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Titleist ZM Iron Review



At last the weather appears to have decided that never ending rain is a story which has already been told, see the tale of Noah for full details.

I thought after the end of the midwestern monsoon season I'd at last have a chance to discover the ball striking abilities of these clubs instead of just gazing at them longingly.  Remember eighth grade and the really attractive girl on the other side of the room, how you wondered several times a day what it would be like to actually talk to her?  Well maybe it's not that romantic with you, but hey, I like the look of these new clubs.  What follows is my first couple of dates with the new Titleist ZM forged iron.


What the Titleist website says is that the Z-M forged irons are high performance muscle back forged irons with traditional feel, superior looks and shot control for the highly skilled player.  The Z muscle is designed to precisely locate the center of gravity in the center of the face by moving weight from the heel to the head.  The traditional profile included minimal offset for Tour validated ball flight, trajectory control and workablity.  The narrow sole reduces skipping in firm conditions while appropriate bounce prevents digging.  The long irons have a shorter hosel to move weight lower for improved launch and longer hosel in the mid and shorter clubs for trajectory control.

That's a lot of marketing school verbiage meant to dazzle and confuse by repeating the word forged twice in one sentence, the word traditional twice, and adding the concept of validation of the ball flight by the Tour. I was never aware that ball flight needed validation, but it appears I'm wrong again.  Let's just say this a traditional looking blade iron save for the Z in the back which makes the sweet spot centrally located rather that the heel side location usually found in blades.

Also included is Titleist's plastic dowel inserted into the end of the shaft as a vibration dampening measure.  Something they've done since the 690 series I've been told.  Although in the early models they used wooden dowels like master club maker Joe Kwok, they switched to plastic due to manufacturing consistency issues. 


No matter how you look at these irons, they appear as traditional (that word again, but oh well it works) as any blade I've every played. Very compact head, very little offset thus enabling a point and shoot alignment, thin topline.  All the attributes of a club whose appearance states swing me and the ball will respond to your desires.  Until you look at the back of the club.  There you see what resembles the letter Z drawn by someone who sneezed in the middle of the drawing thus exaggerating the top of the Z while minimizing the bottom of the Z.  The effect, to my eye is quite stunning and seems to have progressed to this point from earlier models.  l switched from Hogan Apex blades last season to a cavity back forged iron thinking I needed the forgiveness, but after hitting these I realize that nothing suits my eye better than the sight of a compact blade set up behind the ball.  As Titleist says, these are serious clubs which need no words to make the point.  Just one look and the truth of that statement is obvious. 


After three shots on the range I knew I wanted these clubs!  Eighty five balls later that desire had not changed.  There is something about hitting a forged iron that sings joyfully to the hands, up the arms, throughout the rest of the body into the ears and on to the brain.  The resulting sensations leave the player smiling the smile of the truly satisfied.  Make no mistake about it, these are clubs for someone with a reasonably consistent swing.  If you possess a swing that does not repeat itself more times than not the only thing these irons will do for you is to reduce your vocabulary to that of an episode of Deadwood.

I am a pretty good stick on the range, hitting a series of small draws, straight shots, slight fades, and big rope hooks.  These make all of that possible.  What I found most interesting is that I had to be more aware of my clubhead alignment than with any club I've played before or I'd not hit the ball straight, instead hitting a slight fade.  You should know that I don't hit a fade.  Ever.  Not with an iron.  But with the Z-M I could take a slight fade with me to the course.  I've only been to the course twice, so I don't quite understand this new shot shape available to me, but the fact it exists opens a whole new world of possibilities.  I have to attribute this improved opportunity to produce all the shot shapes to the design of the Z-M. Moving the center of gravity to the center of the face significantly improves the playability of these clubs. 

I also feel like the sweet spot has expanded to cover more of the face. Evidence of this comes from the response of toe hits, which with my old Hogan's lost major distance and direction.  My experience with the Z-M is a loss of 10 to 15 yards in distance, or just enough to dump the ball into the bunker, and very little directional loss.  Major improvement in my book, hence these are more forgiving than the reputation of old blades.  The vibration dampening effect of the insert in the shaft is noticeable and appreciated most on thin hits in 50* weather.  Still get the bees in the hands, but only a small hive.  I don't believe the plastic works as well as the wooden dowel in my iron set, but it is still effective. 

As for distance, it seems I've regained most of the yardage I lost over the last couple of years.  Whether this is due to the clubs or my increased off season training program I don't know.  Likely a combination of the two.  On the course I still haven't adjusted to the ball flight, which is higher than my normal flight.  I've only gotten on the course twice so far this year so my playing swing is still iffy at best,  and distance control is something I appear to leave in my trunk when removing the clubs.  Given time, and more rounds, I have no doubt that these will continue to impress me with their solid performance.


I believe Titleist has a winner with this club.  The technology has produced an improvement in performance that is measurable even if it's not visibly apparent.  I can't put into words how delighted I am to finally hit a reasonably controllable left to right shot.  I have to say these irons have done something I didn't think possible, they make the game more fun!  The Z-M is an attractive club, which gets more with repeated exposure, with improved playability.  I can think of nothing better in a set of irons.

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  1. Eric Schuster

    Aug 17, 2009 at 7:58 am

    I have these just off the rack, the only thing I did was have loft and lie adjusted. Surprisingly the lofts were quite close to the specs Titleist lists on their website.

  2. Don Fenton

    Aug 16, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I have played blades since I was a kid, I am 48 now and a decent 5 handicap stick. My iron of choice has been the Mizuno MP33 for 6 years now, prior to that I was a Taylormade player back to the originals. My question is this….I am curios if you just hit/played standard off the rack ZM’s or if they were modified shaft wise to your specs. I would order my clubs 1″ over and probably with Rifle 6.0 or Dynamic Gold X100’s in them for shafts.


  3. James Lawler

    Jan 29, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I went in to purchase a set of MP62’s to replace my TM RAC TP MB’s, but loved the look of these irons, so I changed my mind at the last minute (also remembering how solid my 905R still is). These are very solid clubs, but with a much higher ball flight than I was expecting. They are relatively forgiving (and I use the word “relatively”). However, swipes will be severly punished, as they should be. The short irons (8-pw) are especially good for working the ball and for knock down shots.

    Are these better than Mizuno irons? I don’t know. For me they are more playable, but they certainly do not feel as soft. When struck on the sweet spot there is a noticable solid click, but I really like this now that I have got used to it.

    The solid feel and performace of these irons has made me change all of my bag to Titleist equipment.

  4. E Schuster

    Jun 21, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    The ZB’s have been reviewed by my colleague. You’ll find that review here also. Thanks

  5. James L

    Jun 18, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Will you be reviewing the ZB’s as I want to change to them but would like a good honest review before taking the plunge?

  6. gg

    Jun 9, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Finally found a set to replace my mp-29’s, took a few sessions at the range to get use to since the sweet-spot is in the middle of the club, but now after playin several rounds with these they are the best clubs I have ever played with to date!!! My scores are dropping fast. I highly recommed these to low hdcp players!!!

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Pro golfer Hosung Choi has the most ridiculous golf swing you’ll ever see



Professional golfer Hosung Choi, playing in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, has set the golf Internet on fire with his wildly entertaining golf swing. And while it may look ridiculous, he’s currently sitting at 8-under for the event through three rounds, only two shots back of the leader. It’s worth noting that the top two finishers in the Korea Open will earn a spot in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next month.

Enjoy the videos of his golf swing below!

Top-100 swing instructor and GolfWRX’s resident swing expert Tom Stickney has this to say about Choi’s golf swing: “The club goes up and away with a nice rerouting motion from the top into a perfect delivery and impact position. It’s obvious that this guy can play from those two positions, however, I’m not sure about the dismount. Nor can I even guess why he does it…I’m betting he was self-taught and made that move from day one. Great lesson to all the “golf swing” centric people playing today, why change it if it brings you to the dance?!?!”

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship



The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.


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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB



If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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19th Hole