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Mizuno JPX-850 Driver offers adjustability and power

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Mizuno JPX-850
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Mizuno's JPX-850 driver incorporates intuitive adjustability into a traditional profile. (Courtesy of Mizuno)

The name Mizuno evokes certain feelings in serious golfers. Imagine how a world-class chef feels about his or her cutlery. That's sort of the way many dedicated players feel about Mizuno irons.

When it comes to drivers, though, Mizuno isn't the first name that comes to mind. (Perhaps it doesn't help that no Mizuno staff player is known for his or her distance off the tee.)

The Mizuno JPX-850 Driver ($400) goes a long way toward remedying this situation -- literally. The JPX-850 incorporates intuitive adjustability into a traditional profile that delivers every bit as much power as any driver I've tested this year.

Playing the Mizuno JPX-850 Driver

The first thing you notice right out of the box about the Mizuno JPX-850 is the striking blue crown -- it just looks fast and strong. The next thing you notice is on the other side of the driver head is the Fast Track weighting ports: a long, central slot perpendicular to the face, and one weight port each at the heel and toe, parallel to the face and just front of center. The driver comes standard with two 8-gram weights that can be moved closer and farther from the face, or to one or both of the peripheral ports. Doing so affects launch angle and spin rate, with 10 total combinations, which can be combined with the range of possible loft angles, from 7.5 to 11.5 degrees.

Although sometimes I wonder just how wise it is for anyone but the best players to be fiddling with their clubhead specs, the JPX-850 system is intuitively appealing: It's easy to understand how moving the weights farther from the face raises ball flight and spin, and closer to the face lowers ball flight and spin. Weight toward the toe promotes a fade, and toward the heel promotes a draw.

I took out the brand new JPX-850 before the weather turned too cold, but the wind was howling. So I lowered the loft and ball flight a bit compared to my normal driver and focused on just trying to keep the ball out of the piles of leaves littering the rough of my home course.

Was I surprised when, from the very first swing, the JPX-850 delivered drive after drive as long or longer than with any other driver I've tested in the past couple of years. Powered by the stock Fujikura Motore Speeder shaft (stiff flex), the JPX-850 rocketed the ball off the tee with precision and feel. When I contacted the ball in the sweet spot, the feedback was nearly as exquisite as with Mizuno's vaunted irons. Distance was diminished by mishits, but not to the point of concern.

The only true knock against the JPX-850 to my mind -- or more precisely, my ear -- can be attributed to the heel and toe weight ports. Apparently, their position and/or angle create a sort of whistling noise when you swing the club. Granted, you have to swing the club pretty fast (as I do), but the whistle is definitely audible -- as my playing partners agreed when I asked them if they heard it. Perhaps putting weights into the ports would help, but you shouldn't have to mess with the weights to stop a noise.

Mizuno's JPX-850 Driver: The verdict

Mizuno's famed irons receive considerable attention -- and rightfully so -- but the JPX-850 Driver is poised to garner a few accolades of its own. Players will have no trouble dialing in loft, launch and spin with this extremely workable and controllable big stick. And if all you want is power, this Mizuno can hang with the longest of the long.

For more information, visit www.mizunogolf.com.

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Mizuno JPX-850 Driver

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Whistling noise

    Tigerbalm wrote on: Jul 20, 2016

    I just got the 850, but I hear a loud swoosh when I swing it! Is there a fix??? How mizuno did not here this is strange! Should I tape the underside? Must be som vortex created on downswing...


      • RE: Whistling noise

        Kiel Christianson wrote on: Jul 22, 2016

        Yes--note the last paragraph of the "playing with" section; I heard that noise, too. I simply got used to it -- played that driver for over a year. When I was swinging well, I turned the irritation with the noise into feedback about my tempo. But I agree: it's weird that they didn't hear that during beta-testing.