When you say the name "Mizuno" to the typical golfer, they first think of one thing - forged irons, often a muscleback or blade type material.
If this typical golfer kept thinking, they might never arrive at "drivers," let alone drivers with adjustable weights. As popular as Mizuno is for their irons, they're at least as unpopular for their hybrids, fairway woods, and drivers.
Unfortunately, their stellar irons overshadow an impressive woods/metals lineup, the best of which may very well be the MP-630 Fast Track driver. Read on as we shed a little light on Mizuno's under-appreciated driver.
Design and Technology
Mizuno first introduced adjustable weight technology in their MP-600 driver (reviewed here), and the technology has come a long way since the MP-600's release.
While the MP-600 offered 15 weight configurations, the MP-630 triples that number and allows for 45 different weight configurations. The driver contains two eight-gram weights in a "track" - the weights can be loosened with the included screw, slid to their desired position, and tightened in place. Unlike TaylorMade's drivers, you can't lose the weights and you can't accidentally goof up the swingweight.
Practically, 45 positions all but guarantee the player will be able to choose a ball flight (both vertically and horizontally) that suits the player. Weight moved left and right in the driver will alter the ball flight laterally, while weight moved towards the face or towards the back of the driver will affect spin and launch angle.
The original Fast Track design was a breakthrough in adjustable technology, as it became the fastest and easiest way to effectively manipulate weight in order to tune your ball flight. Now, this next generation of Fast Track technology in the MP-630 Fast Track once again takes trajectory tuning to a whole new level. Within the 45 possible ball flight settings, players can not only control their ball from left to right, but the weights can now also be adjusted to control up-down trajectory. Simply put, Fast Track is the ultimate technology for unsurpassed ball control off the tee box.Dick Lyons, VP and General Manager, Mizuno
The MP-630 Fast Track driver features a traditional, pear-shaped appearance at setup. The face is created using Mizuno's proprietary "Hot Metal technology" and is composed of Ti-9 Titanium with CNC CORTECH technology. As with every driver on the market today, Mizuno claims this allows for a larger sweet spot for longer distance. Mizuno is also quick to note that engineers put tremendous effort into fine-tuning the sound and feel.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "business in the front, party in the back" to describe that 80s atrocity: the mullet.
Though I'm sure the Mizuno folks won't care for the analogy, the MP-630 Fast Track driver pulls off a similar feat. At address, the club looks as classic as it gets. Flip it over and look at the sole and you'll find an impressive amount of technology. Mizuno is perhaps one of the more traditional golf companies out there, and they've managed to stuff a good bit of tech into a classic package: "tradition on the top, technology on the bottom."
At address, the black semi-glittery pear-shaped crown is complimented by an austere, short hosel and a clean, silver clubface that, unlike many modern drivers, features scoreline grooves what span the entire width of the clubface. The clubhead, at setup, is plainer than the persimmon drivers of yester-year. Heck, there's not even an alignment aid on the crown! I like it!
Flip the club over and things get busy in a hurry. The bottom features a blend of shades of silver, black, and red and white to show off the Fast Track system. Two weights with a hex key screw are positioned in two of the positions numbered "1" to "10" with white letters. The titanium from the face wraps around to the sole and back towards the inner part of the "U" formed by the Fast Track system. It's emblazoned with "MP 630" and the Mizuno name. The markings are completed by, from heel to toe around the back edge, the loft in white, the letters "MP" in red, and "Fast Track" in white with the Mizuno logo on the toe.
The clubface is a bit of a throwback look. In the day and age of taller faces, or simply bigger faces, the MP-630 has what appears to be a good bit less clubface area than others. I'd describe the shape as a "cat's eye" look, with pronounced curve from the heel to the toe both along the top and bottom lines of the club. The club's smaller looking clubface simply doesn't make it appear to be very forgiving.
The stock Fubuki shaft is silver, black, red, and white and nicely carries on the color scheme. The bottom of the shaft - everything you'll see at setup - is white and will not distract you from putting a good swing on the ball.
I may be guilty of some bias against Mizuno's drivers, but a few swings with the MP-630 Fast Track have convinced me otherwise. It didn't take long before I started referring to this thing as "my little cannon" and I've never had a better year driving the golf ball.
Though the clubface appears smaller than many other drivers (it probably is smaller), I never had trouble missing the clubface enough that I questioned the driver's forgiveness. If you find yourself hitting the very edges of drivers with larger clubfaces than this, you'll want to avoid this driver as you might literally top a few off the toe or heel. On the other hand, if you regularly hit the ball within a full inch of your driver's sweet spot, the clubface area on the MP-630 is nothing to worry about: it's more than large enough for all but the worst types of swings.
I tested the MP-630 with the stock shaft in an X flex and a driver head with 10.5° loft. Previous drivers were all heavier shafts (70 grams or so), stiff flex, and 9.5 degrees of loft. The club suits me and the combination of more loft with a stiffer shaft lets me feel that I can really attack the golf ball when I need to.
The first thing I noticed when hitting the MP-630 was the sound it makes. It's been a long time since I've swatted balata with persimmon, but the noise harkens back to that. In modern day equivalents, it sounds like the perfect combination of a carbon composite material and a titanium or even steel head. The sound is a bright yet heavy "thump" that sounds more like an MLB player swatting a home run than the loud, tinny, hollow noises commonly made by drivers these days. I'm having a hard time thinking of a driver that sounded better, and may very well have to go back to balata and persimmon to start building that list!
The ball flight with this driver is incredibly consistent across the face. I was not punished severely for missing high or low, towards the toe or heel. The driver seems to have a fair amount of bulge and roll, which likely helps here. Distance on mis-hits was perhaps a bit more than you'd see on a super-MOI type driver, but distance loss was less than with some other "player's drivers" I've hit, too. I play a push draw primarily, and shots hit on the toe would simply push more and draw a bit more and shots hit on the heel would start straighter and draw less. Likewise for shots hit high or low on the face - very little would change about the height of the ball.
Distance? The MP-630 is no longer than any other driver out there these days, but it's no shorter either. Driver technology has pretty much maxed out distance across the world of golf, so the best you can do is get fit and try to get to your ideal launch conditions to maximize distance. The MP-630's Fast Track system will help you to do just that.
And how much, specifically, can the Fast Track system do? 45 positions sounds like a lot, and it is. It's too many to discuss, so I'll talk about the extremes and averages: adjustable weight all the way towards the face, weight all the way towards the back of the club, and weight neutral or weight all in the heel, balanced, or all towards the toe.
I play about as neutral a position as you can get: weights are in the 3 and 8 positions - right in the middle both front-to-back and heel-to-toe. I typically carry the ball about 265 to 270 yards with a draw that starts 10 yards right of the target and curves back.
With the weights positioned in the 1/10 positions as far forwards towards the face as possible, the ball flight was noticeably lower and had several hundred less RPM. If I played regularly on firm fairways or in windy conditions I might be tempted to push the weights there - or if I'd gotten a stiff shaft instead of the X flex I have. Trajectory and spin was likewise affected with the weight back in the 5/6 positions.
The heel/toe positions affected things a similar amount. My 10-yard draw turned into perhaps a 13-yard draw with the weight all in the heel and a 7-yard draw with the weight in the toe. Others will undoubtedly be affected more here - I think that a driver's side-to-side weight distribution has less effect on balls hit pretty squarely.
Do I have any complaints? No, not really. After my initial concerns about the appearance of the size of the clubface were allayed by the results, I came to enjoy, appreciate, or like everything about this driver. It looks great, it sounds great, it allows for exactly enough adjustability (without requiring special tools - the wrench Mizuno gives you is just a hex wrench), it's as forgiving as I need and provides the carry distance and ball flight I like to see from the tee.
The MP-630 Fast Track driver is an all-around winner.
The MP-630 Fast Track driver comes with a 64-gram MRC Fubuki shaft in various flexes. The stock grip is a Golf Pride M-21 round grip. Custom shafts and grips are available through Mizuno's custom department.
The driver is available in 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5° models, each with a lie angle of 58° and a stock shaft length of 45 inches. No left-handed models are available.
Club LH Loft Lie Offset Bounce Length ---- --- ----- --- ------ ------ ------ 8.5 N/A 8.5° 58° N/A N/A 45" 9.5 N/A 9.5° 58° N/A N/A 45" 10.5 N/A 10.5° 58° N/A N/A 45"
MSRP is $499, though you'll find this driver for $399 virtually everywhere.
If nothing else, do yourself a favor and stop overlooking Mizuno's hybrid, fairway wood, and driver offerings. The MP-630 Fast Track driver is proof positive that Mizuno is more then capable of producing some serious equipment outside of the irons and wedges categories.
Given the proper shaft, loft, and a swing that's capable of finding hitting within an inch of the sweet spot consistently, the MP-630 is definitely a club you should try. Give it a whack, listen to the sweet sound at impact, and look up to see your ball rocketing down the fairway.