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2018 Official Forum Member Review - Mizuno ST180 Driver

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Official Forum Member Review: Mizuno ST180 Driver

 

Mizzy.jpg

 

Undershooter30                     Stage 1             Stage 2

bergtaur                                 Stage 1             Stage 2

newballcoach                         Stage 1             Stage 2

Thin2win                                Stage 1             Stage 2

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Mizuno ST180 – Official MGS Forum Review by Undershooter30

I wasn’t able to play as much as I’d like during the end of the summer, but I did get plenty to properly put this driver through its paces. I even let my dad use it for a round and a half. I had a few range sessions using both drivers. Played a few casual rounds. And played 5-10 competitive rounds using both clubs. I was not able to get LM numbers due to my club’s pro recently resigning and him owning the LM that I had access to. I do however plan to get LM numbers as soon I am able to get on one. I will amend this post with them.

Looks

The general shape of the club is rather pleasing. It’s overall profile at address appears slightly smaller to my eye than my M2. It looks slightly longer back to front and not as wide from heel to toe. The graphics are very subdued and the white around the edge of the crown is hardly noticeable at address. I think the Mizzy bird as the centerline aim point was a nice touch as well. The blue color of the crown does not bother me and I think the color looks sharp. Those who are traditionalist should not be put off by the color after the initial shock wears off. I particularly like the transition to a black club face. This makes the face appear larger than it actually is. The “dots” or whatever you would like to call the markings in the center of the club face give an odd feeling of confidence to me. I believe it is because they almost appear as they are a ball mark in the center of the club face when you address the club.

 

Comparing this club’s looks to competitors in the market, I would not hesitate to choose it over other options. I understand this is personal preference, but I’ve recently owned and hit drivers from most major brands and I have to say that this one of the more aesthetically pleasing I’ve hit. I’d say I slightly prefer this driver’s looks to my current gamer M2. The white on the M2 does itself in. A fully carbon fiber head would’ve been the way to with the M2. I will also add that the new silver TMag M3/4 is even worse than the white. The white at least served the purpose of giving the allusion that the head was larger than it actually was.

(9 out of 10 points) (M2- 8.75 out of 10)

 

Sound & Feel

If I’m totally honest, the sound is probably my least favorite thing about this club. Well, other than the fact that is isn’t offered in a lower loft. I am not saying that I hate the sound by any means, but it isn’t my favorite either. This probably a testament to how much I liked everything else about this driver, than my “dislike” for the sound. The sound is not bad by any means.

People have been very vocal with how muted and “dead” the M2 is. This driver is louder than the M2 and does not have that same dead sound. It much livelier and a little more high pitched.
Personally, I like a thud or thwack sound from my drivers. Think persimmon head or even the old Titleist 905 if my memory serves.

It gives a somewhat hollow sound. I would not describe in it was a tink or aluminum bat sound but somewhere between that and the thud that the M2 produces. It does sound very lively and gives off the allusion that the driver face is hot or lively.

The feel is good. It is not surprising that surprising that Mizuno produced a club that gives a good feel and solid feedback. You know where the contact is on the club face through the feedback the club gives. Yet is does not over-vibrate your hands or feel uncomfortable if you mishit it. The feedback/ feel of this club is better than the M2.
Sound and feel isn’t the biggest deal with me. I’ll play whatever I hit best despite the sound. So it does not affect my mental game in any way. But of course, I’d rather play something I prefer the sound of.

(7.5 out of 10 points) (M2- 8.5 out of 10)

 

Range Performance

I am not much of a range rat. In fact, the large majority of my range time throughout the year is warming up before tournament rounds. The range time with this club vs my M2 is some of the most time I’ve spent out there since the spring.

When I go to the range to compare drivers, I warm up by hitting short and then a few long irons. Then I take my gamer and try to hit 2 of each type of shot I might hit in a round. First my stock shot which is a straight ball or slight cut. Next, a much larger fade. 3rd, a draw, which is not my favorite shot most days. Finally, I tee one down a little lower and try not to hit up on it as much, which producers a lower ball flight that is usually a small cut. The teed down shot is my “fairway finder” swing. Which should probably make more appearances than it does. All of these shots have the exact same start line and I always give myself a visual “fairway” in which the ball needs to land. Each shot my be executed relatively well twice to move on the next.

My M2 being spec’d at 7.8 degrees gives it a relatively low ball flight. It’s trajectory is flat and the primary ball flight is a slight cut. My general issue with this club is overcutting it. I cannot remember the exact specs but think it is a couple of degrees open, so turning it over can be problematic for me some days. Generally, I’m try to hit as far up as possible on it to produce ideal launch conditions since it does launch relatively low. It generally gets more roll out than any driver I’ve owned, which I attribute to lower spin than most.

My M2 usually accomplishes all of the shots from my drill or whatever you would call it very quickly except for #3 which is the draw portion. I tend to only be able to control a draw with this driver on my best days. On bad days, I don’t even try to hit draws.

After putting down my M2 and moving to the ST180, which I had set to 8.5* I noticed an immediate increase in ball flight and launch angle. My cut also started going dead straight, and maybe even had a yard or two of draw.
The stock shot was easiest enough to replicate. The large fade took me an extra try to two, mainly because I was used to it being easy with the M2. When we got to the draw, the first one I hit was an outright hook. Which is not something I had to worry about with the M2, unless it was a mishit toe hook. After realizing I had to do less to turn it over, I was able to hit the 2 draw shot quicker than normal with the ST180. The teed down fairway finder was also easy to do since this driver seemed to want to go straight. The fairway find also didn’t go nearly as low as it did when I teed down the M2, but this was as expected from what I saw in the other shots before.

Judging my markers and the back of the range, the ST180 was carrying slightly farther than the M2. This continued to appear to be the case unless I was really feeling my swing one day. And then the M2 would be right there with it.

Both of the drivers are equally easy to adjust. I am not one to mess with settings though. I find what I like and then stay there. If my swing is off one day then I try and find it as opposed to tweaking something with the club. I feel like this would only bring another variable into play.

Accuracy: somewhat equal. Maybe a slight edge to the ST180 unless my swing was on.

Distance: Carry distance is usually the ST180 but the M2 almost always rolled out past it. On good swing days(rare) the M2 would get it by a decent bit.

Trajectory: ST180 is considerably higher. When I try and hit it low it’s still a mid trajectory.

Forgiveness: ST180 is more forgiving to me. Balls out of the toe are similar for both. Balls high on the face I’ll give the edge to the ST180. Balls low on the face and balls off of the heel I’ll give to the ST180.

Control: ST180 seems to win here unless my swing is on. The M2 only has a 1 way miss which is good, but only if you aren’t missing big.

Workability: It’s easier for my to move it both ways with the ST180. At the same time, it is also easier for me to change trajectory with the M2.

Adjustability: tie because both are easy.

(17 out of 20 points)(M2- 16 out of 20)

 

On-Course Performance

I’ve now played quite a few rounds with both clubs. One full round I hit shots with both clubs on each tee. One round I alternated tee shots with each driver. There were of course, real tournament rounds where I had to choose which one to use. I also got to play in a few scramble were I was aloud to bring both and I would generally grab the one that I thought suited the job better.

The round where I hit each club on the same hole would lead to me hitting similar clubs into greens if the strikes were the same. No more than 1 club diff for either. One thing that became very apparent to me during this round was the misses. The M2 did not miss a single time in the left rough where the ST180 did. There were 10 driver holes. Both drivers missed 50% of the fairways that day. All 5 misses for the M2 were to the right. The ST180 on the other hand, missed 2 left and 3 right. All 5 misses with the ST180 were playable. 4 of the misses with the M2 were playable, with also 1 ball OB.

The round where I alternated drivers on each hole did little to teach me anything about each I didn’t know. By the back 9, I got to the point where I used whichever one I thought suited the shot better. More on this during the scramble rounds.

Tournament rounds were days that meant something to me, so I would always grab the one that I had the most confidence in. I was playing pretty well when this review began and I always grabbed the M2. I barely even thought of bringing the Mizuno. But as the summer went on, I was able to play less and less and practice was non existent unless I was hitting a few drivers for the review. I found my game slowly sliding away from me, and as it did I started switching to the Mizuno. The results were much improved as well. One fourball I played in at a local Country Club was very relaxed and didn’t have a 14 club rule. At the turn, I was hitting my M2 so poorly that I asked the Pro if I could get my other driver out of the car since there was no club rule. The difference was night and day. Immediately I hit the driver better! My playing partner even asked why I hadn’t been hitting that one to start.

Scramble rounds were maybe the most telling for me. I found myself grabbing different drivers depending on what was called for on the tee shot. If we didn’t have a ball in the fairway or in play then I would almost always grab the ST180. If it was a long drive hole or I needed to absolutely demolish a deep ball then the M2 made an appearance. If the tee shot required a straight ball or draw, then the ST180 came out of the bag. The tee shot requiring a fade would see me pulling the M2 to from the bag. When it was required that I hit one high to cover a dogleg or tree then you would see the ST180. And finally if I needed to hit one low, to cheat the wind then I grab the M2.

 

Overall, I believe that the Mizuno ST180 is an excellent performing driver. I’ve been able to hit just about all of the shots with it and it is definitely a great performing club in my eyes. It did help improve my scores on days where my driver swing wasn’t all there. I can’t say that it improved my scores on days where I was swinging my driver great though. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my best 2 or 3 rounds driving the golf ball were with the M2.
I’ve always thought highly of Mizuno’s iron and wedge game but this driver firmly puts them in my mind when it comes to metal woods now. Previously, I would barely have given them a second thought.

The thing that I would like to change the most about the ST180, is that I would like to see it offered in an 8.5* model. I believe that this same driver at 8.5* opened up to 7.5* would be perfect for me. And to a lesser degree, they can tweak the sound. Although I care much less about that.

(36 out of 40 points)(M2- 35 out of 40)

 

Play it or Trade it?

Play it. I’ll be keeping both this and my M2. Yes, I’m aware that this is a bit of a cop out. On one hand, I currently have the Mizuno in the bag, but I can’t argue that my better days have come with the Taylormade. It’s best shots are better but it’s worse shots are worse. I’m sure everyone has noticed a theme that if I’m at my best I’d prefer the M2 in the bag. But how often is one at their best? Not the majority of the time, that’s for sure. One thing that this club has seemed to reduce is my propensity to have a “big miss.” Which is important in recreational golf, but absolutely vital in a tournament round where 2 shots for a ball going in a hazard or being lost may cost you the event.
This club is for anyone looking for a low spin driver that is both forgiving and accurate. Throw in its price point and I believe that it is a steal.

(18 out of 20 points)(M2- 18 out of 20)

 

Conclusion

TLDR: I like both drivers. They are very comparable. Both are long. ST180 longer carry and M2 longer total. My best was better on my good days with the M2 and my bad was worse on my bad days. The ST180 improved my misses, especially on my bad days. ST180 launched higher and spun more (probably due to higher loft), but was still very low spin when compared to other drivers with similar set up. The Mizuno ST180 is currently in the bag for those wondering.

Final Score: (87.5 out of 100 points)

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MIZUNO ST-180 – Stage 2, Electric Boogaloo…

 

Intro

Well, the leaves begin to change in Central New York, we get apple cider in our stores, and a chill enters the air. The summer was fun, testing and playing some golf with Mizuno's ST-180 driver. I put in 7 rounds, a couple range sessions, a captain and crew tournament, and a final 9 hole head to head to see what this driver could do for me and my game. Again, a huge thanks to Mizuno and MGS for the opportunity, I only hope to have made you proud as hell.

 

For those of you who don't remember, I like my Nike SQ460 driver, it's been with me for over a decade launching bombs and hitting fairways. Will the ST-180 take that spot in my bag? Well, you can either go straight to the bottom, but I hope you stick around for pictures and comments along the way.

 

Also, I need to give a big thanks to my girlfriend Monica. She went with me for my final head to head in Dewitt, NY to take photos, even though she doesn't play golf. She's an aspiring photographer and if she can make me look good, well, she's going to be an absolute star!

 

 

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She really knows my best side

 

Looks

Well, when I got this club I was almost ready to give it a 10/10 out of the box. After two months, and I can't say anything has changed. The shape is traditional and non-distracting. The typical alignment bird on top is not too large and helps you find the center of the face. But the winner here is that blue. Now, I understand, much like Keith Urban sings, for some people “Blue Ain't Your Color”, but for me it's a stunning look. Takes light really well and just looks good. Bonus points for the darker face on the club as well. It just lines up easy and is super nice to look at down by the ball. *chef's kiss*

 

(10 out of 10 points)

 

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Glamour shots from the worst model in the business

 

Sound & Feel

#NothingFeelsLikeAMizuno, sorry, feels like it's required for any Mizuno review

 

So, this is a weird thing for me to judge a club on. As I said earlier this summer in the thread, if you're making a decision based on sound and feel in a driver, I think you're nuts, so obviously take my opinion here as far as you want. The sound is going to be what it is, I don't mind it. I like loud drivers (HiBore, NVG2 from MacGregor, etc) and this is a little less than those. Plus, there is so much that a ball can determine on the sound and feel. A softer ball is gonna feel softer, a firmer ball feels firmer.

 

Now, in my head to head I noticed something with my Nike and Mizuno, hitting balls of similar compression. The ball felt like it was compressing more on the Mizuno. Maybe it was the Wave Technology creating a better energy transfer, I don't know and this is near impossible to measure. Simply put, I like the way the driver sounds and feels, but this is such a personal choice I'm sure others have had and will have other experiences. The shaft also fits (if you remember my fitting post) but I still have a hankering to try that CK Orange in heavier weight The only reason it isn't getting a perfect score is the stock grip offering. I wanted to like their version of the Golf Pride and felt like testing it on this, but it never got along with me. Will be putting my Lamkin on for further play.

 

(9 out of 10 points)

 

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Putting the torque on it

 

Range Performance

Ah, the range. A place to allow your soul to be cleansed, to dig the issues you have out of the dirt, to find the answers you need.

 

My two major range sessions with the ST-180 were early on in the process as I attempted to find the best way to strike this bad boy. As with any club it takes time to figure it out. If you've been following the thread you know after a few rounds I just had no swing but was still surprised with results (more on that later). I was able to pull off my typical shots, cut and straight ball and even mixed in a bit of a draw. Now, I can't shape on command, but it wasn't like there was a lot of movement on the ball.

 

Now, it's time for an aside on the adjustability on this driver. It's your basic +/- 2* loft sleeve with upright settings. Stock offering at 9.5*, and I play mine at 10.5*. This lead to the driver sitting a fraction closed, as mentioned in the other reviews, but I was coming from being a fader. However, I felt like this slightly closed face helped me on the range in the following way.

 

Knowing the club wanted to turn over right to left, and quickly if not struck well, it make me focus on face to path control, something I've always had some trouble with. In a way, having that slightly closed face made me really try to keep the path square or deliver it in such a way to minimize the natural tendency. Some would say that's a flaw, but for me it helped me deliver a more repeatable swing, so mileage may vary.

 

(15 out of 20 points)

 

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Begging for a left kick... didn't get it

 

On-Course Performance

Here's what you all want to know. Would Mizzy be able to take the Goddess of Victory out of my bag. Well, it hasn't for the summer, because I carried them both since I normally have under 13 other clubs in the bag. ;)

 

Seriously though, The numbers to beat here are pretty straight forward, more than 240 off the tee and hitting an above average number of fairways.

 

The first big plus for the Mizuno is overall distance. I know this won't come as a surprise to most of you that a driver built in 2018 goes further than one in 2006. This is especially true on some mishits. There were shots off the bottom and all over the face with the Mizuno that would outperform where my Nike would end up on a similar strike by damn near 30 yards. The tech is superior, and that's no surprise. I was hitting shots on average from 15 yards closer by most averages. In all, big advantage in distance for the blue bomber.

 

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Bomb Ball...

 

Now, coming from a driver that you've played for nearly as long as you've been playing competitive golf and making a switch takes time. I was a touch more accurate with the Nike, but that distance benefit from the Mizuno had it edging it for use in the bag. Sadly hitting out of the rough with a 9 iron and the fairway with 7 is too big a change to want to go back. It was not more accurate than my Nike, but it was pretty good. It has taken some time to find confidence and because of that, and its slightly closed face, the Mizuno isn't perfect on course, but it's a marked improvement.

 

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It can go sideways, but sometimes you do your best

 

Let's talk about my final head to head test. I played 9 holes at Tecumseh Golf Club in Dewitt, a course I've never played before. It was a crispy 55 degrees on a Saturday morning. The course called for six drivers. The final score driver wise was 4-2 in favor of the Mizuno. The two birdies I made were both with the Mizuno, and it was just longer and more consistent than the Nike. In fact, the two holes the Nike won were on mishits with the Mizuno, and the distance numbers were similar. It was all directional advantages for the Nike and that Mizuno didn't finish that bad.

 

For example, on the Par 4 3rd hole, downhill par 4. I hit two good drives with the Nike and Mizuno. Here's the picture from that hole. The Nike ball is in line with the wheel of the cart, the Mizuno… well, you see that circle.

 

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Ball Goes Far... Very Far

 

As someone who has never played a Mizuno club, let alone a Mizuno wood, it has opened my eyes as a driver. The tech is solid, the look is gorgeous, the price is comparable and I'd stack it up against anything else on the market. The only problem is availability in shops, which I think hurts Mizuno from a woods standpoint. It adds another name to the continuing wood wars in my mind and will be another brand that I'd be happy to represent.

 

So, let's talk about overall performance on course. It's long, it's forgiving on off-center hits, it's good to look at, and it led to more birdie opportunities for me. The one thing it that it's a bit more wild than my current gamer. Obviously it'll take some time and some slight adjustments.

 

(36 out of 40 points)

 

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Always wanting more... always

 

Play it or Trade it?

So, in the end, what's the call? Well, it's in the bag for now. It'll be in my bag through the end of this season and for my final round of the year at En-Joie later this month. I will potentially look at maybe getting another shaft, probably that CK Orange 60 gram that I discussed in my fitting post that may work better for me and it will be re-gripped to help with club to path stuff, but I'm very happy with Mizuno and the ST-180

 

(18 out of 20 points)

 

(TOTAL SCORE 88 out of 100)

 

Conclusion

So, if you like your drivers long, forgiving, and a little wild and blue, go for the Mizuno. I know you here that name that irons are the first thing that come to your mind, but you're only hurting yourself if you skip on this driver. It's got the looks, the distance, and the forgiveness to fit a really wide part of the bell curve and still loved by the most discerning player. Well done Mizuno… well done.

 

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Happy to be of service...

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Mizuno ST-180 – Official MGS Forum Review by newballcoach

Intro

Hi guys, it's been a fun summer for me (hopefully for you too as well) as I've been working my butt off testing this Mizuno ST-180. I have a lot to say about this driver and it's been a great experience testing. I have been playing rounds, practicing, and putting this bad boy through the paces. If you remember from stage 1, I discussed how driver is often the worst part of my game and that has changed as I have played some of the best golf of my life this summer. I hope to lead you through my experience with the ST1-80 and what's changed for me.


The big question is, can a driver that is not played by any professional on any major tour (I looked it up) compete with a driver that, although two years old, was played by tons of pros at all of the highest levels. Could the ST-180 stack up against the M1 from 2016? Well let's get it!

 

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Looks

I have had lots of compliments about the look of the driver and the colour. I definitely have been impressed with it and the blue I think looks great, especially contrasting the green of teeboxes. Most drivers are black, or some combo of dark colours, Mizuno hits a great spot in the market. However, it is different and not everybody is going to like that. The alignment aid at the front of the club does a great job of helping me line up to the ball and I like that it stands out as different. Does it look better than other drivers, I think that's a major question of personal preference.

(9 out of 10)


Sound & Feel

This is where I think opinions are going to start to differ. The sound is definitely louder and harsher than other drivers. When I make a mishit (specifically my low left pull miss) the driver is very loud, and is more than happy to let everybody know I didn't hit it perfect. The closest comparison I can make is to the clank of an aluminum bat when you really smoke one. I guess that makes sense considering Mizuno is also a bat company. When you strike it well, it sounds sweet, but I definitely notice a difference on off-centre hits. Check out the video I posted this summer if you're looking to hear it for yourself. Sound is not a huge deal for me, it doesn't bother me or mess with my mental game like it might for some people.

Feel is a bit of a different issue, although I think it is mostly shaft related (more on this later). I somehow feel like the head is lighter, and I have trouble feeling it throughout the swing. The ball feels great coming off the face and just seems to keep going out there. I am a big fan of how it feels.  When you hit this driver square, you know it's good and my results have shown that.

(8 out of 10 points)


Range Performance

 

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On the range, I'm part Dustin Johnson, part John Daly, and 100% awesome. On the range with this bad boy, I can't go wrong. I can smash straight balls, I can pull off nice controlled draws. I look like a million bucks, smiling while hitting my driver that matches my shoes.


I had some great fun with this club on the range this summer, trying to hit different trajectory windows and working the ball both ways. I saw a bit of success doing that, but I think most of my failure is brought on by my inability to do those things, not the clubs.When I hit in the way I wanted, I could hit more of a stinger with a low ball-flight. I could get that high draw. I could not however, for the life of me, hit a fade. I watched the TXG youtube channel review on this driver (linked in my stage 1 if you're interested) and they had referred to it as an “extremely fade biased head.” Well, there has not been a driver manufactured that I couldn't hook, and true enough, the ST is able to turn over right to left. ALL the way left. I really had to work to get that fade to happen, and often times would result in a pop-up from the face being too open on the downswing. I tried, but fades were inconsistent. Again, probably more my failure than the club.


When comparing the M1 to the ST-180 on the launch monitor, I found some interesting findings. I will attach a chart here, but I felt that what I saw on the monitor is not the same as what I saw on the course. Now, honestly, some of that might have been “beating balls in a simulator for an hour” syndrome, where by the end my swing was a bit of a mess and didn't get the truest reading on the ST-180. Now, the one thing I don't think was wrong was that my swing speed was slower with the ST than with the M1. That's 100% the shaft, but it definitely changes the numbers and means that, in my opinion, I was getting more out of the ST head.

 

I had a little bit of trouble with the formatting of my graph in here, so until I sort that out, here is a link to the results: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NVWcSYURO7c2ih0SZ74sWtK-57tWAYOiZSP6rLbrhgw/edit#gid=0&range=A1:G4

 

 

I was happy with the accuracy the ST provided and really felt like the forgiveness was quite good on mishits. The adjustability I was not as happy with. You can only move the loft full degrees, not half. I found the 9.5 a bit high at times, but the 8.5 gave me poor peformance. I would have liked to see if in between (like I can get in my M1) would have been helpful. It was unfortunate that I couldn't 100% dial it in the way I wanted it.

Last comment is about forgiveness. I am not sure how much forgiveness this driver had. There is a big difference in distance between a great shot and a poor shot (which is a solid definition of forgiveness). I had a ton of trouble hitting the centre of the face. Now, as a caveat, I self-fitted myself for the Tensei Blue CK 60 stiff shaft, and looking back, I'm not sure that was the right choice. The shaft weight may have been too light, which was making it difficult for me to square the club face. So after looking at my impact tape, you might say I have had all forgiveness!

(18 out of 20 points)


On-Course Performance

I tracked my on-course performance using the 18 birdies app over the course of this test. While not perfect, it has a great price tag and gave me a good idea of where I was on the course and giving me some numbers on distance and tracking stats. While not all of these numbers are 100% accurate, they are useful to compare with the performance of my previous driver in order to compare them.

 

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I got a bit too much launch on this one..


The ST-180 for me was a Katy Perry song. It's hot and it's cold, it's yes and it's no. And all summer, at times it was in and it was out. When I could line it up, the results were fantastic. However, I found myself getting out of rhythm with the ST very often (this is likely due to the weight of the shaft and not necessarily an issue with the head). One hole I would smash it, the next hole (when trying to smash it) I would end up with a low pull hook.


I had 75 shots tracked with the ST-180 (and that is certainly not all of them). An average of 218 yards (low pull hooks guys) and a max of 312 (which is not at all correct but fun to say). I hit some absolute beauties, some great drives into some new and interesting areas I'd never seen before (namely the middle of the fairway). More than once I found myself hitting approach shots from places I hadn't been before,with new clubs, which is always fun. It also gave me the option to go for a lot of par 5's in two, which is one of my favourite things to do even if it isn't smart.

 

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But as I said, there were lots of poor drives, low hooks and some strange pop-ups I'd never hit with a driver before. It's hard for me to separate shaft performance from head performance, but I do have to admit I had a hard time making consistently great drives.I felt like the driver had hot spots which made distance prediction difficult.


When I compare it to my current gamer, I am not sure I can realistically say which one is better. The ST gives me those hot spot drives that are great, but I can't consistently rely on it. I loved the sound and the feel when I smoked a good one, and I loved being the last person to hit their 2nd shot. But when it went wrong, it was wrong. I did manage to play some of my best golf this summer with this driver (rotating in with my gamer) and it was fun to have that feeling of competency in golf for the first time. I was ONE damn putt away from breaking 80 and it's still haunting me a little bit.


I would say 100% that this driver has made me (and anybody I could convince) think that Mizuno is a player in the driver industry. I know that tour validation is a poor indicator of club performance, but it does impact some people. Mizuno does not have a single tour pro playing this driver, and after playing the ST-180 for a summer, I think I know why. There is a major hook bias in this driver, which is probably a reason no pros would touch it. I found it did a great job of reducing spin for me, and was able to stand toe-to-toe with the big bad M1 and at times, come out on top. I think anybody in the market for a driver should absolutely take a look at this head, however it might make sense to find a shaft that fits you well. The stock options will work for many, but I definitely feel I could have found some improvements with a shaft that better fit me. In the future I'd love to see a hosel with more options, and maybe even a moveable weight or two to help move the CG. Mizuno is kind of stuck with one driver that has 1000 options (the GT) and one with none (the ST), finding an option with more of a middle ground might help fit more golfers. As we all know, golfers love technology they can see and Mizuno might benefit from more in the ST and less in the GT, in my humble opinion.


Score on good swings 19/20

Score on poor swings 10/20

(29 out of 40 points)

 

IMG_20180908_110843.jpg

Play it or Trade it?

Honestly, this is not an easy call. I really enjoyed playing this driver and had a great summer testing it. Likely my plan over the off season is to try a few different shaft combos in this driver to see if I can maximize my performance a bit more. I think if I can fix some of my swing issues with this club, it can become a monster for me. I would imagine this club finds its way into my bag on a regular basis sooner rather than later.


This is a driver that can help any golfer, but particularly a high-spin player looking to add some pop and has trouble losing the ball to the right. I don't know too many people who couldn't use some extra ballspeed and yards off the tee, and they should definitely look into the ST-180 to help provide those.

(16 out of 20 points)


Conclusion

Can a Mizuno driver stand up nose-to-nose with a driver that had tons of play on the PGA tour as recently as two years ago? The answer is a resounding yes, it can do everything the M1 can and more. However, getting fit up with the right shaft would have made this a slam dunk for me. So should you test the ST-180? Is it worth the hype of a driver with the highest carry distance in this year's most wanted testing? Absolutely, you will not be disappointed.

Final Score: (80 out of 100 points)

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Stage Two - The Review September 2018

 

MIzuno ST180 – Official MGS Forum Review by Thin2Win

 

Intro

 

Man, what an exciting experience this has been. I have had the Mizuno in my bag for almost 2 months now; it has survived 3 launch monitor testing sessions, 10 range trips and 13 rounds of golf. I have hit shots high, shot low, off the heel, off the toe sometimes even in the center of the club face. I have let about a dozen other people hit it and give me their instant feedback. I can tell you for a certain swing/ball flight player; this club can provide some huge performance gains.

 

I got fit for this club at one of the 2 main golf chains in the PNW, it was an experience. Since I knew which club head I was getting, it was really down to just finding the best shaft option available. Here is where a launch monitor wins out over wants and desires. I really wanted the Tensei Orange to steal the show, but it didn't. Getting fit for the ST180 was giving the fitter a little bit of a conundrum, and took an odd twist halfway through. First off I hit the 9.5 head with the Tensei CK Blue shaft in stiff. Launch angle right around 16° and backspin between 1400-1600 depending on the hit. Not ideal, either I needed more launch angle for that spin, or more spin for that launch angle.

 

This club showed right off that it is a very low spinning clubhead.

 

And here is where things got weird. I tried every shaft, but I was pretty sure that the Blue was going to be the highest spinning of the bunch for me and it was. So trying to lower my launch, but raise my spin was the paradox. If you want to pretend that a 13° launch with about 2200 rpm is ideal, I was in a bind. So this is where the unexpected came up.

 

I grabbed the HL head and set it to 12.5° and then threw the extra stiff Tensei White shaft. Neither option should be good for me on its own, but combined they got me to 14° of launch at 2100 RPM. The tradeoff was it felt like I was swinging a 2x4, I lost club head speed and 25 yards of distance. So I went back to the 9.5 head with the CK Blue shaft, turned it up to 11.5 and teed it much lower. 15° and 1800 rpm is where I got it to, and that was going to be as good as I was going to get.

 

Looks

 

I mean…

 

JMDe7kE.jpg?1

 

When first looking at this driver, it really is just a beautiful club. Obviously, there is some eye of the beholder to consider with that, but it gets attention. The blue is done right. It doesn't glare up into your eyes in direct sunlight and I haven't had any durability issues with the paint at all. At address the black face really compliments the blue on top and the Mizuno alignment target does its job as well and is pleasant to look at.

 

If I was choosing between it and every other driver on the market just on looks, I think it wins. I do prefer how it looks over my G400Max, definitely better than the old HiBore Monster XLS. I have never thought that the Turbulators, Dragonflies and whatever else the Ping has going on was a distraction, but the ultra-clean look of the Mizuno does give it a little more classic clean appeal.

 

It even matches my car.

 

zv6GGoM.jpg?2

 

10 out of 10 on looks

 

Sound & Feel

 

It definitely has both. I have posted a few sound clips of this driver during the reviews, I'll attach one here too just to make it easy for a reference. On the sound side, it has the same pitch as my Ping G30, but with the feel of my Cobra F7. This honestly, isn't a wonderful combination. I find it to be a bit hollow on both. I have one of those electric fly swatters, and the fly swatter wins on providing a more gratifying sound on impact for my ears.  

 

 

 

That said, I don't really care about sound and feel if the performance is there, please note the aforementioned HiBore Monster XLS which should have come with hearing protection and a paper bag to put over it instead of a club cover.. The ST180 does a good job of giving you feedback on hit location, it didn't mask good shots or bad shots, you know if it is dead center or a miss, and you know where you missed it. For those reasons, I think it does pretty well on feel or at least on feedback. If you like the very solid feel of the current Callaway/Ping/Taylormade I think you will find this lacking, however, if you like a little more ping and a little less thud, this could be right up your alley.

 

6 of 10 on sound

 

Range Performance

 

Living in northern Washington State, we have water and grass, so the range I visit keeps fairly healthy in the summer. The back tree line at it is~270y depending on where the tee line is set for the day and with my swing speed of right about 100, I'm never going to carry one to that forest. But with the ST180, I definitely hit some shots that rolled right into it. I could get about 20% of them into it. Good hit ball flight is more penetrating, more boring, longer rolling and with fewer yards on carry compared to my G400 Max.

 

 

VS

 

 

The adjustability on this driver is really good, +/- 2°, a great system, quick and simple. Even has some draw bias options, really just intuitive and easy to use.

 

The range showed me how good this driver can be for the right person. Lots of people on the range wanted to hit this beauty, and unlike me with a low spin draw, they mostly had high spin slices. This thing was a miracle worker for them. Using my VoiceCaddie I would conservatively say that people picked up 20-25 yards of distance and cut their slice in half with this. It definitely didn't cure the slice, but it visibly made it more playable. I've never seen a more drastic change in increased ball performance with an equipment change for the people that were hitting a slice.

 

Previously, I mentioned that with as low spinning as this is I had the loft turned all the way up to 11.5. The issue this caused for me was that the club head becomes very visibly closed at address. Compared to my G400, it is probably 5° more closed. Having a hook as my big miss, it was hard to get comfortable with and honestly, I never did. I have probably hit over 500 shots with this club at this point and looking down at it I still get nervous.

 

Closed to my eye:

 

sXjclOd.jpg?1

 

I found it to be incredibly draw biased. This is good for some, but bad for me. While I could hit some huge bombs with it, I felt like I had to try to hit a cut to keep it in play. If I just took my normal swing at it, I would hit 20% really good shots and the other 80% had me looking for a ball in the left rough/trees/barren wasteland.

 

On a firm fairway, the ST180 can beat my G400 on maximum distance by a few yards(less than 5 on best vs best), the average distance is significantly less. I often would hit the ST180 back to back with the G400, and swings that resulted in duck hooks with the ST180 resulted in normal drives with the G400. I found mishits toe and high to be incredibly punitive. Low and heel would result in playable second shot opportunities. On a soft low rollout fairway, the ST180 really lost distance for me with its shorter carry.

 

I have gone back and forth on if I should include launch monitor number for you all here, and in the end I decided against it. This club performs beautifully for a segment of golfers, and while I have hit some spectacular shots with it, I also have longer steaks where I snap 170y hook shot after shot. I felt like any number I put up would be a lie to you one way or the other. Either I would just filter the best and you could see that it gives good numbers on good hits, or I would leave them all and the data would be so all over to be effectively useless. But on the whole, it is about 400 RPM less of back spin than the G400 Max for the setup that I have, had I gone with the Tensei White or the Kuro Cage shaft that dropped another ~150 RPM of back spin off it, it is a very low spinning club. I have a G30 LST from a few years back, and this runs slightly less backspin than it does even.

 

14 out of 20 for Range Performance, for everyone that hit a slice 20/20

 

On-Course Performance

 

For 8 rounds of golf in July and August I tracked the Mizuno vs the Ping. I hit both on every tee box, alternating which went first and tried to hit the same shot shape with each depending on what the hole needed. For 4 interesting rounds, I only played the ST180 in effort to fully focus on it.

 

Best Drive, 305y let me go for this Par 5 in two.

 

gg5tk2k.jpg?1

 

Slightly hard to see but got the front left edge of the green, 2 putt birdie.

 

OLP7G6c.jpg?1

 

In the rounds that I played both drivers, the G400s average distance using a laser back to the tee was 256y with my single best being 296y and my worst being 225y. With the ST180 my longest went up to 305y, average fell to 233y and worst was 170y. With the ST180 a few snap hooks in a round and I would start to over compensate, and then fire off a couple blocked pushes. While my Ping only holds a 57% fairway hit percentage, the ST180 came in at 24%. So on average, I was hitting half the fairways and 20y further from the flag with the ST180. And that doesn't factor in OB shots, I hit 3 lost/OB shots with the Ping in those rounds, I hit 11 with the Mizuno.

 

My home course has 9 - 11 holes that are driver off the tee depending on the day (it has three 9 hole tracks that rotate which two are in play). In the 8 rounds that I played both from the tee, the better of the two was:

 

Mizuno 5 - Ping 4

Mizuno 2 - Ping 9

Mizuno 3 - Ping 8

Mizuno 1 - Ping 8

Mizuno 5 - Ping 5

Mizuno 1 - Ping 9

Mizuno 4 - Ping 7

Mizuno 3 - Ping 6

 

In total the Ping beat out the Mizuno 56 to 24 in my on the course testing, with 8 less lost/OB balls. I also made a note when either club won by being what I considered a significantly better shot. My criterion for that was 2 clubs closer to the green or by not hitting 3 off the tee. Of the 56 Ping wins, 33 of them fit into that category, for the Mizuno only 7 claimed what I considered a significant advantage.

 

28 out of 40 for On Course Performance

 

 

Play it or Trade it?

 

If you have taken the time to read this far, you can tell this isn't the club for me. Unless I can wakeup with a good kink in my back that changes me into a slicer, this club will not make my bag.

 

10 out of 20 for Keep or Trade, again, if I played a slice 20/20

 

Conclusion

 

This is a beautiful, low spinning, easy to adjust club. The alignment, look, fit and finish are all tops. If I played a slice like so many of the people that I let try this club, I might have kicked my wife out of bed so that it could stay warm at night. But playing a draw, I couldn't find the consistency or confidence in it.  

 

Final Score: (68 out of 100 points)

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Stage 1 is up, after some wait the ST180s have arrived and already have a few rounds in with it. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. 

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Stage 1 is up, after some wait the ST180s have arrived and already have a few rounds in with it. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. 

 

Those are some awesome pics, great start! Based on everything that's been said about the G400 it looks like you'll have a real dog fight on your hands. Let us know how the consistency and dispersion varies between the two big dogs.

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Great start Thin2win, do you have the two drivers set the same and were you fitted for them?

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Aside from the Ping G400 test, this is the one I'm really interested in and my hate for you guys being picked and not me is diminishing.  :D

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Great start Thin2win, do you have the two drivers set the same and were you fitted for them?

I was fit for both at the local golf store, but they are not setup the same. G400 is @ 44.5" 10* with the alta cb stiff. The ST180 is also @ 44.5", but with 11.5* and a Tensei blue shaft in stiff.

 

With as low spinning as the ST180 is, I needed more loft on it.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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Great start Thin. Like MattF I was bummed to not be picked for this test as I've heard such great things about this Mizuno offering after years of them being a little further down the list of wanted drivers.

 

Nice pics too!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Stage 1 is up, after some wait the ST180s have arrived and already have a few rounds in with it. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. 

 

Great start! I love the matte-ish blue finish.

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Oh man, Stage 1 is up! Also, anyway we can get a pinning from the Mods?

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Oh man, Stage 1 is up! Also, anyway we can get a pinning from the Mods?

 

Well done! I always like to see it when a tester is happy with the club(s) that might get replaced. That tells me the new club has to be special to displace something that is well liked.

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Oh man, Stage 1 is up! Also, anyway we can get a pinning from the Mods?

 

KILLER Stage 1! Love the enthusiasm. I'll definitely be interested to see what sorts of gains you might see on both distance and dispersion moving to much newer tech.

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