Here I will be reviewing the Mizuno JPX-850 driver, designed with more innovative and extensive adjustability than any previous model that came before. While the adjustability is one of its biggest strong points, the JPX-850 is also said to provide solid forgiveness and a low-spin ball flight with a lot of distance potential.
Is the JPX-850 worthy of succeeding the JPX-825? What are its weaknesses? Read on to find out what you need to know about the driver to make an informed purchase.
In a hurry? Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…
Rating: 4.6/5 (Excellent)
Pros: Oodles of adjustability that allows golfers of all different swing speeds to maximize their tee performance, forgiveness is very good for a 440cc head, feedback is distinct, very accurate and reliable when struck solidly
Cons: Some find hit feedback to be a bit too blunt, some would prefer a more explosive feel at impact, the look and colour scheme isn’t for everyone, large-scale adjustability as a whole can feel a bit overwhelming/complicated
Best suited for: Golfers of just about all skill levels can be successful with the JPX-850 driver. As a game-improvement driver, it’s great for mid to high handicaps and those that like to tinker with adjustable features to get the ball flight they want.
Best places to buy online: For new JPX-850 drivers, see this Amazon page (over $100 off normal price at the time of writing) or this eBay page. For used JPX-850 drivers, see this eBay page or this Global Golf page.
Want a high-resolution look at the JPX-850? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
What are the reviews like?
The JPX-850 driver has been received very well by critics and non-critics alike. It has a 4.7/5 average rating (93% recommended) on the official Mizuno website, a 5/5 average rating at Rock Bottom Golf as well as generally positive verdicts from nearly all of the professional reviewers.
The JPX-850 driver has been praised for its extensive adjustability that allows any golfer, regardless of swing speed, to dial in an optimal trajectory and maximize their distance. Many people have reported better distance results with the JPX-850 than many modern well-known drivers from other manufacturers such as TaylorMade and Callaway. People also like the feel, accuracy and solid forgiveness it provides.
In terms of negatives, many people don’t like the design and colour scheme (predominantly blue) of the crown and sole. Some are a little underwhelmed by the workability of the driver, and others feel that the mis-hit feedback is too harsh at times.
What are the features?
The signature features of the JPX-850 driver are:
- a “Fast Track” — a central sliding rail on the sole that allows one to control spin by changing the center of gravity (CG). Moving weight closer to the face will reduce spin, while moving weight towards the back will increase spin.
- lateral weight ports that can be used to control the draw/fade bias of the driver. Placing weight into the port near the toe will make the toe heavier relative to the heel and thus introduce a fade bias. Similarly, placing weight into the port near the heel will introduce a draw bias.
- a “Quick Switch” hosel adaptor that allows one to adjust loft and lie. There are 8 settings from 7.5° to 11.5°, five of them in the standard (1°) lie and three in an upright lie position.
The JPX-850 driver comes with two removable 8-gram weights that can be placed in either the Fast Track or the lateral weight ports (or divided up between both if desired). For example, both weights can be placed in each of the lateral weight ports to slightly increase stability and moment of intertia (MOI), translating to improved forgiveness. The exact configuration is left up to the golfer, and it allows golfers of any clubhead speed to dial in a distance-maximizing ball flight.
Other features and technologies of the JPX-850 driver include:
- “Harmonic Impact Technology (HIT)” — designed to greatly improve impact sound and feel
- a very strong, very thin hot metal face
- a “rebound crown” that extends the COR (coefficient of restitution) area, improving energy transfer and ball speeds toward the crown and sole
Driver specifications and information on stock shafts and grips can be found below. Full specifications and a complete list of available custom shafts and grips can be found on the official Mizuno website.
Standard loft: 9.5°
Standard lie: 60°
Swing weight: D3
Standard face angle: Square
Stock shaft: Fujikura Motore Driver (Graphite)
Stock grip: Mizuno M-31 360 (.58 Round)
How does the driver perform?
Distance: While it can be said that the JPX-850 driver is not the absolute longest on the market, it can certainly send the ball a long way particularly when your flight characteristics (spin rate, curve bias and loft, all adjustable on the driver, see overview above) are optimized. It would be very difficult to rank the distance of the JPX-850 relative to other competing drivers because everyone’s swing is different — different people will see different results. Regardless, it’s very likely that the JPX-850 will end up meeting or exceeding your distance expectations.
Forgiveness: Although the JPX-850 driver was certainly not designed with maximum forgiveness in mind (the 440cc head puts it at a bit of a forgiveness disadvantage right off the bat), it still does an excellent job of holding a very decent line and decent ball speed on mis-hits. Impressive forgiveness combined with a more compact head is something that I think most golfers would appreciate, and this driver certainly delivers in that respect. As mentioned previously, having both removable weights in the side ports does tend to increase head stability, hence improving line and ball speed preservation; while the effect is slight, it does make a difference in practice.
Workability/Trajectory: The extensive adjustability of the JPX-850 driver, great for tinkerers, allows you to set up nearly any shot you desire: high, low, low-spinning, high-spinning, faded, drawed, etcetera. Take the adjustability away, however, and it’s not much of a shotmaker; for this reason, it’s likely that the hosel adaptor and weighting features will play a large part in your success with the driver. The typical ball flight tends to be mid to mid-high and penetrating, but this of course will depend on a number of different factors including shaft type and driver settings.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: For a high-resolution look at the driver, click on the composite image at the top of the page. The JPX-850 driver has a compact 440cc head with a rich blue crown and ion-plated black sole. The coolly-styled sole prominently features the Fast Track and weight ports, and the loft/lie adaptor is easily accessible on the hosel. The crown features a clearly visible aid to help with alignment. Overall, it’s a somewhat polarizing look — many will love it but many others will find that it doesn’t play to their tastes. Personally, I’m not crazy about the blue-black colour scheme, but to each their own.
Sound and Feel: The JPX-850 driver doesn’t sound muted, but at the same time it certainly doesn’t sound overly metallic or loud. It’s about in the middle of the range on the spectrum of drivers– a solid percussive sound. Mis-hits do sound a bit toned down compared to solid strikes, but not by much. Note that the exact sound the driver makes will differ slightly depending on the position of the two weights.
In terms of feel, the head feels weighty and impact feels a bit “thick” — by thick I mean it doesn’t feel very springy or explosive, which many players (including me) find a little disappointing. A more explosive feel would probably endear more newcomers to the JPX-850 over other competing drivers.
Feedback is very blunt; some would say too blunt. The upside to this is the fact that you should have no problems figuring out where you made contact with the face. The downside is that the feel of a moderate to severe mis-hit may hurt your confidence a little bit.
Where should I buy this driver online?
At the time of writing, brand new JPX-850 drivers are being sold for over $100 off normal price on Amazon (click on the “new from” link below the bulleted description in the linked listing). It looks like stock is low, so if you’re interested, grab one while they last — just make sure you’re aware of what shaft model and flex you’re getting. You can also find really sweet prices on new JPX-850 drivers on eBay. Rest assured that you’re protected by both companies’ money-back guarantees.
What about a used one?
The best place to look for used JPX-850 drivers at the absolute best prices is (you guessed it) eBay. Many of the drivers there are in very good condition and run at 50% or less of the cost of a new. If you’re looking for maximum value for the least amount of money, this is the way to go.
The JPX-850 driver is a very interesting offer from Mizuno, very adaptable and a viable choice for just about all handicaps. If you’re someone who enjoys tinkering with the adjustable aspects of drivers to get the most out your game, you should seriously consider this one; even if you don’t, though, it might very well surprise you in a good way.