Pros: Impressive ball speeds, wide-ranging adjustability and clean, classic looks.

Cons: Highest stock loft is 17 degrees.

Who’s it for: Better players looking for a mid-size fairway wood that delivers a penetrating ball flight.

The Review

Meat and potatoes. Fulfilling and consistently predictable. Those are two qualities that make a good meal and a good fairway wood.

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The face of the ZF45 isn’t too deep, nor is it too shallow. As such, it’s quite playable from tight lies in the fairway, but serves nicely as a driver alternative.

The club I tested, a 3+ wood (13 degree), came equipped with the stock Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage HBP 60X shaft. It elevated easily off the deck, offering longer hitters a premium club that can impart enough spin and height to go after challenging par 5’s in two.

The ZF45 (MSRP $279.99) is also available in a 3 wood (15 degrees) and a 4 wood (17 degrees), with the 3+ and 3-wood heads measuring 168 cubic centimeters. The 4 wood has a slightly smaller, 160cc head.

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Credit the ZF45’s 12-way adjustable hosel for allowing me to turn the 3+ into a high-launching, higher spinning 15-degree 3 wood as well as into a driving, wind-beating 12-degree driver replacement.

If you’re buying the ZF45 blind, or play courses of varying conditions, adjustability is a great tool to have. Srixon’s adjustability features are about as wide-ranging as they come. Particularly impressive is the ability to fine tune swing weight — each fairway wood comes stock with 3, 7 and 11 gram weights — which can help golfers fine tune feel and get them hitting better shots with the turn of a wrench.

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The ZF45’s head is large enough to offer some forgiveness for those who struggle with consistent contact, yet small enough to find a spot in the bag of the player who places a premium on workability. The smallish footprint might dissuade some players who find this look intimidating, but there’s enough forgiveness buried beneath the clean, glossy-black finish and traditional pear-shaped head to satisfy mid and high handicappers.

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Fortunately, comfort and predictability doesn’t come at the expense of distance. Srixon gave the ZF45 fairway woods HT1770 maraging steel faces that yield a 35 percent larger sweet spot, and a coefficient of restitution (COR) that is 15 points higher than previous models.

The results of my testing show a smash factor (ball speed divided by swing speed) in the mid 1.4 range (1.5 is considered theoretically optimal), and once a player dials in loft/spin and swing weight, the ZF45 is likely as long, if not longer, than what’s currently in your bag.

Stock shaft options, all from Mitsubishi Rayon, include the Kuro Kage Black HBP 50, Kuro Kage Black HBP 60, Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 60, Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 70 and Fubuki Z 60.

The Testing

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For each club, I hit 10-to-12 balls and excluded the two best and two worst. I also deleted any obvious outliers/mishits. All distances were measured using a FlightScope X2 launch monitor and standard Callaway range balls.

As you can see, my trusty Cobra Bio Cell+ fairway wood was slightly faster than the ZF45, but keep in mind that it has been dialed into my swing with an aftermarket shaft and I’ve had the benefit of hitting it hundreds (and hundreds) of times.

Srixon ZF45 (15 degrees with Kuro Kage Black HBP 60X)

  • Average Ball Speed: 151 mph
  • Average Swing Speed: 105 mph
  • Average Backspin: 3100 rpm
  • Average Launch Angle 15.5 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 260 yards

Cobra Bio Cell+ (14.5 degrees with Aldila ATX Blue 75X)

  • Average Ball Speed 153 MPH
  • Average Swing Speed 105 MPH
  • Average Backspin 3250 RPM
  • Average Launch Angle 15.9 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 260 yards

The Takeaway

These aren’t the longest or the most forgiving fairway woods of 2015, but their clean looks and traditional sound and feel could make them a hit for refined players searching for a well-rounded fairway wood they can trust off the tee and from the fairway.

Learn more from SrixonBuy Now on Amazon

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I didn't grow up playing golf. I wasn't that lucky. But somehow the game found me and I've been smitten ever since. Like many of you, I'm a bit enthusiastic for all things golf and have a spouse which finds this "enthusiasm" borderline ridiculous. I've been told golf requires someone who strives for perfection, but realizes the futility of this approach. You have to love the journey more than the result and relish in frustration and imperfection. As a teacher and coach, I spend my days working with amazing middle school and high school student athletes teaching them to think, dream and hope. And just when they start to feel really good about themselves, I hand them a golf club!

13 COMMENTS

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    • Yes – I live in Colorado – Clubs were actually tested over the last several months – But you’re correct in that testing clubs in Colorado over the winter can be a bit of a challenge – That said, people who don’t live here probably don’t realize that you can often play golf in 10 or so months out of the year…

  1. You test 5000 feet above sea level? Wow. I live at 2500 and when I go south and east to get to the coast in the winter I can hardly believe the difference in distance. I can’t even guess hoe many clubs extra you would have to take. I was doing 1.5-2.

    • I can say the reverse is true when us east coast guys play out in the west. Taking 1.5 to 2 fewer clubs is a big boost to the ego, although short-lived once we get back to reality. I have played all over this land and the trickiest place has been Florida. I don’t know what exactly it is, but the ball doesn’t go anywhere. I know it’s always windy, and its only 50 feet above sea level, but even downwind the ball just doesn’t want to fly. Snowman

    • Yes, elevation does have a pretty profound impact on carry distance – but you also have to pay attention to the impact of humidity, temperature, etc. Those all can impact carry distance as well…thanks for reading the review!

    • Thanks for reading the review! Let us know if there’s specific items you’d like to see reviewed…very impressed with what Srixon has put out so far this year…

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