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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Srixon Z-TX My Golf Spy's Highest Rated Driver for 2010

The Srixon Z-TX Driver was part of our New! Ultimate Review System … from here on out at MGS you can expect to have the most thorough reviews in golf. No need to go searching from site to site or from magazine to magazine anymore…because we have come up with a system that is not only the most un-bias and painfully honest but also the Most complete, Comprehensive and Detailed Golf Gear Reviews PERIOD!

The Srixon Z-TX Review!

One of the first things I learned while working through this review of the Srixon Z-TX driver is that to many, Srixon is thought of as just a ball company.  Of course, I should probably point out that to a man, all of our testers rated Srixon slightly above or above the industry standard when asked, “With respect to overall quality and performance, how would you compare Srixon to others in the industry“.  Given the level of respect our testers share for the Srixon brand, it should come as no surprise that once many of our testers got over the initial shock of learning that Srixon makes clubs too (guess most of them aren’t big Jim Furyk fans), each and everyone one of our testers couldn’t wait  to be introduced to the company’s clubs via the new Z-TX driver.
In the interest of full disclosure; although I’ve been aware of Srixon clubs for quite a few years now, the Srixon Z-TX Driver was for me, like it was for my testers, the first opportunity to take a Srixon club out for a test drive (there I go with bad puns again).  My local super proshop doesn’t stock Srixon, nor does my local Dicks.  Same goes for Golf Galaxy, and my club.  Basically, if not for MyGolfSpy, my testers and I would be really short on opportunities to try out Srixon clubs…and that’s kind of a shame.
As introductions go, the Z-TX isn’t a bad place to start.  As you might expect, the Z-TX’s head hits the USGA 460cc limit.  The head, made from a proprietary low-density titanium, along with what Srixon calls a “Twin Cam Sole”, has allowed the company to place 11 grams of weight at the extreme perimeter to produce a higher MOI.  The face features a 6 part bulge & roll design to better control side spin and optimize launch conditions, even on swings that miss the sweet spot. Something called “Starburst variable face technology” increases COR by 5 percent, which if you’ve read any driver marketing literature in the last 5 years or so, you know, is all about forgiveness.  Finally, the Z-TX features a Srixon Diamana mid-kick shaft, which looks and feels a hell of a lot like a Blueboard.

Z-TX Technical Specifications

  • Available Loft: 8.5° (special order), 9.5°, 10.5°
  • Length: 45.5″
  • Volume: 460cc
  • Swing Weight: D3
  • Stock Shafts: Srixon Diamana Mid-Kick 70g

What We Tested, and How We Tested It

Srixon sent us their Z-TX Driver for testing.  Our sample has the following specifications:
  • Loft: 9.5°
  • Shaft: Srixon Diamana Mid-Kick
  • Flex: Stiff
  • Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet BCT Full Cord
Like we always do when we receive a new club, we tested the specifications against the manufacturers stated specs.  I then taped the crown and sole with Ghost Tape to protect the clubs during our testing process and finally, I invited some guys to stop by, take some swings, and provide their opinions, and of course, provide us with actual performance data.
All performance testing was done using PGA TOUR Simulators, powered by 3Trac, from aboutGolf.  Testing took place at Tark’s Indoor Golf Club; a state-of-the-art golf training, club fitting and repair facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY.  For those in the greater Saratoga NY area, Tark’s is offering an outstanding summer membership program.  Check the website for details.
With our simulator’s data capture capabilities disabled so that distance and accuracy wouldn’t influence our subjective opinion polling, we asked several golfers to provide us feedback on the look, sound, and feel of the club.  We also asked for their opinion on the overall value of the club, as well as the quality and performance of Srixon products to the industry as a whole.
A subset of testers including golfers with low, middle, and high handicaps, was asked to participate in more thorough tests where not only was data collected for the shots they hit with the Srixon Z-TX, but for their current gamer as well.
For full details of MyGolfSpy’s testing methodology, see our testing details page.

Performance Rating

From a distance perspective, though not exceptional, the Srixon Z-TX Driver performs solidly.  While I personally only saw a 1 yard increase, and tester Mark gained only 2 yards, other testers picked up 6 and 7 (2) yards. For his part, Ron (who has yet to hit any driver longer than his own), managed to break even with the Srixon.  From my perspective, that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.  For none of our testers was the Srixon the longest driver tested this year, but based on overall averages for the group, it’s as good, if not better, than anything we’ve hit this year.
Distance Grade: A
Clearly some of our testers struggled to hit the Srixon straight (that’s proven true with almost everything we’ve tested), but 4 of our 6 testers actually posted better accuracy scores than with their own clubs.  Granted, I lost a yard’s worth of accuracy, and Dan lost 7, but others (save Mark’s +1) picked up between 4-6 yards of accuracy, leading to the highest accuracy total we’ve registered to date (based on the limited number of ULTIMATE Reviews thus far).
Accuracy Grade: B+
With respect to overall performance, the  Srixon Z-TX, although not  the longest driver we’ve tested so far, and though my suspicion is that it won’t prove to the be the most accurate we hit this year, on balance the Srixon Z-TX Driver is a very good driver that offers a better than fair amount of both, and it does so without compromising the design esthetic.
The Numbers For The 6 Golfers:

Performance Score: (54 out of 60)

Subjective Rating

Looks

For my money, the Srixon Z-TX Driver is hands down the best looking driver we’ve reviewed thus far (I personally gave it a 9).  One tester (Tom), actually rated it higher, scoring it a perfect 10.  While most of the scores were in the 8-9 range, a few 7s brought down the overall grade.
Overall testers really liked the look of the club; using words like “clean”, “classic” and “traditional” frequently to describe the club.  Ben really liked the complete package saying:
“Really nice placement of graphics on shaft and grip, great uncomplicated look at setup.” -Ben , 10 Handicap
Ben also added that he appreciated subtle refinements like installing the grip with the logo side down.  ”Normally that’s the kind of thing you’d only expect from a pro shop”.
Finally, Ben (who apparently had a lot to say about the Z-TX) made it clear that he could have lived without seeing “Tour Extreme” written on the sole.  Such is the state of the industry today.
Interesting (to me anyway), no one really commented on the Twin Cam sole design.  I don’t know if the design benefits are real, but I do like the way it adds a splash of unintrusive modern to what is otherwise a very understated design.
Looks Grade: B

Sound

When we ask our testers to fill out our surveys we always get a few who tell us that sound, unless it’s completely obnoxious, simply doesn’t matter to them.  While that was certainly true for the Srixon Z-TX, what we didn’t get was a single golfer who told us he didn’t like the sound.  For my money, the sound is as close to perfect as anything we’ve reviewed this season.  Tester Tom said it “seemed a little louder, like there was an explosion”.  Given that he rated sound a 9, I’m going to assume that’s a good thing.  5 Handicapper Kent, who rated the sound of the Z-TX an 8 had this to say:
“Sound is right in the middle of what I call tinky and ticky” – Kent, 5 handicap
I’ll admit, I’m not exactly sure what that means either.
Sound Grade: B

Feel

Feel was another area where are even the harshest critics rated the Z-TX as no worse than slightly above average.  Kent commented that the Srixon driver kicks nicely through impact.  I certainly wouldn’t disagree.  The Diamana shaft gives the Z-TX a very stable feel from takeaway through impact.  In that respect it’s very similar to the Titleist 905T I gamed for a couple of years. The word I’d use is tight. Said tester Greg about the Z-TX:
“Great feel and balance.  The ball really jumps off the face.  [The Z-TX is] among my favorites for sure”. – Greg, 24 Handicap
Feel Grade: B

Value

Not unlike the Fourteen JC-909 we reviewed last time around, the Srixon suffered mightily when I asked our testers to rate the overall value of the club.  While most of our golfers really like the Srixon, the majority of them have a real hard time reconciling their affection for the club with the $499 price tag.  Several golfers called it “pricey”, with many of them pointing out that the retail price of the Srixon Z-TX Driver is out of whack with similar performing clubs they’ve tested this year:
“Its a very nice club with a great feel however I cant say its $200 better then some of the other clubs I tested”. -Kent, 5 Handicap
Ron, the only testers to hit his own driver better than the Srixon, actually felt quite differently:
“This club is definitely worth the money”. -Ron, 12 Handicap
Although I’m personally a fan of the Z-TX, I’m mostly inclined to agree with the testers.  At $399 we might have something to talk about. At $499 it’s a very tough sell.
Value Grade: C-
Subjective Score: (32 out of 40)

SpecCheck Rating

For woods and hybrids, our current SpecCheck involves verifying length, Swing Weight, and Flex.  My measurements showed the Srixon to be spot on for length and Swing Weight.
When measured on the DigiFlex (butt clamped 5″), the Diamana Mid-Kick shaft registered 251 CPMs, which puts it just to the inside of the leading edge of the stiff range.
The perfect SpecCheck is not surprising.  As Ben pointed out, it really looks like Srixon sweated the details on this one, and we certainly applaud their efforts.

Our Conclusion

If the Z-TX is any indication, Srixon is well on its way to becoming a company known as much for its golf clubs as it its golf balls.  I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that the Z-TX made an outstanding first, and for many, lasting impression on our testers.
As you might expect for any driver with a $500 price tag, there were more than a few grumbles from our golfers.  Despite the fact that many of them said they really like (in some cases love) the club, for most, the marginal performance gains the Z-TX offers aren’t enough to offset the $200 price difference between it, and other clubs in its class.
While not as sparse in the US Market as Fourteen Golf Products, Srixon products aren’t as readily available as those from its sister company, Cleveland.  As the footprint expands, however, I’d expect you’ll be able to find the entire Z-TX lineup at a demo day event near you.  If that is the case, I’d certainly encourage you to test the Z-TX for yourself.
As you can see below, the Srixon Z-TX Driver received the highest total score of any club we’ve reviewed this year.  It offers all the distance you can possibly need, better than average accuracy, all in a very traditional looking package, which to me was the most surprising aspect of the Z-TX.  Although by almost every measure, the Z-TX looks like what often gets called a “players club” (which usually means it has a traditional shape, and will make you cry when you mis-hit the ball), it performs like it was designed with the average golfer in mind – and that’s awesome.
There’s not doubt that in a sea of clubs from major OEMs, the Z-TX could easily be overlooked, and that would be a shame.
“The Z-TX is the most underrated club I have tested.  Sometimes you can be surprised when you have an open mind and try out the clubs you might otherwise overlook” – Tom, 14 Handicap
Total Score: (86 out of 100)


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