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Opinion & Analysis

Head to Head: Callaway Apex CF ’16, Mizuno JPX-900 Forged and Srixon Z565 irons



A few weeks ago, GolfWRX Members voted for the three game-improvement irons they most wanted to see tested head-to-head. The winners were: Callaway Apex CF ’16, Mizuno JPX-900 Forged and Titleist 716 AP1. Unfortunately, I was not able to access a Titleist 716 AP1 at my desired specs (62-degree lie, 32-degree loft), so it was replaced in the test by the iron that got the next highest amount of votes, Srixon’s Z565 irons.

I do a lot of these head-to-head equipment test videos on my YouTube Channel, but for this video I stepped it up. Each of the three irons were tested with the same shafts of the exact same length, and all the clubs had the same grips, lofts, lies and swing weights, courtesy of Tour X Golf fitters.

As always, post your comments and questions below.


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Rick Shiels has been a PGA Golf Professional for more than 10 years and started making YouTube videos on his channel four years ago. He loves creating golf-related content on his YouTube channel that is factual, informative, fun and entertaining. His videos includes golf tips, equipment reviews, on-course videos, news shows and golf lessons. Rick absolutely loves coaching golf, and he has setup his first golf academy in Lytham (UK). Quest Golf Studio is where he calls home, and it has the latest equipment that can help any golfer improve and better understand their golf games. You can book a lesson with Rick here. Rick is also very active on the social media account below, including SnapChat (rickshielspga).



  1. sumsum

    Nov 16, 2016 at 6:23 pm


    It seems you Averaged 4mm toe on the Apex, and 5mm toe on the srixon – and the shots all went left….. Mizuno averaged 1mm toe and actually dispersed tighter to the line, not all grouped left. Also, you had 1.4deg and 1.6 deg of side spin with the Callaway and Srixon respectively, vs. 3.6 degrees of side spin with mizuno. This could’ve held it from achieving more distance, but more like it seems, it was third in your test, and you miss hit it more often as you tired. I would like to see you stagger the test, 1 callaway, 1 srixon, 1 mizuno…etc to produce a real test. Also, Mizuno is the only full forged head in the group – the other are multi-material constructions.

  2. Tom

    Nov 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Are we gonna get “impact” comments again?

  3. Tom

    Nov 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Wait for it……wait…… for …… it…….

  4. Jim

    Nov 16, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    It doesn’t matter what the loft is. The COG and even proscribed shaft the engineers (occasionally) designed it around to produce the loft needed for the ‘X’ to play as it should. A (‘7’) iron needs to achieve a ball flight apex to land softly. If it does and yields more distance then they did thier job – well.

    In ’97 I played Diawa Comps. Took a bit of ‘getting used to’
    as they looked like shovels compared to my Miura’s, TZoids
    or VIP’s but the thin Titanium face and sharp grooves
    allowed for Tungsten inserts to lower the CG enough they
    went plenty high, stopped dead with 5irons or got nice draw with a 6 on the greens and were almost 20yds longer. A well needed boost following 3 fractured vertibrea and lead shoulder/hand injuries.

    Everyrhing has changed dramatically in 40 years. Jack coulda hit a 200yd 7 iron back then, it just never would of stopped on the green. Even most ‘players’ clubs PW have gone from 48 to 46 or 46.5 because the balls & shafts and better head design allow for it.

    Great work running these tests – and yes, even the grip should be the same. The heads however should be checked to be exact MFR lofts – whether or not there’s a difference between the club’s designated ‘number’…the launch data will tell us if one has been made ‘too strong’ and comes into a green too hot.

    thanks for doing these 🙂

  5. Jack

    Nov 16, 2016 at 8:11 am

    So what you are saying is a lot more people are striping 2 or even 1 irons down the fairway nowadays. Amazing.

  6. Philip

    Nov 15, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I like that you are getting away from numbers on the clubs as that loft was called a 5 iron when I started playing golf. You shouldn’t even mentioned the marketing number on the bottom of the club, but if someone needs to think that they hit their club with a 7 on it the same distance as my club with a 5 on it – whatever turns their crank. What was the length of the irons? All 37 inches?

    • Brian

      Nov 16, 2016 at 10:12 am

      I get so sick of listening to people complain about the loft vs. Number on the bottom of your club. Nobody cares what the 5i was back in your day…you also walked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways.

      I bet your 5 iron of yester-year didn’t launch the ball as high as the current 7 irons.

      • Philip

        Nov 16, 2016 at 11:34 am

        Wow – hit a nerve eh? Didn’t know back in the day was only 5 years ago – what, you age in dog years? Chill dude – reviewing taking about lofts inside of what has become a meaningless number only makes it easier to compare apple to apples. Oh, and a higher launch isn’t always needed or better – horses for courses.

    • Spanky

      Nov 16, 2016 at 10:58 am

      You score is what counts in golf, right? If it makes you feel better to have a “traditional” lofted 7 iron, go for it. I see no difference though in someone wanting a non “traditional” 7 iron, than what you want and as long as fitted for the clubs. It makes zero difference. Heck, you are free to use a persimmon 1 wood with a 20 year old steel shaft if that makes you feel better. Just hit the ball and have fun. If it worries you that someone says they hit their 7 iron longer than your 7 iron, eh, I think you just need to let it go and learn to give jabs right back about something else.
      For kicks though, go take a 7 iron from decades ago and get on trackman and compare to these newer lower lofted 7 irons. I think you’ll quickly understand the reasons for lower lofts these days vs more traditional lofts. If that doesn’t make sense to you, then go bend the loft down on a 20 year old 7 iron to match today’s lofts (~30 degrees) and see what you get on the course. Let me know how those bullets work out as they only go a few yards off the ground and skid off the back of a green. It is more than just the loft.
      No matter how you look at it, everyone has to hit the club and post a score no matter what is stamped on the club. And if you really think about it, there is no “standard” loft any longer.
      And beyond lofts, the is no standard on what “regular”, “stiff” etc. means in shafts yet many take it for granted those all mean the same thing across manufacturers. They don’t.
      Get fitted. If you end up with a 35 degree 7 iron, bravo. If its 28 degrees, bravo as well.

      • Philip

        Nov 16, 2016 at 11:53 am

        Another nerve pinched :o) – for the record I have been getting fitted for a while and have ended up with clubs from 2006 that are only “one” number behind the current crop and from what I see there never was a standard so why even bother with random numbers on clubs. Personally I couldn’t care less about the numbers because in the end I decide on clubs via lofts to space my yardages. However, the effect of the decreased lofts and increased lengths just means I have to tweak lofts more than before and add more lead tape than before after cutting down the shaft lengths, as the OEMs use lighter heads to prevent the swing weights from getting to heavy with the longer lengths. My club selection is based on what I need to get my lowest score. I don’t care about the numbers on my clubs, I figure out the lofts that work – my 3W is the length of a 2W (42.5 inches) with the loft of a 4W (18), or is that a 7W now… I don’t care, as in the end all I need is to figure out the length/loft combination that maximizes my potential – the numbers on the clubs are irrelevant other than to make it easier to pull a club. Only makes it a bit trickier when looking for clubs to replace worn out ones.

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Mondays Off: Jon Schoepf, Director of Instruction and Master Instructor, Jim McLean Golf



Jon Schoepf Director of Instruction and Master Instructor of Jim McLean Golf School joins the show! He and Steve debate Sean Foley, and Knudson asks if a launch monitor is a necessity to be a great teacher.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Dodge Riverside Golf Club in Council Bluffs, Iowa



These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member golfin8, who takes us to Dodge Riverside Golf Club in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Located just a few minutes away from downtown Omaha, Dodge Riverside sits along the Missouri River, and according to golfin8, it’s a gem of a golf course that is well worth a visit.

“While it’s only 6,400 yards, it’s still one of the best-kept tracks in the area. Makes you work the ball left and right, has risk/reward decisions on almost every hole and the greens are always in great shape and fairly challenging.

It’s kept basically the same layout since opening in 1927, except for a reroute (only changing the start and end holes, the course still flows the same it always has) when the new clubhouse was built and a remaking of the 9th hole after the area had a flood a short while back.

It’s just a classic tree-lined fairway course that is in a town outside a larger metropolitan area that gets drastically overlooked when people think of golf in Omaha.”

According to Dodge Riverside Golf Club’s website, 18 holes during the week will set you back as little as $23, while the rate raises to $31 should you wish to play on the weekend.




Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Opinion & Analysis

How important is playing time in college if a player wants to turn pro?



One of the great debates among junior golfers, parents and swing coaches is what is the most crucial factor in making the college decision. My experience tells me that many students would answer this question with a variation of coaching, facilities and of course academics (especially if their parents are present).

I would agree that all three are important, but I wanted to explore the data behind what I think is an often overlooked but critical part of the process; playing time. For this article, I examined players under 25 who made the PGA tour and played college golf to see what percent of events they participated in during their college career. In total I identified 27 players and through a combination of the internet, as well as conversations with their college coaches, here are the numbers which represent my best guess of their playing time in college:

Player Percent of Events

  • Justin Thomas 100%
  • Rickie Folwer 100%
  • Xander Schauffele 100%
  • Bryson DeChambeau 100%
  • Jon Rahm 100%
  • Patrick Reed 91%
  • Jordan Speith 100%
  • Beau Hossler 100%
  • Billy Horschel 100%
  • Aaron Wise 100%
  • Daniel Berger 100%
  • Thomas Pieters 95%
  • Ryan Moore 100%
  • Kevin Tway 98%
  • Scott Langley 95%
  • Russell Hendley 100%
  • Kevin Chappell 96%
  • Harris English 96%
  • JB Holmes 100%
  • Abraham Ancer 97%
  • Kramer Hicock 65%
  • Adam Svensson 100%
  • Sam Burns 100%
  • Cameron Champ 71%
  • Wydham Clark 71%
  • Hank Lebioda 100%
  • Sebastian Munoz 66%

Average: 94%

Please note that further research into the numbers demonstrate that players like Pieters, Munoz, Clark, Reed, Hicock, Langely, Reed and Champ all played virtually all events for their last two years.

This data clearly demonstrates that players likely to make a quick transition (less than 3 years) from college to the PGA tour are likely to play basically all the events in college. Not only are these players getting starts in college, but they are also learning how to win; the list includes 7 individual NCAA champions (Adam Svensson, Aaron Wise, Ryan Moore and Thomas Pieters, Scott Langley, Kevin Chappell, and Bryson DeChambeau), as well 5 NCAA team champion members (Justin Thomas, Jordan Speith, Beau Hossler, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Wydham Clack) and 2 US Amateur Champs (Bryson DeChambeau and Ryan Moore).

As you dig further into the data, you will see something unique; while there are several elite junior golfers on the list, like Speith and Thomas who played in PGA tour events as teenagers, the list also has several players who were not necessarily highly recruited. For example, Abraham Ancer played a year of junior college before spending three years at the University of Oklahoma. Likewise, Aaron Wise, Kramer Hickok and JB Holmes may have been extremely talented and skillful, but they were not necessarily top prospects coming out of high school.

Does this mean that playing time must be a consideration? No, there are for sure players who have matriculated to the PGA Tour who have either not played much in college. However, it is likely that they will make the PGA tour closer to 30 years of age. Although the difference between making the tour at 25 and 30 is only 5 years, I must speculate that the margin for failure grows exponentially as players age, making the difference mathematically extremely significant.

For junior golfers looking at the college decision, I hope this data will help them understand the key role of playing time will have in their development if they want to chase their dream of playing on the PGA Tour. As always, I invite comments about your own experience and the data in this article!

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19th Hole