Today I’ll be reviewing the Mizuno ST190 driver.
The ST190 is built to deliver maximum ball speed and minimum spin, even more so than last year’s ST 180. Mizuno claims that the ST190 produces their lowest ever spin rates.
How does the ST 190 perform when put to the test? Is it a real improvement over the ST 180? Is the spin as low as they claim?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in this review:
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
What are the reviews like?
The ST190 driver has had a solid reception since its release at the start of 2019. It has a 4.9/5 average rating (100% recommended) on the Mizuno website and generally positive reviews from critics.
What People Like
- great all-around performer that improves upon the ST 180
- excellent feel throughout the swing
- most really like the impact sound
- sleek black look
What People Don’t Like
- some feel the spin is still a little too high
- some don’t feel the price is justified
- doesn’t differentiate itself from the ST 180
What are the features?
One thing that surprises me a little bit about the ST190 is that the features and technologies and more or less the same as the ST 180.
Usually, the newer iteration adds an additional technology, or something that differentiates it from the previous model. This doesn’t seem to be the case here.
So, what do we have? I go over the features in my ST 180 review, and they are the:
- Forged SP700 Titanium Face: increases ball speeds
- CORTECH Face Thickness Distribution: maximizes COR and ball speeds
- Wave Soleplate: higher ball speeds across the face
- Backweight: additional MOI for more forgiveness on mishits
The ST190 is PGA Tour player Keith Mitchell’s driver of choice.
Mizuno’s ST190G driver is essentially the same as the ST190, except for one key difference: there are two sliding weights on the sole, one near the heel and one near the toe.
These weights are 7g each and are on what’s called a Fast Track. Adjusting these weights will change your spin, draw and fade biases. For example, moving weight towards the toe will add a fade bias.
The ST190G also costs $100 more than the ST190.
The ST190 driver is available in 9.5° and 10.5° (not 12.5° like with the ST 180) standard lofts at 460 CC.
Every ST 190 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 shafts are the ATMOS Red 5R Regular, ATMOS Blue 5S Stiff, and ATMOS Red 5R2 R2/A Flex in graphite. 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 ST190 driver (click to enlarge):
How does the driver perform?
Despite Mizuno’s proclamation that this is their lowest-spinning driver ever, it still doesn’t quite hold up in practice. I find it very similar to the spin on the ST 180: middle-of-the-range or a touch on the low side.
Why? I don’t really know, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s bad. Very low spin often comes with its own problems.
Having said that, ball speeds are solid, and with a mid-range ball flight, distance is quite good. I did find that I was getting slightly higher ball speeds than the ST 180, which is a very nice bonus.
My tests have found that there is a slight improvement in forgiveness over the ST 180.
Contributing to this, of course, is the MOI-increasing backweight, which adds stability but also tends to increase the spin a bit.
Slight mis-hits won’t go very far off line at all, and distance loss on mis-hits is negligible on all but the worst strikes.
If you’re looking for a decent amount of forgiveness with no extremes either way, the ST190 is your driver.
The adjustable hosel on the ST190 driver is very useful for dialing in your optimal ball flight. And with the ST190G, you can further use the sliding weights to impart draw or fade biases.
I suggest experimenting with these settings, especially if you’re not satisfied with your ball flight at first.
Adjustability aside, I did find that the ST190 has a slight draw bias like the ST 180. This is favourable to most amateurs.
The typical trajectory is middle-of-the-range, but this of course will depend on a number of different factors including driver settings and shaft type.
The driver is workable to an extent too, so if you’re competent enough, you can shape some shots off the tee.
What about look, sound & feel?
Mizuno has made their first shift away from the blue crown found in previous models, including the ST 180. Ultimately, I think this will end up helping the driver, because black is a more universally accepted colour.
Similar to drivers like the Callaway Epic Flash, the crown of the ST190 transitions from black to carbon fiber.
The classic Mizuno alignment aid returns, and this time, the sweet spot appears to set up more in the center of the face. The driver has a reverse pear shape and is average in size.
The bottom has the Wave sole and sharp Mizuno logoing with silver accents and a streak of blue. The ST190G is similar, except the logo is moved to the back to make room for the two adjustable weight tracks.
The Sound & Feel
Contact with the ST190 sounds a little quieter than with the ST 180, but more satisfying at the same time. I can describe it as a solid sound that’s very close to what you would except from a quality, well-rounded driver.
The ST190 feels really solid and has an element of explosiveness to it.
Like the ST 180, sound doesn’t give you much of an indication of where you made contact, but the feel does — you’ll feel it in your hands, but it won’t be overly harsh or jarring.
The ST190 has managed to one-up the ST 180 in the feel & sound department.
Where should you buy this driver online?
You can purchase a customized ST190 driver, choosing your hand, shaft type and loft, on the official Mizuno store. If you want a custom fitting, I suggest contacting Mizuno to discuss.
If you’re interested in the adjustable ST190G driver, go here.
eBay is an outstanding source for new and used drivers, and you’re pretty much always going to find listings there.
Although the Mizuno ST190 driver improves upon the previous year’s ST 180 in many ways, the conclusion I reached is similar.
It’s a really great all-around performer, with good distance, forgiveness, great feel, and a more universally appealing look this time around. Having said that, the price is a bit steep in my opinion.
If you’re someone who wants consistent performance and has the budget, the ST190 is a great option to consider. If you want draw and fade adjustability, go for the ST190G.
Have any thoughts about the ST190 driver? Have you played it at all? Go ahead and leave a comment below.
Mizuno ST190 Driver
- An excellent all-around performer
- An improvement over the ST 180 in some respects
- Exceptional feel through the swing and impact
- The black look will appeal to a wider range of golfers
- Some feel that the price isn't justified
- Doesn't differentiate itself from the ST 180 in terms of features
- Spin still isn't very low