Golfstead is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Our affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network and Amazon Associates.
In this review, I’ll be taking a comprehensive look at the Mizuno ST-Z 230 driver.
The ST-Z 230 is designed to deliver excellent all-around performance, with great stability on off-center hits, a fast face from the CORTECH Chamber, a straight ball flight, and low-mid spin.
This driver is allegedly more forgiving than its sister model, the ST-X 230. How does it 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-Z 230 driver won a gold medal on the 2023 Golf Digest Hot List. Consumer reviews are highly positive.
Critic reviews are mostly positive, with a few more gripes than is typical for a modern driver.
What People Like
- straight ball flight
- great forgiveness
- good launch
- feels balanced through the swing
- terrific feel at impact
- large stock shaft selection
What People Don’t Like
- doesn’t really excel in any particular category
- some wanted lower spin
- quite expensive
Most of the features and tech of the ST-Z 230 driver are the same as the ST-X 230, namely:
- CORTECH Chamber: consists of an elastomeric thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that encases a dense 3g stainless steel weight. It creates an additional energy source for more ball speed, especially low on the face, produces a more powerful impact feel, and shifts the CG forward for lower spin.
- Forged SAT2041 Beta Ti Face: a highly resilient titanium face that 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: a single-piece carbon sole plate allows weight to be pushed to the perimeter for added stability.
The ST-Z 230 differentiates itself in the following ways:
- mass in the head is distributed evenly to produce a straight flight bias
- it has a shorter face with a square to open alignment at address that appeals to better players
The ST-Z 230 driver is available in 9.5° and 10.5° 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.
Mizuno offers an array of stock shaft options for the ST-Z 230 driver at no upcharge. The stock grip is the Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid 360.
Below are the specs of the ST-Z 230 driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
In the sections that follow, I’ll talk about my experience with the ST-Z 230 driver. Let’s jump right in.
Given its forgiveness profile, I was not surprised to find during my field test that the ST-Z 230 driver launches a little higher (by around a degree) and has slightly higher spin (by 100-200 RPMs on average) compared to the ST-X 230.
In my case, this resulted in marginally less carry distance of maybe five yards. This is interesting, because Mizuno advertises this driver as being designed for better players, and better players typically want less spin off the tee, not more.
Distance is pretty average as far as modern drivers go.
The ST-Z 230 driver has a solid “game-improvement” level of forgiveness that does a great job of keeping you in the fairway.
It’s certainly not as forgiving as a max-GI driver like the PING G430 MAX, nor was it designed to be, but it’s above average as far as forgiveness goes.
I found mis-hit performance to be particularly great low on the face, and many of my mis-hits went nearly as straight as my center strikes. In addition, you shouldn’t expect to lose that much ball speed, depending on how badly you miss the sweet spot.
The ST-Z 230 driver tends to produce a mid-high launch with mid spin. The flight bias is pretty dead straight from what I can tell.
What I like about Mizuno drivers like this one is that they offer plenty of stock shaft options at no upcharge, each with different flex properties that will produce a unique launch and spin. I was using the Mitsubishi Kai’li Blue in R flex myself.
In addition to the loft of the driver, this extra layer of customization will help you dial in a configuration that works best for you.
Like the ST-X 230, it’s tough 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.
Out of all drivers I’ve tested in 2023, Mizuno’s ST models are some of my favourite when it comes to looks, the ST-Z 230 included.
This driver enjoys a premium aesthetic with a rich, glossy black finish. The sleek carbon fiber region on the crown is far enough away from the leading edge so as to not be distracting, and the blue accents on the sole, namely the CORTECH Chamber, really helps round out the aesthetic.
From my perspective, the ST-Z 230 appeared to sit ever-so-slightly open at address, and the mass of the club is shifted a little more towards the center axis compared to the ST-Z 230.
This driver was meant to closely resemble the previous ST-Z in its looks, and with the exception of the blue accents, it definitely does.
The Sound & Feel
Impact with the ST-Z 230 driver produces a moderately sharp “thwack” sound. I found it to be just a touch more metallic than the ST-X 230, but the feel is still distinctly Mizuno: solid with a nice explosiveness to it.
This driver has an unapologetic titanium-like sound and feel to it, in contrast to carbon-focused drivers from other OEMs.
Mis-hit feedback is not as consistent as I’ve experienced with many game-improvement drivers. You’ll know when you stray from the center of the face thanks to a duller sensation, but the feedback isn’t as in-your-face as the ST-X 230 which I like.
Where To Buy This Driver Online
One of the best places I recommend getting the ST-Z 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-Z 230 is a great all-around performer in the forgiveness, distance and launch categories, but my confusion lies in its marketing.
Typically, drivers with a lot of stability (MOI) on off-center hits have higher spin and are classified as game-improvement. But in this case, Mizuno is marketing the ST-Z 230 as having “mid/low spin” and a “players profile”.
It’s a little odd because there is a desire for this driver to appeal to better players, and it does, but I found that it was more forgiving than the ST-X 230 which would suggest that higher handicaps are the target to some extent.
This is why it’s so hard for me to make a recommendation. The best I can say is that this driver is for players who don’t want too much of anything, whether that’s too much forgiveness, too little spin, or too high a launch.
Interested in the ST-Z 230 driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.