Remember a couple of years ago when driver customization was the new thing? I was a big Nickent Golf fan at the time and the 4DX driver with its Interchangeable Shaft Technology was obviously the top golf tech of the year. It’s funny how far we’ve come in the last decade when it comes to customizing our equipment. And drivers are leading the charge in developing new technology to make the game easier. While Nickent might not have been the future of golf, the tech they introduced not only changed the way we select our shafts, but it’s now being used by the Mizuno GT 180 Driver to alter the center of gravity and more.
And Mizuno Golf seems to have created a driver with endless possibilities of customization. Is it a testament to show how far golf technology has come? Or is this just customization overboard? Read our review of the Mizuno GT 180 Driver to find out.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Mizuno GT180
The driver is possibly the most important club in your entire golf bag. The first swing can set the tone for the whole day. While some may disregard the driver as simply a power option, it is of fundamental importance to make sure the appropriate one is chosen for you as an individual.
Sure a professional top golfer may be able to beat the competition with any old driver, but let’s be honest we’re not PGA pro’s and we need every bit of help we can get. And with the large assortment of drivers to choose from figuring out the ‘ONE’ isn’t as simple as googling Golf Store Near Me then walking into your nearest big box store and grabbing one of the shelves.
Before purchasing a new driver, consider the following different characteristics. Drivers will fall into one of three different categories:
- Game Improvement
- Max Game Improvement
- Better Player
Game improvement drivers are by and far the most commonly found drivers. Different skill levels can benefit from a game improvement driver as lower handicappers can still shape shots to a certain degree, while the weekend warrior will find the forgiveness needed to not completely embarrass him/herself.
These drivers are best for mid to low handicap levels and players with moderate experience golfing.
Max Game Improvement drivers are better for beginners and golfers who only get out a couple times a month that either need to work on their swing or want the most forgiveness money can buy. The clubs are more technologically advanced and improve upon typical swing flaws the recur with high handicap golfers. A max game improvement driver can help improve hooks and/or slices, along with increasing distance on off-center shots resulting in more fairways in regulations.
Better Player drivers are meant for those with more golf experience looking to improve ball position off the tee for course management. However, these drivers will not hide weaknesses nearly as much. Missing the sweet spot on the face equals wider shot dispersion and loss of distance. Low handicap to scratch golfers tend to use these drivers most commonly.
Now before you run off to your nearest sporting goods store, there are several things to be made aware of.
- Budget: Prior to walking into the store, have a good idea of how much you would like to spend on a new driver. The price can range considerably from the low hundreds into the thousands. Having a preset budget will make the buying process simpler.
- Trade-In Value: If you are thinking of trading in your old club, consider selling it on a popular site as opposed to trading it in. List your club on Facebook or OfferUp to get some more cash as opposed to trading it into your local golf shop.
- Fit: As mentioned earlier golf clubs are not a one size fits all type of item. A fitting performed by a trained professional is necessary if you are serious about maximizing your performance. Fitting fees may be reduced or waived entirely if a club is purchased from the store. Always check though because a standard fitting fee can run hundreds of dollars if performed separately.
- Warranty: Having a strong manufacturer’s backed warranty will also be crucial for long-term durability of your driver. So keep that in mind when looking at the initial price tag. You can rest easier knowing your driver is backed by a strong warranty.
Presenting The 2018 Mizuno GT 180 Driver
The 2018 Mizuno GT 180 has been pegged as the ultimate fine tunable driver that will evolve with your game as you continue to improve over time. The GT stands for Gravity Tech (I can only imagine it’s due to the way you can manipulate the Center of Gravity on this driver) and the 18 of 180 references the year of issue.
The main draw of the GT180 is the fact that the driver comes with the Fast Track system which means the weights of the driver can be removed, altered, and changed into various positions, 1872 approximate positions. The result is a built-in customizability feature which allows you to adjust the driver geared towards your individual preferences.
Compared to its competitors on the market, the adjustability is unmatched with a wide range of options. Once you figure the best settings for your swing you should notice an increase in distance and a tighter shot dispersion. If you are someone that likes to have options or someone that is taking lessons from a pro and your swing is a work in progress, the GT 180 may suit your needs comfortably.
But if you are someone that is not a fan of the adjustable weight features, this driver may not be for you.
Howard’s Golf Tip: Work with a fitter, or golf pro to figure out the correct settings for your driver. Constant tinkering will create an information overload and you will possibly either continuously adjust the driver, or trade it in for something else.
- FastTrack technology provides approximately 1872 different adjustments with the weight track system allowing a more straightforward path for optimizing launch angles and spin rates
- Exotic fine grain SP700 Titanium Face material that should offer greater responsive force for increased ball speed and distance
- Quick switch adaptor to change loft of the driver
- Not having a professional adjusted the settings to your swing could cause loss of confidence in the driver
- Very small selection of shaft options
- Visual Face Angle Slider only works if you ground the sole at address, and is prone to get turf caught in the leading edge of the piece
Features and Benefits
You’re here because you want to know how things thing stacks up in all of the crucial areas. So, without wasting time, let’s take a look at how this driver is constructed and how it performs.
At address, the Mizuno GT 180 driver has a traditional shape which is considered a plus for many golfers who play lots of rounds. For more forgiveness, companies will design drivers with different looks to increase M.O.I. or to lower the Center of Gravity (CG).
Also, from address lets talk about the paint selection. While I personally like the branded Mizuno blue color selection some golfers have voiced their opinions in a negative way (See the Rick Shiels driver review video below). Even though he is not a fan of the blue, you can still read the comments and find many golfers arguing that Mizuno’s choice looks good to them. Fortunately, the color of the head doesn’t affect performance.
Speaking of performance, the sole needs to be addressed from a design standpoint. There is a lot going on when looking at the bottom of this head. And as mentioned, a major design flaw is that the Visual Face Angle Slider gets turf caught in it which causes constant cleaning. Not a good problem.
Mizuno created the GT 180 with the recreational golfer in mind. Regardless, this club has lots of technology available to keep the biggest tinkerer or golf nerd occupied for years.
First, the SP700 Titanium Face is made from high-grade titanium metal. While considered a slightly more expensive metal, SP700 is known for its spring effect which creates a more responsive force resulting in increased ball speed and a further distance. Click here to nerd out on the different kinds of Titanium.
Next, the Visual Face Angle Slider allows the user to have a noticeably open to closed clubface when the sole is grounded at address. When used properly, this feature should help golfers set the head to be more open or closed at contact.
The Quick Switch Adaptor allows you to change the loft, lie, and face angle. The loft can be adjusted 4 degrees between 7.5 and 11.5 degrees. Due to the change in lie angle the Visual Face Angle Slider compliments the Quick Switch Adaptor by allowing you to fine-tune the face angle to an even greater degree.
Last up is the Fast Track Technology. The GT180 features three tracks on the sole with two 11-gram weights that can be moved into a variety of positions in the middle, heel, or toe. If you choose to place the weights in the heel track, you can expect maximum draw spin. If you desire the most fade spin, both weights can be adjusted to the toe track.
The weight that is in the middle of the track determines the height of each drive. Adjust the weight forward, and the ball will have a lower ball flight while placing the weight towards the back raises the launch angle. You can toy around with the adjustments in a limitless number of ways until the driver is acutely tuned to your game.
Therefore, it seems the only thing holding you back is your abilities and creativity when on the course. Let’s hypothetically say your on a 380-yard par 4 with a bend to the right and you need to hit a high fade. No problem set one weight in the F2 position in the toe and the other weight in the four position on the center track. Easy Peasy.
The result is the most adjustable driver the market has ever seen. Any level of golfer can benefit from the type of technology that is incorporated into the design of the GT180.
In real time action, the Mizuno GT180 has favored extremely well in all scenarios. The variability and adjustability of the settings on the driver make it a viable option for any golfer no matter their level of experience and background. If you have a low or high handicap, there is no reason why you may not benefit from the use of the GT 180.
The GT 180 is a solid driver. The two moveable weights and three weight tracks, combined with the Visual Face Angle Slider and the Quick Switch Adapter make it one of the most changeable drivers in history.
The titanium face is rated 10% stronger than other drivers. When used in play, the result is more consistent distances even when the ball is hit from an off-center position.
From low-handicappers to beginners, golfers are fans of the club itself due to the various adjustable settings. The nice thing about this golf club is that as your game progresses, you will be able to adjust the settings providing the most optimal results at the stage you’ll grow to. If you are learning how to hit a golf ball, the Mizuno GT 180’s flexibility and settings will not disappoint.
The only complaint, and it’s been noted in a few reviews, is when compared to the Mizuno ST 180 the GT version seems to consistently hit the ball shorter. While this might not bother better players as much, most golfers want nothing more than to smirk at their mates on every hole as they outdrive them.
There are a few stock shaft options that are offered with the Mizuno GT 180. The shaft can make all the difference when looking into the overall performance of the driver.
- Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi Dual Core
- Mitsubishi Tensei (Blue, White, Orange)
- Mitsubishi Basara
Although the GT 180 comes with the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage as the stock shaft, the other options including the Mitsubishi Tensei (in blue, white, or orange) and the Basara. Each golf shaft is available as no-cost alternative stock shafts that can be fitted to the GT 180 as well. The Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver TiNi has a tip-stiff profile enhancing a low ball flight. The Mitsubishi Tensei Blue also offers a stiff tip while the Orange offers a regular tip. The Mitsubishi Basara is included as well with a lightweight (43g) option for slower swing speeds.
Stock shafts are sometimes viewed in a negative light, but sometimes an alternative needs to be fitted to maximize performance. To understand which shaft is right for you, seek out a professional knowledgeable in the field to give you a greater sense of what the best option is for you. Hopefully, that person will have some kind of fitting system like the Trackman or FlightScope so you can see your shot data, along with a fitting cart to try each shaft option.
Although aftermarket options appear to be available, the small batch of stock shaft options it comes equipped with will meet the needs of the majority of users.
The Mizuno GT 180 driver price is $500 brand new, and since it is a relatively new model, there may not currently be a large aftermarket for the product. The $500 pricing point is an average price compared to the Callaway Rogue Driver or TaylorMade M4.
After reviewing the consumer feedback and responses for the Mizuno GT 180, I noticed there were several positive reviews and very little in the way of negativity. As stated, since the product was released relatively recently, we may not currently have the full spectrum of all reviews, but I struggled to find any sign of stark criticism.
The adjustability features of the driver seem to please most critics while the overall customizability was a positive feature for both seasoned golfers and those relatively new to the greens. The titanium head of the golf club also was one of the top-rated features on the GT180.
We all have our preferences, and what works for one golfer may not work for another. Keeping that in mind, let’s highlight a few alternatives so that you’ve got options in the event that the GT 180 simply doesn’t hit the mark for you.
Better player – Cobra F8+
What Mizuno has done for the Ultimate Fine Tuning, Cobra matched in Smart Technology. With the COBRA CONNECT mobile app you can track your distance, tune your driver, and learn your shot habits so you’ll have a data-driven analysis to decide how to adjust your driver.
And while the Cobra F8+ might not have over 1800 adjustments, this tour preferred shaped head allows for some fine tuning with two weights on the sole which control the front and back Center of Gravity settings. For a lower, more penetrating ball flight simply set the driver up for the front weight setting. Vice versa, the back weight setting allows for a slightly higher launch by increasing spin. And like the GT 180, this Cobra golf club has loft adjustment settings to manage trajectory, launch, and spin. With 8 different settings, you’re sure to find the ideal adjustment.
The Cobra F8+ also features the first-ever CNC Titanium milled face which results in precise face thickness compared to hand polishing which is the method for most other drivers on the market. Cobra boasts this face is thinner, hotter, and more precise.
At $400 the Cobra F8+ is definitely worth a look if you consider yourself a tour to 15 handicap golfer with higher swing speeds. Here’s a link if you are interested in the F8+ Driver from Cobra Golf.
Game Improvement – TaylorMade M4
The TaylorMade M4 driver is different from other drivers on the market due to its unique driver face design. The Twist Face type design was created to better enhance your golf swing with a new curvature face that was designed to take drives farther while following a straighter path down the fairway.
Compared to the Mizuno GT 180 driver, the TaylorMade M4 does not have the same sort of adjustability and range of features that are found in the Mizuno golf club. But, the M4 comes in a slightly cheaper price point than the GT 180 ringing in at $429 compared to the $500 retail price. You can purchase the TaylorMade M4 Driver here.
Max Game-Improvement – Tour Edge Hot Launch HL3
The Tour Edge Hot Launch HL3 is different from other competitors in that it features a titanium head and cup face which increases overall face flexing thereby increasing ball speed. As a result, the new technology will provide you with extra distance from the first time off the tee.
Another key aspect of the HL3 is the variable thickness technology which creates more contact points to better hit the ball off-center. Even if your swing is slightly off, chances are the result will still be a strong, powerful hit down the middle of the fairway. At a retail price of under $200, this driver is a bargain compared to the GT180. Don’t be fooled, however, as we all know that lower prices do not necessarily correlate to a stronger product.
If you are looking for a lower priced alternative or are on a shoestring budget, the HL3 could be the best option for you. Grab one here for $189.99
Hitting the ball straight down the fairway with enough speed is difficult enough as is. Being stuck with a driver that doesn’t work for you is even worse. With the Mizuno GT 180 driver, you will be able to customize the settings in numerous ways. The options are limitless, and the GT180 will grow and change right along with your game.
The adjustability of the driver itself, along with the stock shaft options, and overall look, feel, and sound makes the GT180 a sound purchase. It is a great choice for someone searching for a driver that has a lot of options along with some flare.
How Does the Mizuno GT 180 Rate?
While the overall rating of this driver is not difficult, the problem is this driver doesn’t fit correctly into our Better Player, Game Improvement, Max Game-Improvement categories. Why? Because you can adjust it. Major Slice problem. Move some weights around and guess what… the head is closed down and wants to naturally pivot through the heel during the swing. Need a piercing ball flight with a slight draw? Lower the loft and add the weight in the appropriate spot. It can work with golfers of all skill levels. Honestly, a driver like this would get me in trouble as I would tinker, then tinker, then tinker some more. But I would have so much fun getting in that said trouble!
Design – 8
Mizuno designed a good looking driver. One that’s easy to stand over and not be distracted… Well, unless the blue head bothers you.
Technology – 10
Not sure if you read over 1800 different possibilities of fine tuning options. If that doesn’t scream a 10 in the technology department I don’t know what would. Mizuno really has designed the Ultimate Fine Tunable driver available.
Performance – 8
And with all the tuning options comes the potential for excellent performance. Still, if it’s not set up correctly, the performance will suffer. It was also noted that the GT model seems to be shorter in distance compared to the ST 180 driver.
Shaft Options – 6
Mizuno leaves a lot to be desired regarding shaft options. The 5 Mitsubishi shafts are good shafts to choose from but compared to other companies large plethora of choices they are falling short.
Price – 7
The $499.99 price is fair considering the Callaway Rogue and TaylorMade M3 are the same prices. But, those two companies have a reputation for extremely popular drivers and can command such a price.
Reviews – 10
The GT 180 social proof is in the pudding. Those who test, or bought seem to be very happy with the driver!
Overall – 8
Mizuno really has built a solid driver with the GT 180. It is highly recommended to work with a fitter, or your local pro to fine tune the settings and dial the driver into your golf game. But, as your game evolves you can adjust this club to grow with you and your game. Good Job, Mizuno Golf!
This club is Howard’s Golf Approved!
If you want a reasonably priced driver that can be altered and adjusted for some situations you should check out the Mizuno GT180 driver here.
Mizuno really has built a solid driver with the GT 180. It is highly recommended to work with a fitter, or your local pro to fine tune the settings and dial the driver in to your golf game. But, as your game evolves you can adjust this club to grow with you and your game. Good Job, Mizuno Golf!
This club is Howard’s Golf Approved!