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Now having a full 6 months in the bag, and roughly 60 rounds of play, I think it's time for a review of my Srixon's ZX5's. Our more active forum members may recall some of my other threads leading up to this latest equipment change - my apology for the repeat. Me and My Golf Game My name is Bill and I'm 61 years old. I was introduced to golf by my Dad quite young and played JGA events in southeast Florida. I've played all my life but had periods of time where it was quite occasional. Having retired after 30 years in aerospace, golf and fly fishing are my two primary hobbies. I was statically fitted in 1988 for a set of PE2 irons that I gamed until 2019. Those, along with my Callaway GBB and Warbird 3w became something of a conversation piece while playing with friends - who often chided me about moving out of the stone-age of golf equipment. So I set out to do a bit of research on new equipment and stumbled into a MGS Most Wanted review. I found the main website, the forum, the plethora of great information, and a cast of characters who also suffer through this affliction we call golf. This led me to doing my first ever dynamic fitting session and my now former set of PING G410's. Yes, the claims were true... there was indeed performance gains that helped lower scoring by upgrading to 30+ year newer technology. Happily gaming my new sticks, seeing my index drop from 16 to 12, and playing lots more rounds, all was well - except my elbow and left shoulder were hurting. The shoulder has had issues for years, the golfers elbow brand new. A compression band and exercise resolved the elbow, but the shoulder remained an issue. I discussed this on the forum and the message came back loud and clear... get yourself fitted for composite iron shafts! So, that's what I did. I opted for a full bag fitting at True Spec in Scottsdale and that yielded two neck and neck options; PING G425 and Srixon ZX5 with either Recoil ES780 or MMT 80 shafts. If your interested in the details of all the stuff I tested, check this out. After a long session of mulling things over (to include some private IM's with a few spies), I chose the ZX5's and MMT 80 shafts. Looks (10 of 10) I personally love the looks of these irons. The badging is neither too bland or gaudy. The geometric lines blend really well and the contrasting polished and satin finish, both on the face and rear, are top shelf to my eyes. In the bag, they look surprisingly small. I attribute this to the relief cut at the heel. Here is a comparison of the G425 and ZX5. I remember this catching my eye at the fitting and me thinking "dayuum, those look tiny". Optical illusion for sure given since viewing from the face, they are very similar. The ZX5's are a bit shorter in C-length which makes them (IMO) appear more player design like. Sound & Feel (9 of 10) I did find both the G425 and ZX5 a little "clicky" during the session at TrueSpec... not unpleasant but noticeable. The Srixon being a forged frame, I would have thought it to be more muted. But, it is a hollow-body construction and unfilled - and I think this (sound) has been a challenge for most of the OEM's working in this design envelope. Many of the on-line reviewers have noted the sharper retort of hollow-body club designs. I suspect that's partly why the magic-goo is injected in some. What I have found is that sound in a studio environment can be quite different than out on the range/course. I find the sound on the course to be just fine and don't hear that clicky aspect at all. As for feel, I must admit this is an area I'm a bit less acute. Of all the irons I tested, only the T300's stood out as one that felt odd. I also did not hit them very well, so perhaps that was the reason? I will say that the ZX5's feel nice in the sense that they do not send any shock waves into my hands. How they might feel with steel shafts may very well be different, but with the MMT shafts, they are awesome. It would be fun to know if the folks at Srixon ever tested these with magic goo inside to assess performance and noise. Basic Characteristics (18 of 20) Leading up to my final decision on which irons/shafts to buy, some fellow spies suggested that I hit the v-sole off turf as that is a different design and does not always work well for some. With the pandemic going on, options to test this were few, but my friend @Kenny Bfound me a Srixon Demo in Indio, CA and I made the 2-1/2 hour drive there to test them on turf. With hardly any customers showing, I worked with the rep/fitter for over an hour hitting lots of balls, even trying the ZX7's for fun. Bottom line is that the v-sole is a great fit for me as I tend to be a scalper vs. big divot taker (which is where the v-sole really shines). For those of you who are diggers, you might want to try some Srixon's on turf during future club tests. So the ZX5's fit right between the ZX4 (cast, game improvement) and ZX7 (forged, players) irons. Generally considered a GI category club, it is my opinion that the ZX5's are more P than GI and should rightly be called Player Improvement irons. I say this because they look small but play big. Srixon's design team deserves big kudos for combining two clubs characteristic many seek. We often hear clubs getting disparaging remarks for being shovels on a stick, excessively thick top line and/or too much offset at address. But, many of those same folks (self included) want/need forgiveness. This has become the de-facto Holy Grail for club design engineers and why we're seeing many more of these "tweener" category offerings. I did consider a mixed/combo set of ZX5's and ZX7's but felt the likely give up in forgiveness not worth it. Comparing these to my G410's, I can honestly say they are every bit as forgiving with off center strikes. I can also say that, based on my range sessions using the SC200 and watching my strike patterns, they are slightly less penalizing in both distance and dispersion than the G410's (although, to be fair, the MMT 80 vs. AWT shafts are likely a factor). On Course Performance (30 of 30) My index has dropped from 12 to 10.3 since playing these but I also changed putter and putting grip (to LHL) so to the extent the irons and shafts are contributing I don't know. I can say I am striking these more consistently and feel very confident in yardages. As was seen in my fitting, distance gains are small (about 2-3 yards through the bag), but dispersion is less. My natural baby fade ball flight remains but less so; which has required me to adjust target line a bit more to the right. Srixon's "progressive groove" design (sharper and narrower on 8i-AW) offer additional help holding greens on not as well struck shots. They also seem to increase spin as I see considerably more balls spin back a little - not typical of my G410's. In the long irons, I'm hitting better shots and more of them with the 4i and 5i. But to be fair, we changed my shaft length back to +1/2 instead of the +1 on the AWT's. I found myself choking down on those and I think the extra length was hindering my ability to get the club back to square. Moving from 98g to 80g shafts and the shorter length shifted my swing weights from a D4/5 to a D2. This increased my swing speed a little over 1 mph and got my clubface to path less open. I'm thinking there is more in the tank from these clubs to drop my index further. Moreover, I have had more sub 80 rounds since the change than ever before - to include tying a life time personal best of 74! Miscellaneous (8 of 10) These are forged irons. For those like me who have played cast, in particularly PING's Indestructotanium cast irons, and have any OCD issues about keeping clubs looking good, get some head covers. Besides doing a good job keeping bag chatter from marring up these beauties, they look great. Play it or Trade It? (20 of 20) These are going nowhere anytime soon. I think one will be hard pressed to find a "Players Improvement" design that is much better at offering this combination of looks and performance. Oh I definitely will be trying new shiny offerings (just hit the i59's) but doubt anything will move the needle enough to bench the ZX5's. No doubt the change in shafts are an integral part of their performance and I would be remiss not to acknowledge this... but honestly feel the iron heads themselves account for the majority of the gains. Srixon's ZX series iron builds on their already well touted results of the Z series irons; adding additional AI design technology offering hotter faces and more forgiveness. I personally find the ZX5's to be one of the best PI or GI (whatever one chooses to call them) options on the market right now. I would not have guessed myself moving away from PING's and the ZX5's were the only ones to push me over the edge. I think I even surprised the few spies who were helping me grind through the decision . I would definitely recommend anyone in the market for new irons include the ZX series. Final Score (95/100)
I just heard that Tiger was formally inducted into the World Golf HOF. I say formally as it seemed this could have happened 20 years ago... but nonetheless, it is now official. I found his acceptance speech really cool. Congratulations Tiger! Tiger Woods’ World Golf Hall of Fame acceptance speech (pgatour.com)