With the ST-Z model, Mizuno have created another excellent driver that is both forgiving and pleasing on the eye and ears. Superb all round performance and neutral ball flight will please a wide spectrum of players.
The modern aesthetics and classic shape combine with a great feel and solid all round performance, including low spin with forgiveness.
Minimal gains over the previous generation. Better players may prefer a smaller footprint at address.
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In this Mizuno ST-Z driver review article and video, Neil Tappin tests the new ST-Z model to see if it improves on last year's impressive ST200.
Mizuno ST-Z Driver Review
Mizuno has made serious strides in the driver market in recent years. In terms of performance, the ST200 models from 2020 held their own against brands that traditionally take a higher share of the driver market.
For 2021, its driver designs have been refined and the launch of the ST-Z came alongside the Mizuno ST-X driver with a more compact head and draw-bias.
With this in mind, how did the Mizuno ST-Z driver perform and should you consider putting one of these into play?
That this is an evolutionary product is clear as soon as you set the latest iteration down behind the ball and compare it to last year’s version – the crown aesthetics are very similar.
Apart from a series of minor cosmetic changes, the biggest difference with the ST-Z is that it looks a little longer from front to back than last year's ST200 and this year's ST-X.
Putting the differences between generations to one side, the ST-Z driver looks superb and strikes a fine balance between modern, cutting-edge aesthetics and classic shaping.
One of the biggest improvements in 2021, according to Mizuno, is in the sound and feel. Whilst carbon composite drivers from the likes of Callaway and TaylorMade deliver a low-pitched, powerful impact sounds Mizuno’s ST200 drivers from 2020 were a little louder through the strike.
That’s been dialled down this time but perhaps not as much as we were expecting. For those who prefer a slightly higher-pitched sound and feel, the new ST-Z will still appeal.
In terms of the SkyTrak launch monitor data, as the numbers below show, there really wasn’t much to choose between the two new models and the ST200 G from 2020. We tested all three using the same Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX shaft – the ST-Z and ST-X were set to 10.5˚ whilst the ST200G was at 10˚ and the sole weights were moved to the rear-most setting).
You can see the ST-Z's performance is not that much different from last year's ST200G apart from a slightly higher launch angle and peak height. It also wasn't as long as the ST-X model for us.
The ST-Z driver might not represent a huge year-on-year leap forward for Mizuno but it builds on what was already a very strong, and arguably underrated, offering. The overall combination of looks, feel and performance make it a worthy contender for anyone on the search for a new driver.
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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