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Titleist ZM Iron Review

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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.

Technology

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. 

Appearance

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. 

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Stephan Smith

    Jan 5, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Looking to put new shafts in some. What is the tip size on these irons?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    Thanks

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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