Srixon's new ZX iron range has been introduced to replace the Z85 series that we were huge fans of here at Golfalot.
The line is seeking to further enhance the brand's reputation for making great-performing irons, with a couple of new pieces of technology and improved looks across four different models.
This review will focus on the ZX5 which is very much the middle of the pack, as a players-distance iron which gives you plenty of power and forgiveness but retains some of the look and feel you'd want from a sleeker model.
It sits right in between the forged, blade-like ZX7 and the chunkier, game-improvement ZX4.
What's It All About?
The key piece of technology running through the new ZX range is MainFrame, which is yet another example of the reliance that brands are now placing on Artifical Intelligence to generate much more precise club head designs.
MainFrame comes as a result of thousands of computer simulations and is a variable thickness pattern that is milled into the backside of each iron face. Made up of grooves, channels and cavities, the patterns is designed to maximise ball speed and distance on every shot.
A Tour V.T. Sole is specifically shaped to improve turf interaction and provide better feel at impact. Srixon say that the V-shaped sole helps the club to glide smoothly through the turf even if you strike slightly behind the ball.
The ZX5 Irons also feature Srixon's sole notches on the heel and toe which are said to enhanced workability, without sacrificing forgiveness.
The forged SUP10 face is both strong and light to generate more flex at impact, enhancing speed, whilst the forged 1020 Carbon Steel body absorbs vibration for a softer feel.
Srixon have also employed high-density tungsten in the toe of their longer irons (4-7) to increase MOI which provides more stability and forgiveness, particularly on off-centre shots.
Grooves in the shorter irons (8-PW) are sharper, narrower and deeper to produce more spin and stopping power when hitting approaches into the green, whilst the longer irons (4-7) have wider grooves for more consistency on longer shots.
Srixon ZX5 Irons Review
Looks and Feel
Despite being an iron aimed at mid to high handicappers, the ZX5 still retains much of the same design features as the ZX7 and so you still get the 'in the bag appeal' which will catch the eye of your playing partners.
It's also a big improvement on the Z585, as Srixon have done away with the black insert which looked a little cheap so that this now looks more like a forged players iron at first glance. In a market where Srixon have to compete with the likes of the TaylorMade P790, Callaway Apex and Mizuno JPX Hot Metal, the looks needed to improve for them to keep up and they have.
Down by the ball I'd describe the look as friendly, with a medium amount of offset which inspires confidence without immediately screaming 'game improvement'.
Compared to the ZX7 iron, the topline and sole width is marginally thicker and the blade length is slightly longer.
As you move into the longer irons you do start to see a little bit of the back cavity peeking out, whilst the sole width gets quite thick too in order to aid with turf interaction and give you a little more forgiveness.
At impact, the irons produced a high pitched, clicky noise which I have to say I wasn't a big fan of. Similarly, the feel off the face is a little muted in comparison to the ZX7, which is softer and provides plenty more feedback at impact.
Out on the golf course, the ZX5 irons did everything you'd want from a mid-sized cavity back iron. They look great in the bag, and once you put them down by the ball they give you plenty of confidence without looking too chunky.
With irons like this you'd expect to get plenty of distance, particularly considering that the lofts are relatively strong - a 7 iron is 31 degrees - and I definitely saw a bump when I hit them alongside my current Ping iBlades.
Having said that, I was really impressed by the front-to-back dispersion for each iron during my testing and this was something that translated to the golf course too.
One of the worries that golfers have with these lower lofted cavity back irons is that they produce those low-spinning knuckle balls which carry 10 yards further than you expected and end up in a bush over the back of the green.
Srixon's Tour V.T. Sole has been designed to help you improve your turf interaction and I thought it was excellent. Yes, the sole widths do get a little chunky, particularly in the long irons, but I could feel the club really getting through the turf well even if I didn't strike the ball very well.
Overall I found the forgiveness levels to be good, and the mid to long irons were really easy to strike whilst also helping you out if you aren't that consistent. The added tungsten in the toe of these longer irons adds more stability and you could really feel that.
On the par 3 8th hole at Houldsworth Golf Club, I hit the 5 iron from 183 yards and despite a poor strike on the toe which would usually come up short and left, the ball held its line well and actually ended up pin-high on the right fringe.
I was pleasantly surprised by the workability of these irons throughout my testing on the course, as I was able to shape the ball when necessary.
I also found it relatively easy to alter my ball flight lower and higher despite the fact that this is an iron typically aimed at somebody looking for easy launch and distance.
The sharper, narrower grooves on the shorter irons also worked well in providing impressive stopping distances even on relatively firm greens and when hitting from the rough.
Srixon ZX5 Irons Verdict
As I mentioned earlier, the ZX5 irons are in a difficult market as they are up against the likes of TaylorMade P790, Callaway Apex and Titleist T200, but I can confidently say that they are right up there in terms of performance and looks, which are much-improved.
They're a perfect middle of the road iron which don't look too chunky at address, yet they give you easy distance and the forgiveness that you need to improve your consistency when hitting into the greens.
These irons should also suit a wide range of golfers, from single figure golfers who perhaps can't generate the speeds necessary to play a bladed iron, all the way to higher handicappers whose golf is improving and looking for something that will last them for a couple of years as their scores continue to improve.
At an RRP of £899 for a full set these irons are also a little cheaper than the likes of TaylorMade, Callaway and Titleist, but the performance is just as good, so if you're willing to move away from one of the 'big names' you should be well rewarded.
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