A PGA Pro’s Review Of The Mizuno ST180 and GT180 Fairway Woods [Interview]

mizuno st180 and gt180 fairway woods

We recently sat down with one of our PGA Professionals on staff, Rudi Fann, who you are likely familiar with if you follow our blog. Chatting about the Mizuno ST180 and GT180 fairway woods, we covered the features of each club. Rudi also explains what kind of performance you can expect from each club. Here’s our conversation:

GlobalGolf: Thanks for taking some time with us today, Rudi. We’re excited to have you share your knowledge of these clubs with us. Beginning with the Mizuno ST180, what performance features can we expect to find?

mizuno st180 fairway woods face

Rudi Fann: Happy to do it! The Mizuno ST180 fairway wood is all about ball speed. So, players looking for more distance will gravitate towards this club. Mizuno constructed the face with 1770 maraging steel, which is extremely strong. The steel’s strength allows designers to make the face pretty thin, which boosts ball speed on shots hit across more of the face.

GG: What else can you tell us about the ST180?

mizuno st180 fairway woods wave technology

RF: When you look at the bottom of the club, you notice the ripples Mizuno calls Wave Technology. These channels compress at impact, passing energy to the golf ball, equaling more distance.

What’s not visible on this club is its waffle crown. The underside of the crown has a waffle pattern, that strategically carves out weight in a waffle-like pattern. The saved weight is moved around the head to optimize the CG location and forgiveness. The CG location produces shots that launch high with less spin for maximum distance.

Don’t forget about the ST180’s adjustability. The quick switch adapter on the shaft lets you adjust the loft a total of 4 degrees (+/- 2 degrees). You can also make the club more upright for more of a draw-bias.

GG: Those are some solid features. Switching gears, what makes the GT180 different?

RF: The Mizuno GT180 fairway wood is a different animal than the ST180…but it’s still a beast. The GT180 adds adjustability to the features it shares with the ST180. Those shared traits are the maraging steel face and Wave technology for increased ball speed and a waffle crown to optimize CG location. However, the Wave Technology doesn’t stretch across as much of the sole in the GT180. Instead, Fast Track technology takes its place.

GG: What’s Fast Track technology?

mizuno gt180 fairway wood fast track

RF: Fast Track technology is a track in the sole that houses a sliding weight. You can use it to control ball flight and spin numbers. Slide the weight forward and you lower the ball flight and spin rate. This position isn’t as forgiving but it produces more penetrating shots that roll out more. Putting the weight in the rear position raises the launch angle and ups the spin rate. That position also makes the club more forgiving by increasing the MOI. There are many locations in between to set the weight, fine-tuning the ball flight for you.

GG: Any last thoughts on the Mizuno ST180 and GT180 fairway woods, Rudi?

RF: I have just a quick note about the stock shafts in these clubs. The ST180 fairway woods comes stocked with the MCA Tensei Blue shaft. This shaft produces mid launch and spin. It also has a smooth bend profile, for those with a fairly even swing tempo. The GT180 comes loaded with the MCA Tensei CK White shaft. This shaft is heavier and stiffer than the Tensei Blue, made for players with faster swing speeds. The low-torque tip of the CK White also reduces spin, if you need it.

As always, Mizuno offers several no upcharge shafts that you can custom order. For more information or help deciding which one is for you, reach out to me or one of our other PGA Pros on staff HERE.

GG: We appreciate your time and thank you for sharing your knowledge of these clubs with us.

RF: You’re welcome.

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Posted in Drivers, Fairway Woods & Hybrids, Equipment, Golf Talk

Cleveland Expands Huntington Beach Putter Lineup

New Huntington Beach putter lineup

In 2017, we wrote about the Cleveland Huntington Beach putter lineup, a premium putter without the premium price. In the line are models to fit nearly any putting stroke and eye. Coming off the success of the initial introduction, Cleveland expands the Huntington Beach putter lineup with 3 new models for 2018. In this review, we’ll refresh your memory on the performance features and fill you in on what you need to know about the latest models.

Huntington Beach Putter Lineup

Technology Refresher

The newest Huntington Beach putter models are the #2, #8, and #11. Along with the rest of the putters in the line, these head shapes are inspired by designs proven to be effective for both tour players and amateurs.

The head is made of a soft 304 Stainless steel and 51% softer than the 17-4 stainless steel previously used. Using 304 stainless steel gives the putters exceptional feel and feedback at impact. The softer steel also makes it easier to customize the lie angle to dial in the putter for your stroke.

The face of all Huntington Beach putters is precision milled with a deep diamond pattern. Milling the pattern deeper increases friction at impact, helping putts get and stay online faster. The pattern also produces a nice soft feel.

 Introducing the Newest Huntington Beach Putter Models

Huntington Beach #2

Huntington Beach #2

The Huntington Beach #2 is bigger than a blade but not quite the size of a mid-mallet putter. It almost looks like a beefed-up version of the classic 8802 putter. There’s a single alignment dot on the top line, giving the club a simple, clean look at address. It hangs pretty toe-down as well, fitting an arcing putting stroke.

This model is only available in right-handed and offers a stock midsize or oversize grip option.

Huntington Beach #8

Huntington Beach #8

At address, the Huntington Beach #8 looks similar to the traditional Anser-style but with a wider body. The wide-body construction creates more stability by adding weight to the outside of the puter, increasing the MOI. The head design also imparts a truer, more consistent roll.

A single line on the back flange of the putter helps to line up putts. There’s also minor toe hang on the #8, perfect for those with a slight arc in their putting stroke.

The #8 is also only available in right-handed with the same midsize and oversize grip options.

Huntington Beach #11

Huntington Beach #11

The Huntington Beach #11 is a more modern, radically designed mallet with two stability wings coming off the back. The wings add forgiveness and stability as well as frame the ball better at address.

The alignment line on the back flange pairs nicely with the wings to further assist in lining up your putt.

The head design of the #11 is face-balanced, ideal for a straight-back-straight-through putting stroke.

Keeping consistent, Cleveland offers the Huntington Beach #11 in right-hand with a midsize or oversize grip.

Final Thoughts on the Expanded Huntington Beach Putter Lineup

Cleveland’s Huntington Beach putter lineup offers you good looks, incredible feel, and premium performance. Add to that the reasonable price point and you have a putter that appeals to all golfers.

If you need some help choosing the right model for you, give one of our PGA professionals a shout by clicking this link.

See below for more putter reviews

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Posted in Equipment, Putters

How to Choose the Right Driving Iron: Part 2

right driving iron

Welcome to Part 2 of our series of how to choose the right driving iron. Here’s Part 1, in case you missed it. To recap, we cover the features and benefits of some of the popular driving irons on the market. With this information, you’ll be able to understand which driving iron is right for your game, helping you play your best.

Choosing the Right Driving Iron For You

With the looks of an iron and the performance of a hybrid, driving irons are more playable from a variety of lies. The following models, like those in Part 1, have unique features that deliver optimal performance to stick it close from long distance.

Cobra KING Utility Black/Utility One Black

The Cobra KING Utility Black and KING Utility One Black incorporate the company’s latest technology into an easy hitting club from anywhere on the course.

king utility black

The first (and most obvious) trait to talk about is the black finish. Black is slimming and the PVD finish gives the club a smaller look at address, appealing to the iron-look lovers out there. The full hollow body head construction positions the CG lower, launching the ball higher. The CG position also reduces spin enough to maximize distance while still helping shots hold the green.

king ultility black iron features

Along with the hollow body, the head has a thin, forged PWRSHELL face. The thinness of the face results in higher ball speeds (i.e. distance) for shots hit across the face. A high-density tungsten weight in the toe rounds out the features of the head. The weight increases MOI, making the club more forgiving on off-center hits.

king utility black myfly8 hosel

Unique to the KING Utility Black is its adjustability. With Cobra’s MyFly8 adapter, users can adjust the club a total of 3 degrees to dial in the desired ball flight. It is also the only club on the list to come in ONE length option. The length and lie (37.5 inches and 62.5 degrees, respectively) blend seamlessly with the KING Forged TEC Black ONE Length or KING F8 ONE Length irons.

Other notable features of the KING Utility Black:

  • CNC Milled Face for consistent spin
  • Flat face and minimal offset for better accuracy
  • Equipped with Cobra Connect shot tracking technology
  • Steel or graphite stock shaft options

TaylorMade P790 UDI

P790 UDI

The TaylorMade P790 UDI driving iron borrows technology from the popular P790 irons and incorporates it, with some minor tweaks, into its design. The head of the P790 UDI is made with 8620 carbon steel and 4140 carbon steel. The former material (8620) gives the club a soft feel at impact. The latter steel (4140) is much stronger to help dish out more ball speed.

P790 SpeedFoam

Like the P790, the hollow body of the P790 UDI is filled with the proprietary SpeedFoam material. This rubber-like material not only boosts ball speed, it gives the club better sound and feel. Engineers found that making the face thin to promote ball speed causes the club to vibrate more. The SpeedFoam acts as a dampener at impact, for that ideal feel.

TaylorMade’s Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) in the P970 UDI gets an upgrade from previous versions. The new ICT is smaller and lighter, letting the face be made thinner on the edges, increasing ball speed on off-center hits.

In similar fashion to other clubs in the category, the P790 UDI has a tungsten weight toward the toe, boosting the MOI/forgiveness and optimizing the CG location.

P790 UDI topline

Lookswise, the top line is a little thicker with less offset than the P790, but not by much. Adding the driving iron to that, or any set would be pretty easy from a visual standpoint.

At this time, the P790 UDI is only available in RH, 17-degrees, with a Project X HZRDUS Black shaft that launches low with low spin. Other steel and graphite shafts are available to custom order.

Callaway X Forged Utility

2018 x-forged utility iron

The final club in our series is the Callaway 2018 X Forged Utility iron. The forged head takes design cues from other Callaway irons, especially the 2018 X Forged (naturally), to deliver outstanding performance. Compared to its player’s iron namesake, the X Forged Utility iron has a thicker topline and a little more offset. The extra mass and offset make these clubs more forgiving, which is what you want. At address, the back of the club is not visible. Now we dive into the performance features.

2018 x-forged utility iron topline

The slightly larger head of X Forged Utility iron is hollow. That puts more weight on the perimeter of the club, adding forgiveness. The head size also places the CG in the center of the clubface, producing more ball speed and distance along with optimal launch conditions (launch angle and spin).

2018 x-forged utility iron 360 face cup

Another way ball speed is increased is with the 360 Face Cup technology. Callaway uses this technology in their other irons to generate distance on off-center hits. The face wraps around to the sole of the club, creating a springboard effect that transfers energy to the golf ball. That energy is what produces higher ball speed.

The X Forged Utility iron is available in the widest variety of lofts of any club in this series, with options from 2 to 6 iron lofts. The stock steel shaft is a Project X, for more penetrating ball flight.  The UST Mamiya Recoil ES 760/780 is the stock graphite shaft, delivering mid-launch and spin. Should either of the stock shafts not fit your swing, there are plenty of custom shaft options to choose from.

Finding the Right Driving Iron

We hope you’ve enjoyed and learned from this series on how to find the right driving iron. All of the clubs we went over are excellent choices. The important thing to remember is to get fit for the club that does what your game needs it to.

Reach out to one of our PGA Professionals with any questions/concerns you have on driving irons.

Prefer A Traditional Hybrid? Check Out These Reviews

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Posted in Drivers, Fairway Woods & Hybrids, Equipment, Guides, Irons
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