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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the Mizuno ST 180 driver.
The ST 180 is built for launch, low spin, and raw power. Mizuno’s first Wave sole in a driver allows the face to contract and expand on impact for super-high ball speeds.
So, how does the ST 180 hold up when put to the test? Is it overhyped and overrated, or does it deliver the goods? And is the ST 180 driver worth its price tag?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in this review:
- Features & Technologies
- Look, Sound & Feel
- Where To Buy These Irons Online
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The ST 180 driver has been received well by consumers and critics. On the critic side in particular, I can’t help but feel there’s a dissatisfaction with how difficult it can be to dial this club in.
What People Like
- there’s a good chance that it’ll be longer than your previous gamer
- impressive forgiveness considering the low spin
- terrific performance once dialed in
- premium feel at impact
- straight, piercing ball flight
What People Don’t Like
- some don’t like the light weight
- may not be a good fit with slower swingers who need to get the ball up in the air
- results can be poor without the proper configuration
What are the features?
The ST 180 driver uses a Wave sole, SP700 titanium face, and a low-spin design to increase ball speeds and lower spin — the recipe for even more distance than its predecessors.
A shockwave sole and Wave geometry compress and expand at impact, increasing COR and ball speeds.
It allows weight to be moved low and forward, increasing launch and reducing spin rates without sacrificing forgiveness completely.
SP700 Titanium Face
The multi-thickness titanium face has fine grains and is forged. The result is maximum COR, greater ball speeds, and thus more distance.
An internal Waffle Crown (a very light waffle pattern) saves additional weight, which is moved low and forward to produce a higher launch.
The ST 180 driver is available in 9.5° and 12.5° standard lofts at 460 CC.
Every ST 180 driver comes with a Quick Switch Adapter on the hosel that allows you to adjust loft and lie. The loft can be adjusted up to 2° higher or lower than the stated loft.
The stock shaft is the Tensei CK Orange Regular in graphite, and the stock grip is the Golf Pride M-31 360. There are many premium shaft and grip options you can choose from at no extra cost; you can view them here.
Below are the specs of the ST 180 driver (click to enlarge):
How does the driver perform?
The reality is that the spin rate of the ST 180 doesn’t quite match up with the advertising: it’s not that low. I would rate it just a touch lower than middle-of-the-range when it comes to spin, so it’s still not bad.
This makes the ST 180 driver ideal for golfers with a mid-range swing speed who don’t want spin so low that the forgiveness is non-existent, and also don’t want spin so high that they can’t get good distance.
In comparison with similar driver offerings, the ST 180 is average to slightly above average in terms of distance.
To be honest, there’s a reason why the forgiveness on this driver is impressive: it’s because the spin isn’t actually low.
As much as golf club manufacturers try to successfully combine forgiveness with low spin, at the end of the day, there’s a tradeoff. In the case of the ST 180, the spin is a little below average, and the forgiveness is quite good.
You can make contact all over the face and still see respectable ball speeds. Misses will see a very reasonable dispersion.
Unless you make a terrible swing, chances are your ball is going to stay in the fairway.
The adjustable hosel on the ST 180 driver is great for dialing in your optimal ball flight. I suggest experimenting with it, especially if you’re not satisfied with your initial ball flight, because it can allow you to set up nearly any shot you want.
Adjustability aside, I did notice that the ST 180 has a slight draw bias. I like this, because it can help natural faders or golfers who tend to slice the ball straighten out their shots.
The typical trajectory is mid to mid-high, but this of course will depend on a number of different factors including shaft type.
The driver is fairly workable; you should be able to shape your shots off the tee. Want to hit a high bomb, a low bullet, or a rope draw? You can do it with the ST 180 driver.
What about look, sound & feel?
The ST 180 driver has full 460CC head with the colour scheme you’ve come to expect from Mizuno drivers: a brilliant blue crown and black sole with some white accents. Some will like it, while others won’t.
The bottom part features the Wave sole near the face, a permanent weight near the back, and some small but sharp Mizuno logoing. The loft/lie adapter is easily accessible on the hosel.
The clubface is quite tall, the head sits slightly closed at address, and the sweet spot appears to set up a tiny bit towards the heel.
Overall, it’s a solid look and I don’t have much to say about it that’s negative.
The Sound & Feel
The ST 180 driver doesn’t sound very loud or high-pitched, but it doesn’t sound muted either. Mis-hits sound only slightly different than solid strikes.
To me, the sound is similar to the JPX-850 that I reviewed a couple years ago. It’s about in the middle of the range on the spectrum of driver sounds: a sharp, percussive sound.
As for the feel, I really like it, and I think it’s a noticeable improvement over previous Mizuno drivers. There’s an element of softness, but at the same time, it feels springy and explosive.
I along with many others believe that this is one of Mizuno’s best-feeling drivers to date.
Where should you buy this driver online?
The ST 180 driver is getting up there in age and isn’t currency available for purchase on the Mizuno store. You can check the status of that here.
eBay is a fantastic source for new and used drivers, and you’re pretty much always going to find listings there.
The best way I can describe the Mizuno ST 180 driver is well-rounded.
Its spin is good, it has solid distance, it has good forgiveness, and the sound and feel are satisfying.
If you’re someone who wants a solid, modern, high-quality driver that does everything well, then the ST 180 is a great option to consider. Just make sure you play the right shaft and dial in your ball flight based on your individual swing.
Have any thoughts about the ST 180 driver? Have you played it at all? Feel free to leave a comment below.