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Review: Srixon Z965, Z765 and Z565 irons

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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.

The Review

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.

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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.

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Srixon’s Tour V.T. Sole in a Z765 iron.

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.

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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.

Z565 Irons

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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.

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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

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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.

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A Srixon Z965 iron at address

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.

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.

SrixonZ654irons

All three 4 irons measured 38.5 inches in length and had 60.5-degree lie angles. The shafts were also the same, Nippon’s Modus3 Tour 120X, as were the grips.

SrixonZ657iron

All three 7 irons measured 37 inches in length and had 62-degree lie angles. The shafts were also the same, Nippon’s Modus3 Tour 120X, as were the grips.

SrixonZ65PitchWedge

All three 7 irons measured 35.5 inches in length and had 63.5-degree lie angles. The shafts were also the same, Nippon’s Modus3 Tour 120X, as were the grips.

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.

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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.

The Takeaway

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.

See more photos, and what GolfWRX members are saying about the irons in our forums.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”106″]

[wrx_retail_links productid=”108″]

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Tyler

    Apr 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I wanted to mix a set of 565’s with 765’s but after hitting the short irons I just decided to go with a complete set of 565’s.

    I love them. I don’t have as much time to play and practice but you would never know it. Feel is great. Launch and distance was just what i was looking for.

    Great clubs. I like the fact that they fly below the radar of the Bigger Companies.

  2. Drew

    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I have hit the Z565 7 iron with the stock Nippon NS Pro 980 stiff steel shaft on the LM at my local Edwin Watts. I was shocked, at first, that the Z565’s are as crazy long as the review test result. When I went home, I looked up the lofts and it became clear why I was hitting a forged 7 iron as long as my Callaway X-Hot 7 iron. The lofts are very strong on the Callaway’s, and the Srixon’s have very similar strong lofts. I imagine the Nippon shaft is a better fit for my swing, which explains some of the carry distance. I am definitely going to get a set of Z565’s when I find a good used set on the market. The $1000.00 price tag is the only “down side” I can see for the Srixon iron set.

  3. Tom Duckworth

    Dec 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Absolutely beautiful clubs. I just wonder how much the Nippon shafts have to do with the flatter ball flight. That is kind of in the DNA of these shafts
    Not saying anything against the shafts I like them I have Nippon Modus 3 105s in my FG Tour V2s.
    The testers got some big numbers with them. I’m looking forward to trying them.
    It’s hard to find them however.
    We have a club fitter here in KC that sells Miura, Epon, Ben Hogans, PXG and other high end clubs. I think it says something about Srixon that they carry them as well.

  4. Tom

    Oct 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Nice to see the stats that beat MP series.

  5. Mark

    Sep 20, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Chuffing V sole again. And 156 with a wedge? Dream On…..cue Aerosmith!

  6. Jack

    Sep 20, 2016 at 3:51 am

    I love how these scratch players hit it as far as Dustin Johnson.

    • BoomCannon

      Sep 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

      He’s a short knocker on these forums.

    • carlsheen

      Sep 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      And?

    • Jim

      Sep 23, 2016 at 12:37 am

      You’d be surprised. We are on a regular basis. New Epon 703 – yeah, strong loft, but so well engineered w undercut channel cavity, low COG so produces perfect 8 iron launch & flight.

      3 hcp, 5’10, athletic college Hockey player & golfer on Trackman: 92mph, 36.75″ Epon 703 8 iron with 6.5 Proj X 18° launch 135 ball speed 5500 rpm (all avg) 6 hits – all over 200 carry. 208 longest…

  7. Tyler

    Sep 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    From my personal experience with these irons (745), I feel that the sound of these irons are sub par. Hitting multiple manufactures golf balls, they seemed to have a real hollow click. Now for me personally since sound and feel go hand and hand, the perception is that they were cheap despite the looks. I compared them side by side with Mizuno irons (MP54, H5) and there was a noticeable difference in feel sound and performance all going to Mizuno….and trust me I WANTED to like these iron, a lot !

  8. Dansrixon

    Sep 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    “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.”

    If you don’t think about Srixon irons on the PGA Tour it is only because you are not paying attention. 6 wins this season, that is more than Mizuno and PXG combined. More than Ping as well. Srixon may be lacking in marketing but not in Tour validation. Interestingly, 4 of those wins had Srixon irons in the runner ups bag not to mention numerous other runner ups, like at the US open.

    I get Srixon being under the radar for marketing reasons but they are right behind the big three on tour, with a much smaller budget. Mizuno has not been relevant on the PGA Tour in a decade. Srixon has always struggled with the marketing side of the game, but Tour validation is stronger than ever. And that is just talking about the irons…not even talking golf balls.

    • Justin

      Sep 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Sadly, marketing is all that seems to matter these days. The only thing Srixon spends marketing money on is golf balls. I wish more people knew how good they were, but they probably never will

      • carlsheen

        Sep 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

        Agreed. Thanks for places like this that produce reviews for the game and not for the $$$. 10 years of letting the members say what is on their mind and supporting us is what it is all about.

  9. Dave C

    Sep 19, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    What does “will utilize a new heat treatment to make the irons more durable” mean for feel? Well this treatment solve the bag chatter observed in the 745 line?

  10. Nath

    Sep 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Here here, half az melenials

  11. Ezra

    Sep 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Hi there, lovely set! I can google the specs but it would be great to add them in the article IMO…

  12. ooffa

    Sep 19, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Very nice advertisement

  13. foo

    Sep 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Every review is 5 out of 5 stars. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a rating at all.

  14. Warwick

    Sep 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Great article. Which smart ar*e checks lofts, lie and length? You just see how it goes for goodness sake.

    • Joshuaplaysgolf

      Sep 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Because every company has tolerances for theses things. Titleist is +/-1* for loft. You should always have these things checked to make sure they are correct and fitted to your specifications. For the purpose of testing, it ensures it’s a consistent test with the labeled loft, lies, and lengths actually being the specifics the clubs are labeled as.

      • Scooter McGavin

        Sep 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        If Titleist’s tolerance is +/- 1* that’s news to me. Even when we had custom sets come in, they were frequently off by 2 or 3 degrees. We would rarely get a set that was good when it was received. Just to reinforce your point though about checking/adjusting them when you get them.

        • Jim

          Sep 21, 2016 at 1:21 am

          I CAN TOTALLY VOUCH FOR SHOOTER ON THIS! we check every custom OEM order, and 4/5 times a couple clubs need adjustment. Even all our ‘off the rack’ sales get double checked & tweaked.

          “Industry Spec’s +/- 2°”
          Nike’s were friggin terrible! crooked hosel bores, head weights off 4-5 grams…Mizuno hosels so loose the shafts need to be dimpled…

          Truth is, most of our ‘beloved’ major OEM’s pretty much suck compared to smaller batch very tight tolerance Japanese offerings. Srixon really made a big step with the ‘500’ series in – ’08/09? 506,s… Great clubs, Drivers were hot too. Did have a ‘quirky’ feel. Solid, but like someone else described a ‘click’ – you might expect more from a ball than the head…There’s a lot of great product over there! Bridgestone, Honma, Maruman, ON/OFF (formerly Diawa) – of course Epon & Miura….

          “Nice ad” (??) some folks are truly lost. If it ain’t TM (the largest producer of CRAP) or Titleist, it must be bogus

          • Tmoney

            Dec 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm

            I disagree. Mizuno has been right on when I’ve ordered them. I put them up there as one of the best. The only irons Ive sent back were Callaway’s for length adjustments that were off.

  15. TCJ

    Sep 19, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Any love for us lefties with the Z965?

  16. Topic_Monitor

    Sep 19, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Please respect fellow members and article authors. Thank You

  17. spelling b

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:16 am

    MSmizzle agreed with you…now let’s work on your typing…

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Equipment

WRX Insider: Top 5 equipment stories at the PGA Championship

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This week at Harding Park had a few key stories to track from a WITB standpoint. Some were huge, some were subtle. All are interesting.

Here are the top five equipment stories from the PGA Championship.

#5. Fleetwood goes to Ventus

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 07: Tommy Fleetwood of England plays his shot from the 14th tee during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park on August 07, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood has one of the most eclectic bags on Tour. The Englishman is the epitome of finding the right 14 sticks no matter what. This week at Harding Park, he made what I would call a pretty substantial change to his driver set up. Being a player that has trusted the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX for a while now, Tommy not only switched shafts but switched companies going into the ever-popular Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X.

According to my source, Tommy was fighting a left miss with the normal setup and was searching for a way to stabilize the head a bit. The Ventus not only helped that but also kicked up the ball speed a touch. Obviously it helped, at the time this article was written he was two back of the leaders having put on a ballstriking display with a Friday 64.

#4. Fleetwood swaps in TM Proto 4 and 5-irons

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 07: Tommy Fleetwood of England plays a shot on the tenth hole during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park on August 07, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tommy also swapped out his Srixon Z765 4 and 5-irons for two TaylorMade prototypes. The switch was in an effort to bridge the gap between his 5-wood and 4-iron. In past weeks, he had tested a TaylorMade SIM Max 4 Rescue. The switch required him to strengthen his 5-iron to gap properly, but ultimately that recipe wasn’t the right fit.

#3. Koepka goes back to his M5

If anything has been holding Brooks Koepka back this year, it has been his driver. Notoriously an intimidating player off the tee (especially on tough golf courses), Koepka had been struggling in 2020.

He started the season with SIM Max and quickly swapped that for the Callaway Mavrik he used up until early this week. According to my source, BK liked the ball speed and feel from the Callaway but felt going back to the M5 he used in 2019 put him back in a comfortable pocket, and as you can see, he is right at the top of the leaderboard again.

Another interesting nugget is the M5 switch required no tweaks, straight into the bag. When no wrenching is needed, you know that club is dialed.

Koepka has also gone back to his trusty Nike Vapor Pro 3-iron. Previously, BK had the TaylorMade P790 UDI in play, but this return comes as no surprise—that particular club draws strong affections from certain players, namely Koepka and Tony Finau.

#2. DJ lands on a 7-wood

Height, spin, and gapping have become a huge theme in the past weeks—especially in that no man’s land between 3-wood and 5-iron. Dustin Johnson is a player who is not afraid to experiment, and he has checked off every possible box.

At any given point this year he has had a 3-iron, 4-hybrid, utility, and now a 7-wood. Although these changes will be course-specific, the trend I’m seeing is players are looking for spin and versatility wherever they can find it. Most clubs in that range tend to be low spin, so if there is a way to find 400-500 RPMs flying out of the same window, its a bonus.

#1. Tiger ditches the “Elder Wand” (it won’t last)

At this point, I think the story even made it to CNN. When Tiger switches anything its world news, especially his trusty Scotty Cameron. In this case, he moved into a Scotty Cameron “Timeless Prototype,” which is a lead into the 2020 Studio Select collection at retail.

Two things going on here

  1. Ability to manipulate head weight to match up with green speed. Tiger’s gamer is, by today’s standards light at 327 grams. This experiment allows him to add subtract weight out of the head via weight ports in the sole.
  2. Added length to take the pressure off his back. Not the first time a player has done this. Freddy Couples, Rocco Mediate, and many others have gone to longer putters to encourage more upright posture.

At posting time, Tiger putted it all over the place on Friday, so although this switch is newsworthy, it won’t last. He’s just putting the Elder Wand in the reflection chair as I do with my kids.

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Whats in the Bag

Jason Day WITB 2020 (August)

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  • Equipment accurate as of the PGA Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade SIM Max (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15.0 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 80 X

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (18.0 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P760 (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X Seven

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 Satin (50-09SB, 54-11SB, 60-10SB)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Taylor Made Itsy Bitsy Spider Limited Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

More photos of Jason Day’s WITB in the forums.

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Whats in the Bag

Paul Casey WITB 2020 (August)

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  • Equipment accurate as of the PGA Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade SIM Max (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Orange 75 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro (3, 4), Mizuno MP-5 (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 120 TX

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52-08F, 56-10S), Vokey Proto 60-T (60T)
Shafts: Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 120 TX

(Pics c/o Titleist’s Aaron Dill)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Fastback

Grips: Golf Pride ZGrip Cord

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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