An all-round performer to challenge the very best on the market in 2022. Consistency and stability are the stand-out features from a head that carries Mizuno’s trademark, understated elegance.
Easy to launch
Stable ball flight
Minimal differences versus the previous generation
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It would be fair to say that Mizuno’s driver offerings have gone somewhat under the radar in recent years. When we tested the moveable weight ST200G driver back at the start of 2020, we felt that it stacked up against the best golf drivers from the likes of Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway and PING in every department. Last year, Mizuno’s engineers evolved the design without making drastic changes.
The question is, what can we expect from this year’s Mizuno ST-Z 220 driver and is it enough to tempt more golfers to take the plunge? To find out, we hit it on a launch monitor up against the other drivers in the 2022 Mizuno range and on the golf course at the London Club.
Before we get into the performance, it is worth looking at where the ST-Z 220 sits in comparison to the other models. The Z is a lower spinning model that should blend power and forgiveness and as such is aimed at the largest cross section of golfers. The Mizuno ST-X 220 driver is mid spinning and has a draw bias whereas the ST-G 220 (which was launched towards the end of last year) features moveable weights that allow you to dial in the spin profile of the head - ideal for those looking to dial down their spin to improve performance.
As the image above shows, the Z version has a lovely mid profile shape down behind the ball. It is confidence-inspiring without looking too big. The view of the carbon composite crown at address is almost identical to what we saw last year (we really struggled to tell the difference between old and new). Whilst Mizuno may not have moved things forward, this still looks modern, premium and sleek. The shelf appeal is understated - it looks expensive but is not as eye-catching as others, most notably the TaylorMade Stealth driver and as a result, is possibly not as exciting either.
We would describe the feel of the ST-Z 220 as solid. It sits somewhere between the more muted and possibly more powerful sounding Cobra LTDx and the higher pitched and possibly more confidence-inspiring PING G425. Of course, feel is subjective but we liked the lively impact sound here.
To test the performance, we took the new Mizuno drivers to Kings Golf Studio to hit them on Trackman using Titleist Pro V1x golf balls. Each driver had the same stiff, 60g Hzrdus Smoke shaft (the G version was set to 10˚ and had the weights pushed forwards). The data chart below shows the performance:
There are some interesting points to highlight from the data. Firstly, the ball speed is, again, up there with the likes of Callaway, TaylorMade, PING and Titleist. With a good fitting we think this driver should help most golfers find some extra yardage. The other thing that struck us as we hit the ST-Z 220 was how easy it was to get in the air. It isn’t as low spinning as we were expecting or as some other, similar drivers on the market. This definitely leaves room in the range for the G version. Importantly, mishits had a tendency to spin up a fraction without causing the flight to balloon. We think that’s a good thing and it made the Mizuno ST-Z 220 feel more playable when we didn't strike it perfectly.
We really enjoyed hitting this Mizuno driver. In all the key categories - from looks to forgiveness - it performs well. What’s more, it comes in with a recommended retail price of £399 which positions it alongside the Cobra LTDx drivers at a slightly lower price point than the other premium metalwood brands. All in all, Mizuno’s driver models have a lot to offer - but we have been saying the same thing for a few years now.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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