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GolfWRX Deep Dive: Srixon ZX Mk II irons

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Srixon’s ZX 5 and ZX 7 irons were GolfWRXer favorites, leading the way in our 2020 Best Irons and Members Choice voting. The new ZX Mk II offerings, which include — the ZX Mk II utility, ZX4 Mk II, ZX5 Mk II, and ZX7 Mk II— are off to a strong start. Already in this year’s Best Irons, our panel of fitters shortlisted the ZX 5 Mk II and ZX 7 Mk II in several categories, including placing both models in the coveted “top performers overall” category.

At the professional level, we’ve seen Hideki Matsuyama, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Harold Varner III, Shane Lowry, (and more players) with ZX 5 Mk II or ZX 7 Mk II irons in play at some point this season.

To dig deeper into all things ZX Mk II, GolfWRX chatted with Patrick Ripp, the company’s Tour Engineering Manager.

Dive into the full conversation below, and when you’re done, for more information on the ZX Mk II iron family, head on over to our launch piece and check out Club Junkie’s review.

GolfWRX: Can you walk me through the Srixon ZX Mk II lineup and who each iron is best suited for?

Patrick Ripp: ZX7 Mk II irons are for players who desire tour-preferred looks and the pure feel of a premium blade, offering total control with added forgiveness from the cavity back features. It offers a tour-driven, compact shape, narrow topline, single-piece forging, and narrow sole.

ZX5 Mk II irons offer low-to-mid handicap golfers the perfect union of looks, power, height, and playability. These cavity back players distance irons, combine premium forged feel with advanced distance technology. The main features include a narrow topline, with moderate sole width, blade length, and offset.

ZX4 Mk II irons present game improvement forgiveness for mid-to-high handicap players. Behind the ZX4 Mk II’s sleek look at address and premium forged feel, is maximum forgiveness plus powerful distance. Featuring a narrow topline, moderate sole width, our longest blade length, and our highest offset, this iron is built for players looking for maximum distance and forgiveness.

Z-Forged II is our traditional muscle back blade iron designed in close collaboration with Srixon tour pros. Z-Forged II irons offer crisp feel, maximum control, and workability.

ZX Mk II Utility irons offer every player, even tour pros, more long-game power, control, and forgiveness in a blade-like design with a hollow build. Their low center of gravity and long-iron forgiveness, easily elevate launch. These clubs feature a narrow topline, our widest soles, and minimal offset.

GolfWRX: Obviously, given the ZX5 and ZX7’s impressive performance in last year’s GolfWRX Best Irons and Members Choice, you had tremendous irons. Tour success and non-staffer play speak to this as well. What was the process like to improve on what was there — all while keeping what made the ZX5 and ZX7 so good?

PR: It can be challenging to create the second generation of such a successful iron lineup. Our focus on the ZX Mk II was to not break what was working and focus on improving the performance area of each iron model design to set itself apart from the other options.

For the ZX7 Mk II irons, we wanted to introduce a technology to improve the feel at impact. We were confident in the looks, forgiveness, sole design, ball launch, and flight profile of the original ZX7’s. The original ZX7 irons also had great feel, but we knew we could expand our tour cavity design, and this is when we started to pursue the PureFrame technology.

For the ZX5 Mk II irons, we knew we wanted to continue to push the MainFrame face technology. The ZX5 Mk II irons look and feel great at address and combo well with the ZX7 Mk II’s, but what sets them apart from the ZX7 Mk II iron is the higher ball speeds, higher launch, and added forgiveness from the MainFrame technology. This technology needs to continually improve to separate itself from the competitors in the market.

GolfWRX: Speaking of PureFrame and MainFrame: Both are key technologies in the ZX Mk II iron family. Can you tell me a little more about both and how golfers benefit?

PR: PureFrame enhances feel at impact by reducing unwanted vibrations, face deformation, and reverberation. The PureFrame ridge is forged into the body of the iron, just behind the sweet spot. Strategically placed right where better players strike the ball, the result is a remarkably soft-yet-solid strike. We increased this thickness behind the impact area region by 80 percent and connected it from the Tour Cavity Muscle to the topline, creating more continuity in the club, further influencing the blade-like feel. Created through simulation and validated by tour feedback, this change created the best feeling club we have ever made.

MainFrame is a variable thickness pattern of grooves, channels, and cavities carefully milled into the backside of ZX4 Mk II, ZX5 Mk II, and ZX Mk II Utility iron faces that maximizes flex at impact. MainFrame not only boosts COR, but it also repositions mass away from the face and into the toe and sole for a lower center of gravity. This creates more than just faster ball speed, but also more consistency and forgiveness, enhancing all aspects of your iron play, shot for shot. MainFrame technology gives players the ability to hit higher and longer shots more consistently.

GolfWRX: The Tour V.T. sole is high on the list of elements that have made Srixon irons so popular. For golfers who have never really thought about what’s happening on the bottom of their irons or turf interaction, can you explain the technology?

PR: Our dynamic Tour V.T. Sole helps maintain clubhead speed through impact for clean strikes from the fairway, rough, and sand — even if you contact the turf slightly behind the ball. A higher bounce on the leading edge prevents digging; then, a lower bounce on the trailing edge curves away from the turf, so you can still manipulate the face angle for maximum workability.

The higher bounce in the leading edge produces great feel and forgiveness on shots with more forward shaft lean, while the trailing edge is ground to a more traditional players iron bounce and sole width to still allow for maximum workability at impact.

The Tour V.T. Sole has enabled us to set our irons apart from competitors, and if you ask our tour pros, they will tell you the same. It is our most well-known technology that has evolved in our last five iron lines. The sole geometry allows us to make the best-feeling, most consistent, and workable irons in the market. Each iron model has a unique V.T. Sole geometry design for each playing style, while also allowing us to manipulate the CG properties for the target players.

GolfWRX: Not to be lost in the shuffle, the Z-Forged II features a very unique look in a sea of muscleback blades. Can you talk about that?

PR: For our ZX7 Mk II players irons, we have focused on improving high-low MOI for the past few generations. The theory is that the better players typically don’t miss the center of the face on the heel or toe side as often, and their misses tend to be lower or higher on the face at the center of the grooves. This is why we have more mass in the high toe area and a more defined muscle in the ZX7 Mk II’s, which helps to increase the high-low MOI. This technology was driven from years of working with Hideki Matsuyama.

We have had prototype concepts of the Z-Forged II design since before the original ZX7s. These prototypes were vital in designing the ZX7 Mk II technology, and more importantly, the design allowed us to make a blade iron that meets Hideki Matsuyama and our other blade players’ needs. The rear design allows us to improve feel by placing more mass and thickness behind the impact area with the PureFrame technology. The heel and toe pockets take weight out of the CG height axis moving the mass higher and lower to increase high-low MOI. This improves carry distance consistency compared to a traditional blade design.

GolfWRX: What’s the value of building a combo set generally? And specifically, with the ZX Mk II irons?

PR: Combo sets allow players to set up their bags to best suit their game. They can play clubs that enhance their strengths and address their weaknesses.

Our irons are specifically designed to be combined, and that philosophy comes straight for our tour teams’ needs. Our players do not have to sacrifice looks at address for a change in performance. When developing all the iron lines, we are always working towards models that provide seamless combinations in terms of address view. From topline thickness, offset, blade length, blade heights, and toe shaping the models blend perfectly. When a player is looking for more height and a steeper land angle on their long irons, it is easy to switch from a ZX7 Mk II into a ZX5 Mk II when the address shapes are so similar, and the performance benefit is obvious.

GolfWRX: You have a new tool on your website for combo set composition. Can you tell me more about that?

PR: Our new web-based Combo Set Builder page is designed to make the combo set purchasing process as seamless as possible, while allowing for easy access to all custom options. The page also features content designed to help a player decide which set of irons best fits their game for a combo set build. We know buying the proper combo set can be an intimidating task, so we have done all we can to take the guesswork and hassle out of the process. We didn’t want to sacrifice options to accomplish this though. With our web builder, you can change the components and specs of each iron in the set as part of the purchasing process, allowing everyone to fine-tune their performance and gapping to achieve the perfect build. On top of it all, you even have the option to personalize the paint colors to ensure the set matches your style.

GolfWRX: Do you have a sense of what percentage of golfers “ought” to play a combo set…and for what percentage of golfers buying Srixon irons do?

PR: We would suggest any player who can benefit from adding forgiveness or workability to any part of their set should look into a combo set. We hope by offering a set that seamlessly transitions so naturally between different types of irons, we can give more players the opportunity to experience the benefits that come with adding forgiveness and distance to their long game and workability and control as they get closer to the green.

Including utility irons, about 70 percent of our tour players use a combo set. Not including the utilities, 50 percent of our tour staff plays a combination of the ZX5 Mk II, ZX7 Mk II, or Z-Forged II.

GolfWRX: What are the most popular combo sets golfers are building?

PR: Our most popular combo set is with ZX7 Mk II short irons and ZX5 Mk II long irons. This popular blend of cavity back designs aesthetically works extremely well, while gapping extremely well. This build offers increased forgiveness where you need it and control where you want it and can be paired with a utility iron or two to finish off the set.

What has picked up this generation is the inclusion of ZX4 Mk II irons in combo set builds. Whether paired with a ZX5 Mk II or ZX7 Mk II, the increased similarities in shaping these irons offer to the others in the Mk II series, allow for a seamless transition for those looking for maximum distance in their long irons.

 

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Equipment

Michael Block spotted with full set of TaylorMade “Proto” irons at Valhalla

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a piece our Andrew Tursky originally wrote for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report. Head over there for the full article.

On Monday at the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Block had a full set of TaylorMade “Proto” irons in the bag.

Block is the first player of many on the PGA TOUR to bag a set of the mysterious “Proto” irons. Rory McIlroy first switched into a “Proto” 4-iron at the Valero Texas Open, and Collin Morikawa followed suit at the 2024 RBC Heritage. Block isn’t using just the 4-iron, though, he’s using a full set to go along with a TaylorMade Stealth UDI driving iron.

Speaking with GolfWRX.com on Monday at the PGA Championship, Block revealed the full backstory.

“I hit a couple super “Proto” irons when I was at the Kingdom (TaylorMade’s fitting facility in Southern California) a couple months ago, and it was a 9-iron that didn’t have any badges or anything on it,” Block said. “I had no idea what it was … It was very similar to what I was using back then, you know, my old MCs, and very similar from the top. I hit it and absolutely loved it. For me to even think about switching irons from the last 11-12 years is crazy.

“I got this set about two weeks ago, and I’m working my way into them. I hit them more solid; it comes off the face more solid. Much higher. I think they’re still slightly too upright for me, so they’re being bent a degree flatter, because they’re going a little too high for me and drawing a little too much. When that starts to happen, I start to drop the club under and compensate too much, so I’m getting them flattened slightly, and I’m going to test them on the range again, and hopefully have them in play on Thursday…

“They go further, and they go higher … that combination is kind of a no-brainer. If I can take a 5-iron from 204 rather than a 4-iron, it’s good on me. It’s going to help me out for sure, especially at a major with the pin locations. Having that height coming in, that descent angle is going to be huge.”

With such new irons in the bag, after using the same irons for over a decade, surely you’d think there will be a bit of a learning curve. Block, however, is finding immediate comfort with the new “Proto” irons.

Head over to PGATour.com for the full article.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Rory McIlroy’s winning WITB, 2014 PGA Championship

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Rory McIlroy outlasted Phil Mickelson at the 2014 PGA Championship. It’s even harder to believe McIlroy hasn’t hoisted a major trophy since his 2014 victory at Valhalla.

After a slow start to his final round, McIlroy tallied an eagle and two birdies on the back nine and his fourth major championship. Take a look at the clubs he played a decade ago in Kentucky.

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 Tour (8.5 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70X

3-wood: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 Tour (15 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 X

5-wood: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 Tour (19 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 X

Irons: Nike VR Pro Blade (4-9) Buy here.
Shaft: Project X 7.0

Wedges: Nike VR Forged (46, 52, 56, 60 degrees) Buy here.
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: Nike Method 006 Buy here.

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Ball: Nike RZN Black

Check out more in-hand photos of Rory McIlroy’s clubs from 2014 here.

WITB Time Machine is presented by 2nd Swing Golf. 2nd Swing has more than 100,000 new and pre-swung golf clubs available in six store locations and online. Check them out here.

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Whats in the Bag

Tiger Woods WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS (10.5 degrees @9.75)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour (15 degrees @13.5)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 7 X

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees @18.25)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: 2023 TaylorMade P770 (3), TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 Raw (56-12TW, 60-TW11)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype
Grip: Ping PP58 Blackout

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X (2024)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord 58R

More Tiger Woods WITBs

 

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