Never mind most of us aren’t anywhere near good enough to play them, but good gravy a nice set of blades can make your nether-regions do the Ball Striker’s Rumba all day and all of the night. Blades are the true eye candy of the golf world, and serious golf companies are measured by how sleek, sexy and downright gorgeous their blades are.
Srixon has blades, so by definition, it’s a serious golf company. How serious depends on how sleek, sexy and gorgeous you find their new Z-Forged irons.
My hunch is you’ll find them deadly serious.
Art Meets Function
Club designers I’ve spoken with say designing blades is where the fun is. Techwise, there’s only so much you can do, so the challenge is to make it appealing to the eye while also providing the skilled ball-striker something they can use. The term forgiving blade is kind of an oxymoron, but today’s blades are easier to hit than your grandfather’s buddah knives.
“When we make a pure blade, we try to combine looks with advanced technology,” says Srixon Product Manager Zack Oakley. “You start by designing them on a computer, then you create the prototype, and then the artisan meticulously hand-shapes them and works with the Tour team to get the shape just right. Then you rescan them into the computer to capture that hand shape. They’ll do this several times until it’s perfected.”
The new Z-Forged blades are updates to the Z-965 blades and are companions to Srixon’s new Z 85 iron series introduced last fall. Srixon chose not to release their blades at the same time, even though that had been their custom. The fact they’re called Z-Forged with no designated numbers may indicate Srixon is planning a longer than two-year life cycle for the blades, so it would make sense to separate them from the Z-85 irons.
In addition, the styling is a bit of a departure from Srixon’s past blades and has a look that stands apart from the Z-785 and 585 irons.
“In previous Srixon models you see a lot of sharp edges that are sort of more triangular,” says Oakley. “You still see that in the 5’s and 7’s, but with the Z-Forged it’s more of a wave style. The designer that came up with this look was thinking about the ocean, and since we’re here on Huntington Beach and Japan is an island, it’s sort of a cross between the two.
Blade lovers often exhibit what can only be called a kind of a topline fetish, insisting on a topline so thin it only has one side. Srixon’s previous blades featured some pretty slender toplines, but they weren’t what you’d call turkey carvers. The Z-Forged topline is, in fact, a tad thinner than that of its predecessor.
“The topline is naturally thinner than the matching Z-785 irons, as well,” says Oakley. “The topline is also a little bit straight at address.”
There are a couple of other subtle changes. The grooves are a bit deeper to provide a little bit more spin control, and there’s a steeper V in the VT Sole to accommodate the steeper swing of a tour player. “It gets you out of the turf a little quicker,” says Oakley.
As with the Z-65 series irons, you can expect to see the Z-Forged combined with Z 785’s and 585’s in progressive irons sets.
“They’re made to combo and mix and match,” says Oakley.
Final Thoughts, Price, Availability
To a company, OEMs will tell you while blades are the flagship of their lines, they’re also low man on the sales totem pole. That explains why most have three- to four-year life cycles for their blades and two- to three-year cycles on their players cavity backs. Tech-heavy Game Improvement irons are the big sellers and get the facelift every year or two.
So when it comes to the bottom line, blades don’t make or break an OEM, but they are important to each company’s Tour staff and to its image – serious OEMs have serious blades, simple as that.
Srixon’s Z Forged blades will sell for $142.85 per club, so an 8-club set (3-PW) will run you $1,142.80 and a 7-club set will go for $999.99. The Nippon Modus 3 120 is the stock shaft, and the Golf Pride Tour Velvet is the stock grip. Srixon has one of the most extensive no-upcharge shaft options in the business, with 40 different shafts and grips available for custom builds at no extra cost.
The Z-Forged are available for pre-order on the Srixon website starting today. They’ll be in stores February 1st.