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Mizuno ST-Z 230 fairway woods, hybrids: What you need to know

January 19, 2023
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new Mizuno ST-Z 230 fairway woods and hybrids build on the ST-230 driver technology for more ball speed and lower spin. The distance-enhancing formula is driven by a cut-through opening in the front of the sole filled with a thermoplastic urethane polymer that houses a steel weight.

PRICE: Fairway woods, $300 (15, 18 degrees; adjustable); Hybrids, $250 (16, 19, 22, 25 degrees; adjustable). Available in February.

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3 COOL THINGS

1. Front loading. Many efforts in the fairway wood and hybrid category over the last decade or so have focused on some sort of work on the front part of the sole. Those include both the external, like slots cut through the sole to provide extra flexing, and the internal, like distinctive weight pads pushed forward to drop the center of gravity for lower spin and better launch.

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The new Mizuno ST-Z 230 fairway woods and hybrids combine both of those ideas in one to extract more distance through the formula of more ball speed and lower spin. The key is how a dense steel bar is embedded within a flexible polymer that fills the cut-through opening in the sole. The cut-through opening and TPU insert combine to enhance the way the front part of the sole flexes, contributing to better ball speed especially on lower face impacts. The steel bar pinpoints mass low and forward to push the center of gravity more in line with the center of the face for a more efficient transfer of energy and a more powerful strike.

“The primary reason was for the spin reduction and the optimal place to put a higher density material was in the TPU because it’s very low and forward,” said David Llewellyn, Mizuno’s director of research and development, noting that the company refers to the TPU/steel-bar combo as the “CORTECH Chamber.”

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That weight and its placement in the fairway woods combine with a lightweight composite crown and a back weight to provide better launch and more forgiveness on off-center hits. On the hybrids, the weight saved by a variable thickness “waffle” crown design allows for the CORTECH Chamber, as well as a thicker weight pad in the sole, to help shots launch easier.

2. Faster steel in the face. Both the fairway woods and hybrids use a high-strength steel alloy (MAS1C) that’s been part of the company’s metal woods for some time. On the fairway woods, that multi-dimensional thickness pattern gets as thin as 1.6 millimeters, the thinnest face ever on a Mizuno fairway wood. On the hybrids, it’s 1.9 millimeters thick or thinner than a nickel.

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3. More metalwoods than meet the eye. The lineup of ST-Z 230 fairway woods and hybrids is serviceable at first glance, but it’s actually larger than the sheer number of heads because both feature adjustable hosels. The adjustability means the two fairway woods of 15 and 18 degrees turn into two heads that cover seven separate lofts from 13 to 20 degrees. Adjustability also allows the four hybrid heads to accommodate a loft range from 14 to 27 degrees.