For decades, Mizuno has been acclaimed for its fantastic forged irons, with the result that its metalwoods have often been overlooked. With the release of the ST180, though, this looks set to change.
I have been a big fan of Mizuno’s metalwoods over the last few years. In fact, for the last two-plus years, I have had the JPX 850 in my bag and I’ve loved every minute of playing with it.
The compact head shape, solid feel, low spin characteristics and incredible distance it gives me makes it one of my all-time favourite clubs. So, you can only imagine how excited I was to see how the new, low spinning, high launching ST180 would compare to my old blue bomber.
Before we get into all that, let’s take a look at the major tech talking points.
This is the first Mizuno driver to feature Wave sole technology, something we first saw in the brand’s JPX 850 fairway woods.
The ST180’s Wave sole commits every available gram of weight low and towards the face, dropping spin rates for even the fastest, downward ball-strikers (I'm one of them).
The Amplified Wave sole contracts and expands to increase the energy imparted to the ball for elevated ball speeds, while also pushing weight forward to vastly reduce spin rates.
A new forged SP700 Ti multi-thickness face promotes accelerated ball speeds, while the striking blue head’s Internal Waffle Crown is a weight-saving design that allows more grams to be relocated low and forward to promote efficient low-spin performance.
So, that's the tech - but how does it perform?
The first thing to say is that the Mizuno ST180 delivers on the low spin promises. Knocking spin off is something I am always looking to do. I hit down on the ball and put a bucket-load of backspin on it, so it was fantastic to see that the technologies in the ST180 are incredibly effective at doing exactly what they say on the tin. It is also fast off the face. The new forged face works with the spin-killing technologies and that gave me some serious distance.
When I catch my 850 out of the middle, it's just awesome. It’s quite loud, feels solid and gives plenty of oomph.
I can’t say the same for off-centre hits, though. It is in no way shape or form the most forgiving driver you will find, and when you catch it out of the toe or heel, you'll know all about it.
This where the Mizuno ST180 takes the performance to a whole new level in my opinion. It combines the low spinning power of my JPX 850, with the incredible forgiveness the JPX 900 driver offered.
The back weight on the sole helps drag the CG lower and towards the rear to help boost the MOI of this low spinning monster.
The feel off the forged face is solid and gives a relatively pleasing dullish thud at impact, even on some major mishits. It retains great ball speed as well on these mishits and noticeably tightened my dispersion.
The only area where I would lean towards my JPX 850 is the shaping. The larger, more rounded shape of the ST180 isn’t to my personal taste but is something that will definitely help inspire many of you with confidence. This really is only a small quibble, though. All I have to do is look at the improvements in performance across the board to convince myself to go with my head rather than my heart.
It is the combination of low spin, high launch and impressive forgiveness that makes the ST180 a driver everyone should seriously consider adding to their bag.