2017 Srixon Z-Star & Z-Star XV Balls Review - We we test out the updates to the popular premium Z-Star ball model from Srixon
Srixon has made minor evolutions to many of the technologies that featured on the previous generation launched in 2015, like the core and Spin Skin coating that provides the soft short game feel.
A more noteworthy improvement is the new dimple pattern. It’s Srixon’s lowest drag dimple pattern ever created and is said to add some lift later in the ball’s flight for more distance.
When attempting to change a ball’s performance for the better, Srixon is always looking at providing more distance, without sacrificing short game feel or control. So we were keen to discover if the R&D ball boffins had achieved their goal.
To conduct our review, we took samples of both old and new Z-Star and Z-Star XV to the range and short game area of Red Tail Golf Club just outside Orlando, Florida, with our GC2 Launch Monitor. We played a variety of shots with both, including drives, iron shots, pitches, chips and putts to attempt to decipher any improvements in performance or key differences between the two.
The first conclusion we made was that the performance between the balls was very similar. If anything, the difference between the balls had lessened, making it harder to know which was best suited to our game.
As Srixon suggested, the lower compression of the Z-Star meant it provided marginally less driver spin (we’re talking under 100 rpm here) than the Z-Star XV and actually launched higher by 0.8 degrees. Interestingly, both carried exactly the same distance.
On to the short game and it was clear both these balls spin in a way you expect a premium ball to spin – it was hard to tell by the feel or watching the ball land and grip if it was an improvement on the previous generation.
There’s no question the Z-Star XV feels slightly firmer around the green off the clubface but still seemed to spin as much as the Z-Star on chips and pitch shots. If you have a very soft feeling putter like Odyssey’s new O-Works range, you might find the firmer XV model compliments this a little better.
The only way to find out which model is best for your game is to hit them both on the launch monitor and try them out on the putting green and various different short-game scenarios to see which one provides the best balance of feel, control and distance for you.
The new Z-Star and Z-Star XV are both excellent offerings in the premium ball category that will appeal to higher swing speed players that want distance off the tee without sacrificing feel or short game control. The difference between the balls appears to have reduced, making the decision between the two trickier to make but both are exceptional all-round packages.