Mizuno JPX-800 Driver Review

Mizuno Golf has long been known for their finely crafted iron sets; personally I have owned some of these irons myself and absolutely loved them. Drivers aren’t always the first few things out of people’s mouths when you ask them what they think of Mizuno Golf, but maybe that should change with their latest driver offering- the JPX-800. Mizuno sent over their entire 2011 lineup for the 2011 THP Demo Days where over 50 golfers were able to put these all to the test. Following Demo Day I was able to take the JPX-800 driver out for a closer look.

Going into this review I was really excited to get a chance to get an in depth look at a driver that I’ve had hardly any exposure to prior to this. Sure I’ve seen the previous Mizuno drivers on the market, even played with a guy in my Men’s Club who had an MX-500 and he drove the ball amazing with that thing. So going into the review I felt I knew a lot about Mizuno as a company, but very little about their drivers. I knew the quality, and the kind of respect people have for their irons are second to none in the industry, so I wanted to see if this same thing can be said for their drivers.

Product Features from Mizuno Golf:
The new JPX-800 driver utilizes Mizuno’s new Ultimate Dynamic Stability (U.D.S.) technology for explosive distance from anywhere on the face. U.D.S. unites a forged Titanium ‘Hot Metal’ face, ultra-thin crown and a strategic internal weighting system to greatly increase vertical and horizontal MOI. The result: maximum ball speeds and massive distance, even outside of the sweet area.

The 460cc Ti Construction features a six-piece plasma welded design, which provides an extremely solid feel and allows for precise COG placement for a high launch with low spin. Combined with an internal five-gram heel weight that helps square the face at impact, the JPX-800 driver will help you hit the ball longer and straighter than you ever have before.

Key Features:
o Hot Metal: Multi-thickness clubface for consistently high ball speeds and explosive distance.
o Ultimate Dynamic Stability (U.D.S): Consistent ball speeds from both vertical and horizontal miss-hits for maximum performance all over the face.
o Forged 460cc Ti Construction: 6-piece construction utilizing plasma welding for exact Center of Gravity (COG) control.
o Internal 10g back weight: Provides greater vertical Moment of Inertia (MOI) and increased Center of Gravity (COG) depth to deliver amazing forgiveness.
o Internal 5g heel weight: helps square the face through impact for a high, straight ball flight.

Looks:

The first thing you notice when looking at the crown is a nice dark blue finish that Mizuno has been known for in their drivers, I like this look a lot. Flipping the club over and looking at the sole you’re greeted by a clean looking chrome. There’s nothing distracting at all and I think the color combinations come together to form a great looking driver. The shape is a pretty traditional “pear shaped” driver so again nothing distracting at all. Last thing I look at when considering the looks of a driver is the head cover. The head cover is primarily white, with blue and silver accents. The look and leather feel all come together for a nice head cover for this driver for sure.

Feel and sound:

Feel is where I believe the JPX-800 driver really delivers. The forged titanium face offers a very solid feel regardless of where you actually hit the ball. I became quite addicted to that feel shot after shot. It seems that there are some drivers out there that will deliver a great feel only when you drill it right in the center of the sweet spot, but the JPX-800, on the other hand, really did deliver that feel consistently. One thing I should mention is that often times that great feel made it hard to determine if you could expect the ball to be deep down the fairway or not. What I mean is there were times that I felt like I hit the ball very solidly, yet I would find that my shot didn’t travel nearly the distance it would on shots that I hit right on the button. The sound and the feel were not always real good indicators of just how far you could expect the shot to have gone.

The sound of the JPX-800 is something that has me quite puzzled to be quite honest. There are shots that make you think you’re at a little league game with all the aluminum ball bats clinging, and then there are shots that have a quiet muted sound as well. There seems to be no correlation between which sound you get and the distance you hit the shot either. I know it sounds ridiculous but it has be something that has had me scratching my head myself. Most of the time the sound I was getting was a nice semi-muted solid sound that reminded me of the sounds many drivers make when hit by the boys on the PGA Tour. “Tour solid” is what I kept on referring to it as. It just reminds me of a nice “tour solid” sound at impact.

Distance and accuracy:

Something somewhat strange occurred while I was testing the JPX-800. Each time when I went to the driving range early on I left thinking my existing driver was longer. I compared some shots side by side on the golf course as well and again my existing driver kept on going past it. But finally after a few weeks of this I decided it was time to just take the other driver out of the bag completely and devote 100% of my time to the JPX-800. That is when I really began to get a better feel for this driver and as a result I found those extra yards I had been looking for previously. Several times on the course over these last couple of weeks I had knocked the ball out there past where I would normally hit to with my regular driver. So the distance is definitely there.

From the second I started swinging the JPX-800 I knew it was a straight shooter. I have what some like to call a little bit of a fade. Sometimes with the current driver I had been playing that little bit could turn into a slightly bigger fade without prior notice. My fade is not something that I really complain much about, in fact I think when I keep it under control I really love that ball flight. Keeping it under control with the JPX-800 driver is a piece of cake. I found myself getting more and more confident each time I teed the ball up, we all know what confidence can do for a driver swing. After multiple weeks of in again/out again the Mizuno is definitely in the bag pretty securely right now.

Shaft:

I wanted to quickly touch on the shaft that comes standard in the JPX-800 is the Mizuno; the EXSAR DS5. Right away on the driving range at the THP Demo Day people were saying that they really hoped that Mizuno made improvements over previous shafts with this one. As I said earlier, I had no experience with these previous offerings so I was just going to form my own opinion based on what I found with this shaft. It’s a 59g shaft designed for a mid ball flight. I had absolutely nothing bad to say about the shaft at all, I feel that it delivers on the claim to provide a mid ball flight and there were never any issues as far as I am concerned. For those a little more shaft savvy than myself Mizuno does offer custom shafts for this driver so that’s something to consider as well.

Overall:

I really liked the JPX-800 driver. I really enjoyed the same solid feel after each shot and was happy when I was finally able to devote 100% of my time to using this driver. As I said, the distance came around and it ended up being every bit as long as any other 2011 drivers I have tested. The accuracy is really what I feel sets the JPX-800 apart from the pack. People who are looking to reign in their shot dispersion should really consider giving this driver a serious look.

It’s difficult to sit here and say that a company with the tradition of quality that Mizuno Golf has could have a driver that is flying under the radar but I think that is definitely the case. I realize that Mizuno Golf has never boasted a really large stable of PGA Tour Professionals but in searching for JPX-800 usage on Tour I came up empty. That’s not to say that someone who’s not a Mizuno staffer has one of these in their bags however. There is someone enjoying some success with the JPX-800 driver in the professional ranks. Stacy Lewis is playing this driver and used it to capture her first win which happened to be a major earlier this season in the LPGA Tour’s Kraft Nabisco Championship.

So while you’re not really going to be seeing the JPX-800 driver in the bags of hundreds of Tour players like some of the other drivers on the market it doesn’t mean that it’s any less of a quality driver. I’ve tested everything that is out there for 2011 and the club that is in my bag right this second is the Mizuno JPX-800. This is definitely a quality club that deserves a look if you’re in the market for a new driver any time soon. You can get the JPX-800 in lofts of 9, 10.5 and for righties 12 degrees and the length is 45.5 inches. This driver is currently everywhere for a retail price of $299.

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Jason Kunze
Jason is a busy husband and father of 2 daughters who are both just starting to take up the game that he has loved for years. Golf is his passion, when Jason is not playing golf and testing equipment he's hanging out with all his friends on the THP forum discussing every aspect of this great game.
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