Srixon has been selling golf balls in the US market for a number of years now. Srixon is a spinoff from Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. SRI is a Japanese company also selling equipment in Japan under the market leading Dunlop/XXIO name. They started manufacturing tires in 1913, and then golf balls in 1930. In 1997, SRI founded Srixon USA and started marketing golf equipment. In 2004 SRI Sports was formed to be the parent company of Srixon, and they acquired equipment companies Cleveland Golf and Never Compromise in 2007. Srixon’s golf ball offerings have been gaining ground in the past years with the ZUR line. Jim Furyk switched a few years ago, and several other pros have now joined and play the new Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X. Some of the names include Tim Clark, Robert Allenby, Boo Weekly, Steve Flesch, John Rollins, Fuzzy Zoeller and Karrie Webb. This year, Vijay Singh switched to the new Z-Star X, leaving Titleist after many years, and he proclaims this fact in a new commercial we are seeing during weekend golf broadcasts.
Let’s test one of Srixon’s latest offerings, the Z-Star X. Geared towards better players, this golf ball features a super-thin (0.5mm thick) urethane cover that allows for a larger core for more distance and spin potential. The Z-Star is the softer of the two models, producing a slightly higher ball flight and more spin on iron shots. The Z-Star X has a firmer feel and lower ball flight for more distance off the tee and is designed for swing speeds over 105 MPH.
Having played the previous versions of these balls, the Z-URS and the Z-URC, I can see there is a big difference. The first difference is the lack of a discernible seam in the cover of the ball. The URS and URC had a pronounced seam marking the two halves of the cover, leaving a small strip around the equator lacking dimples. What effect that seam had on performance is unknown to me, but the new balls are seamless, and that can’t be a bad thing! The new Z-Stars also have 6 fewer dimples than the previous model at 324. By comparison, the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x have 392 and 332 respectively.
I have to preface this by repeating that I have played Srixon golf balls for over a year, and in that time I found myself switching back and forth between the Z-URC and Z-URS. I thought the Z-URC was too firm around the greens, and the Z-URS felt too mushy and spun too much off the driver. Then, just as I was preparing to run back to the Titleist Pro V1, Srixon introduced the Z-Star and Z-Star X. Since I was previously leaning towards the Z-URC, I picked up a sleeve of the new Z-Star X and put them through their paces. So how does the new Srixon Z-Star X perform? In a word – Brilliantly!
The first thing I noticed with the new Z-Star X is the fact that they have made it softer than the old Z-URC. This is a welcome change for me, as I prefer a soft feel for chipping and putting. It still feels on the firm side, coming off the putter face with a little click, but it is far from the feel of a harder ball like a Pinnacle or even the new Callaway Tour i. The cover feels very soft to the touch and I worry about what modern grooves will do to this ball. More on that later.
I moved from the putter to the wedge and started chipping, and I noticed that this ball really grabs. I crisply hit chip shot skids and checks, then rolls out gently. Flop shots from a tight lie spin furiously, coming to an immediate stop. Balls chipped out of the rough behave predictably.
Moving to the tee box, I was wondering how the thin cover would behave with the driver. Most players demand spin around the greens but want more distance off the tee. In the past with wound golf balls this was a trade off, spin or distance. You couldn’t have both. Nowadays with the advent of 3 piece and even 4 piece balls, it is possible to get high spin around the green and low spin from the driver. The Srixon Z-Star X is a great example of what the new golf ball technology can provide. This ball rockets off the driver with a mid to high trajectory and low spin. It is hard to say if I picked up any yardage compared to the old model. I would need a launch monitor to measure impact conditions and determine if it spins less than other golf balls. What I can confirm is that this new ball performs very well in the wind, especially crosswinds. I hit numerous balls into winds from all directions and the flight is very steady. I hit some cuts and draws into cross winds and the ball stays on line.
Iron shots come off the club with a mid trajectory, and plenty of spin. A solid iron shot will stop quickly on anything but the most severe greens. I am not known as a high-spin player, but this ball can be drawn back with wedges and stops dead with other clubs. I didn’t see too much ballooning into the wind, not as much as the Titleist at least. I have always despised the Titleist Pro V1’s wind performance, so the Z-Star X’s wind performance is a big bonus. As far as durability is concerned, I was pleasantly surprised. I played 18 holes with the same ball with only minor scuffing and wear on the cover. I could easily go another 18 with it, provided I didn’t lose it or hit a cart path!
I am very glad that Srixon released this new golf ball to replace the old Z-UR line. I am making the switch and now play the Z-Star X. It durable, holds it’s line in the wind, I love the way it spins and it feels softer than the previous generation. Overall it’s a great ball for aggressive swingers or players that like a high-spin ball with a slightly firmer feel. The price point is also good, at $39.95/dozen it is unchanged from last year and about $5 less than the Pro V1x, the Srixon’s main competition.
Those who play the Pro V1 and prefer a softer ball will love the Z-Star, which I’ll try to cover in a future post. I will stop short of saying that I hit this ball further, because a recent driver upgrade has helped me also. But for good measure, between the new driver and this new golf ball, I’ve regained 15-20 yards that I lost last year off the tee.