Ever since the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball hit the market in late 2000 and killed the wound golf ball forever, I’ve struggled to find the best ball for my game. However, since the excellent Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV came out I’ve been a happy camper. The Z-Star is designed for the low handicap player, or one that desires a large amount or spin and control. It also costs about $45 a dozen. So what if you aren’t a single digit handicap or want to spend $45? Let me introduce you to the Srixon Q-Star golf ball.
The Q-Star golf ball was designed for low spin off the tee to help a mid to high handicap golfer keep it in the fairway, while still providing a soft feel and enough spin to hold the green. Srixon uses their S.T.A.R. performance process to tune the spin (S), trajectory (T), acceleration (A) and responsiveness (R) of each golf ball. Other than that, it’s just a cool marketing catchphrase. The Q-Star is a 2 piece golf ball with a core measuring 1.568″, and a cover measuring only 0.057″ thick. This very large core provides energy for distance off the tee, and the super thin cover enhances spin and feel.
Since the wound golf ball went away companies largely stopped using compression ratings, mostly because it just confused people. But what they didn’t tell you is that in making wound balls there could be huge discrepancies in the actual compression rating from ball to ball, due to the imperfect nature of a golf ball constructed with rubber winding and a liquid core. Even if your old Titleist Tour Balata was marked with a compression rating of 90, the actual compression rating could have been between 80 and 100. But I digress. And since I brought it up, the Srixon Q-Star has a compression rating of 75. That’s very, very low and it translates to a very soft feel and great distance for golfers who’s swing speeds are under 100 mph.
In my early testing I found the Q-Star to be slightly softer feeling than the Z-Star, and even the distance off the tee and green-side spin were very comparable. I must however disclose that I was playing a course that day with soft greens after overnight rain. Once I got out to a course with firm, fast greens I started to see a difference. Approach shots with the Q-Star spun and held the greens well, but you won’t be sucking this ball back 20 feet with a wedge. Chips and pitches tried to bite, but instead checked up a bit and released to the hole. The Q-Star’s performance around the greens is predictable and consistent, and the lack of too much spin will probably help most golfers. Off the putter, the Q-Star feels very soft. It’s a joy to roll this ball on the greens, as it feels as good as any premium golf ball on the market. The bottom line is that the Q-Star is soft, has great feel off the putter and it spins enough for everyone to have some measure of green-side control. Just don’t expect to hit those low, spinning chip shots that the guys on TV make look so easy.
Now, before you get all excited and decide to replace the $45 Z-Star you play with the $25 Q-Star in your arsenal, it’s important to note that the Srixon Q-Star golf ball differs from the premium Z-Star line in several ways. Like I mentioned above, the Q-Star is a 2 piece ball designed for mid to high handicap golfers, where the Z-Star is a 3 piece construction designed as a “tour” ball for better players. The Z-Stars also have thinner covers. The Z-Star XV’s cover is the thinnest in golf at 0.012″ thick. That’s about three tenths of a millimeter! This makes them more responsive for more spin around the greens. The Z-Star and Z-Star XV carry higher compression, because they are designed for golfers who’s swing speeds are over 90 mph.
Srixon also led the re-introduction of yellow golf balls to the market, and several other companies have also jumped on the old-school colored ball bandwagon. The Srixon Q-Star Tour Yellow is very bright, and for those times where you may hit the ball a bit offline, it’s very easy to see in the woods. If you are the only one playing a yellow ball in your weekend foursome, there will be no argument as to who’s ball is who’s. But the biggest advantage of the yellow ball is that your playing partners aren’t going to like it when you use a yellow ball to take some of their green!
If you are a slow swinger (under 90 mph) or have a handicap over 10, you probably won’t get the most out of the Z-Star line. After all, this is why Srixon created the Q-Star! In creating a golf ball for the majority of golfers out there, Srixon has taken the best features of their premium Z-Star golf ball and eliminated the excessive spin and high compression that hamper the performance for those golfers. For the every-man golfer, weekend warrior or developing player, this ball is a winner, and priced at $25 a dozen it’s a steal.
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