I picked up a sleeve of the new Srixon Z-Star golf balls the other day, because I have played and liked the Srixon balls in the past and with the new Spin Skin that they are advertising, I had to try them.
Now spin on a golf ball is a huge issue, to say there is almost nothing as important to golfers is not an understatement. Modern golf balls are expected to have different spin characteristics for drivers and long irons, namely, not much, and lots of spin with short irons on approach shots. That seems to be exactly what Srixon is after with the Z-Star. But here is the thing, I think they missed it!
Whoa, that is a pretty bold statement from an amateur, but let me explain. I have been playing what I feel are some terrific balls from Callaway and Titleist (Chrome Soft and Pro V1) and both companies seem to have figured out how to do both. The Srixon Z-Star is in the same $40+ per dozen pro golf balls category and they have tried as well to create a ball that has low spin off the driver and more spin on the short game.
First the good stuff about the ball and there is lots of that. The ball does indeed have really great short game spin. From 100 yards and in, it is one of the best feeling short game balls I have played in a while. I tried a few shots side by side on the chipping area of my local course, and the Srixon does indeed stop better than the Chrome Soft and Pro V1. I was able to 10 yard flop shots and get the Srixon to bite really well, where the other two balls hit and rolled out more. I was also able to hit a low PW from 30 yards and get it to skip and stop with only a couple of feet of roll out. Pretty neat, I have to say, that would give me a great deal more options around the green.
Where this ball disappoints is on the driver/long iron spin characteristics. The ball launches much higher than I expected, and does not carry nearly as far as the other pro balls I have tested this year. At first I thought it was me, because the first round I played with it I did not have my “A” game. However, I have played 3 rounds now with the ball, and yup it does not carry well for me, and I get a bunch more side spin on my driver than with other ball in the pro range. As I said earlier spin is one of the most critical factors in ball design and Srixon has too much on driver/long irons. So that extra grip skin, also creates more back and side spin. I honestly think they will reformulate the ball next year. My prediction is that they will lower the compression to achieve lower driver spin like other balls are doing. The ball is rated at a 90 compression which is high by modern standards.
Do I recommend this ball? Sure, but with reservations. If you are a high to mid handicapper, probably not, but if you stripe your driver, and like to move the ball a lot right and left, this may be the perfect ball for you. But if you are trying to keep it in the fairway, and struggle a bit with that, go with another ball. I will keep playing practice rounds with it because it will help me improve driving accuracy. Looking forward to their next version.