What we say...
The Mizuno ST-G 220 driver offers ultimate adjustability and shot fine tuning thanks to 16g of movable weight and three sole tracks.
Mizuno drivers have come of age over the last few years. After decades of being known almost exclusively for brilliant forged irons, the Japanese giants are now getting plaudits (including many from us) for making some of the fastest, longest and most pure-sounding drivers available.
Since the introduction of the ST four years ago, Mizuno’s approach to drivers has involved creating a three-model family. One focuses on blending speed with forgiveness (like the ST200), another targets draw biased performance (ST200X) and a third has adjustable sole weights that let better players dial in shot shape, spin and trajectory (ST200G).
But when Mizuno pulled the covers from their 2021 drivers in January, the ST family had mysteriously shrunk to two, the ST-Z (a fast and forgiving option) and the ST-X (a draw biased solution). The third member has now appeared, called the ST-G 220, and Mizuno say it can go from an ultra-low spin bomber to a highly playable mid-spin option with either fade or draw bias.
RELATED: Best Driver 2021
What you need to know about the Mizuno ST-G 220 driver
Anyone who’s tried a Mizuno driver since the launch of the ST family will know engineers have worked hard to tune vibration levels down to create a dense and satisfying impact sound. The new head also has a deeper face, with a shorter back to front dimension to create a modern players’ profile at address.
RELATED: Which Mizuno iron suits me?
Tons of adjustment
Front toe and heel tracks and a back slot mean the ST-G’s two 8g weights can be positioned to either lower spin and increase ball speed or create a more forgiving draw or fade bias driver. Both weights can fit into any of the three slots and take up either a forward or back position (within the front two slots) so there’s tons of adjustment on offer.
RELATED: Longest Driver 2021
The ST-G has a new multi-thickness face design which has been optimised to create extra ball speed when shots are hit low on the face. The SAT2041 (super, alloy, titanium) face mixes titanium with vanadium, aluminium and tin, and Mizuno say their blend offers 17% more tensile strength and 8% more flexibility over traditional titanium driver faces.
Chris Voshall – Mizuno Product Manager on the ST-G 220 driver
“Having the ST-G’s extra little bit of adjustability is especially useful out on tour – where we can fine-tune a player’s flight, or make an adjustment for a particular tournament when the player doesn’t want the feel of a completely new driver.
The ST-G 220 has so much more effective movement of weight along both the X and the Z axis, we can set it to be very low spin, a more playable mid spin, heavily fade or draw biased and just about anything in-between.
Mizuno’s adjustable driver has typically fit into the better player ultra-low spin category. Traditionally, it’s been really easy to get spin rates sub 2000 RPM, if you’re a player who battles hitting up too much or has a little bit of a negative angle of attack, the G-driver has been the place to go. With that said, there’s always been some sacrifices to get the spin rate low, the forgiveness and MOI has always been on the lower side, so it’s not the most stable driver. Because of these traits, it’s tended to land in the hands of the better player, and lower handicap golfers.
With the ST-200 G, we’ve made some really good steps in terms of adding a little bit more stability. When you looked at the G and other adjustable drivers before, the MOI was very low, so they created low spin, which was great. But there was a sacrifice.
With the previous ST-200 G, we were able to extend the tracks, make them even further out towards the toe and heel, and make them go further from front to back. That front to back dimension is very important in terms of stability. They give the ability to get more consistency out of the head, but also the ability to have a wide range of manipulation in terms of ball flight. So golfers had the ability to put a lot of weight out on the toe or in the heel, but it wasn’t quite enough when we’re talking about stability.
Watch: Chris Voshall – Mizuno Product Manager, on the ST-G 220 driver
That’s where the new ST-G driver really stands out. If you looked at the previous generation, it was two long tracks in the toe in the heel. Now there’s actually a third track that’s directly behind the centre of the impact.
When you’re designing a driver, the ultimate place to put weight for stability is as far from the face as possible. The face is the heaviest part of a driver, so the more mass you put behind it makes it more stable. With the new ST-G, the two tracks on the toe and heel give the ability for the left to right shot bias. But the ability to put these weights back is something that’s missing in a lot of the adjustable drivers on the market.
Previously, the adjustable G driver model has paired up the ability to manipulate a shot in the left to right direction (a fade) with ultra-low spin. That’s tricky because a lot of people who need that shot correction don’t need the ultra-low spin. So what the new G driver gives is the ability to have that correction, but at the same time manipulate backspin back up and add more stability. That’s what the third sole track gives the ability to do, manipulate shots in the left to right direction, but also keep some stability.
When you look at the execution of adjustability in terms of the weighting on a driver, the industry has tied launch and spin with direction. With a lot of the adjustable drivers, you only really have options to go in one direction or the other.
A lot of weight tracks run from toe to heel. That means you’re able to dial in shots from left to right, but at the same time, it’s automatically tied in with a spin rate. If you bring it out towards the toe, it’s going to spin a little more, bring it towards the heel it’s going to spin a little less.
The flip side of that is there’s a lot of drivers that have weights that go from front to back. When you go from front to back, you’re dialling in spin rate, but you don’t have the ability to adjust left to right bias. What’s great about the new ST-G driver is the independence you have between the spin rate and direction. You now have three different neutrals, but also the ability to dial in a spin rate and not have it affect the left to right bias.
You can do that by using the different neutrals or you dial in a left to right direction and manipulate a spin rate from there. So, the independence is something that’s very unique about this ST-G.
It’s also interesting that some players want a ball flight, but they want it from a different look at address. Some players can’t stand the face looking a little shut, where others want that confidence of knowing the ball is going to turn over a little bit from a slightly more shut face.
The ST-G 220 gives the ability to dial in the look at address and the performance from the sole side. So, if you’re somebody who wants to see the ball to take off low, you have two options to get there. You could either de-loft the head to do it, which means you’re opening the face, or you could keep the face angle where it is and change the ball flight with the sole weights alone. It gives a lot of different avenues to get to a desired result.”
WATCH: Best 2021 Driver video
Verdict: Mizuno ST-G 220 driver
Since ditching blue paint from their wood line-up ((the last blue model was the ST180) Mizuno drivers have made some of the best looking, most non-offensive drivers on the market, so it’s safe to say the ST-G really doesn’t disappoint sat behind the ball at address. Just like its predecessors the G sounds really solid and rewarding to hit too.
To ensure our data doesn’t mislead it’s important to remember Mizuno’s standard driver length is 45”, where Callaway, TaylorMade and Ping are ¾” longer, which naturally creates more speed for the non-Mizuno models and explains the G’s lower ball speed.
It’s no secret moveable weight Mizuno ST drivers have been more suited to decent players before, despite Mizuno’s insistence that’s not the case with this model, our test pro had a real tendency to lose shots right of his target, which was much more pronounced than with other drivers he’s hit. Bear in mind too this model is available in a single loft (9deg), which historically is a set-up reserved for above average golfers and higher speed players. If like a number of tour players you want to take a left miss out of play from the tee then this driver can certainly help do that, be weary though if a right miss is already a feature of your game.
There’s no doubt the G is versatile, our data shows in every weight setting it was spinning less than the competition (which adds distance at above average speeds). We love the forward or mid-weight option within the same weight track, that’s clever engineering, it gives the ability to dial in and very finely tune launch, ball flight and/or the shot tendency you’re after. But it’s not too surprising the mid-weight option, if you’re not chasing ultra low-spin, extra ball speed or ultimate MOI forgiveness, was our pro’s best configuration.
All in the ST-G 220 in the right hands is a decent driver, it wasn’t the best fitting Mizuno model for our test pro, but that’s exactly why Mizuno also make the lovely ST-Z and ST-X. Our data shows how it will hold its own against the leading competition. In reality this model will be Mizuno’s smallest selling driver, as its most suited to golfers dialling in very specific launch conditions, which more often than not are above average players.
DATA COMPARISON: Mizuno ST-G 220 vs the competition
Got a question about the Mizuno ST-G 220 driver? Ask us on Twitter.
READ NEXT: Most Forgiving Driver 2021
Review written by: Simon Daddow
Job title: Today’s Golfer – Equipment Editor
Mizuno ST-G 220 Driver
Lofts: 9° (adjustable from 7° - 11°)
Stock shaft options:
Fujikura Atmos Blue 5/6
Fujikura Atmos Red 4/5/6
Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ Limited White 6/7
Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana M+ Limited Red 5/6
Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Blue 50/60/70
Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Orange 50
Visit the Mizuno Golf website here