By Kiel Christianson,
In the Z-Steel Fairway Woods, Srixon's taken the best feature of old-school fairway woods - the maraging steel clubface - and taken it up a notch.
It can be argued that titanium has been the single biggest technological boon to the driver.
Conversely, I would argue that titanium has been a technological bust to fairway wood technology.
See, the great thing about titanium in drivers is that the ultra-strong, ultra-light metal allowed drivers to grow in size, without increasing weight and consequently slowing swing-speed.
A bigger golf club and faster swing-speed is ideal when you can tee the ball up and mainly want to hit it straight down the middle of the fairway.
On the other hand, when the ball is lying on a tight lie in said fairway, or in the rough, the last thing you want is a bulky clubhead smacking into the turf before contacting the ball or snagging in higher grass.
What you want instead is what classic, maraging steel fairway woods give you: Compact clubhead size and super-strong steel with just enough give to allow you to work the ball around hazards and into tucked pins.
In the Z-Steel Fairway Woods, Srixon has provided precisely these performance characteristics, combined with tungsten back weighting and clubhead design, which maximize launch-angle and distance.
Introduced in August, 2007, the Z-Steel line harkens back to revolutionary low-profile fairway woods of the early 90s. The maraging steel clubface is stronger and thinner than regular stainless, but not as light as titanium. It's perfectly suited to tight lies and shot-making players.
We tested the 18.5-degree Z-Steel 5-wood (MSRP: $299), with a stock SV3005J stiff shaft on the range and on the course. At set-up, the Z-Steel had a very traditional look and feel. The compact 150cc clubhead felt weighty and weapon-like in our hands.
On impact, the ball exploded off the clubface, and was easy to move, especially to draw.
The Z-Steel fairway woods are old school, with suped-up design specs, and the maraging steel clubface is hot.
They are not perfect, however. The compact design is not terribly forgiving, and mishits are punished by loss of distance and control. Still, I feel that a smaller maragine head is better suited for a fairway wood than the larger titanium alternative - at least from fairway/rough lies (titanium might be better if you use your fairway woods off the tee a lot).
Price is also an issue. With an MSRP of $299, the 5-wood we tested costs as much as the recently-reviewed Z-RW Driver. Although $300 isn't a bad price on today's driver market, it's not clear that golfers will be willing to spend as much on fairway woods (twice as much, if they carry both a 3- and a 5-wood!).
For more information, visit www.srixon-worldwide.com.
January 15, 2008
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.