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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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Whats in the Bag

Jimmy Walker WITB 2020

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  • Equipment accurate as of the Farmers Insurance Open

Driver: Titleist TS3 (8.5 degrees @ 7.75, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

Fairway wood: Titleist TS3 (18 degrees @ 17.25, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 90 TX

Irons: Titleist 620 CB (3), Titleist 620 MB (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (54-M, 60-04L), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (64 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1T

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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