50 Words or Less
The Mizuno ST-X driver has a noticeable draw bias. Good feel on center; feedback on mishits is jarring. Forgiveness is underwhelming.
A few weeks back, I reviewed Mizuno’s ST-Z driver [read it HERE]. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance and very impressed with the feel. With the bar set high, I went out to test the ST-X, the draw-biased counterpart to the ST-Z.
From Mizuno, the ST-X has a “deeper shape and slightly smaller profile” compared to the ST-Z. To my eye, the black and carbon fiber crown is busy enough that I didn’t notice a significant difference in shape at address, though I did note the taller face. What stood out most was that the alignment aid is shifted significantly toward the heel, and the face is very closed in the “neutral” setting.
When you turn the ST-X over, you’ll see that it’s very similar to the ST-Z but with one significant change. Where the ST-Z has the weight aligned with the center of the face, the ST-X has the weight in the heel. Beyond that, the sole is fairly busy with different textures, levels, and large branding.
Sound & Feel
Perhaps the greatest strength of the ST-Z driver is its feel: very solid and strong. This is one of Mizuno’s major talking points with their new drivers, “more dense feedback.” The same is true of the ST-X driver. When hit on the sweet spot, it feels outstanding. However, when you miss the sweet spot (note that I’m saying “sweet spot” not “center” because they are not the same) this driver feels very hollow. This provides stark feedback on mishits.
The sound of impact varies almost as much as the feel. Centered shots are quiet and medium in pitch – a fine complement to the feel. Mishits are louder which adds to their jarring quality.
As someone who tends to miss toward the heel, draw-biased drivers have the potential to work really well for me. The other side of that coin is that I prefer a left-to-right ball flight, especially with my driver. All told, this means that with many draw-biased drivers I get good numbers but tend to hit the ball a bit too far left. With the Mizuno ST-X driver, I definitely saw the left but without the excellent numbers.
When I hit the sweet spot, the ball speed from the Mizuno ST-X was as good as anything. Unfortunately, I had a very hard time finding that sweet spot. Feedback on impact location is not precise – in part because mishits are so jarring – so I had difficulty adjusting my swing and set up. This did give me a good chance to observe the ST-X’s forgiveness, which I would rate as average at best.
Like the ST-Z, the launch and spin from the ST-X driver are average to slightly low. What I found a bit troubling was how much the launch and spin jumped around when impact got low or high on the face. Given that draw-biased drivers are generally thought of as clubs for higher handicap players, I was expecting much more robust, consistent performance.
The Mizuno ST-X driver is available in two lofts: 10.5 and 12 degrees. Like the ST-Z, it has an adjustable hosel, and the loft can be changed up to 2.25 degrees. As I mentioned earlier, the club face is shut in the “neutral” position, so you may want to use this adjustability to open/square the face. Remember that opening the face decreases loft, so you may want to try the 12 degree head. As always, fitting is the key to getting the most out of your gear.
While I was very impressed with the ST-Z, the Mizuno ST-X driver left me cold. I found it difficult to dial in my contact because the feedback was imprecise, and the forgiveness was not great. If you’re set on a Mizuno driver, there’s no reason not to try the ST-X in a fitting – your results may be completely different – but I think the ST-Z will be better for the majority of players.