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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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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Rahm gets win No. 2 and goes to world No. 2



Week two of the 2018 calendar season added events on the PGA Champions and European tours. The PGA caravan left Hawaii for California and found its first playoff of 2018, just as the Champions Tour reached the islands. The Euros teed it up in Dubai, and the Web.Com Tour stayed in the Bahamas for a second week. With an Asian Tour event in Singapore, the globe’s eyes were once again on professional golf. Time for Tour Rundown at warp speed!

Rahm continues to build career with win at CareerBuilder Challenge

For all of the final round, it looked like Jon Rahm would pull away for a 4-stroke victory. His driving was impeccable and his irons were dialed in. His putting stroke looked sound, but some of the birdies simply did not nest. Throughout the four-hole playoff with Andrew Landry, it seemed as if Rahm was destined to lose. Somehow, he persevered and won.

Rahm’s patience pays off with second PGA Tour win 

How many edges of holes were singed with putts and chips by Jon Rahm down the stretch? At least four, not counting the playoff. Fortunately for the Basque, only Andrew Landry made enough of a move to track him down temporarily. Rahm played like the 3rd-ranked player should, and now he’s the world No. 2 player. Perhaps the fact that he couldn’t or didn’t separate himself from his pursuers, yet had enough weaponry to pull out a victory, mattered more than a runaway triumph. Yet golf is a funny game. The only fairway Rahm missed in extra time came on the 4th hole. Despite that errant tee ball and his misses on the first three playoff holes, Rahm was able to drain the only birdie of the playoff and walk away a champion.

See the clubs Jon Rahm used to win

Landry and others made the most of their opportunities

Andrew Landry showed more gumption than anyone anticipated. The 2016 first-round leader of the U.S. Open stayed around even longer this week. A 72nd-hole birdie brought him to 22-under par and a tie with Rahm. The Arkansas alumnus drove the ball straight and far on each of the playoff holes, and never once sniffed a bogey. His irons brought him within birdie range but, like Rahm, he could not find the proper combination of line and speed. In the end, Landry missed last and settled (if such a term might be used) for a runner-up finish.

Fleetwood greets 2018 with title defense at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Tommy Fleetwood looks for all the world to be a millenial hipster with his free-flowing hair and his strands of beard. In absolute contrast, he is equal parts passion and cold blood. When opportunity beckons, he doesn’t look away. Given the slightest opportunity to defend his 2017 Abu Dhabi title, Fleetwood assented and took charge.

How Fleetwood dispatched Fisher and the rest

Through 9 holes of Sunday’s final round, the tag for Tommy Fleetwood’s title defense percolated as He gave an admirable effort. Nine holes and six birdies later, that tag line had changed to How in the name of all that is known did he defend his title? And yet, there was Fleetwood with the fourth European Tour title of his career and third in the past dozen months. When Fleetwood needed a great drive, he got it. When he didn’t hit a great drive, he came through with a stellar approach. When his approach was off, he drained a long putt. And for good measure, he hit a wonderful pitch at the 18th, nestling the ball 5 feet for birdie, and made that. The end result was a 2-stroke margin of victory over the runner-up, Ross Fisher.

What is it about Ross Fisher?

Ross Fisher is eternally composed. Not like his countryman Colin Montgomerie (more on him later), who wore every disappointment like a Halloween mask. Yet, the two share a certain sad penchant for missing opportunities. Last October, Fisher wasn’t going to catch Tyrell Hatton in St. Andrews, but he was chasing immortality. He had a 25-foot putt for the first 59 at The Old Course…and missed. He had a 4-foot putt for the first 60 at the Old Course…and missed. He broke the course record with his 61, but, you know. Fisher has an 0-5 record in European Tour playoffs. On Sunday, he was victimized by Fleetwood’s marvelous back 9 of 30 strokes, but by his own inability to gather the fruits of opportunity. Case in point: Fisher made a long and testy putt for bogey on the par-5 10th, a hole that many birdied. Rather than use it as a springboard to return to his coach on the birdie train, he floundered with four pars and one bogey over his next five holes.

Kelly wins at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Jerry Kelly earned the 2017 PGA Tour Champions rookie of the year award, on the strength of consistent play and his first two tour titles. On Day 3 of the 2018 season, he added to his victory total with a 1-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie. A 2-stroke swing on 18 decided the fate of both…here’s how!

How Kelly klaimed the championship

For fans of Hideki Matsuyama and his deceptive reaction to fantastic shots, Mr. Kelly is guilty of the same on well-struck putts. He drops his putter from one hand and slumps his shoulders after mid-range putts. All the while, the ball is tracking toward the hole, and usually drops. Kelly played a fine round on Saturday, with 5 birdies and 1 eagle. It might have been the sole bogey of the round, on No. 16, that ignited his hockey-bred fire. The miscue allowed Colin Montgomerie to take a 1-shot lead into the final 2 holes, but Kelly’s birdie on No. 18 brought him the title. How’s that?

How Monty lost his opportunity

We forget how difficult it is to hold a lead in any event, at any juncture. Colin Montgomerie never figured the recipe out in major championships on the regular tour, but he had it down, for the most part, in regular tour events. On the Champions Tour, he has been quite solid, winning six times as a senior in the U.S. and five times in Europe. In the third round at Hualalai, Monty’s most reliable club betrayed him at the least opportune time. A drive into a fairway bunker at the last hole left him 100 yards to the green. He flew the putting surface with his approach and played an indifferent flop shot to 7 feet for par and a playoff. His effort was off the mark and the title slipped from his grasp.

Sergio’s Singapore Open

Despite this unexpected result, Sergio Garcia opened the 2018 season with a victory in Singapore. We’ll run down what he did right.

Sergio and Singapore on a Sunday

The #SingOpen2018 and @TheSergioGarcia made a perfect match on an extended final day. Wet weather forced a last-day completion of Round 3, and most golfers played more than 20 holes on the final day. Garcia stormed from behind with 66-68 over those final 36 holes to wrest the lead from Danthai Boonma of Thailand. Nine birdies and 1 bogey over that stretch of two rounds finished the task for the Spaniard, who looks to defend his 2017 Masters title in the spring.

See the clubs Sergio used to win

The battle for second ended in a tie

With Garcia separating himself from the peloton, attention turned to Boonma and cast for the runner-up resolution. After three stellar rounds (70-68-65), Boonma stumbled in Round 4 with 73, finishing in a tie for 4th with countryman Jazz Janewattananond. Satoshi Kodaira of Japan and South Africa’s Shaun Norris each birdied the final hole to finish tied for second at 9-under, 5 blows behind the champion.

Hello, World for Sungjae Im at Web.Com Opener

Sungjae Im, all of 19 years of age and pegging it in his first Web.Com event ever, gave us a Hello-World moment with a closing 65 and a 4-shot win over Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz. How did the young Korean pro flu powder his way to the top of the podium? We’re asking ourselves the same question

How Im became I’m The Champ

Im entered the final round of the Great Exuma Classic in a tie with Ortiz, but eyes were on proven winners like Rhein Gibson, Steve Marino and Erik Compton. Sungjae Im went out in Round 4 and played perfect golf. He had 4 birds on his outward half, then seized the trophy by both handles with 3 more chirps on holes 14 to 16. Simply put, there was nothing that Ortiz or any other entrant could do, beyond bow and salute the victor.

How Ortiz and the others took the shock

Carlos Ortiz did what he had to do during Tuesday’s final round. He played a solid round, minus-3 with 5 birds and 2 bogies. He stayed ahead of Gibson and all the others, but would have needed to turn his bogies into birdies to tie Im atop the board. Rhein Gibson began round four like a boss, with birdies on 5 of the first 6 holes. He reached 8-under and looked like the eventual winner. The engine sputtered, and it was 1-birdie-1-bogey-10-pars the rest of the way. Gibson would have needed 10-under on the day to tie for the trophy, but with a few more birdies along the way, would he have frightened Im? Who knows!

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Lexi Thompson signs multi-year endorsement deal to play Bridgestone ball



Lexi Thompson, who currently plays Bridgestone’s Tour B X ball, will now do so in an official capacity. The company announced today it inked the 22-year-old to a multi-year deal.

The eight-time LPGA Tour winner had been playing Bridgestone’s B330-S for the past two seasons.

“I’ve used Bridgestone for years and the new Tour B product is shockingly good,” said Thompson. “It gives me tremendous distance off the tee without sacrificing any performance around the green. What’s more, I feel confident hitting any type of shot the situation calls for.”

“When I’m testing a golf ball, I look for three things – distance, accuracy and feel,” said Thompson. “For me, the new Tour B delivered in spades. I’ve never played anything that has responded so positively to any situation the golf course throws at me.”

Bridgestone’s Tour B Series includes four models–X, XS, RX and RXS (each $44.99). The company leveraged data from more than three million consumer ball fittings, as well as third-party insights and Bridgestone’s own resources, to create the four-ball lineup.

RELATED: Bridgestone’s Tour B balls were designed with the player in mind

Bridgestone’s professional staff includes, among others, Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples, and Bryson DeChambeau.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018 (with commentary from Sergio)



This special-edition of Sergio Garcia’s WITB includes commentary about his clubs from a podcast he recently did with Callaway, Garcia’s new equipment sponsor. Below are the clubs he is using in Singapore this week.

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX
Sergio says: “This new driver feels really, really good. I love the ball flight. I can hit it both ways, left to right, or right to left. And I’ve been driving it quite well. So that gives me even more confidence.”

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3-4 iron), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10, 54-10 and 58-08)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x
Sergio says: “I loved the wedges right away. They feel so much better for me. I got a lot more spin and different ball trajectories. And because I get more spin, I can be more aggressive with my chipping.”

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft
Sergio says: “My golf ball feels really nice. It’s definitely much better around the greens for me. It was important for me to make sure I liked the golf ball (when I came to Callaway)… It’s very important to see and feel that you can work the ball, and flight the ball. And that’s obviously one of the reasons why I decided to come to Callaway.”

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Sergio’s switch to Callaway in our forums

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19th Hole