PART 2 - The Launch
In the second series of my ongoing adventures with the Mizuno ST190, a quick update. I received the driver on 4/1 and due to several reasons (Life, Work, it being 30 degrees out, etc.) I haven't had an opportunity to swing the new driver until yesterday. That said, my only disappointment is that I couldn't get out sooner! Here's a synopsis of my experience with the club:
It's 45 degrees, with a cold northern breeze - notably the range I go to faces north (Oakland University Golf & Learning Center). For some reason, I love cord grips because they provide the sand-papery grip I need on those hot-humid summer days, needless to say, they weren't meant for days like yesterday. It took about 20 shots to warm up the swing and pull out the driver. I used my Voice Caddy SC200 to measure swing speed, carry distance and smash factor (fairly new to me, but it seems to work well). As with any new club it took a few strokes to find consistency with the face, first 3 shots:  high toe;  low heel;  high toe. That said, swing speed was all over the map (124, 116, 119) but carry distance wasn't sacrificed (288, 282, 282). If you recall the primary rationale for making the switch was the jump in smash factor over the TMAG and I could see potential with the first three shots (1.40, 1.46, 1.43) but the inconsistency was a touch disappointing.
The next 3 shots, I found the sweet spot (a touch low, a touch toe-side), and the numbers reflected what I saw at the Demo Days (Swing Speed, Carry Distance, Smash Factor):  121, 290, 1.45;  120, 291, 1.46;  120, 293, 1.48. WOW!
Considering conditions, 293 carry in an open range, cold golf balls, and a head-wind are all exceeding my expectations at this point.
It's worth noting, a few flight characteristics. In general, the flight was below optimal (for my eye) but I'm going to give this setup a shot on the course before I make any adjustments. The rise is gradual and once it hits its apex (somewhat low) it appears to soar straight. I'm not seeing the ball exhaust and fall at the end of the flight, which is likely a better flight but different than what I'm used to. The hope is that with the lower flight, it will result in a few more fairways hit, even if I give up a few yards in carry distance.
The club itself is gorgeous. In my excitement, I forgot to snap a couple photos. If I could point to one area they could improve upon is the headcover. It feels [dare I say] cheap (fake leather, very tight fit). I'll likely pickup an aftermarket headcover, which is disappointing because I am proud to show off this club to my friends, pro, and members at the club.
More to come!
PART 1 - The Plunge
As the title suggests, I recently fell victim to Demo Days at Carl's Golfland, where I went with the intention of trying out the new Taylormade M5 and left with my mind stuck on the Mizuno ST190.
First, my gamer last season was a Tour Issue Taylormade M1, 8.5 degrees w/ a Project X HZRDUS T1100 6.5 (x-stiff). I haven't had issues with distance, but struggle with dispersion and efficiency. My swing-speed last year was in the 120+ mph range, however I was only getting ball speeds in the 180 mph range (closer to 1.4 efficiency than the allowable maximum of 1.51). Understandably, some of this has to do with swing-path and contact, but it's a far cry from the ball speed I was getting with my Nike Vapor Fly Pro.
When I went into Carl's Golfland, I was intrigued by the story of the maximum allowable club face but because of the mayhem of the demo day, I couldn't get the right head/shaft combo. Nonetheless when I hit the club, I was seeing the same numbers as I was getting with my M1 (at best). Swing speed of ~118 MPH (will get faster in-season), carry-distance was between 300-310 yards, ball speeds were topping in the low 180s MPH. More of the same, and in my opinion, not worth the cost for a new club. I was slightly disappointed.
By the time I was done demoing the club, the place was a zoo, all tables full of intrigued golfers... except for the Mizuno table. After a brief discussion with the reps, they threw me into an ST190 w/ the Atmos Black TS 6x and my results changed dramatically... here's an overview of my experience:
For anyone who has heard anything about this club, I think the primary headline is how good this club looks. The topline is a solid black that fades into a carbon weave. The Mizuno logo is situated perfectly. This club exudes confidence. The white "lipstick" frames the head well around the crown and matches nicely with the white Atmos TS shaft. Any review you read, speaks to how good this club looks, and its true. It opens the door for more traditional golfers who may not have been fond of the matte blue head; I'm pretty agnostic to color (have had cherry red, volt blue, and white drivers in the past).
The Atmos TS is a stout shaft, especially in the x-stiff flex. Again, the color works well in combination with the driver to build confidence. I was surprised at the launch and spin profile, especially coming from the Project X HZRDUS T1100 - maybe it's the combo of shaft / club head - the spin profile seemed very low and the flight was again very low.
The rep adjusted the loft very easily, moving it from 9.5 degrees to 8.5 degrees. From address this opened the club face slightly, which again, gives you the confidence to finish the swing and not have to worry about an errant hook. Compared to my M1, swing speeds stayed fairly constant (~118 MPH), but the ball speed increased to mid-180s MPH and carry distance increased from 300-310 yards to 325-335 yards (longest was 355, but I suspect that was an anomaly). Frankly, I was blown away by the distance increase. What was more important to me though was the fact that I saw a steady flight at the target, where once the ball reached its apex, it just seemed to continue to soar.
If the looks are what opens the door to traditional golfer and the performance gains /consistency weren't enough, the sound and feel is what pushed me over the edge. I could feel the trampoline effect, knew exactly where the ball hit the club face and the sound was not "tin-y" but rather solid.
As many know, the MSRP is $400 - there are deals to get 5-10% off if you shop hard enough. This price is substantially less than the Taylormade, Titleist, Ping, PXG, etc. . There is a more adjustable version, the ST190G, which is more expensive, ~$500 MSRP, but I didn't get the same performance/consistency combo that I got with the ST190, which I found interesting.
I custom ordered the club (the Atmos Black is only available on the ST190 for order) and it's currently in the mail. I plan to document my reactions after playing a round or two and getting some practice in. I realize there haven't been many reviews out there that weren't sponsored by Mizuno, so I'll try my best to give honest impressions. Please let me know if there is anything more that you're interested in knowing.
All the best.
Here’s the Mizuno landing page https://www.mizunousa.com/category/golf+content/st190+drivers.do
I will post photos once I get it.