|GolfWRX Top Rated|
Srixon's Z965, Z765 and Z565 can hang with any iron in their respective categories. They deliver exceptional distance, impressive forgiveness and the tour-quality looks and sound better players demand from a set of premium, forged irons.
5 out of 5
Pros: Great distance, impressive looks and feel. The Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons can hang with any iron in their respective classes, and blend well in a mixed set. Unique Tour V.T. Soles improve turf interaction.
Cons: The differences between Srixon’s Z-65 and Z-45 iron models are subtle.
Who they’re for: Anyone can play Srixon’s Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons, buy they’ll perform best for low-to-mid handicappers.
When you think of popular irons and irons played on the PGA Tour, Srixon may actually be one of the last to come to mind. Surely you’d lead with Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade and Titleist, then think of more exotic irons like Mizuno or PXG. Just because they’re under the radar, however, doesn’t mean Srixon doesn’t make some of the best all-around irons in golf.
Srixon’s no-frills approach to iron-making is refreshing in today’s golf equipment climate. The company forges its irons from 1020 carbon steel, and offers three distinct models than can please anyone from traditionalists (Z965) to forged cavity-back enthusiasts (Z765) to distance- or forgiveness-seeking crowds (Z565). Each offers the premium, detail-oriented design serious golfers desire without breaking the $1100 barrier for an eight-piece, steel-shafted set.
Their biggest flaw? Srixon’s Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons are very similar to the Z945, Z745 and Z545 irons they replace. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Z-45 series was well regarded in golf-equipment circles for its looks, feel and performance. The design of the Z-65 series falls into the bucket of “don’t mess with success,” but Srixon did make a few notable changes.
In terms of upgrades, each of this year’s Z-65 irons has Srixon’s new Tour V.T. Sole, which have a V shape to reduce turf interaction at impact, thereby improving energy transfer and consistency — especially on shots where golfers catch the grass before the ball. To further enhance the benefits of the Tour V.T. Soless, the company removed surface area around the heel and toe sections, and relief was added to backside of the sole as well.
It should be noted that because the Z965 (muscle backs), Z765 (cavity backs) and Z565 irons (game-improvement irons) each have different head shapes and sole widths, and the sole geometries are slightly different for each iron.
Srixon also made the grooves in all of the irons 5 percent larger, increasing ball friction at impact to create more consistent launch and spin characteristics, especially in wet conditions. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each iron to find out which option may be right for you and your game.
While labeled game-improvement irons, the Z565s are decidedly smaller, and have thinner top lines and much less offset than what golfers might expect in the category. And they’re forged, too. It makes you wonder why they’re tagged as “game-improvement” at all… until you hit them on a launch monitor and uncover their freakish performance.
The Z565 irons have forged, 1020 carbon steel bodies, but also employ thin, SUP10 face inserts that allows their club faces to flex more at impact. You’ll also notice a hollow cavity that sits behind the club face that isn’t used in the design of the Z765 or Z965 irons. The construction improves forgiveness and ball speed, and raises launch angle.
Surprisingly, you won’t notice much of a feel difference between the Z565 and the company’s smaller irons. Yes, the sound is slightly more hollow and higher-pitched, but it’s subtle. These are forged irons, and despite their thin club faces they deliver on forged feel — at least among game-improvement irons.
Again though, these irons aren’t just for double-digit handicappers. It’s quite common to find Z565 long and mid irons paired with either the company’s Z765 or Z965 irons in the bags of professional golfers and better golfers around the globe.
Let’s say you’re a 7-15 handicapper. There’s a good chance the Z565’s will satisfy your needs in terms of looks, sound and performance. As for any low handicappers or even Tour players out there, the Z565 irons can help you hit a few more par 5s in two, filling in distance or performance gaps at the lower end of your iron set.
Z765 or Z965? A tough call
Low handicappers have a difficult decision to make between Srixon’s Z765 and Z965 irons. The Z965’s are musclebacks that are slightly more “workable,” as blade-lovers like to say. That’s another way of relaying that they’re smaller-sized irons that spin slightly more. Both irons, though, have similar profiles with little offset and thin top lines. Both also use Srixon’s Tour V.T. Soles, and utilize a new heat treatment to make the irons more durable.
For cavity-back players, the Z965 blades won’t be much smaller or more intimidating than the Z765 irons. For blade players, the Z765 won’t look clunky or have too much offset. Low, single-digit handicappers could really go either way, or create a brag-worthy mixed set. If you have the game, you can’t choose wrong. But of course, a proper fitting will help you make the best decision… and with that, we’re on to the numbers.
To test the performance of the Z965, Z765 and the Z565 irons, we took all three models to The Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where we tested Srixon’s new irons on Trackman with premium golf balls. We had two scratch players hit the 4, 7 and PW from each set, and the irons were built with stock lofts, lies, lengths, and Nippon’s Modus3 Tour 120X shafts.
It’s clear after testing that each of the irons offer distinct performance benefits, so you’ll certainly need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your game to make the best decision. Overall, we found that the flight produced by the Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons is “flatter,” or more boring than one could expect from other lines of irons on the market, making them less likely than others to balloon.
In our test, the numbers show that Player 2, who has a slightly more shallow and slower swing speed, excelled more with the Z765 irons. Player 2, on the other hand, with a steeper and more aggressive move at the ball, found the blade irons to produce a tighter dispersion.
Both players relayed that the sole allowed them to be confident at impact, knowing that the club wouldn’t dig. The only concern is that “flippers,” or those with an early release, could have issues with the V-shaped sole due to its mass.
Notes from the numbers
- The Z565 irons produced the most ball speed, highest launch angles, overall height and the least amount of spin almost across the board.
- The Z965 irons generated the least amount of distance, ball speed and the most spin almost across the board.
- Player 2 hit the Z765 4-iron and 7-iron longer than the same Z565 clubs by 1.6 yards and 4.5 yards, respectively.
- Both players saw significant distance increases with the Z565 pitching wedge.
Srixon’s new Z-65 iron series is everything you’d expect from the company after its successful and well-regarded release of its Z-45 series irons. The changes between old and new are minimal, however, so if you already have a set of Z-45 irons there’s little reason to upgrade.
That being said, if you’re in the market for new irons, know that Srixon’s Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons can hang with any iron in their respective categories. They deliver a blend of exceptional distance, impressive forgiveness and the tour-quality looks and sound better players demand. Regardless of what you pay, you’d be hard pressed to find a set of better premium, forged irons — especially if the Tour V.T. Soles are a match for your game.