Long considered a pre-eminent maker of forged irons, Mizuno Golf unveils new drivers and fairway metals that should not be overlooked
For years, Mizuno Golf based its reputation as the manufacturer of industry-leading forged irons on the fact that many of golf’s best players used them.
Tiger Woods, for example, won more than one of his U.S. Amateur titles with Mizuno irons. He also won his first major, the 1997 Masters, with a split set of long and short Mizuno irons. Nick Faldo claimed all of his six major championships playing Mizuno forged blades. From the mid- to late-1980s through the 1990s, Mizuno rightfully boasted itself to be the No. 1 iron on the PGA Tour.
Less remembered, however, is the fact that Mizuno Golf, a division of the Japan-based sporting goods manufacturer Mizuno Corp., also led the way in many keystone metal driver innovations. The company’s Ti-110 driver introduced in 1990 stands as the industry’s first titanium driver. Sold primarily in Japan, the club retailed for about $1,000, roughly double what a top brand driver would sell for today.
Faldo won two majors using a Mizuno metal driver, while Vijay Singh captured the 2000 Masters with one. Mizuno’s MP-600 titanium driver, introduced in 2007, featured an industry-first moveable and sliding-weight track that adjusted heel or toe weighting for controlled draw and fade shots.
Mizuno’s present-day effort to aggressively advertise and promote its ST — “Speed Tech” or, as promoted in some of the company’s marketing, “Show Time” — line of drivers and fairway metals represents a little something new for the company.
Chris Voshall, Mizuno Golf’s golf product manager, said that “as Mizuno continued to grow in the iron world and as we expanded our marketing resources, we saw a much larger opportunity to promote our entire line.
“We have not been on TV with ads in recent years, but now that we’re running them again with spots on Golf Channel, along with our new radio ads on Sirius XM, we’re exclusively promoting our new drivers rather than our irons.”
Today, Mizuno offers two new models, the ST-Z and the ST-X, that appeal to tour pros and amateurs. Key to both drivers’ designs is a very lightweight, yet strong, durable and dense SAT 2041 Beta Titanium clubface — Voshall notes that no other company employs such a clubface in its metalwoods — which adds extra ball speed to golfers’ drivers. Sections of weight-saving composite carbon fiber positioned on the clubhead’s top crown and bottom sole areas help stabilize the driver’s qualities throughout the swing arc and at impact.
While both heads are 460cc in size, the ST-Z driver head presents a wide and slightly shallow profile to the golfer’s eye at address, while positioning extra weight near the back end of the clubhead. According to Voshall, the scheme produces higher MOI on off-center hits and a consistently high and straight ball-flight pattern. The more compact and deeper ST-X clubhead finds added weight placed near the heel side of the clubface, which Voshall say promotes more draw-shaped shots.
Golfers can customize the ST-X driver with a heavier tungsten plug in the back of the clubhead. This option, paired with a custom shaft fit, can, according to Voshall, transform the driver from primarily a slice-mitigating machine into a very workable club the likes of which Tour pros and low-handicap amateurs generally prefer. Both drivers accommodate a fitting sleeve on their shaft tips that provide eight lie- and loft-modifying settings.
Jeff Crawford, Mizuno Golf’s associate marketing manager, said the new ST-Z and the ST-X clubs represent the culmination of Mizuno’s three-year driver development project, which started with the company’s ST 190 model then progressed into its ST 200 driver.
Crawford said that “some of the feedback we received about these clubs from our Tour Staff players, including Luke Donald, Keith Mitchell and others, focused on their desire for a quieter sounding driver at impact.” The new SAT 2041 Beta Titanium clubfaces appear to have done the trick.
Club Champion founder Nick Sherburne, while describing Club Champion as “brand agnostic,” expresses genuine enthusiasm over Mizuno’s new ST driver and ST fairway line of clubs.
“We’re fitting golfers into more Mizuno drivers and fairway metals than ever before,” he said. “All of these clubs display great ball speed and spin control, so not only do they keep up with the Jones’, they sometimes beat the Jones’.
“So what I’m happy to say to golfers looking for a new driver or fairway metals is don’t overlook Mizuno.”
Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.