distance.
How does the Mizuno ST 180 Driver compare to the other Mizuno drivers?
Some consider this another step in the same direction Mizuno took its technology with the JPX EZs, which were released in November 2015. While they share similar technology, it's also fair to assume that Mizuno has made advancements via research and development in the last two years.
Bottom line: If you like the JPX EZ, you'd be foolish not to give the ST180 Driver a long hard look and take it for a spin on the driving range or at your nearest launch monitor.
As of February of this year, Mizuno released the twin brother to the ST-180, the GT-180 Driver. The GT180 Driver has many of the same features of the ST 180, but it offers adjustable face and loft. You can read our full review here.
9.5 to 11 Degrees
9.5 to 11 Degrees
What kind of player is the Mizuno ST 180 Driver designed for?
Initially, you'd think this driver was designed with the mid-to-high handicapper in mind. And there's no doubt they'll benefit from the enlarged sweetspot and improved ball speed.
But because of Mizuno's tweaks to the ST180 Driver, the low handicap golfer shouldn't rule out this as the perfect driver in their bag, either.
The low launch / low spin combo is appealing to better players who have little trouble creating ample distance off the tee. This is a driver with mass appeal.
How does the Mizuno ST 180 Driver compare to drivers from other manufacturers?
The obvious comparison, due to the usage of similar technology, is the Ping G400 driver. Anyone who has had success with any of Ping's recent drivers is likely to enjoy hitting the Mizuno ST 180 as well.
It's probably not ideal for someone who likes the classic look of a Titleist 917. There's a rumbling out there that the ST 180 compares favorably to Callaway's monster 2017 releases the Epic and Epic Sub-Zero.
We might pump the brakes on that notion, but not slam them down entirely. Again, it's worth a test and some comparison shopping as the ST 180 is bringing the heat as we wind down in 2017.
For a more detailed review of the new drivers of 2018, check out our review of the best new drivers on the market.
Let's face it, there are many good drivers on the market today. But the reality is if each new release gave us all 3-5 extra yards off the tee and greatly improved our forgiveness, we'd all be driving it 325 yards by now.
And one walk down the driving range on a Saturday morning confirms that's certainly not the case.
However, the ST 180 is a good-looking, nice-feeling addition to the marketplace. With this release, Mizuno aimed for a certain segment of the golfing population - those who might be a touch inconsistent off the tee- and delivered a product that should help them hit more good drives and enjoy the game even more. That's a pretty sweet combination and one worth pursuing.