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Brian Gay wins: Further evidence Srixon Z 745 irons remain a cult classic

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This past weekend, at the Bermuda Championship, 48-year-old Brian Gay won his fifth PGA Tour event and earned the third Masters invitation of his career for the 2021 tournament.

Gay is a notorious non-club switcher (Brian Gay Bermuda Championship winning WITB) and up until recently, was still using an Adams 20-degree 9031 Super hybrid, which was finally replaced with a Callaway Apex hybrid. If you trace the lineage of that Apex hybrid from Adams, you can see some similarities, most likely based on the fact that Chip Brewer went from Adams to the CEO and President of Callaway Golf and probably brought some of the former Adams engineers along with him—but that’s a whole other story.

This is about Brian’s irons, the famously popular Srixon Z 745’s. I took the time to cover their lasting popularity close to two years ago and with Brian’s win, I believe there is no better time than now to once again shine some light on this enduring design.

Be sure to also check out the most recent episode of the “On Spec” podcast where I breakdown what makes the Z 745 such a popular club, along with talking about some of the other most popular modern classic clubs.

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For professional and amateur golfers alike, we all share one common goal: to hit our approach shots as close as possible to our intended target. The clubs used most for these shots are irons, and since, for pros, these are the real “money makers,” when they find something they like, they tend to stick with it. (We can say the same thing about putters too)

With irons in mind, I present to you the Srixon Z 745. Released all the way back in 2013, and now officially three models old, these continue to be spotted on a weekly basis all over the PGA Tour and in many better players’ bags alike. At this point, as a club junkie, I’m ready to declare the Z 745 a “modern cult classic” (cue confetti cannons and air horns).

But why?

It’s a simple question with a less than simple answer, but I have a few theories, along with some tech talk that might shed some light on why the Z 745 already has a coveted spot on the cult classic irons list.

Let’s talk business first: Cleveland Srixon is a big golf company, and if you pay attention to many of its staff players’ bags, you will see that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pressure to change into the newest gear if players are happy. A prime example of this is Rod Pampling, who still uses Cleveland 588MB-shaped (easy to spot this) Srixon “Z” irons (see below). If these aren’t rebranded Cleveland 588 MBs, I’ll eat a pair of socks…

So, let’s get back to the Z 745. This was a big step forward in design as Srixon was reestablishing its irons in North America. A lot of “new” (former Cleveland-focused) staff players quickly made the switch to these. What’s not to love? Shorter compact blade length, beautiful straight top line, not too thick or thin, no badges, forged, well-designed, loft gapping starting at a 46 degree PW, and last but in NO way least the aggressive V.T. Sole design with raised heel and toe. There’s just something about this iron that WORKS!

Speaking to Ian Fraser from Tour Experience Golf (TXG), when asked about the 745s, he had this to say

“The Z 745 were created in a perfect storm; you have a high-quality Endo forging, appealing aesthetics with sharp lines, v-sole and tungsten in the toe to relocate CG. It was one of the fastest players irons we tested at the time”

From personal experience and a retail perspective, I can tell you that at the brand-agnostic custom shop I worked at when these came out, we were selling these at a faster rate than any other single players CB. PERIOD. As a forged iron and used club fanboy, whenever someone asks me about looking for a nice set of used forged irons the 745s are high on my list. This isn’t to say that the following Z765 series wasn’t great, but from judging the adoption rate, there was clearly something about the “45s” that kept them in players’ bags. Even now we see these in a LOT of Srixon staffers and non-staffers bags alike

Keegan Bradley’s bag

Jerry Kelly’s Bag

Jon Curran’s 745s

Even non-staffer and ball striking machine Brian Gay is still rocking a combo set of both Z 545 and 745 irons, along with an Adams Super 9031 (but that’s another story) . On a side note, can we all just take a moment to again acknowledge that BG is a machine. He has one of the slowest swing speeds on tour at 105 mph but has four total wins, just under 22 million in career earnings, and is currently inside the top 100 on the money list. Basically, it proves that with enough practice, I still have a chance to one day play on tour!

I think if you pressed hard enough, you could even get the team at Srixon to admit that the 785s are more of a return to the 745 design features and shape than a progression from the 765s. With the more centered mass in the cavity (a looks thing) and a less rounded toe and topline profile from address, it’s easy to see the inspiration. Even in our own GolfWRX forums, players of all abilities seem to still love and hold onto their Srixon Z 745 irons.

It’s official: Srixon Z 745 irons are modern cult classics.

Do you have a set of Z 745 irons still? Why do you love them? Why have you stuck with them like so many tour players? Would love to hear your feedback in the comments section.

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Brett

    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I joined the club when the 745s came out from Cobra Forged CBs which I considered some of the best at the time. Since then, I’ve tried the 765s and two sets of 785s. I continue to go back to the 745s because they are (IMO) the most consistent distance, predictable, and most importantly have the best turf interaction. The latter is the most important aspect for consistent ball striking. I belief the raised heel and toe along with the VT sole are what help keep the face square and prevent digging. I even picked up a back up set and set up to the exact specs for when I finally decide these have had enough. I’m sure I’ll try the new ZX7s, but likely will stick with what I know works great.

  2. John T

    Nov 3, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I’ve the same combo set (4-6 in 545,7-pw in 745) as Brian Gay, picked them up last year for €375 with modus 120 stiff shafts. The best bargain I’ll ever find

  3. Bob Pegram

    Nov 3, 2020 at 7:19 am

    I looked up the Z745s and Z765s on http://ralphmaltby.com/mpf/srixon/page/2/. The Z745 is rated 417 and the Z765 is rated 473. The Z785 is rated 402. I higher number is supposed to be easier to hit. These are close enough that the Z765 is only marginally easier to hit. All 3 are rated higher than most blades.

  4. Papi

    Nov 3, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Gaming some z745s now, real nice.

  5. Jeff

    Nov 2, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Sweet looking irons, no doubt.

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