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Swing physics: Srixon Z 355 woods and irons deliver power with more mass

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Srixon Z 355 - driver
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The new Srixon Z 355 driver delivers extra mass behind the golf ball for extra power. (Courtesy of Srixon)

For decades, club manufacturers have been trying to figure out how to lighten clubs while increasing clubhead volume.

The idea was that the larger volume would stabilize the head and expand the sweetspot, and the lighter weight would allow players to ramp up clubhead speed. Combined, this was the widely accepted wisdom of how to increase distance.

An alternative strategy is to increase power through simple physics: More mass behind the ball will generate more force and thus more distance.

This approach makes sense if you consider that there is a limit to how fast some players are capable of swinging, no matter how light the club. The increased mass means you don't have to swing as fast -- or as potentially out of control.

The concern with adding more mass, though, is that the swing weight will be thrown off, or in simpler terms, that the club will be head-heavy. This drawback can be addressed by counter-weighting the grip-end of the club and raising the kick-point of the shaft up higher toward the grip. This is exactly the approach taken by Srixon in its new line of Z 355 woods and irons.

The result is explosive power, however fast you swing the club.

Playing the Srixon Z 355 woods and irons

The Z 355s are defined as "game improvement" clubs for a few reasons but, most of all, for their ease of play. The woods are powerful, with large sweet-spots for mid- to high-launch with reduced spin. The irons have the most game-improvement features, including a progressive offset throughout the set, which is more pronounced than most iron sets aimed at mid-level players. Yet the beveled leading edge of the irons creates reduced drag when moving through the turf.

I played the 9.5-degree Z 355 driver with a stiff 57g Miyazaki Jinsoku shaft, a 15-degree Z 355 3-wood and a set of Z 355 irons (PW-4i) for several rounds at my home course. The results were impressive.

The Z 355 driver's ($350) power was on full display at the 473-yard sixth hole. After a drive that frankly left me staring in disbelief, I walked to my ball where it lay just 140 yards out from the green in the center of the fairway. Now, it's a downhill hole, but it was still a heck of a poke. Note that the Z 355 is a 450cc driver head -- 10cc less than the maximum allowed by the USGA. Remember: Mass, rather than volume, is the key to its power. Although I left the face at the neutral settings, 12 settings for lie, loft and face angle are possible.

The 3-wood ($230) delivered excellent power as well. Its compact head set up cleanly behind the ball on the turf and allows you to shape shots in both directions. Like the driver, I felt like I could keep track of the clubhead throughout the swing, which kept my swing more compact and on plane.

The Z 355 irons ($800) were somewhat less well suited for my particular game. The offset is the primary issue. If you tend to pull or hook the ball, the offset might let your hands turn over a tad too soon through the ball. If you push or slice, though, you'll love the offset. When I kept my hands from turning over through the ball, though, shots traveled high, far and straight.

The slot behind the maraging steel clubface produced better feel than most game-improvement irons. The dual-bounce soles led to some outstanding contact.

Srixon Z 355 woods and irons: The verdict

The new Srixon Z 355 woods and irons are a solid contender in the game-improvement market. In my estimation, the woods, in particular, are suited for every level, aside from maybe true scratch players.

The irons are ideal for anyone looking for forgiveness and power, from high single-digit handicappers on up. They're even workable within limits. I wasn't a huge fan of the stock grips, though, which felt fairly hard and not particularly tacky.

For an added bonus, pair the Z 355s with the new Srixon Q-Star balls ($25/dozen), which combine a soft core with the company's proprietary Spinskin. This surface adds a bit of texture to the cover to increase spin with shorter clubs. At the same time, the 324-dimple pattern is claimed to lower spin with longer clubs.

For more information, visit srixon.com.

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Srixon Z 355 - fairway woodSrixon Z 355 - irons
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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
  • Z 945 irons

    Kiel Christianson wrote on: Oct 8, 2015

    Jusr FYI for you better players...
    Z 945 irons are available now in 3-P, RH only, in Limited Quantities.
    Price: $999.99 for 8 pcs.
    Stock shaft is Dynamic Gold, stock grip is Lamkin UTx Full Cord Red. KBS Tour and Nippon NS Pro 950 shafts are available at no upcharge.

    Reply