Mizuno Golf's ST 180 driver and fairway woods look to capture average player's attention

Mizuno Golf’s ST 180 driver and fairway woods look to capture average player’s attention

Mizuno Golf is best known in North America for their irons, and that reputation has grown among a broader set of players in recent years with more iron designs -- including the JPX line -- geared toward mid- and higher-handicap golfers. However, their driver and fairway woods always seem to lag well behind in terms of buzz and sell through. It's not that the products are bad, because they've been particularly forgiving in recent years. It's just they haven't hit a home run yet with a driver or fairway wood to enjoy mass appeal.

The company is hoping that'll change with the ST 180 driver and fairway woods. These are geared toward mid-handicap players and up, as opposed to the JPX-900 line of driver and fairway woods, which offer a little something for everyone thanks to fantastic adjustability. The ST 180s are designed to have the lowest-and-backest of centers of gravity (CG) the Mizuno team could create with the idea of offering a forgiving driver that still has an ideal, somewhat-piercing trajectory.

Of course, to move CG, you need to save weight. You do that typically from the crown, a thinner face, improved welding techniques and using better-stronger-lighter materials. In the ST 180s, Mizuno saved 5 grams in the crown by using a waffle-pattern on the inner portion. Meanwhile, that sweet Mizuno blue paint job carries through.

On the sole of the heads, Sole Wave Technology offers a pair of benefits. One is weight savings. The other is the waves help with turf interaction on fairway woods and allows the face to flex more efficiently on strikes with all ST 180 clubs. The depth and width of the grooves change moving back from the face toward the back of the head.

For the driver face, Mizuno went away from common 6-4 titanium into a titanium-alloy blend called Forged SP700, which they say is 10 percent stronger and perhaps offers some weight savings. The company says the sweet spot is massive compared to its competition. On the fairway woods, 1770 maraging steel is used for the face by Mizuno for the first time, though it's become a common material more broadly in fairway woods. It can be made thinner and maintain strength, hence using it.

While the ST 180s don't have the mind-blowing sole-based set of adjustability options in the JPX-900 line, the Quick Switch adapter lets your tweak your driver to choose from five standard lofts (7.5 -11.5 degrees) and three upright lofts (8.5-10.5 degrees). A high-launch option is also available, with lofts ranging from 10.5-14.5 degrees. In fairway woods, the Quick Switch adapter lets you change the loft plus or minus 2 degrees for 15- and 18-degree heads for righties (just 15-degree head for lefties).

The Mizuno Golf ST 180 driver is available now for $400.

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