The Mizuno ST200 fairway woods and CLK 20 hybrid are born out of the same “Tour Ready – World Ready” initiative as the ST200 drivers. Because drivers receive a disproportionate amount of attention (from pretty much everyone), it does, at times, feel like fairway woods and hybrids get treated like pieces of matching luggage. That is to say, they serve an essential purpose, but the features and benefits don’t have the same sizzle.
The ST200 fairway wood story is boilerplate. Better materials here, a nip-tuck there, and incremental improvements in ball speed, forgiveness, and playability.
The same could be said for the CLK 20 hybrid, though there’s been a bit more time between releases with the CLK 18 hitting the market in the summer of 2017.
ST200 Fairway Woods
Previous Mizuno fairway designs used a 1770 HT steel face with uniform 2mm thickness. It was the embodiment of acceptable, but not great. No one would suggest it was an inferior approach, but it was always going to be, at best, an adequate performer.
Because mediocrity is no longer the acceptable outcome, Mizuno went with a more aggressive (lighter and thinner) carbon crown and stepped up to a MAS1C maraging steel face with CORTECH multi-thickness design. As with the ST200 series drivers, harvested weight from the new crown and revamped WAVE technology is repositioned low/rear to help increase MOI.
The purpose of variable thickness face designs such as CORTECH is to improve performance on off-center strikes. In the case of the ST200 fairway woods, the objective was to increase overall COR as well as low-face COR. The gains might not appear monumental, but every improvement, be it 1% or 1/10 of 1%, is still progress. Moreover, the closer engineers get to the limits set by ruling bodies, the exponentially more difficult the task becomes. That is, taking a design with a center-face COR measurement from .780 to .790 is the same nominal change as going from .815 to .825, but the latter is far more challenging.
Similar to the ST200 drivers, Mizuno’s internal testing shows a more efficient CT-COR relationship from the MAS1C face, which Mizuno believes should place it in the same performance class as the market leaders. In terms of MOI/launch profiles, the ST200 should produce approximately the same low-ish spin as the ST190 but with appreciably better forgiveness as a result of the lighter crown and redistributed weighting.
The stock shaft in the adjustable 15° ST200 TS ($299) is the Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 70S.
The stock shafts offered in the fixed-loft 15° 3-wood and 18° 5-wood the Diamana Blue S+ 70S and Diamana Red M+ 60R. Both fixed-loft models are price at $249.
It’s been a bit more than 2.5 years since Mizuno released the CLK 18, and while one could rightfully assert that Mizuno’s fairway woods and drivers have lagged a bit behind, the story hasn’t been the same with its hybrid.
Because hybrids are more niche clubs by nature (particularly for touring professionals) and sit within a broad spectrum (some hybrids are closer to fairway woods while others play more like oversized driving-irons), the performance requirements of a hybrid can be as individual as the golfer.
As such, it’s often a matter of tweaking designs to fit a specific look or launch profile, though generally, club designers are going to work toward increasing forgiveness (higher MOI) and more accessible CG locations (better performance over a larger percentage of the clubface).
With the CLK 20, Mizuno uses a reengineered, Dual WAVE sole design alongside a slightly wider body, which is also a bit flatter with a lower crown.
Compared to the CLK 18, the updated design is a bit more forgiving, with a marginally lower sweet spot. The CG location has also been shift slightly lower/more rear to help raise MOI (forgiveness). Based on feedback from staff professional Luke Donald, the charge was to create a hybrid with more of a players profile (compact, square at address) while incorporating several features more typical of game-improvement hybrids (higher launch, more spin, and increased forgiveness).
Helpful hint – Too often, players will test clubs in a launch monitor battle environment and make decisions based almost exclusively on which club produced the longest one or two shots. While impressive and endorphin-inducing, it’s imperative to pay attention to metrics like spin, launch angle, descent angle, and carry distance to determine the optimal fit. Less spin might produce a longer total distance, but using Luke Donald as an example; he needed more spin from his hybrid in order to better control distances and hold more greens.
The stock shafts in the Mizuno CLK 20 are the Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue (stiff) and Tensei CK Pro Red (Regular).
The CLK 20 is priced at $249 and is available in #2 (16°), #3 (19°), #4 (22°), and #5 (25°). Each hybrid is adjustable by +/- 2°.
Retail availability for all ST200 fairway woods and hybrids begins 2/7/2020. For more information, visit mizunousa.com.