Srixon makes a very nice looking iron. Cosmetically the Z965 and the ZForged are appealing. I measured the playability and both fall into the Classic category. The Z965 has a short C-dimension of 1.21″ and an Actual Vertical Cg of .851″. Also, the cg horizontally is .171″ towards the heel from the face center-line. The Z Forged has a C-dim of 1.20″ and an AVCG of .864″, with horizontal cg .076 towards the heel. These dimensions, along with rearward cg and MOI, are what put these in the Classic category as opposed to a Game Improvement or higher category. Does not mean they are not quality irons, but they are less forgiving, less “playable” than other irons. In short, a player would need to be a good ball striker for these to provide a high level of performance.
As far as our Maltby designs, our focus is on designing irons with dimensions and mass distribution that will provide the highest playability possible for the category (and shape) we are targeting. I would consider our PTM and TE irons, although they are players cavity designs, to be a midsize blade profile. The TS1 and MMB-17 I consider a standard size for high playability “blade” designs, but they do have slightly longer blade lengths than what some consider traditional blades (some Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon models). In short, you can’t get high playability with shorter blade lengths, shorter c-dimensions and higher vertical cg’s. They might look good to a certain type of player, but it is a fact that you sacrifice playability.
As far as top line thickness goes, the thinnest top line we have is .191″ on the TE iron. You will not see me or our design team go much thinner than that. The TS1 is .204″, the MMB-17 is .214″ and the PTM is .222″. We (I) feel that too thin can give a player the feeling that there is a lack of mass, resulting in an unsolid feel. Of course that does not have to be the case, but super thin top lines are rare and not something we believe brings confidence to the design, even in the “players blade or players cavity” category of design. You might see something similar to the TE in the future, but not thinner. Personally, I think the TS1 at .204 is just about perfect.
On offset, .100″ on the TE is the least we have and the least you will see. I prefer progressive and starting at .120″ and progressing to .090″ is ideal for blade designs, in my opinion. I have started at .145″ and progressed to .100″ on blade designs before and that look works well. It just simply is not a good look (in my opinion) from a design standpoint, to minimize offset (less than .080″ for example). There are optics involved and if you put 0 offset on an iron, the face looks forward. Generally, if you put .080″ amount of offset in a design, it appears to have very little, if any. That would be the bare minimum you should see, and would ever see from us.
Hope that helps and gives you some insight to how we look at blade length, topline, offset, etc. Thanks for the great question and input. Also, thanks for the support.