Introducing the final chapter of the Mizuno ST Driver journey. Over the course of four years the company has progressed from ST190, to ST200, to ST220 and now ST230.
Mizuno claim that this time around they have finally found the missing piece to speed, accuracy and distance in their metal woods.
The story of ST is coming to an end but will Mizuno go out with a bang and finally break into the woods market in the same way that they have with their irons for so many years?
This 'missing piece' to ball speed comes in the form of a CorTech Chamber which appears on the ST-X 230, ST-Z 230 and ST-X 230 PLTNM drivers.
Research by Mizuno has shown that pushing the weight closer to the face increases ball speed and reduces spin, which is a winning formula to hitting the ball long.
The driver has a slightly more rounded and deeper profile, that sits a little taller, which provides a little more workability along with a slight draw bias from Mizuno's standard head for the year.
The CorTech Chamber is a stainless-steel weight with an elastomeric TPU insert. This provides stability, speed and low spin from the face, and the energy store is said to add 1-3mph ball speed.
The face is a Forged SAT 2041 Beta Ti Face and the carbon sole plate is now a single plate, allowing weight to be pushed further to the extremes for overall stability.
There is no weight track on the head but the Quick Switch hosel offers 4 degrees of variation in lofts and is very easy to use.
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Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver Review
Mizuno make very good looking clubs and once again, they haven't disappointed. As you'd expect from a 4th generation model the driver head looks very similar to the previous ST-X 220.
Once again it is black with a patterned crown, but this time the CorTech Chamber on the sole is highlighted in the Mizuno blue.
At address, it looks awesome, and though Mizuno say it's a slightly updated look I didn't see much difference at address compare to the 2022 model.
Special shout out for the headcover - it's a classic. Mizuno's blue and white looks great and it is superb quality, and it's also nice and large which I like as it means you aren't left struggling to fit your driver head into the sleeve after every tee shot.
The driver sounds good and I enjoyed the fact that it was a duller noise at impact, which I prefer to anything high-pitched.
The head sits lovely behind the ball, but I struggled to start the ball straight or to the right of the target, and not one of my shots finished right of the centre line.
If you are looking for more left spin axis to your drives, then this could be good for you.
The ST-X 230 showed some good numbers but with the left bias my spin tended to lower, so I didn't get the carry distance I wanted.
208 yards through the air isn't quite enough for me whilst the ball speeds were a little low at just under 131mph.
Throughout my testing, I couldn't help thinking that if this is a £500 driver, it needs to perform as well as the Ping, Callaway, TaylorMade and Titleist counterparts.
My spin average was 2306rpm but this didn't tell the whole story. Looking closer, I had a handful of shots below 2000rpm and some above 2700rpm but I could not work out the reason why. I looked at strike location and club face but nothing stood out as to why I was producing such spin variation.
As Mizuno suggested I did see more of a draw bias on my shots, whilst the spin was lower than other 'standard' heads as Mizuno suggest, but I found that the combination didn't quite work for me as I didn't get the consistency that I wanted.
The data was ok, but not enough to make my change my perception of Mizuno drivers. They're not bad, but people just don't seem to really use them.
The carry distance was down 6 yards with the ST-X 230 compared to the new Callaway Paradym that I tested recently, and the ball speed was 2mph less.
Ok this isn't a huge difference but it's enough to clearly say that one is outperforming the other. I have no doubt that Mizuno are progressing in the right direction, but CorTech Chamber or not, I found they are still a step behind the likes of Callaway in this market.
Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver Verdict
I'm not sure how Mizuno can change the perceptions of their drivers. Many people may say that they should lower their price, but how can a company offer that when their irons still hold a high price tag?
It won't make sense for the brand which is seen in the market as premium, so the only way that I can see Mizuno gaining market share is to get a big name players to use them and their performance to start competing with the others.
As of now they have Luke Donald and Keith Mitchell as their poster boys, both are known for their iron play and not for their driving.
Would I Use It?
It would have taken this driver to be the longest and most accurate that I have tested to change my perception on Mizuno metals, something like what Cobra did with their F9 range, and they didn't manage that this time around.
I also found it to be too left-biased in flight for my game, I would've preferred something more neutral.
Who Is It Aimed At?
With a price tag of £500 I'm struggling to know for sure who I can recommend this driver. The performance gains weren't quite there and whilst it is good, it's having to compete with all of the other big brands in this category.
Cobra seem to have managed to break into this category in recent years, but Mizuno haven't quite got there yet.
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