Mizuno’s history with drivers has been interesting to say the least.
There was a period of 10+ years where no Mizuno was played on the PGA tour at all. You may conclude that their drivers simply didn’t perform as well as brands like Callaway & TaylorMade. That might be part of it. But the larger reason is that other brands were willing to pay the big bucks to the tour guys to play their drivers. Mizuno just wasn’t willing to do so.
When it comes to performance, I’ll go ahead and tell you that Mizuno’s last couple of models (ST190 and ST200 drivers) will stand their ground against any other driver on the market. You’ll just have to get your hands on them to test it out.
Anyway, Mizuno just released a new round of drivers: the draw-biased Mizuno ST-X and the super-forgiving ST-Z. While they used to release new clubs closer to every 2 years, it seems as if they are leaning closer to every year now.
Here’s my honest review of the new 2021 Mizuno ST-Z Driver. It’s ShowTime. No literally, it is. That’s what the “ST” stands for.
Appearance & Performance
At address, the checkered design is very similar to recent Callaway drivers like the Epic Speed. Overall, I’m a big fan, especially because Mizuno has released some pretty hideous crowns over the years. You just can’t go wrong with a shiny black crown, can you?
If you take a look at the underside of the club head, we can talk about where the “Z” came from. If the X-axis goes horizontally along the club face, the Y-axis goes vertically up and down the club face, then the Z- axis goes along the back part of the clubhead. In the Mizuno ST-Z driver, the weight is centered more towards the very back of the clubhead – towards the z axis.
It’s got a very low footprint, as opposed to lower spin drivers that sit a little higher off the ground. And the centered (not towards the heel or toe) weight that’s far back on the club head also gives that away.
What can we expect from a clubhead that has the weight centered low and far back? Well, a few things. Lots of forgiveness for one. Higher launch for another. On average, straighter shots on your mishits compared to less forgiving clubs. Considering that just about every shot you hit is a slight mishit, I’d say this should be the more popular Mizuno driver of the two in the series.
Pros & Cons
- low center of gravity design = lots of forgiveness on your off center drives
- apparently a small upgrade in the club face compared to older model (ST200X) to increase ball speeds and improve feel/sound at impact
- only 45 inches in length, compared to the now-somewhat-standard 45.5 inch that’s a little less forgiving due to the extra length
- no draw or fade bias = much easier to focus on improving your swing instead of compensating for a bias
- still plenty of adjustability in loft/lie angle/face angle for those who like to tinker
- easy to test out as there are thousands of Mizuno dealers around the US
- lower priced than many comparable drivers released in the past year
- not super workable if you like hitting draws and fades on command
- larger profile head (same cc, but larger look due to the low & deep design) that isn’t attractive to some golfers
- may spin a little too much for you if you have a very high swing speed (dependent on lots of different things, though)
- still a hefty investment at $400
Comparison to Other Mizuno Drivers (ST-X and Previous Models)
Listen: I just spent 12 minutes of my life watching the video that I attached below. You can watch it for yourself, or you can save 11 minutes of your life. I’ll sum it up in 1 minute, and you can do something more productive with your saved time. I can sum everything up in 4 sentences, just as the Mizuno engineer should have done. I guess Youtube doesn’t like 1 minute videos, though.
- The Mizuno ST-Z driver has the weight focused low and deep. The ST-X has the weight focused towards the heel and a slightly more compact looking club head at address.
- The ST-Z is more forgiving, stable, and overall straighter. The ST-X is draw biased, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a great fit for a better ballstriker.
- Compared to old models, the ST-Z has a slightly thinner club face that is faster and better sounding.
- Every golfer (from beginner to tour pro) could be fit into the ST-Z or ST-X. The differences aren’t very severe anymore.
Here’s the video if you dare go against my recommendations! Just kidding.
Who The Mizuno ST-Z Driver Is Best For
It’s pretty obvious that Mizuno is targeting the Mizuno ST-Z driver towards golfers that just want to hit more fairways. If you are tired of missing left and right, then you will be better off with a more forgiving, lower center-of-gravity head like the ST-Z. Your mishits won’t be as badly penalized as a less-forgiving driver.
Truthfully, I’m a big proponent of drivers like the ST-Z. Golfers don’t need all the adjustability and sliding weights that many drivers come stock with now. Golfers don’t need the extra .5 inch in length that MAY add 1-2 yards to their drives -that small added length often results in a significant loss in consistency. Golfers don’t need a driver to “fix” their slice – fix your swing for goodness sake!
Better Value Alternative
Don’t get me wrong: Mizuno drivers aren’t insanely over-expensive to begin with. It’s a brand that I really like, and I’d support them over Callaway or TaylorMade (who oversaturate the market) anyday. However, I’m more focused on saving money than I am on supporting a massive company. If you are like me, you may be on the lookout for a better value option.
For a similarly designed driver that will cost a fraction of the price, consider the Titleist 913 D2 driver. It’s practically the same exact driver. Hardly any differences at all. Slightly different club face construction, but that’s about it. I’d wager that with the same shaft and the same club head configuration, the Mizuno ST-Z and the Titleist 913 D2 driver will perform within 1% of each other in terms of distance and forgiveness.
The Mizuno ST-Z is $400, while you can pick up a slightly used Titleist 913 D2 with a great shaft for under $100. Seems like a no-brainer to me. But at the same time, I do understand the desire to buy a brand new driver that no-one else has ever hit before.
Thanks so much for reading my review of the Mizuno ST-Z driver! Do you have any comments or questions? Leave them below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.