Having slimmed down their fairway range to one model with the previous JPX900, Mizuno are now back to two with the GT180 and the ST180 fairway below.
The ST180 is the no-nonsense fairway with only an adjustable hosel to vary loft by +/- 2 degrees from the standard 15° or 18° heads.
The sole features the distinctive and now 'Amplified' Wave sole that uses an accordion type pattern to increase the balls speed from the face as it acts like multiple slots.
From experience, these types of soles tends to drop the weight lower down as the waves take up more mass than a flat sole and when you combine this with Mizuno's thinner Waffle Crown then the CG is as low as it can be.
The face is made from a thinner 1770 Maraging Steel that features bold white grove lines that you can see at address in order to help you align the club correctly.
At address the leading edge of the crown has a polished black finish before it transitions in the classy Mizuno blue and I like the oversize rounded profile that wants to hug the ground with a relatively flat sole.
From the front the shape is more of an oval with quite a low toe, which is a little unusual but not something you notice when you take your stance.
The Mizuno ST180 fairway comes with a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue shaft that is all black and is a little firmer than the Fujikura Speeder that was on the previous JPX900.
Comparing it to the JPX900 on GC2 with Titleist Pro V1x balls in the stock 15° setting, then the ST180 was out-hitting the JPX900 by 7 yards or so, mainly because it was spinning less.
However that was before we get to optimising both clubs. To drop spin I de-lofted the JPX900 by 1° and then moved the weight to the back to add launch and gained an average of 11 yards.
Playing around with the loft on the ST180 fairway the +1° setting hit back with an 8 yard gain to overtake the optimised JPX900 by 4 yards.
At the standard loft of 15°, I could not get the launch so the club comes in open at impact and then it adds spin. A little counter-intuitively, adding 1° of loft reduces the spin as the face is quicker to square up at impact and then sends it higher with less spin, which is the distance magic recipe.
Taking it to the next stage and going up to +2° of loft does not increase that further as now the face is square to closing and the extra loft is adding spin with less launch, so you can see how important loft is in adjustability.
Changing loft also varies the lie as the +1° setting was flatter than standard so that may also have helped the results.
The sound was a little on the hollow side and 'firm' if you know what I mean, but still pleasing and the club felt light to swing and in balance as there is no weight adjustability to affect this as there is with the GT180.
The GT180 has a smaller profile than the ST180 and whilst it did sound more solid, I could not optimise it to be any better than the ST180 at my swing speed, which was around 100mph.
In theory the GT180 should be the one, but in order to get the right settings I had to play around too much with the weights and lofts and that changed the feel of the club, whereas the ST180 just did it almost straight out of the box.
It is also £35/$50 cheaper than the GT180 so I would not look further than the ST180 if you want a Mizuno fairway. However this is still a pricey fairway and distance wise it is up with the pack rather than leading it, so it may have it's work cut out to earn your purchase.
However I do like it and it is another step forward for Mizuno, so if you like your fairways blue then the ST180 is a worthy choice.