How Srixon’s ZX MKII clubs helped this 12-handicap become more consistent | ClubTest 2023
Welcome to GOLF.com’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath — along with a cast of GOLF writers and editors — put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.
For 2023 ClubTest, we paired members of our staff with the latest gear from manufacturers to give you, the potential club buyer, “a real feel.”
MORE FROM OUR 2023 CLUBTEST COVERAGE: Srixon ZX5, ZX7 MKII drivers, fairway woods and hybrids technology | Srixon ZX MKII and Z-Forged II irons | 3 areas where Srixon’s ZX MKII drivers excel, according to our robot | Cleveland’s RTX6 ZipCore wedges offer more control
TESTER: James Colgan (Assistant Editor) | 12.3 HCP
GOAL: Find gear that helps eliminate inconsistency and get my handicap down into the single digits.
THE LOWDOWN: Contrary to popular belief, life as a flounderingly average golfer is not glamorous. The golf existence of a 12.3-handicap is not often filled with center-cut drives and greens-in-regulation, but rather with mind-numbing, skull-rattling inconsistency.
Try as I may to reach the respectability of an honest-to-god single-digit handicapper, I find my time is far more often spent staving off the worst urges of a 20-handicap on the morning after a long night of drinking.
I’ve tried everything in pursuit of respectability. Mind coaches, swing lessons, random gear tweaks. It all helps for a little while, and then when a little while stretches to a long while, my game regresses again.
Perhaps some of the issue for that is my gear. As a lefty golfer growing up in a right-hander’s world, I’ve never owned a new brand-new fitted driver or fairway woods in my life, and I’ve generally struggled to find irons that blend the performance I desire with the forgiveness I really need.
Fortunately, distance has never been an issue for me — thanks in part to my lankiness, who allows me to generate more than your average amount of club head speed (112-114 mph with my driver). With the Srixon ZX MKII line, I’m hoping to tighten my dispersion with my woods, increase my launch consistency with my long irons and find a touch more precision with my scoring irons.
FITTING PROCESS: Before receiving my Srixon ZX MKII (pronounced mark two) gear, I went through a club fitting at True Spec Golf (an affiliate of GOLF.com) and learned my specs were fairly standard for a middling handicap other than a few interesting tweaks based on my tall and lanky frame.
My irons are 1 inch over standard length specs and also 2 degrees flatter based on my hand position at impact.
As for my driver and fairway woods, I was recommended shafts that were on the heavier and stiffer side to encourage center-face contact, leading to lower and more consistent spin rates and accuracy for my 112-114 mph driver club head speed. Like I said from the top, I don’t have an issue with distance, but I need to know where it’s going more often.
My Fitted Gear
Driver: A few years ago, I was apartment hunting in New York when I stumbled upon an opening that caught my eye. The space was no larger than any of the other units I’d seen, but something about the interior felt bigger. In New York, space — even the appearance of it — is king, so I signed the lease and quickly fell in love with my deceptively small place.
When I tried the Srixon ZX5 MKII driver ($499) for the first time, I found myself with a similar feeling. Heel and toe hits that would normally result in larger misses suddenly started working back toward the center more often. Center-face strikes resulted in a neat little fade. I can’t say for sure that the sweet spot on the ZX5 MKII is any larger than other 460cc drivers I have used in the past, but it sure feels that way.
That, of course, is no accident, but rather the result of years of work by Srixon’s engineers in developing the technology behind the sweet spot, Rebound Frame. It’s helpful to think of Rebound Frame like a trampoline — collapsing and then returning to form to amplify the outcome. In the case of the MKII drivers, Srixon’s engineers were able to increase the size of the high coefficient-of-restitution area (or sweet spot) by 10 percent.
The MKII series comes in three distinct models. The forgiveness-and-distance-focused ZX5 and performance and workability-focused ZX7, and the all-new ZX5 LS (or “low-spin”) model designed to fit the bill for high spin players who also seek the ZX5’s forgiveness profile.
Fairway woods: A confession. For the better part of the last 12 months, my 3-wood has been an ornament in my golf bag. Through some 30 rounds played and many more range sessions, my 3-wood has gotten zero swings.
When I received the ZX5 MKII fairway wood, I was wary. I’d tried the fairway wood experiment before and it hadn’t worked. Maybe I needed to see a swing coach! Maybe I needed to see a psychologist! (Or perhaps both!) In the meantime, I was perfectly comfortable with resorting to a hybrid.
Finally, I went to the range and tested the new club. The results nearly knocked me over.
I can attest that the matte-black crown is confidence-inspiring for even the least-confident player. It helps also that the face is hot — thanks in part to a “floating weight pad” Srixon calls “Cannon Sole.” The one thing I really found confidence-inspiring (and with a 3-wood I’ll take anything) was the lower profile and rounded leading edge which made it feel easier to bottom out the club at impact and get the ball off the ground easier.
The hybrid is equally good-looking and high performing. It, along with the ZX MKII 3-wood, earn the distinction of being the only clubs ever to enter my bag after five swings. Seriously. They performed that well.
Irons: In recent years, Srixon irons have started to earn a ton of love from gear diehards, and after testing them for myself, I can completely understand why.
“Feels weighted toward the head — guiding you to good contact,” I wrote after my first few days of testing the new ZX7 MKII irons. “Really buttery off the face, not super punishing on mishits.”
As it turns out, buttery is precisely how the folks at Srixon hoped I’d think of the new line. That’s thanks to “PureFrame,” a piece of ultra-thick 1020 carbon steel forged behind the sweet spot to reduce unwanted vibrations. PureFrame is an all-new addition to the ZX7, and the result is the softest, smoothest compression I’ve ever had with an iron.
Srixon says the ZX7 is a “true players iron,” and I suppose technically they’re right, but the MKII series sports game-improvement level forgiveness. For those like me looking to make the leap from “good” to “great,” it’s hard not to get excited about the new MKII line.
My work with the ZX MKII line added a 14th club to my bag, which is a significant development in itself. But more than any one addition, I was struck by this line’s ability to maximize good outcomes on the course.
For average golfers like me, avoiding disaster is often the biggest difference between success and failure on the course. With the ZX MKII line, I feel as though I’m better equipped to make good things happen with a club in my hand.
Ultimately, that’s the line of demarcation for this year’s line of clubs, and hopefully, it’s what will be the line of demarcation for me on my journey into the single digits.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.