The test

We put the Z785 up against three of the best big sticks of 2018

Today's Golfer (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Srixon’s new Z785 driver takes on its tough­est com­pe­ti­tion.

Imag­ine spend­ing $55 mil­lion a year on tour – and not one player puts your driver in the bag. It must be heart­break­ing, but that’s what Srixon has been up against ever since in­vest­ing in big-name sign­ings like Graeme Mcdow­ell, Kee­gan Bradley, Shane Lowry and Hideki Mat­suyama. Part of the is­sue is how Srixon of­fers play­ers 11-club deals, which means they of­ten use an­other brand’s big dog. It could also be ar­gued that Srixon has never quite made a driver ca­pa­ble of out­per­form­ing the very best. But we think that’s all changed with the new Z785. Srixon be­lieves up to 24 of them will be in play on tour in 2019, so we thought we should put it up against the very best driv­ers of 2018.


The ma­jor break­through with the Z785 is a new, lighter, stronger ti­ta­nium al­loy (TI51AF) in the face. It’s said to be the strong­est driver face on the mar­ket and be­cause it’s cre­ated as a “cup”, there are no welds on the face, which cre­ates a larger hot zone to main­tain more ball speed on off-cen­tre hits. There’s also a new car­bon­fi­bre crown, which Srixon say is stronger than you’ll find in sim­i­lar driv­ers. It gives a softer, hot­ter feel and more muted sound.


Brands usu­ally use smaller driv­ers to sat­isfy a par­tic­u­lar de­sign blue­print or the typ­i­cal golfer the model’s tar­get­ing. Smaller heads usu­ally suit the eye of tour and bet­ter play­ers who don’t like wide, stretched heads that are ul­ti­mately for­giv­ing. Srixon’s aim is to be a tour and bet­ter player brand, so nat­u­rally the Z785s head doesn’t look as wide (face to back) as the other three driv­ers here. For us it sits re­ally well at ad­dress, with a neu­tral face an­gle (not closed or open), and a sim­ple look. We’ll go as far as to say some golfers will pre­fer it.


Srixon would be first to ad­mit wider body driv­ers de­liver ex­tra for­give­ness. They’ll also say such bod­ies add more back­spin, too. It’s that ex­tra spin which pre­vents play­ers – usu­ally with above av­er­age swing speeds – max­imis­ing dis­tance. So if you’re the type of golfer who wants ul­ti­mate for­give­ness at all costs, the Z785 might not quite be the best so­lu­tion. But Srixon’s new tour phi­los­o­phy means the Z785 is tai­lored to above av­er­age play­ers, and within that space it’s out­stand­ing. It’s worth re­mem­ber­ing the cup face, with its larger hot zone, con­trib­utes to main­tain­ing ball speed on off-cen­tre hits, but doesn’t have the ef­fect of dense tung­sten back

weight­ing on spin. Sound is crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of any new driver and the Z785’s new car­bon crown not only re­moves in­ef­fi­cient weight from high in the driver, but also damp­ens vi­bra­tion and gives a lovely, muted im­pact sound, just as Srixon prom­ise. We loved it.


Srixon is a Ja­panese com­pany, and it’s Ja­panese cul­ture to over-en­gi­neer prod­ucts, even if con­sumers won’t see or feel any improve­ment. Srixon driv­ers in the past have come with Miyazaki shafts (a com­pany they own); they say the qual­ity of the graphite used (more car­bon-fi­bre tubes per square inch) is bet­ter than any­thing you’ll find in an off-the-rack driver. But Miyazaki never quite took off for Srixon in the west, and it’s not a shaft played on tour so they’ve ditched that and gone with a HZRDUS Red 65. It’s a great shaft which is con­stantly No.1 or No.2 shaft fam­ily (Grafal­loy HZRDUS) ev­ery week on tour.


Rumour has it Srixon will be chang­ing at least some of their pro con­tracts from 11 to 13-club deals in 2019, which is likely to mean the Z785 will be in the bags of the likes of Bradley, Macdow­ell and Lowry. The jewel in the crown would of course be Mat­suyama, who cur­rently uses a three-year-old Call­away Great Big Bertha. Reach­ing the magic 24, though, is likely to mean un­con­tracted play­ers putting one in play, too, which is the sort of break­through Srixon are hop­ing for. Mizuno have had lots of trac­tion on tour with their irons lately with­out pay­ing any­one to use them, and with more pros fore­go­ing equip­ment con­tracts to play the 14 clubs and a ball they want, Srixon is in with a real chance.


Our data (be­low) sug­gests the Z785 de­serves a place at the top ta­ble of driv­ers right now. The new face ma­te­rial and cup face con­struc­tion is fan­tas­tic, even if you can’t see or feel it for your­self. All four driv­ers are vir­tu­ally in­sep­a­ra­ble for ball speed, launch an­gle, back­spin and carry/ to­tal dis­tance. The real gain for us, though, is in­clud­ing an ab­so­lutely top-drawer shaft, which makes the Z785 just as at­trac­tive as the other mod­els. It’s also the cheap­est club here (though still a hefty £349 rrp). We don’t know yet what new driv­ers we’ll see from the other three brands, but for 2019 Srixon has cer­tainly raised its game.

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