By Kiel Christianson,
PEORIA, Ill. - If you are familiar at all with the Srixon brand name, it's likely because of their golf balls. But the company - the U.S. daughter of Japan's SRI Sports - makes a full line of golf clubs as well.
The company's newest driver, the Srixon Z-RW, is a red-and-black number that is visually striking. The macho colors hide what truly makes this driver noteworthy, though, namely the clubface technology.
Two aspects of the clubface are touted by the company as unique. One is the so-called Starburst Power Face design, which is supposed to allow for the maximum allowable clubface deformation at impact. Moreover, that deformation is said to be the most uniform of any driver on the market.
The second innovation is the four-quadrant bulge and roll of the Z-RW. According to the company, each quadrant of the clubface is designed with a slightly different bulge and roll specification in order to help miss hits toward the center of the fairway.
Before ice started coating northern Illinois, I took the Z-RW (10.5-degrees, stiff Fujikura SV-3014 shaft, MSRP $299) out to the critically acclaimed Weaver Ridge Golf Club in Peoria. All day long - or at least so it felt - I was driving into a stiff, biting November wind and, even worse, the bright, eye-level sun. Wind and sun combined to make keen observation of my ball flight and distance nearly impossible. (No wonder ours was the only foursome on the course!)
What I did observe, however, was the great feel this club provides. I could indeed tell in which quadrant I had contacted the ball, and sure enough, more often than not even the miss hits ended up in the fairway.
When I did make good contact, the ball absolutely rocketed off the titanium face in a medium-high but penetrating arc. Even on a cold, blustery day, distance was not a problem.
Most telling, however, was when my playing partners asked to try the Z-RW. One of them had been struggling all day (and for most of the golf season, truth be told) with his Titleist driver: What appeared to be one solid swing after another was rewarded with a ballooning ball flight that appeared to have tremendous backspin, and very little distance.
Then he launched a drive with the Z-RW, and every one of us let out an inadvertent whoop. One of the others in the group said, "I've never seen you hit a ball that hard. It just exploded off that club."
He teed up another ball, to make sure the first wasn't a fluke.
And he hit that one even better.
In all honesty, this golfer might never have even considered testing a Srixon driver, despite his appreciation of the Srixon Feel golf ball. But if the company can find a way to get the Z-RW into the hands of more guys like him, they'll sell a lot of these solid, mean-looking big sticks.
For more information, visit www.srixon.com.
December 14, 2007
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.