I couldn’t fault Srixon’s latest blade in any of the key performance characteristics for a player’s iron …
COST: $199.95 per iron (steel); $235.95 per iron (graphite).
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
MODEL PLAYED: Z-Forged (4-iron to pitching wedge), fitted with Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 S shafts.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I have always been a fan of the look of Srixon’s blade irons, which typically possess a slightly bulkier appearance than some of their competitors, and the Z-Forged is no different.
Make no mistake, this is a muscle-back blade iron in every sense, however, Srixon’s topline of the Z-Forged, while thin, has a squarer and boxier appearance that I really like. The head also looks a little deeper from sole to topline, making the Z-Forged a little less intimidating at address than some other muscle-back models.
The feel off the face also didn’t disappoint. A soft but solid feel is accompanied by a nice sound and the ball flight was slightly higher than my own blade irons and extremely workable in every direction.
HOW THEY PERFORMED: As my time continued with the Z-Forged, I couldn’t fault Srixon’s latest blade in any of the key performance characteristics for a player’s iron.
The feel is not the softest on the market, but isn’t harsh by any means and I would definitely rate it as slightly softer than Srixon’s player’s cavity back Z-785 irons.
One area where the feel does out do some other blade irons is on mishits. Perhaps thanks to the head size mentioned earlier, there is less of a significant difference in feel on slight miscues. Feedback is still there for better players and distance loss on bad strikes, as one would expect of a blade, still occurs, but the drop off is not quite as dramatic. And as a lover of blade irons who doesn’t hit as many balls as he should, I quite enjoyed this.
The flight with the short irons is a nice penetrating flight that was great when knocking down shots in windy conditions. As I worked my way up into the long irons, which clearly have more of the ‘muscle’ towards the sole, the stock flight was just slightly higher than my own irons. Although able to be easily hit lower with a simple setup adjustment, this added height was certainly in the ‘pros’ column when assessing the Z-Forged.
As one would expect, the Z-Forged is made to work the ball. High and low shots are created very easily, while moving the ball left and right was great fun on the range and out on the course. If anything, the Z-Forged feels as if it has a little anti-left bias, with much of the weight towards the toe, slowing it down and the sole design helping the face to sit very square at address. This will suit most players interested in this style of iron who have no trouble turning the ball over, and was certainly a plus for someone like me, whose bad miss is a hook.
The ‘Tour V.T.’ sole has been redesigned in the Z-Forged and is a perfect fit for this model. The grind is very obvious to look at and is designed to improve turf interaction. I certainly found this to be the case, with the wide variety of lies presented playing during the winter months never posing a problem.
The new sole was also very versatile around the greens when chipping with the short irons. Previous versions of this sole proved slightly awkward from tight lies, but the redesigned version was great from tight and heavy lies.
In terms of distance, unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a significant difference between the Z-Forged, my own irons and other blade models I have tested. As mentioned previously, the distance drop off with the Z-Forged on slight mis-hits was a little better consistently during my testing.
Overall, the Z-Forged is an extremely consistent and playable muscle-back iron.
The appearance is certainly one of the standout characteristics for mine. The slightly bulkier blade shape inspires confidence, while also suggesting the feel off the face is going to be solid. Srixon has also used a combination of matte and chrome finishes on the back of the iron and the face.
The matte hitting area of the face frames the ball very well, while the combination of finishes on the back of the iron together with the flowing muscle shape mean the Z-Forged look equally good in the bag and at address.
Beyond looks, the Z-Forged offers the performance one would expect from a blade iron in every department.
Ball flight control is very good, carry distances are extremely consistent and the feel off the face is the best of any Srixon iron I have tested.
The Z-Forged isn’t for everyone, with better players and quality ball strikers the target market, but for those players it is a very worthwhile option to consider and yet another example of Srixon producing a quality muscle-back blade iron.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: As with all muscle-back blades, the Z-Forged is aimed at low handicap players and professionals looking for complete shot making control and pure feel at impact.
SHAFTS: The Z-Forged come with Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 shafts as standard.
SRIXON SAYS: Crafted for Tour players and highly skilled amateurs, the Srixon Z-Forged irons are a classic muscle-back blade iron offering maximum versatility from anywhere on the course.
Forged from a single billet of soft 1020 carbon steel, the new Z-Forged irons offer exceptional feel in a sleek design for pure, consistent ball striking, while the classic blade shape has been optimized for maximum workability and to enhance the unmatched feel at impact.
A newly redesigned ‘Tour V.T.’ sole provides even more consistent ball striking while maintaining enough versatility to execute any shot from any lie.
For more information, visit the website www.srixon.com.au