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.
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.
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.
You can learn more on the Srixon website.