Srixon Z545 Driver Review

Srixon Z545 head and cover

I love golf. I know that sounds like a really obvious statement coming from a guy who writes about golf, golf apparel, golf equipment, golf salad, boiled golf, golf scampi, you get the picture. Thanks to DVR, Golf Channel, and my patient, long-suffering, and quasi-narcoleptic wife I watch a lot of televised golf. Not just competitive golf, either. I watch instructional shows, equipment reviews, golf travel shows, even golf reality shows. In my house everyone knows that if nobody can find anything else to watch, the Golf Channel is coming on. But until this year I have never watched a long drive competition.

This year I had to watch the Long Drive finals, because Jeff Crittenden, who made the final eight, is not only a North Carolina boy, but a friend of one of my regular golfing partners. Jeff advanced all the way to the final, where he lost in a heartbreaker when his drive of 365 yards came up 14 inches short of winner Jeff Flagg. Not bad for a guy who was planning to retire after this year because he thought he didn’t have the power to be competitive.

Srixon Z545 driver face

For those who haven’t discovered this variation on golf, the Long Drive is, well, the name’s not misleading. Founded in 1995, the Long Drivers of America is the premier organizing body for Long Drive competitions, mostly through their association with realty giant RE/MAX, sponsor of the World Long Drive Championship. The competition has grown in popularity every year since the LDA and RE/MAX teamed up to put it on in 1995. In the Open division players hit drivers with lofts in the 4-6 degree range at a grid set up in some wide-open, spacious location. What’s that? Isn’t a golf course a “wide-open, spacious location?” Not to these gentlemen. Last year Tim Burke won the open division with a drive of 427 yards. That’s just a shade over a quarter-mile. On my home course if you hit it 427 from the tips on number one you’re going to be over the green. On number eight.

What’s really amazing to me isn’t the sheer distances involved in Long Drive, it’s that the competitors also have to hit the ball “on the grid.” Driving it 400 yards isn’t enough, if you can’t also hit your target. Which is reasonable, because while manufacturers constantly tout the distance advantage of their drivers, there are a great many golfers like yours truly who would trade some distance if we could just drive the ball in the fairway.  In driver marketing parlance, these are referred to as “players of all abilities” – as in: The Srixon Z545 is for “all ability” players that demand maximum distance and mid-high launch in a larger, more forgiving shape. And a very shapely shape, at that
 Srixon Z545 Driver
Don’t let the “all abilities” tag fool you though, the Srixon Z545 comes with all the features and adjustability you’d expect in a top-shelf driver, with quality touches that you might not expect in any driver.

The larger, more forgiving shape is a 460cc pear-shaped head that just looks right. The combination of a simple black crown, lacking even an alignment mark, and dimensions that all fall toward the middle of the spectrum makes the Z545 look substantial without looking oversized, and the classic shape should please all but hardened anime fans.
Too often “classic shape” and “simple colors” are really code for “looks better with the headcover on,” but the Z545 is a looker. I picked mine up at my home course and took it outside to unwrap. Before I could get the headcover off she had already drawn a crowd, and by the time I had the plastic off and the onlookers had their chance for a closer inspection I was already fielding questions about where they could get one of their own, and it’s hard to blame them. The “simple” paint job on the crown is a metallic gloss that would look right at home on a luxury car. To put this paint on a driver Srixon has to have complete confidence – the slightest imperfection in the crown or the paint would be immediately obvious. Neither I nor any of the foursome that gave the Z545 such a thorough unboxing inspection found a single nit to pick.Srxion Z45 Driver
I call this one: Skyscape in driver head 

The understated good looks continue on the sole of the club, where the Srixon logo and Z545 branding are nicely integrated into the grey sole plate and paint. What does stand out on the sole are the weights that comprise Srixon’s Quick Tune System. On the Z545, Srixon has included a fixed weight in the center of the sole close to the face, and an adjustable weight port closer to the heel of the driver. From the factory this port contains a 7 gram weight designed to lower the driver’s center of gravity and deliver a medium-high launch with enough spin to keep the ball online and in the air.

The optional weight kit adds a 3 gram weight for a lower launch angle and greater roll, and an 11 gram weight for a higher launch, at the cost of less roll. I hit very high tee balls, and I found that using the 3g weight made a noticeable and welcome change in my ball flight. Changing the weight requires only a quarter turn of the included wrench to remove the old weight, and another quarter turn to secure the new weight. Remember folks, in golf as in most things: righty/tighty, lefty/loosey.

Srizon Z545 sole with weights

Clean and functional, unlike your author 
And while you’ve got the Z545 turned upside-down and the wrench in your hand is the perfect time to consider the adjustable hosel. That’s right, Srixon thinks that “all ability” players can benefit from the same sort of hosel adjustments found on their Z745 “player’s” driver. Loosen the adjustment screw on the bottom of the driver using the supplied wrench and adjust the head to any of 12 settings ranging from 0pen to neutral but 1 degree upright to full closed, seat the head back on the shaft and tighten until the wrench clicks.

Srixon Z545 adustable hosel

Where the magic happens 
I’ve always been skeptical about adjustable hosels – I figured that if I’m driving well I don’t need one and if I’m driving badly it won’t help, and like many “all ability” players I’ve been stubborn and insisted that I’d rather improve my swing than adjust my club. Somewhere along the line, however, I realized that fixing your swing is a luxury for golfers who have time to practice. Golf is hard enough, there’s no need for me to make it harder. I spent my warm-up for the first round I played with the Z545 adjusting the face angle to suit my swing, and I saw an immediate and very significant improvement in the number of fairways I hit. No amount of adjustment is going to save me when I make a really bad swing, but the Z545’s adjustable hosel turned what was a game-killing case of the rights into a driver I can live with.

Srixon Z545 adjustable hosel

You’re just a few clicks away from a better drive 
Also helping in this department is the Kuro Kage Black shaft. In R-flex it’s 65 grams, and in all flexes comes stock at a very user-friendly 45 inches. Srixon claims that their Dual Speed Technology maximizes rotational efficiency to maximize clubhead speed at impact. What I notice is that it gives good feedback on what the head is doing, how the shaft is loading, and most importantly when and how the shaft is going to unload. Violent swingers might want to stiffen up a notch, but I doubt that anyone for whom the Z545 is a better fit than the Z745 is going to be hampered by the stock shaft offerings.
At the grippy end of the shaft is a red Lamkin UTx full cord grip. I’m a Lamkin fan, so I think that the grip is a nice change from the Tour Velvet or Winn offerings that are ubiquitous factory offerings these days, and the full cord gives positive engagement and faithfully relays the feedback from the shaft and head. Capping it all off is a crisp white headcover with the Z logo. All-in-all I think that the Z545 is one of the most attractive drivers on the market.

Srixon Z545 head and cover

Pretty is as pretty does 
Pretty is as pretty does, however. A good looking driver that you can’t control is like driving an exotic car: Everyone is jealous of you until you disappear into the woods for the third time. Fortunately the Z545 lives up to its good looks when you put it in play. With the hosel adjusted for my swing and the Quick Tune System adjusted for my ball flight, the Z545 wasted no time kicking my old driver out of the bag. My longest drives are a few yards shorter, but my normal drives are a few yards longer, and my average drives are ridiculously longer, thanks to all the yards I’m saving by not hitting so many balls in the woods.
For me, driving is the toughest part of the game. The combination of good looks, adjustability, and forgiveness in the Srixon Z545 makes the toughest part of my game easier. The Z545 is the newest addition to my bag, and while not even the Z can turn me into a long driver, I’m betting it can at least keep me on the grid.
You can learn more on the Srixon website.

Written by Steve Bream
I'm the Rip Van Winkle of golf: I played as a twenty-something with persimmons, balatas, and blades. Then I fell asleep on golf for twenty years, and when I woke up there was titanium, speed pockets, and 6-layer golf balls. I don't know if they've made me any better, but I'm having a great time playing with these new toys.