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Today, I’ll be reviewing the Mizuno ST-X 230 driver.
The ST-X 230 is an interesting driver in that its engineering makes it suitable for both higher handicappers and elite players. In the higher lofts, mid handicappers will enjoy a draw bias and high launch, while the lower lofts will tend to produce workability and a fast face for many highly skilled players.
How does the ST-X 230 driver actually perform when put to the test? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Who should consider putting it in the bag?
Here’s what will be covered in the review:
Read on to learn 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-X 230 driver won a gold medal on the 2023 Golf Digest Hot List. Critic reviews are generally positive, but many reviewers struggle to figure out where the driver fits in the current market.
What People Like
- exceptional feel
- awesome looks
- healthy draw bias
- great workability for skilled players
What People Don’t Like
- not as forgiving as the large head might imply
- limited appeal
This region on the sole of the club near the face consists of an elastomeric thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that encases a dense 3g stainless steel weight.
CORTECH essentially creates an additional energy source for more ball speed, especially low on the face, and produces a more powerful impact feel.
It also shifts the center of gravity (CG) forward to prevent excessive spin.
Forged SAT2041 Beta Ti Face
This highly resilient titanium face resists micro-fractures and maintains its structure for consistently high ball speeds.
The latest iteration has a complex multi-thickness design that is enabled by the CORTECH Chamber.
Unified Sole Composite
The carbon sole plate of the ST-X 230 is now a single piece. This allows weight to be pushed to the perimeter for added stability.
Internal Draw Bias
Weight in the ST-X 230 is concentrated near the shaft axis, which results in a draw bias or workability depending on the skill of the player.
The ST-X 230 driver is available in 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° standard lofts.
A Quick Switch Adapter on the hosel allows you to adjust loft, lie, and face angle. The loft can be adjusted up to 2° higher or lower than the stated loft, giving you four degrees of loft adjustability.
Also available are the Women’s ST-X 230 and ST-X PLTNM 230 driver. The PLTNM is 30g lighter than the lightest possible custom configuration of the standard ST-X 230, allowing slow or moderate swing speed players to generate more clubhead speed and a higher launch.
Mizuno offers an array of stock shaft options for the ST-X 230 driver at no upcharge. The stock grip is the Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid 360.
Below are the specs of the ST-X 230 driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
In the sections that follow, I’ll talk about my experience with the ST-X 230 driver with a clubhead speed of around 105 mph and a low single-digit handicap. Let’s jump right in.
If you’re the right golfer using the right shaft, you can really unlock some monster distance with the ST-X 230.
Ball speeds are as good as anything, and when you combine this with mid spin and a decent launch, the result is great carry and rollout without being totally unforgiving or unworkable.
On the spectrum of today’s modern drivers from various OEMs, including game-improvement and better-player drivers, the ST-X 230 is somewhere in the middle.
The ST-X 230 driver’s forgiveness was the most surprising thing for me during my field test. At best, it was average and not good enough to be called “game improvement”.
Before I started hitting this club, I had an idea of what it might be like based on the advertising. The elongated profile and draw bias suggested strongly that this club would have a lot of forgiveness, but it really doesn’t in reality.
I found mis-hit performance to be particularly decent low on the face, but aside from that, you don’t get much help when it comes to direction and ball speed preservation.
The ST-X 230 driver tends to produce a mid-high launch with mid spin. There is certainly a draw bias, but it’s modest, so don’t expect it to turn a nasty slice into a straight ball.
Having said this, it does appear that the balance of workability and draw bias is affected by the shaft. For example, a more flexible shaft might enhance the draw bias, while a stiffer shaft might bring out more workability. Swing speed and the loft of the driver will also affect this balance.
It’s hard to predict what the performance of this driver will actually look like for a particular golfer, which is why I highly recommend a fitting beforehand.
I must say that out of all drivers I’ve tested in 2023, Mizuno’s ST models are some of my favourite when it comes to looks.
The rich, glossy black finish gives off premium vibes, and the two-tone crown helps focus your attention on the ball. The blue accents on the sole, namely the CORTECH Chamber, really helps round out the aesthetic.
The ST-X 230 driver sits more or less square at address, with an deeper rounded shape from front to back and a slightly taller face than the ST-Z 230.
The Sound & Feel
Impact with the ST-X 230 driver produces a fairly sharp “thwack” sound. The feel is distinctly Mizuno: solid with a nice explosiveness to it.
Overall, the sound and feel are very close to what you would except from a quality, well-rounded driver. It’s at least as satisfying as previous models.
Mis-hit feedback is on the harsh side, which I found rather unexpected given this is a 460cc driver with a deeper profile. On the other hand, it is consistent with the driver’s lack of forgiveness. Strikes away from the sweet spot don’t sound as crisp nor do they feel as responsive.
Where To Buy This Driver Online
One of the best places I recommend getting the ST-X 230 driver is PGA TOUR Superstore. They offer custom ordering, performance guarantees, club fittings, club trade-ins, and other programs designed to make the buying experience as smooth as possible.
Another good option is Global Golf where you can get the driver new, used or custom.
Don’t forget about eBay, where you can often find unbeatable deals on new and used golf equipment.
The Mizuno ST-X 230 is a bit of a bewildering driver. Typically, drivers with a deeper profile and draw bias are very forgiving across the face, but I found the ST-X 230 to be less forgiving than its sister model, the ST-Z 230.
This puts the ST-X 230 in a weird spot where you won’t really know if it’s right for you until you try it. But it appears to be best suited for golfers who fight a slice and/or struggle to get a high enough trajectory on their drives.
It seems to me that Mizuno is trying to carve out a specific segment of the market with the ST-X 230, but it’s difficult to understand what that market segment is exactly, and that could negatively impact fitting bookings and sales. Better, clearer marketing on what the ST-X 230 delivers would have been welcome.
Interested in the ST-X 230 driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.