You read that correctly.
Every year, we all look forward to the latest and greatest drivers from the top companies; the PINGs, Callaways, TaylorMades, and Titleists of the golfing world. This year, however, a company that has become associated with producing top-notch balls has put in a strong contender for the best driver this year…The Srixon Z 785.
Srixon’s website boasts much of the same marketing jargon we have heard for years, but they also claim that the new Z 85 Series woods include some technology that is more revolutionary than evolutionary. The Z 85 Series includes both the Z 785, a 460cc driver with a “tour preferred look” that offers a “low-spin, penetrating trajectory that better players demand off the tee,” and the Z 585, which offers a “higher launch with added forgiveness.”
The Z 785 retails for $499.99 and comes in 9.5 and 10.5 degree lofts for both right and left-handed players. The head features cup face technology, which is nothing new, but Srixon claims the face is made from “exotic” Ti51AF titanium. This type of titanium is supposedly stronger and lighter than the Ti6-4 titanium they have used previously.
The crown of the club head is made of a “5 layer lightweight carbon,” allowing them to move some weight around the head to reduce loss in distance from off-center hits. We’ve heard a lot of this before…cup face technology, moving weight in the head, “stronger is faster,” more forgiveness on mishits etc. Srixon, however, are stepping up their game by offering the Project X HZRDUS Black Handcrafted 65 gram shaft as the STANDARD option!
No one else is doing that.
In addition to a Project X handcrafted shaft as the standard option, Srixon is offering a number of other premium shafts at no additional cost. The Z 785 offers 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 degree shaft flex options, as well as loft, lie, and face angle adjustability. If that still isn’t enough to entice you, they are also offering a 60-day money back guarantee.
That’s right…improved performance or your money back. Bold, but also daring.
As for the Z 585, it features the same head, but fewer bells and whistles. It currently retails for $399.99, and only offers options for right-handed players. It is similar to the Z 785 in that it comes in 9.5 and 10.5 degree loft options, but offers only 2 shaft flex options (5.5 and 6.0 degrees) and no adjustability. The Z 585 also comes with a name-brand shaft, the Project X HZRDUS Red 65.
This all leads us to the real question…do they perform?
Well, I figured I would start with MyGolfSpy, the men who don’t buy the marketing hype and only look at the data. They reinforce Srixon’s claim that Ti51AF titanium is 8% stronger and 1% lighter than Ti6-4, resulting in a 10% lighter driver face on the Z 85 Series drivers.
Apparently, the changes in Srixon’s new drivers have prompted the likes of Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell, Will McGirt, Ryan Fox and others to put the Z 785 in their bag, whereas none of them gamed the previous Z 65 Series drivers.
Two members of the MyGolfSpy team, Sam Robinson and Harry Nodwell, put the Z 785 up against their current gamers, and the results were interesting.
Both men game the PING G400, Sam the Max and Harry the LST. Here are their numbers…
- PING G400 Max – 162 mph ball speed/290 yards carry distance.
- Srixon Z 785 – 167 mph ball speed/303 yards carry distance.
- PING G400 LST – 173 mph ball speed/ 300 yards carry distance.
- Srixon Z 785 – 177 mph ball speed/312-318 yards carry distance.
For a group that only cares about the numbers, those are some strong numbers.
I also decided to check out the main source for golf club reviews these days…YouTube. Rick Shiels, one of the superstars of the YouTube golf world, titled his review of the Srixon Z 785 “The Most UNDERRATED Driver Brand.”
Here is the full review…
He begins by praising the Srixon brand, saying that the “golf ball is fantastic,” and the “irons are becoming way more popular.” He then focuses on the Z 785 itself, saying that it is a “modern-looking driver with traditional characteristics.”
He tested the 9.5 degree Z 785 model with a Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6 shaft, one of the shafts Srixon offers besides the Project X HZRDUS Black. He gathered data using Titleist Pro V1 balls with a GC Quad launch monitor, and claims he was “blown away by the performance.” All of the data fell within the ideal ranges of Shiels’ “Optimum Performance Chart,” meaning the driver produced the type of numbers he was looking for.
Here are his numbers…
Rick Shiels (Srixon Z 785 9.5 Degree Driver with a Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6 Shaft)
- Ball Speed: 160 mph
- Launch Angle: 12.2 degrees
- Spin: 2200 rpm
- Descent Angle: 36 degrees
- Peak Height: 33 yards
- Carry Distance: 280 yards
- Total Distance: 302 yards
- Club Head Speed: 112 mph
- Smash Factor: 1.43 degrees
Rick Shiels is a pro, and those are pro numbers!
James Savage over at National Club Golfer offered a similar review of the Z 785. He said that the understated red and black color scheme on the club head “pulls on the brand’s Japanese heritage,” as Srixon is a Japanese brand. Savage also includes an interview with Jeff Brunski, Vice President of Research and Development for Srixon, who claims that the Ti51AF titanium face on the Z 85 Series drivers is the “strongest titanium out there,” and that the 5-layer carbon fiber crown will help “boost MOI (Moment Of Inertia) and boost off-center ball speed.”
Here is the full review…
In this video, there is a clip of Soren Kjedsen, a European Tour Pro and Srixon/Cleveland Staff Member, who, when asked about his experience with the Z 785, said that it was “quite a shock that it was that good.” When a tour pro and staffer makes those kinds of statements, it must mean that the club is a definite improvement on past offerings. Kjeldsen also stressed a key component that tour pros are looking for. He said that “a driver that is easy to hit is more important than anything.” As far as he is concerned, the Srixon Z 785 is an improved driver model for the brand and one that is consistent off the tee.
Savage’s personal numbers for his review may be a bit more recognizable for us regular hackers.
Here are his numbers…
James Savage (Srixon Z 785)
- Club Head Speed: 100.8 mph
- Ball Speed: 145 mph
- Launch Angle: 10.8 degrees
- Spin: 3198 rpm
- Carry Distance: 235 yards
- Total Distance: 255 yards
Finally, Ian Fraser and Matt Blois with TXG Tour Experience Golf offer their review as well.
Fraser and Blois first focus on the acoustics of the Z 785. They claim that the “acoustics were quite good,” and that the relationship between acoustics and feel is quite important. The feel of a particular club can be a critical factor, and Fraser argues that “feel leads to acceptance.”
They also cite Srixon’s independent testing, which claims that the Z 785’s ball speed is faster than the Callaway Rogue, TaylorMade M3/M4, and PING G400 by an average of 2 mph over 5 different strike points (center, high, low, toe, and heel). Blois tested the Z 785 in their facility against his personal gamer, another PING G400 LST.
Here are his numbers
Matt Blois (PING G400 LST 9.5 degree v. Srixon Z 785 9.5 degree)
PING G400 LST:
- Ball Speed: 166.8 mph
- Launch Angle: 11.8 degrees
- Spin: 2301 rpm
- Carry Distance: 295 yards
- Total Distance: 318 yards
Srixon Z 785
- Ball Speed: 166.0 mph
- Launch Angle: 12.3 degrees
- Spin: 2324 rpm
- Carry Distance: 292 yards
- Total Distance: 315 Yards
Now, before you go assuming that the PING G400 LST is a superior driver, I would like to stress the fact that, in this particular test, Matt Blois could not use identical shafts in both drivers. In the MyGolfSpy test, both Sam Robinson and Harry Nodwell were able to do enough tweaking to produce the best results. Blois also mentioned that the Z 785 was “very stable on mishits” and that you, as the consumer, should “make sure it’s part of your short list” if you plan on purchasing a new driver before the end of the year.
Maybe you should consider the Srixon Z 785 when making your next driver purchase. Based on the numbers, it might be the best driver of 2018.
Sources: Srixon.com for pricing and club details. MyGolfSpy, “First Look: Srixon Z 85 Woods,” by John Barba for MyGolfSpy testing data. YouTube.com for independent testing by Rick Shiels Golf, National Club Golfer, and TXG Tour Experience Golf.
Cover Image via Instagram
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