Has it really been 3.5 years since I last reviewed the Srixon Z-Star? Looking at my previous posts that seems to be the case. I last reviewed the Srixon Z-Star golf ball on January 8, 2010.
2013 Srixon Z-Star Golf Balls
The 2013 Z-Star has some improvements over previous models as well as retaining some of the excellent qualities of previous models. Lets take a look at the 2013 Srixon Z-Star.
The Z-Star is a “tour” level golf ball. “Tour” typically means a higher spin golf ball with a soft urethane cover, the kind preferred by PGA Tour players such as Keegan Bradley.
The Z-Star is a 3-layer ball: outer cover, mid-layer and inner core.
The soft outer cover employs the new Srixon “Spin Skin” technology. This technology gives the ball 20% more grip on the clubface on short game shots and thus a great amount of control. The cover has 344 dimples.
The mid-layer helps to control spin on longer shots. More spin on short shots is preferred but not on longer shots. There’s quite a balance between the two. Excess spin on longer shots kills distance and reduces accuracy.
The core or inner-most layer is where the ball gets its power from. The large core employs Srixon’s “energetic gradient growth” technology. In other words, the density of the core varies from center out. That variation, when tuned properly, results in more distance off the driver.
On The Course
Enough about all the technical mumbo-jumbo. All golf companies have their high technology engineering speak. It makes great marketing. But what’s the performance of the ball on the course? Here are my findings.
The distance achieved with the Z-Star is excellent. The fact that the ball flies so well with very little sidespin, even in windy conditions, makes it go quite far. The minimal sidespin makes the ball very accurate off the driver.
Mid-distance shots like mid-irons are great with the Z-Star. I’ve stuck many greens with what my friends and I call “tour sauce.” Tour sauce happens when you back up shots as they hit the green, or zip-check short game shots. The control and spin this ball has with irons is as good as any ball I’ve played.
Short game shots are a joy with the Z-Star. I’m able to get that two-bounce and stop kind of spin from pitches and chips. Full wedges and short irons can result in some very large amounts of backspin. So much that depending on green conditions, I may need to aim 10 feet past the pin and suck it back. It is quite fun to suck shots back, when you are in fact past the pin. It isn’t cool when you underclub and suck one back off the front of the green into a bunker though. 🙂
In windy conditions the ball performs brilliantly. I tested the Z-Star side-by-side with another golf ball in windy conditions this past weekend. On each drive my playing partners and I could easily see that the Z-Star flew straighter and was affected by the wind less than the other ball. I’d could hit both balls without telling my buddies which was which, and they were able to tell me which one was the Z-Star based on its flight. In those conditions the Z-Star was also an average of 5-10 yards longer.
The Spin Skin technology is quite remarkable. Most high spin and soft cover balls are not very durable. After 18 holes, 36 holes and more, I can’t see a scratch on the Z-Star even though I play with square grooved wedges. In fact, starting up my last round I dug in the bag for a new Z-Star and grabbed two. One ball was new and the other had been played for 27 holes. I could not tell them apart.
The 2013 Z-Star is a fantastic golf ball. The ball features great feel and distance on long shots and unmatched control in the short game. The durability is better than just about any tour level ball I’ve ever tested.
2010 Srixon Z-Star Review
Tour of the Cleveland/Srixon headquarters in California
Srixon Q-Star Review
3UP 3F12 Golf Balls – click to zoom.
I had a hell of a round going yesterday. Made eagle on the par-5 first hole with a solid 4-iron to about eight feet. Made the putt. Five pars and then a solid 6-iron to about 10 feet on the par-3 6th from 185 yards, birdie. After par on #7 I was three under. Then I completely gagged, going bogey-triple bogey on the last two holes of the front nine. I bounced back great on the back nine with birdies on #10 and #12. I ended up shooting even par on the back and a +1 73 for the round, despite having a triple bogey and a few bogeys.
The great shots I hit during yesterday’s round wouldn’t have been possible with a low quality golf ball. That uphill 4-iron on the first hole from 195 or that great 6-iron which hit pin-high from 185 and stuck right there would not have been possible with a “distance” or non “tour” spin ball. Was I playing a Titleist ProV1? Perhaps a Srixon Z-Star or Bridgestone B330? Nope. I was playing a ball you may have never heard of, until now.
3UP is a new kid on the golf ball block. They’re elbowing their way into a market ruled by billion dollar companies. The company was founded by Rob Zimmerman, a 2 handicap. Zimmerman survived a mild heart attack in 2012 and decided to take on a new path with his new lease on life, making golf balls. Fast forward a year and lowly TK here is playing a very fine golf ball. Let’s take a look at the 3UP 3F12.
3UP 3F12 Golf Ball Overview
The 3UP 3F12 golf ball was built with a little bit of old school balata spin and new school distance. For those who don’t remember the balata days, balata golf balls were very soft and had extremely high spin rates, much higher than what we see these days. That high spin was great on short irons and short game, but made driving the ball straight extremely difficult. The covers on balata balls were so soft that a bladed iron could literally cut through. The ball would be cut open, egg shaped and completely unplayable.
The 3UP golf ball’s technology produces balata-like spin, about 5% more spin on shorter irons than regular golf balls.
The distance of the golf ball is comparable to any big name golf ball on the market. I’ve hit some cracking drives with the 3UP, like the drive on #18 yesterday. #18 was a 470 yard par-4. I was 145 from the pin for my 2nd shot. You do the math. The 3UP ball produces low side spin off of driver shots, which makes it more accurate and long.
So what makes the ball produce such great spin on the short irons, yet great distance off the driver? The ball is a 3-piece (in other words 3-layer) ball.
The outer layer is a cast urethane, the same material most high end “tour” balls has. This layer is where the “feel” in the short game and putting comes from. 318 dimples are aerodynamically designed to give the ball the proper amount of lift and carry.
The middle layer is called the “mantle” layer. The mantle layer is made from an ionomer plastic. This layer helps to reduce driver spin, yet doesn’t compromise shorter iron spin.
The center layer is, you guessed it, the core. Just like the earth’s layers! The core is the primary layer for distance.
On The Course
I couldn’t wait to tell some 3UP stories from on the course, which I did in the intro. I have many more, like the 7-iron I backed up on the 4th hole at River Oaks, with a tail wind. Not possible with other golf balls!
I gave some 3UPs to a friend Kevin, a mid-teen handicap on the rise. He loved the feel and was gushing to me about how he hadn’t been able to get that kind of spin from other big name golf balls. I watched him produce several shots, even from the rough, which bit and held greens he normally wouldn’t have been able to hold. Sold.
3UP after 45 holes – click to zoom
I’m very impressed with the durability of this ball. Typically high spin balls are not durable. In the photo to the right, check out my 3UP ball after 45 holes. There are just a couple of scratches from some square grooved wedges, but the ball is nearly like new.
This is really awesome. 3UP will donate $3 to charity from every dozen balls sold. That’s fantastic. Don’t worry about losing a golf ball! You just donated to charity!
While I love this golf ball, I think it will be a tough go to break into a market which has some very big names with multi-million dollar advertising and PR budgets. Maybe this small article will help a bit. I do think that at a retail of $39, a ball someone isn’t familiar with might be a tough sell. I think pricing under $30, even $24.99 would be a better price point.
I like this. A dozen 3UP golf balls does not come in a cardboard box, with four cardboard boxes inside. Instead, the balls come in a nice bag/pouch with a tie string. When you’re done with the balls, you have a great golf accessory bag to put tees and ball markers in!
Hats off to Rob and 3UP. The ball is everything they say it is. The spin in the short game is stellar and the ball is plenty long.
HOG 3UP photos
I have to admire the tenacity of some golf entrepreneurs. Even though there are billion dollar companies out there making golf balls, Rob Zimmerman and 3UP Golf decided they’d join the fray. I have a dozen 3UP 3f12 golf balls to try. They’re a three piece ball meant to perform and feel like a balata but also produce modern distance. I’d like that.
As an extra cool bonus, $3 of each dozen sold is earmarked to a golf related charity. Cool. Buy high performance golf balls and support a great cause. And rather than a typical cardboard box, these balls come in a nice bag which would be great for carrying golf tees and other stuff around in.
In hand the balls look sharp and have what looks to be a dimple pattern close to the 330-332 dimple designs. The balls feel very tacky so I can tell they’ll produce a ton of spin around the greens.
I’ll put them in play as soon as I can and start working up my review.
This spring has been fun, including testing out the new Nike 20XI and 20XI-X golf balls. The XI version is the spin/control model while the XI-X is the distance model. Today’s review is specifically the XI-X model. I’ll be posting my XI review soon.
Nike 20XI X Golf Balls – click for larger image
The 20XI X golf ball is a four layer golf ball. Typically, the more layers, the better the ball. Some layers in the 20XI series are made of a different material than the same layers in other golf balls. At the core of Nike’s technology, pun intended, is Nike’s “RZN,” a rubber material which makes up the ball’s core. The mantle layer, (think back to the time you learned about the earth’s layers), is also made of RZN. The large RZN core and mantle maximize distance and improve accuracy.
The cover of the ball is the same material as most high performance balls, urethane. The urethane layer is what gives the player spin and control, especially in the short game as well as a soft feel on the putting green.
From the first time I put these balls into play the distance gain was substantial. I have gained some distance this year through new equipment and a few more pounds of weight gain, and the XI X made it even more massive. Where I was even or perhaps 10 yards ahead of some of my
friends opponents, I’m now some 30-50 yards ahead. Hitting a wedge to the green is a little better than hitting a 6-iron.
The urethane Nike uses in the covers must be on steroids or something. The 20XI series is far more durable than any other premium golf ball I’ve tested. I can play 18 holes with an XI or XI X and the cover still looks brand new. Not the case with other urethane cover balls, which show scuffs and scrapes from my wedges.
The original models of the 20XI series felt quite hard. Too hard for my taste. Nike has certainly improved the feel of the new 20XI and XI X golf balls. They are noticeably softer, though still hard feeling in comparison to balls with non-RZN cores. Some players may prefer that hot and hard feel off the driver. Some may not.
Nike’s new RZN technology in the 20XI models is progressing very well. Each year the feel, performance and quality gets better and better.
I receive so many golf widgets, gadgets and accessories that I can’t even make a trip to the bathroom without tripping over 12 or 13 of them. Most are junk and I feel bad for the poor guy who dumped his live savings into R&D and some Chinese manufacturer to release a product nobody will use. Golf gadgets have to do something meaningful, useful or fun, without being an inconvenience or difficult to use.
One sure way to get me to review a product is to slap a University of Utah Utes logo on it. Or better yet, send me a product which lets me put a U logo on my golf gear! Bingo.
Utes logo on my balls by Tin Cup! Click to purchase…
Tin Cup makes these metal stencils which fit over golf balls with all sorts of cool graphics from animals to skulls to logos of your favorite sports teams.
In the photo above my lovely lass is marked up a white spheriod with a Utah Utes logo, in red of course. Love it.
I learned that on a design which uses this much ink, letting the stencil dry for a while is required. Lift the stencil carefully too so as not to smear the ink.
Check out my original Tin Cup review, posted back on September 24, 2009.
Tin Cup website