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.
In for review from Srixon are the 2018 Z-Star and Z-Star XV golf balls. These are the top of the Srixon line.
It has been five years since I reviewed the Z-Stars, dating back to my 2013 Z-Star golf ball review and the 2013 Z-Star XV golf ball review. The Z-Star is a super golf ball and I’m anxious to see how the ball has changed and improved over the last five years.
The Z-Star (above) is the softer of the two balls, with the XV model (below) being the harder one for higher swing speeds.
I plan to put these into play over the next 4-6 weeks. So look for my full review of each ball around the end of June 2018, with social updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in the interim.
Thanks to Srixon for considering me as one of their “key industry influencers.” As said influencer, I get the privilege of playing the new 2015 Z-Star and Z-Star XV golf balls before they hit the market on February 6th. This nice box arrived on my doorstep yesterday.
I’ve reviewed the Z-Stars as well as the Z-Star XV in the past. They’re awesome golf balls. Really, there aren’t many companies out there making crappy golf balls! The technology is so good now.
I do recall that the XV is a very high compression, like 110ish. Too high for my swing speed, but I’ll try these new ones out anyway. The regular flavor Z-Star though, is perfect for my game. Love those.
Weather permitting I hope to test these golf balls out soon. It is winter here and golf rounds in northern Utah this time of year are not common. Right now we’re skiing!
I’ve snapped a few pictures of the new Z-Stars for you to check out in the HOG Srixon 2015 Z-Star Gallery.
Greetings from 35,931 feet and on a flight path far north of the original intended path from NYC to home, Salt Lake City, UT. Seriously choppy ride due to a big storm area we passed over and/or through. I’d hoped to get writing my final Golf Ball Week 2011 post an hour ago but it was so bumpy the passengers weren’t allowed out of their seats. Now that we’ve passed the chop, I’m ready to chop into my final, delayed Golf Ball Week post. I’m sure many HOG readers have been losing sleep for the four days since I interrupted this series to take part in a long weekend in the Big Apple with friends and family, but it is time to return to the regularly scheduled Golf Blogram.
Best “Tour” Golf Ball of 2011
I’ve played every great ball imaginable this past season and it was hard to pick the winner between the two finalists for best tour golf ball, the TaylorMade Penta and the Srixon Z-Star. It was a dead heat for me on performance and distance and I had to go to a “sudden victory” playoff (thanks to Dana White and the UFC for that one) to break the tie.
Based on the fact that I found the Z-Star to be considerably more durable than the Penta, the Z-Star was my pick for #1 Tour level ball this year. I have a Z-Star yellow floating around my bag that I played somewhere around 10 rounds with, and counting. Despite all that play with square grooved wedges and a couple of cart paths, the ball is still totally playable and shows very little wear.
I’ve reviewed both color options of this golf ball. You can click the hyperlinks for my Srixon Z-Star white review and my Srixon Z-Star yellow review.
Golf Ball Week 2011 Concludes
It has been a fun week or so covering EIGHT different golf balls, including some which employ crazy technologies like hollow metal cores and radar tracking systems. Sure there are many, many other great golf balls out there which I didn’t cover. If you feel the need, comment in your favorite golf ball below and let me and the HOG readers know why.
I’ll have to preface this post by disclaiming that the Q-Star isn’t exactly the best ball for my game, a lower single digit handicap player (2). The Srixon Q-Star is primarily meant for higher handicap players, above a 10 to be precise. That being said, I could easily put this ball in my bag permanently and score well.
The technology behind the Srixon Q-Star is geared toward helping higher handicap players increase their accuracy, and keep them out of the rough, hazards, lakes, parking lots, windows… So what does it take to improve accuracy for a higher handicap player? A proper “STAR performance” golf ball…
Srixon rates their golf balls with a STAR Performance measurement. That measurement factors in spin, trajectory, acceleration and responsiveness. Players of varying levels will have different STAR ratings. One of my favorite new players Keegan Bradley for instance, would be a Z-Star rating. Your 22 handicap buddy with the 87mph driver club head speed however, would NOT be a Z-Star rating. He would be a Q-Star.