An excellent all rounder that provides a good blend of distance and forgiveness. Add to that the aspirational aesthetics and powerful feel and you have another strong contender within the 2023 driver market.
Powerful feel at impact
Impressive consistent playability
Classic head shape
May not suit low spin players after a more compact shape
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Over the last few years, Mizuno has been hard at work on a “Speed Technology Metalwood Project” that has seen it fine-tuning each new range and we’ve now arrived at the ST-230 series. In the drivers, there are two options ST-Z and ST-X, both of which feature an interesting new technology that promises to boost performance.
In the video below, we compare the Mizuno ST-Z 230 to two other models on the market in 2023.
This development comes in the shape of a new CORTECH Chamber which encases a stainless-steel weight with elastomeric TPU. This feature has been added to the head to take stress from the clubface and use it to create an additional source of energy. At the same time, Mizuno engineers say this pushes weight closer to the face to reduce spin, while also contributing to a more solid, powerful sensation at impact.
Last year’s Mizuno ST-Z 220 was one of the best-looking drivers on the market – and, for me, not much has changed. At address, the differences between the generations are hard to spot. It still has a gloss black finish with the carbon effect pattern underneath but the new version has a darker alignment aid. To my eye, this is one of the most sleek, premium-looking drivers you’ll see this year.
Of the two, it is the Z that’s designed to deliver a neutral flight and lower spin while the X is draw-biased. However, the Z is slightly more stretched back than the Mizuno ST-X 230 driver, which is a little more rounded. The fact the Z looks a little bigger from front-to-back is a contrast to what you’ll find elsewhere on the market and to me at least, reinforces the idea that with this range, a custom-fitting is really important.
The last thing to say about the looks is that I love the Mizuno-blue finish on the sole (which highlights the CORTECH Chamber). To me, it looks high-tech and premium, and adds to the shelf appeal.
As for the feel, this was another big plus. Through impact, this delivers a very powerful, lively sensation. Those who veer towards the feel of titanium drivers (over designs with more carbon in them such as the Callaway Paradym driver or TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver) will love the way this feels.
So, how did it perform? I tested both new models as well as last year’s versions, using a GC Quad launch monitor at Foresight Sports European HQ. The shaft used for testing was a Hzurdus 6.0 60g with the drivers set to 9.5 ̊, and I hit Titleist Pro V1x golf balls.
Distance-wise, it was very solid but not outstanding in terms of the best golf drivers of 2023. During my testing, the club speed was a little faster than last year’s (it also spun a little less) and this translated into good ball speed. It was launching high, and it spun in a really good window for me. The ball flight was spot on. Having said that, with a little less loft I think I could bring the launch and spin down to help add a few extra yards.
What really stood out, and the reason I’d stick with the 9.5˚ set-up I tested, was the playability the new ST-Z model. When I didn’t quite catch it, the spin rates went up slightly - but not by much. What’s the significance of this? To me, low spin miss hits are more troublesome and I was pleased to see this driver maintain its flight even when I struck it poorly.
Of the two ST-230 drivers, the Z was the more consistent model for me. The neutral, stable flight put this alongside the most playable drivers I’ve tested this year, including the excellent PING G430 Max.
As you’d expect from Mizuno, the ST-230 drivers feature classically aspirational aesthetics and a superb feel through impact. But in my testing the ST-Z 230 was also an excellent all rounder, providing a good blend of distance and forgiveness.
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In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf.
Throughout his time with the brand he has also 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 TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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