For the last couple of months I’ve been gaming the 2018 Srixon Z-Star golf ball. I’m not sure the exact number, but I estimate I’ve played around 32 rounds with the 2018 Z-Star. So this review isn’t a typical fly-by “try one sleeve” review. During this testing period my play has improved greatly; not just because of this ball, but also because of more practice and even some changes in clubs as well. It’s a team effort. I’ve shot my lowest nine hole score in years, and won three consecutive matches in one of my match play brackets. Also placed 8th in my City Amateur tournament. I can game the Z-Star and confidently know the high performance the ball will provide for me.
The Srixon Z-Star golf ball is a a 3-piece or 3-layer golf ball. Each layer provides certain performance characteristics in terms of spin, aerodynamics, distance and feel.
From the inside out, the first layer is the core. The Z-Star’s core employs “Energetic Gradient Core Technology,” E.G.G for short. This provides feel, compression, distance, and premium launch conditions. The firmness of this layer varies from softer in the middle to harder farther from the center.
A set of dual thin layers make up the outside area of the ball. These layers provide feel, spin and flight characteristics/aerodynamics through a 338 “Speed Dimple Pattern.” The outer cover of the ball is made from Urethane, the magic ingredient in “Tour” performance golf balls. By “Tour” I mean a golf ball that PGA Tour golfers would play. Urethane provides short game spin and a large portion of the ball’s feel and control.
Unfortunately Urethane isn’t very durable. Srixon addresses this issue with “Spin Skin Coating.” This coating increases durability and provides even more spin/control in the short game and even on shots coming from the rough.
The new Z-Star has a compression rating of 88. Former models were at 90. This makes the ball feel slightly softer and decreases unwanted driver spin, which helps increase driving accuracy. “Compression” isn’t rated much anymore, but in the old days of golf a 100+ compression ball would be considered best for faster swing speeds while 80+ would be for slower speeds. With today’s technology golf balls can have lower compression but still be suitable for higher swing speeds.
The feel of the Z-Star off the driver is terrific. I can feel the ball compress. My driver swing speed is probably around 95-100mph.
It took some getting used to the Z-Star when I switched. The previous ball I’d been using was slightly harder, had a different dimple pattern and lower ball flight. It was more of a low arc, shorter carry, then roll out. The Z-Star I instantly noticed had a higher ball flight, carried farther, dropped quicker and rolled less. While the overall distance is about the same, the entire ball flight was different. I’m not saying one is better than the other. Just different.
The Z-Star shines in the iron game. The soft feel really translates to being able to sense the contact and control the shots. With the Z-Star I’m able to carry the ball a little longer while watching it stop quickly, and even back up depending on the iron and green conditions. Working the ball (moving the ball left-to-right or right-to-left) is fun and easy with the Z-Star. I can manufacture shots when needed, like having to hit a low power-cut under some trees.
Perhaps the best part of playing with a Z-Star is the tremendous short game performance the ball provides. I’ve had some great results in my short game after putting the Z-Star in play. I’m able to feel and control short game shots very well. The Z-Star has great bite on pitches and chips.
On longer short game shots I’ve managed some super spin. On one shot in a tournament I found myself 85 yards to a back pin. I flew my lob wedge over the green into some rough, but the ball had so much spin it came back out of the rough and rolled back to pin-high. I haven’t had spin like that since I can remember.
The Z-Star feels great on the putting surface. The soft cover and core translate to great feedback and feel off the putter. I have enjoyed great distance control in extremely varying putting conditions from slow and most to dry and fast.
I’m extremely impressed with the durability of the Z-Star. The previous ball I’d been using also had a Urethane cover, but after even 9-holes and several wedge shots the damage to the cover would require me to replace it. Even with super-spin shots like that 85 yard lob wedge I mentioned above, the Z-Star shows nearly no signs of wear!
Durability Pop Quiz
Which of the two Z-Stars below was played for 36 holes?
If you answered the right ball, you are correct. If you answered the left ball, you are also correct! Both of the Z-Stars above had been played 36 holes.
If I was only allowed to play the Z-Star the rest of my golfing days, I’d have absolutely no problem with that! The 2018 Z-Star performs tremendously across all aspects of the game, from long shots to short game. And for a Tour quality ball, I’ve found no other which can compete in terms of durability. At $39/dozen and based on how long they last, the cost/performance per shot of the Z-Star is unmatched.