Ideally, you want a fairway wood to perform as well off the turf as the tee. To help achieve that, Mizuno makes the face hot in two places: the centre and below the centre. Mizuno starts by using a high-strength maraging steel in the face coupled with a centre-of-gravity-lowering carbon-composite crown. That special steel has been part of Mizuno fairway woods in recent years, but this third iteration features an intricate variable-thickness design to achieve the thinnest fairway-wood face in company history, pushing the R&A and USGA limit for spring-like effect. Getting the lower part of the face to deflect more aggressively requires additional imagination, however. That’s where the wave structure in the front of the sole comes into play. It’s thinner in the front part of the first wave this year, making it flex more easily. As the wave flexes, so, too, does the lower part of the face. With a large panel of carbon composite in the crown, the head size is large enough to provide off-centre-hit forgiveness, but the centre of gravity remains low to help you launch the ball high. Finally, though the ST-Z has just two lofts, each is adjustable so that the loft range is 13 to 20 degrees, or a strong 3-wood to a 7-wood.

LOFTS 15, 18 

Reviewer profile

“The pear-shaped head sits nicely and is easy to set up. Crisp feel at impact with muted sound, like a forged blade version of a wood. Tight dispersion.”

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