Wilson Staff D9 Driver

By ED TRAVIS

The Wilson Staff D9 driver is designed with the face having hundreds of tiny zones of differing thickness and an enlarged sweet spot plus a 3-layer crown of Kevlar and carbon fiber.

Fast Facts Wilson Staff D9 Driver:
Game-improvement category
460cc club head
PKR Face technology
3-layer crown Kevlar and carbon fiber
Rear sole weight 10 grams
Fixed hosel
Reshaped profile
Stock shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue
Stock grip: Lamkin Crossline Genesis
At retail January 27 $350

WYNTK:
Wilson has shifted its emphasis of its approach to enhancing driver performance by dropping the idea of super lightweight drivers as with the D7, a game-improvement model from two years ago and the Launch Pad line from 2019. Launch Pad, a super game-improvement anti-slice model had a total club weight of 272-grams which is a full 40 grams less than most drivers.

The new D9 is a more regular weight, not lightweight, with a face designed after a computer analysis of multiple simulated impacts across the entire area giving an end product having hundreds of interior face geometries. Called a Peak Kinetic Response Face (PKR) it is a unique take on the idea of variable thickness faces as seen in drivers by other manufacturers.

The second change is to increase the price of the D9 to $350 or $50 more than the D7 and Launch Pad but still in the lower end of the current price range for one-woods. Of note is the two largest club companies increased driver prices this year by about the same amount putting the prices substantially over $500.

The Wilson Staff D9 crown is similar to what was used in the D7, a sandwich of carbon fiber top and bottom with Kevlar in the middle. This sandwich is lighter than titanium and this lowers the center of gravity which in turn means better ball launch numbers and an easier to hit clubhead. At the rear of the sole is a 10-gram replaceable weight and a 3-gram option is offered. Wilson also made the head more aerodynamic by increasing the head depth but decreasing the crown curvature.

Mizuno Introduces ST-Z & ST-X drivers

By ED TRAVIS

Mizuno bills the better-player ST-Z and game-improvement ST-X as their next generation designs. Both have a forged beta titanium face, Mizuno’s Wave Sole and an adjustable hosel.

Fast Facts
Mizuno ST-X driver
Game-improvement 460cc clubhead
Draw-bias
Deeper more compact profile
Forged SAT2041 Beta Ti variable thickness face
Carbon fiber crown and toe panel
Sole weight near heel
+/- 2° adjustable hosel
Stock shafts: Fujikura Motore X, Mizuno MFusion, Project X EvenFlow Riptide
Stock grip: Lamkin ST Hybrid 360 grip
At retail February 18, $400

Mizuno ST-Z driver
Better player 460cc clubhead
Forged SAT2041 Beta Ti variable thickness face
Carbon fiber crown and sole panel
Rear sole weight
+/- 2° adjustable hosel
Stock shafts: Fujikura Motore X, Project X EvenFlow Riptide, Project X HZRDUS
Stock grip: Lamkin ST Hybrid 360 grip
At retail February 18, $400

WYNTK:
Mizuno’s latest drivers have a face forged from an exotic titanium alloy containing vanadium, aluminum and tin mounted on a titanium body specifically constructed with carbon fiber crown and sole panels to provide the desired performance for different skill level players.

The ST-X with a carbon sole panel towards the toe and weighting towards the heel has a strong draw bias which can help those fighting a slice. The head has more depth than the ST-Z and the profile is smaller. In addition, there is J-Spec (Japan Specification) variant for those with lower swing speeds that comes with a very light 39-gram MFusion shaft. Higher swing speed golfers such as Tour players will appreciate the low-spin high-stability design of the ST-Z with its carbon sole panels toe and heel.

Mizuno’s Chris Voshall, “The ST-Z’s predecessor – the ST200 – had a reputation for being a straight-line bomber favored by our longer hitting tour players, and the ST-Z profile is no different. But with an extra year’s extra experience engineering the Forged Beta SAT2041 Ti, we were able to release a little extra ball speed and a much more satisfying experience off the clubface.”

Both models use the Wave Sole Plate behind the face to increase flex at impact for more ball speed.