There is a lot of cool stuff in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put it to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
Srixon’s Iron Combo Set Builder. It’s a new online tool allowing you to fully customize a Srixon ZX Mk II combo iron set.
Who Did the Trying
John Barba, MyGolfSpy writer and senior statesman with wayyyy too many iron sets. I’ve tried thinning the herd but I like hitting irons.
Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder
Srixon launched the new ZX Mk II line of forged irons this past January. At the time, the company’s message was clear: We want you to combo these babies.
The best way to build a combo set is on the range with an expert fitter stocked to the gills with heads and shafts. It’s a rule, however, that does have a few corollaries. For example, if you’ve been fitted recently (and successfully), your specs can translate from one OEM’s offering to another. Not perfectly, mind you, but you can get pretty doggone close.
Mass property differences between the heads might affect feel and some minor tweaking may be needed. But, otherwise, the transition works.
That is the purpose of Srixon’s Iron Combo Set Builder. It’s an online tool that allows you to build a complete set of Srixon Mk II irons from utility iron to gap wedge while sitting on your couch with a bowl of popcorn.
On one hand, it truly is that easy.
On the other hand, unless you are 100 percent certain of what you want, paralysis by analysis, not to mention an expensive misstep, is a clear and present danger.
How It Works
You can find the Iron Combo Set Builder on the Srixon website under the “Clubs” tab.
In its simplest form, the Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder is as intuitive as it comes. You can build your Srixon set in any configuration you’d like. It’s easy to blend ZX Mk II utility irons with ZX4 game-improvement irons, ZX5 player’s distance irons, ZX7 player’s irons and even Z-Forged II blades.
Before selecting irons, it’s best to scroll down the main page of the website. Srixon walks you through the process by first having you explore the models. You get some marketing-speak about each option along with a chart outlining each head option. And it includes handicap recommendations and trajectory, distance, forgiveness and workability comparisons.
Step Two offers some combo set recommendations. For example, the Max Forgiveness option combines the ZX4 and ZX 5 irons. The Zero Compromise package features the Zx5 and Zx7. If you have some serious game, you can go Tour Preferred (ZX Utilities and ZX7 irons) or Total Control with ZX7 and Z-Forged II blades. Srixon includes a handy spec chart so you can see how your set might flow and whether you’ll need any loft adjustments.
The final step is to choose your shaft and grip.
When Srixon designed the new ZX Mk II series, it had combo sets in mind. The ZX4, ZX5, ZX7 and ZX utilities all have the same topline thickness. Blade lengths and hosel offsets are slightly different but are close enough to keep the set from looking hinky.
The Ordering Process
Once you’ve decided on the club mix, you can start customizing by clicking on the appropriately named “Start Customizing” button.
The first step asks for lie and loft adjustments. Loft is particularly important as you transition from one type of head to the next. For our exercise, we went with the ZX Mk II utility 3-iron, ZX5 Mk II 5- through 7-irons and the ZX7 Mk II in 8-iron through pitching wedge. The transition from the utility to the ZX5 was simple enough but to keep gapping consistent, we had the ZX7’s bent one degree strong.
The next step is shaft selection. The Recoil Dart 90 is stock for the utility iron but graphite options include the KBS MAX and KBS TGI ($10.75 upcharge), the Aerotech SteelFiber ($35.75) and the Graphite Design Tour AD ($75).
The irons are grouped by type so make sure to select the shaft, flex and length correctly. The ZX5 stock shaft is the KBS Tour Lite while the ZX7 features the Nippon NS Pro Modus3 120. Both are good shafts but hardly compatible within a single set.
Again, Srixon offers a wide array of no-upcharge steel options from KBS, Nippon and True Temper. Upcharge options (KBS Tour V, Tour FLT, Nippon Pro Modus3 125 and 130, Dynamic Gold Tour Issue) range from $15 to $25 per club.
The UST Recoil Dart is the stock graphite shaft. Upcharge options include the SteelFiber, KBS MAX and TGI and the Mitsubishi MMT with prices ranging from $10.75 to $35.75 per stick.
You can also order the shafts hard- or soft-stepped if needed.
Grip options run the gamut from the entire Golf Pride, Lamkin and Winn lines to a couple of JumboMax options for the large-mitted.
Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder: Personalization
We’ve said it for years but the Srixon-Cleveland personalization option might be the best deal in golf. If you like a dash of color, Srixon will let you add color to three different paint fill areas: the club number, the logo and the model. They have 20 different colors to choose from.
At $15 per club, you’ll wind up paying an extra $105 for a seven-piece set so it does add up. But it’s a nice way to add a little spice to your game.
We went with the stock shaft in the ZX utility and with no-upcharge Nippon Pro Modus3 105 shafts (R-flex) and no-upcharge Golf Pride MCC standard grips. With paint fill, the total came to $1,373.51 which, minus the paint fill, is the same as you’d pay at retail.
Srixon says roughly 75 percent of its irons business is custom-ordered which makes sense. While all OEMs feature custom departments, big dogs TaylorMade and Callaway dominate traditional golf retail and sell a ton of off-the-rack sets. Srixon’s custom department occupies a large section of the company’s facility in Huntington Beach, Calif., and, as with most OEMs, custom sets are built one at a time. After hitting “Buy Now” on the Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder website, it took roughly 10 business days for that long brown box to hit my doorstep.
As mentioned, there’s no substitute for a live outdoor fitting. But, ultimately, fitting specs are fitting specs. They can translate from one OEM to another as long as both iron sets are in the same category.
Club specs, however, are never absolute. “Standard” varies from one OEM to the next. And what’s delivered doesn’t always line up with what’s on the spec sheet. That’s just reality. With that in mind, let’s compare the Srixon ZX5/ZX7 irons to the set upon which the order was based, a COBRA KING Tour/KING CB combo set.
The COBRA set was custom fitted in person outdoors by COBRA master fitter Brandon Dickinson. It features the KING TOUR 5- through 7-irons and the TOUR CB 8-iron through pitching wedge. Both sets feature the same Nippon Pro Modus3 105 in R-flex
A spec check by Steve Thomson at Golftec in Danvers, Mass., shows the two sets are close but not exactly the same. The Srixon ZX5 7-iron measures 37.25 inches with 61 degrees of lie and 31.5 degrees of loft (the spec says 32). Swingweight is D4 with a frequency of 293 CPM. The COBRA, meanwhile, is 37 inches (27.25 is spec) with a 61-degree lie and 32-degree loft. The swingweight is D3 and CPM is 298.
Close. Not exact but close.
Performance-wise, they were remarkably close.
The Srixon ZX5 Mk II is a player’s distance iron while the COBRA KING Tour is a crossover between a player’s iron and a player’s distance. Surprisingly, the difference in ball speed didn’t translate into a difference in distance, most likely due to the lower spin with the COBRA. The two-degree difference in descent angle would also indicate a bit more stopping power for the Srixon.
And since the 7-irons are from different categories, we decided to compare the ZX7 Mk II and COBRA KING CB 8-irons. Both are player’s irons.
The differences across the board are almost certainly loft-based. The Srixon ZX7 was bent one degree strong to 35 degrees while the COBRA, also bent one degree strong from standard, was 37 degrees.
The 1,000 RPM delta between the Srixon 7-iron and 8-iron is a bit of a head-scratcher, indicating those particular strikes might have been a bit thin.
Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder: Final Thoughts
This one’s easy.
If you know your specs, your equipment and your golf game, the Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder is a no-brainer. We’re talking Srixon so you know the irons will be exceptional performers. And since Srixon is available at retail, you can certainly give them a whack or two if you need to.
The Srixon Iron Combo Set Builder is easy to use and you’ll get pretty much exactly what you want.
If you know what you’re after.
If you don’t know what you’re after, dropping in excess of $1,300 on a set of irons might just be a wee bit reckless. But don’t think for a moment that Srixon considers this new tool the one and only solution to replace all others. It’s an option. If you want to hit before you buy, there’s retail. If you want a full-on custom fitting, you have options for that.
And if you have specs in hand, know what you’re after and are comfortable buying online, it doesn’t get much simpler to order up a custom set.