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Srixon Z-Star/Z-Star X Ball Review

Apr. 28, 2009     By     Comments (31)

The new Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X come close to other premium balls in distance and spin but lack in feel.

Z-StarWhen the 800-pound gorilla in the market (see: Titleist) releases a new version of their premium balls, what are their competitors to do? Srixon has answered the challenge with the release of their newest balls, the Z-Star and Z-Star X.

With names like that it is pretty easy to see that Srixon wants to directly challenge Titleist and take the gorilla head on. Some PGA Tour pros, including Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, and Tim Clark have been using the Z-Star line of balls since they came out. In a short time, the Z-Star and Z-Star X has grabbed a decent chunk of the premium ball market on the PGA Tour.

The question remains: will it be enough to convince the rest of the golfers out there to not only give the new Srixon's a try, but to convert? Read on to find out if it could convert this long-time Pro V1x user.

Design and Technology
The Z-Star is a three-piece ball with a very thin urethane cover (Z-Coat Exterior Layer) to help provide spin and control on approach shots to the green. An elastic ionomer mid-layer "creates a smooth transition to the core for greater control and distance." Smooth is a good thing. The core is where it's at, though. The Energetic Gradient Growth Core (clever, clever) is a design which features a gradual compression shift from the center of the ball out to the perimeter (from soft to firm) in order to create lower spin and high ball speed.

Z-Star X Ball
The new Srixon Z-Star X has 324 dimples and, like the Pro V1x, a red number.

The trajectory for that ever-popular "aggressive" ball flight is aided by the Powershear Dimple Technology. The older Z-series balls had 330 dimples while the new Z-Star has 324 "low drag with high coverage" dimples to give you the best amount of spin through your ball flight. Also, the Invisiseam Technology makes sure of the uniformity of the dimples across the entire surface of the ball to give you consistent flight and performance.

You can thank the Energetic Gradient Growth Core for the acceleration given to the Z-Star with its gradual compression which works with the ultra-thin cover to help transfer the energy to the core to improve distance as well as to help reduce energy that is lost in the cover. That exterior layer is softer which provides you with added feel and control on the "touch-shots" around the green as with the putter.

Z-Star BallLike its sibling, the Z-Star X version is three-piece construction as well and shares many of the same design characteristics (dimples, thin cover, etc). However, it more designed for the higher swing-speed golfer 105+ MPH) who is gunning for "extreme tour distance."

The main difference is a slightly firmer cover as well as a firmer core (104 compression) than the Z-Star in order to accommodate the big hitters of the world. Figure the Z-Star X for more distance and the Z-Star, which is a bit softer for a more feel. In general, the balls break down as follows.

Feel and Spin
As you may have read in my other reviews, how a ball feels off the face of the club is more important to me than any other aspect, feature, or measurement. After years of golfing, I know that the ability to control the ball the way I want in a consistent manner in the scoring area (80 yards and in) shapes my scoring more than distance off the tee, control in the wind, or anything else.

Following the Pro V1, the regular Z-Star is a softer ball than the Z-Star X. I wouldn't consider the gap between the two Z-Star models to be as big as the one between Pro V1 and V1x, but there is a definite, noticeable difference in performance. The problem is that the gap between the Z-Star balls and the Pro V1 is too much for my liking.

On the green the Z-Star and Z-Star X felt too firm off of the putter face. I've been spoiled with a softer feeling that wasn't too soft with the Pro V1x, and while the Z-Star was the softer of the two Srixon balls, both felt closer to a Titleist NXT on the green than the top-tier balls they are trying to emulate. After a few putts with all the balls, to confirm what I was experiencing, I was able to push my fingernail into the cover of both the Pro V1/Pro V1x much more easily than either of the Z-Stars. The Z-Stars even have that hard "blueish" look to them.

Z-Star and Z-Star X
The Z-Star is softer than its partner the Z-Star X. Just don't expect them to be as soft as the Pro V1 or Pro V1x.

On the spin side of things, the Z-Star balls performed well. On full swings, even though the ball felt harder off the face you could generate plenty of spin. This was evident on just the second hole I played with the Z-Star X. I hit a smooth 6-iron that spun at least eight feet more than the Pro V1x did. Where my Pro V1x just simply hit and stopped, the Z-Star X pulled back more than I've ever spun a Pro V1x - or even a Pro V1 for that matter. With the wedge I could generate plenty of spin with both of the Z-Star balls. If you're looking to make sure that you won't lose stopping power, don't worry. You can stop a Z-Star X just fine and a Z-Star even better.

With the wedge around the green, the increased firmness of the Z-Star comes out again. Again, most of my judgment comes from the feel and controllability in the scoring area. Like the putter, chipping was too much on the firm side. I could generate a bit of spin with the Z-Star and sometimes with the Z-Star X, but the consistency that I have with my normal ball was not there. I'm accustomed to stopping action with a wedge that has a decent amount of grab. I couldn't reproduce it with either of the Z-Star balls. Nearly every chip resulted in the ball rolling out some distance. It seems a bit odd given the added spin with full shots, but that's what I experienced.

Distance and Durability
As long as I don't start getting out-driven by an eight year-old, distance doesn't really concern me too much. Most premium balls are going to be within a handful of yards of each other and the Z-Star X was right there.

Given the firmness I experienced around the greens, I thought the Z-Stars would perform noticeably better off the tee. When I hit the Z-Star X and Z-Star with the Pro V1 and Pro V1x and didn't see much difference. The Z-Star was always longer than the Pro V1 and closer to the Pro V1x, while the Z-Star X performed similarly to Pro V1. Isn't that backwards?

Z-Star X BoxIf you're looking for a distance boost, it isn't here. That's OK though. Anyone playing the Z-Star or Pro V1 isn't looking for the longest ball off the tee but a more balanced ball on the performance scale of feel, spin, and distance.

When it came to durability, both Z-Stars outshone the Pro V1. Where I normally stretch a Pro V1 or Pro V1x to last an entire round, the Z-Star and Z-Star X could easily last another round as long as it doesn't make friends with a cart path.

When looking at the Z-Star and Z-Star X I didn't notice that much difference between the two. The gap between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x is much more significant than the Srixon balls. The softer Z-Star might have worn down a bit more but not to the point that it would be a determining factor between either of the Z-Star balls. Leave that decision to the feel and distance and whether it fits your game. As for durability, Srixon has made a ball that surpasses either of the Pro V1s.

Given the durability of the Z-Star, you're going to get more bang for your buck. At $40 a dozen, which is close to the Pro V1 price point, you'll get a few more miles out of the Z-Star than the Pro V1.

Charting the New Ball
Let's see how the Srixons chart against Titleist's premium balls.

These graphs show three things: Driving Distance, Firmness, and Greenside Spin. They use a relative scale of 1-10. These aren't actual measurements, and for the sake of this comparison the 1-10 scale is a relative scale which considers premium golf balls available today, like the Nike One, the Callaway Tour i, the TaylorMade TP, etc. Though only the Srixon Z-Stars and the leader in the category (Titleist Pro V1/V1x) are charted, consider the 1-10 scale as covering the entire premium ball category.

Z-Star Softness

The Srixons are firmer than the '09 version of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x. I attribute this to the fact that the Srixons are a bit more durable. The difference, as mentioned above, is noticeable.

Z-Star Spin

The Z-Stars spin more off of the irons but less around the greens - yes, it sounds odd. The firmer ball and cover does not grab as well around the greens. With the full swing there isn't any problem generating spin with the Z-Star or Z-Star X.

Z-Star Distance

Distance is no issue with the Z-Star or Z-Star X. The Z-Star X is on par with the Pro V1x (or very close) and the Z-Star is actually longer than the Pro V1.

Not charted: durability. Both Z-Stars were more durable than either of the Pro V1 balls. Again, this seems to come at the expense of greenside spin and softness.

Conclusion
Srixon has a developed a couple good balls with the new Z-Stars. While a bit firmer than I like, the Z-Star and Z-Star X have found a home on tour with some of the bigger names playing both versions of the ball such as Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Boo Weekly. It was actually the second-most played ball the week of the WGC-CA Championship.

Z-Star BoxThe Pro V1x has been my ball for as long as it has been in existence. I've only seriously considered changing once. That was when the TaylorMade TP balls came out a couple years ago. After a couple rounds with the Z-Stars I don't expect to change any time soon. It comes down to the fact that I prefer a softer feel and the amount of spin the Pro V1x produces greenside.

At $40, the Z-Star is priced lower than most premium balls. This might entice some players to give the Z-Stars a try. Srixon will win undoubtedly win some over - and that's not a bad thing. Competition is always healthy for the consumer.

Posted in: Balls, Review Comments (31)

Discussion

  1. DBake says:

    This is really one of the better reviews this site has done. Really refreshing to see a good review with the main focus not on Titleist or was it? :lol:

  2. pjsnyc says:

    Thanks for the review. I will be trying these balls out this weekend!
    :P

  3. goblue107501 says:

    Great review. I don't think this was a knock on the product at all. It is only one persons opinion. Other people involved with TST have stated on the forum that they switched to the Srixon because it works better for him. The golf ball is a very personal piece of equipment. What I look for in a ball is a little different than what the reviewer looks for. A ball is going to fit different people differently. I am anxious to pick up a sleeve to see what I think.

  4. Crey says:

    :smile:

    I'm actually happy to see some news and reviews regarding the Srixon balls. I don't use the Z-Star, but I use the Tri-Speed. I have only been playing for aboutn months, so I'm not at the point of spending $40-$45 per dozen :wink:

    But I have to say that, for me, the Tri-Speed was better than the Titliest DT Roll & DT Carry that I had used. These, again for me, had far too much spin of the driver, but not enough on the greens. With the Tri-speed, I feel that I have straighter drives (equally as long). But around the greens, the bite is much, much greater, and the roll (feel) is superior.

    Maybe at the top end, they may not match up, but at entry level and mid, it was a great for my game.

    Bottom line, competition is always better! In the end, we will all have a better ball to play be it Titleist, Srixon, Cally, or what have you...I love having the option to pcik which product fit my game, rather than changing my game to fit a product!!!

    BTW, great review!

  5. pcsmith says:

    Great graphic comparison - thanks. I have tried both balls and gone back to the V1x.

    Be interested in seeing the comparison between TaylorMade TP Black and Red in the graphic format.

  6. MJNGolf says:

    Graphs make for interseting reading.

    I applaud Srixon for improving the short game control in the Z-Star series ball over the past ZUR range. Many golfers I play with have switched to the Srixon balls because of this fact.

    Recently I have been reading many articles stating that a golfer should select a ball based on playability from 100 yards in, as mentioned in this article. So I created an evaluation on all tour level balls, using putting, chipping, and approach shots. In this evaluation I excluded feel as a criteria and focused on accuracy, which was calculated on the number of times a ball came to rest within a small area around the flag.

    To my suprise the most consistent ball was the Nike One Black latest version. I have never associated Nike with quality golfing equipment before.

    Since playing this ball I have become quite at home with its feel, and achieved consistent results.

    Whilst reading articles are a great way to pass time (read many), and make a good starting base to make initial selections. Nothing beats performing your own evaluations.

  7. EGriffin says:

    Here is my review of the Z-Star compared to the ProV1 and Bridgestone 330RX:
    After todays round of 76, the Z-Star is now my ball and it blew my old ProV1 and the Bridgestone 330RX out of the water. I was around 5-10 yards further with my driver. The ball flight was a bit higher with the Z-Star than with the 330RX/ProV1 which is good for me because I hit the ball real low. When I hit the green, they stuck with long irons or spun back just right with the short irons. Chip shots bit really well for me. I really liked the way it felt off of my putter, couldnt tell THAT much difference between it and the ProV1. Finally, and the reason I looked to replace the ProV1, is the durability. I played the same ball the entire round and will tee off on the first hole of my next round with it because it looks like it is just about brand new. I played three balls for 4 holes. I didnt really like the Bridgestone as much. It was too clicky off of the putter and didn't stop as well on chips or approach shots into the green. I stopped using the ProV1 because it looked like I got it stuck in a meat grinder by the 4th hole. Everyone knows the ProV1 is a great ball, but to me lacks durability for us amateurs who dont get free ProV's. The Bridgestone 330RX is a good ball too but just not as good as the Z-Star IMO. If you want to try out a really good golf ball, get a sleeve of Z-Stars.

  8. Scott says:

    Dave,

    Can you explain the comment about the "blueish" cover a bit more? Is there a correlation between the blue and the softness. I have long noticed that blue tinge to Cally balls.

    cheers,
    Scott

  9. MJNGolf says:

    Dave,

    Another point I have been pondering from your review is that you have a low ball trajectory (past reviews). I on the other hand I have a natural high trajectory and high spin (5'7" and Driver SS of 110mph, 9 hndcp).

    As a suggestion would it be feasible to have two staff members perform a review, one with a low trajectory and another with a higher treajectory?

    This may produce interseting feedback, and create a better starting point for golfers wishing to perform a new ball analysis, as the new tour balls are released.

  10. Dave says:

    Can you explain the comment about the "blueish" cover a bit more? Is there a correlation between the blue and the softness. I have long noticed that blue tinge to Cally balls.

    I've always associated a "blueish" cover with a harder ball. This might not exactly be a scientific data point, but just my own personal experience.

    As a suggestion would it be feasible to have two staff members perform a review, one with a low trajectory and another with a higher treajectory?

    This may produce interesting feedback, and create a better starting point for golfers wishing to perform a new ball analysis, as the new tour balls are released.

    Not a bad idea. I have a friend that does have a higher ball flight (and is of a similar handicap) that I could have share some insight.

    To follow up and clarify some thoughts. I would recommend people at least give these balls a try. Like others have commented, what works for me may not work for you… and vice-versa. There are a lot of tour players using them, so I'm sure they are not "bad" balls… they just don't fit my game and what I'm looking for in a ball.

  11. John Duval says:

    I appreciate your detailed review of both balls. I thought you did a good job of comparing the balls to the Titleist offerings, but I have to disagree with your distance and spin findings in relation to Titleist. I have found the new Z-Star X to spin more and go further that the Pro V1X, but I agree with you that it is firmer and more durable. Compared to the previous generation of Srixon balls, (Z-URS and Z-URC) the new balls display a marked improvement in fell and spin.

    having said all of that, I also think it's important to note that what each person gets out of a ball depends largely on your swing and playing ability.

    I would highly recommend play testing these balls. If you want good spin with a softer feel, try the Z-Star. If you want more distance and spin with a firmer feel, try the Z-Star X.

  12. TK says:

    Thanks for good review.
    It will help a lot of people for picking a better ball.

    As mentioned in some comments,

    It DEPENDS!

    How you feel, how you get the result...

    For me, Z-Star was better ball than Pro-V1.
    That is why I changed from Pro-V1.

    More distance, better feel, more spin and better durability.

    So, anybody interested in playing a better ball, I would say TRY Z-STAR! :razz:

  13. Mitch says:

    Srixon Z Star/ X compared to Pro V 1 / X

    1. Improved Spin +1
    2. Equal Distance 0
    3. Slightly Firmer Feel -1
    4. More Durable +1
    5. 13% Less Expensive +1
    ------------
    +3

  14. PR says:

    Been playing the Zstar for a couple of months and i love them. The ZstarX is a tad longer but i like the spin of the Zstar and dont mind compromising the distance(which is minimal) for the workability. My scores have lowered on avg of 4 to 6 shots a round just because of the spin i get with my new wedges and this ball. Like mentioned, it may not be for everyone..but for me its a godsend.

    ;-)

  15. Brian says:

    This is a good analysis of the different balls available. I, like some of the others carry a high trajectory with a high club head speed. Last time I had it checked it was 114 mph. One of my primary issues is accuracy off the tee. I picked up a sleeve of the Srixon Z-Star X balls before my last round and what a huge difference. The distance off the tee between the Pro V 1 and the Z-Star X was 2-5 yards, but the difference in spin off the driver was huge. I noticed a 20-25% straighter ball flight, and if you are a big hitter, that's the difference of hitting from the fairway instead of the second cut of rough.

    As far as the spin on approach shots, this ball consistently spun backwards 6 - 8 feet. On the short wedges and pitch shots, I was able to fire right at the pin and only noticed a roll out of 4-5 feet.

    I have been playing golf for almost 18 years and I have never played a ball that was straighter off the tee and still gave me all the control I needed when approaching the green.

    Great Job Srixon

  16. ian roberts says:

    just recieved a dozen z star free with subscription of today's golfer magazine and tried them for the first time last week. WOW!!!!. shot my lowest score this season. 84. out in 40 with a seven on the 4th. ( hcap 25.5 ). what more can i say . it had good distance but the best aspect for me was the excellent short iron spin to the greens. :smile:

  17. Celliers says:

    A very thorough and objective study. I was hunting for the "right" golf ball to match not only my very good equipment, but mostly a ball to suit my needs. There is no golfball in the world that would satisfy my needs, some rediculous, but eventually after two years I found that the 2009 Pro V1X is the most consistant . I have a swingspeed of appr. 100mph with my driver, and hit a 7 iron 155 meters. I swing within myself and do not overdo it, mainly to retain cosistency. I gather I do not compress the ball as I should to play the Pro V1X, according to some charts in Golf Stores, but I get the results time and time again. I lose less balls with the Pro V1X and find them good for two rounds. I will play the Pro V1X and nothing else !! I have tried them all, believe me !! Even the Z Star and Z StarX !

  18. PR says:

    Talking with a Srixon rep last week he told me that the Zstar and ZstarX will not be changed for the coming year. Indeed good news. My handicap has dropped from 15 to 10 since i started playing these balls in July(:....which i guess is what we all strive for:) Been playing on harder greens the last few weeks because of frost and lack of water and im amazed that i still get spin when other balls sail off the back of the green, especially on shorter chips around the green. Makes golf seem a lot fun, altho my fellow competitors would dispute that:)

  19. sam says:

    I find it hard to believe that this ball will make your handicap drop by 5 or more, like some comments here read.

    However, great review, was good reading and not like many reviews just a sales rep speech ... thanks !!

  20. PR says:

    Obviously you cant read...as in my other post which said with my new wedges and this ball my handicap has dropped 5. I stand by it!

  21. Justin Holiday says:

    Wow, I just went through this comparison on my own but I was also including The Callaway Tour ix and Tour i (now Tour iz and Tour is). I must say you hit the nail on the head. Your report put into words my exact thoughts with only one singular indifference. I didn't feel that The Z Stars felt considerably harder than the Titleists, They do have an extra coating for durability and I knew this so I was expecting them to feel harder but I would say they were very close. I will say however the Z stars felt different than any other ball off the tee, not bad, just different. Anyhow Thanks for posting such an accurate and unbiased comparison.

  22. PingCat says:

    Really fun review to read, and although I liked what you said about how the ball feels off the clubhead is more important than anything, I'm not sure how much stock I can put in your review if you think the Pro V1 balls are softer than the Srixons. That is flat out wrong. The Z Star is so much softer than the Pro V1 that every time I grab one of each, close my eyes and bite them, I have easily picked the Z Star as the softer one every single time. I like what Celliers said above because I am a 7 handi with a ss of a little UNDER 105 and I just played the same Z Star X for 4 rounds and liked every aspect of the ball - feels firm yet soft, and goes straighter off the tee than anything else I've played, and is perfect off the putter. I just bought some yellow Z Stars and I'm afraid they are too soft, but I'll see. So I think that's a bunch of crap that so much advertising for these balls is based on the 105 ss scale. Srixon should say the X is also for those who like a little firmer feel because I do, and it is a wonderful golf ball.

  23. Tanner says:

    I have a 90 mph ss and normally hit the ball 210 yd. So could I still get good distance off a Z-Star X?

  24. Tanner says:

    I have a ss of 90 mph and normally hit the driver 210 yds. Could I still get good enough spin to spin it back and have my average distance with the Z-Star X or would I have to get the Z-Star.

  25. Jasonthecloser says:

    I have found that the Z Star X is the absolute best ball out there, at least for my game. I am a 3 hdcp, play Mizuno MP 57 irons and of course, Vokey Wedges. More distance, better feel and better spin than Pro V 1 or Pro V 1 X. I just think people are wrapped up in the name. Which does make some sense because you have to be totally comofortable with what you are playing. To date, because of the way I play my Srixon's, 5 of my buddies are now playing them as well. Give them a try...or don't. I like not having to mark my balls.

  26. mts says:

    Really nice review. I've played all of the 4 balls and have switched from the Pro V1 to the Z Star. My driver speed is only 105mph (5 handicap) so the two softer variants of the balls appeal to me.

    I find all 4 balls to be excellent choices and I can't imagine many that will get drastically different results from switching. However, the better durabilty and the fact that I personally find the Z Star to slot right between the Pro V1 and Pro V1x in many performance areas (which is ideal for me) caused the switch.

  27. cgasucks says:

    I have a ss of 90 mph and normally hit the driver 210 yds. Could I still get good enough spin to spin it back and have my average distance with the Z-Star X or would I have to get the Z-Star.
    Tanner

    I too have your swing speed and bought a whack of used Z-Stars from Knetgolf.com and let me tall ya...you'll have no problem spinning it back...as long as you hit it down...I was looking for a ball mostly for it short game abilities and from reading the reviews here, I bought 9 dozen of them. Thank God I did, I used this ball at an executive golf course where most holes are under 120 yards and there were many times I spun the ball back at least 4 feet...there where time I spun the ball off the green!! But when I did, I chipped it back real close because of its spin as well...really good ball short game wise and durable as hell...

  28. Alan Erickson says:

    August, 2010: I tried the Z Star yellow (2010 version)because my distance eyesight is poor. I normally hit $25 a box balls but in view of the shortage of yellow balls, tried the Z Star. Let me tell you, this is one great golf ball. Off the driver I fade the ball less (a good thing for me!) and get a distance gain of 10 yards (est.). The most amazing aspect of this ball is action on the green. With cheaper balls, spin and check are almost nonexistant. With my Nike 58* wedge and the Z Star, guess what? The ball checks. I have a pretty high handicap and a swing speed of 85-90 mph with the driver which means I was leary of spending this kind of money for a golf ball just so I might see it better. I am stuck on this ball, it is a great ball and gives me a better game.

  29. Phil Pinkert says:

    I've been using the Z Star X for a couple of months now and really love the control I can get off the Tee. The full swing is good and I get a better left to right cone with the Z Star. I agree that on the green there is a little less spin but that works for my game, as I am new (taking the game back up in June) and learning to hit a soft bump and run from just off the green. Plus the Tour Yellow is great to find on the fairway. I'll keep using the Z Star ball for a long time to come.

  30. Bird E3 says:

    i loved this ball for everything but chipping. I could not get over how far this ball rolled out with brand new vokey wedges. It sucks because they are so durable and the yellow ball is impossible to lose, not to mention that it is very cool to see your ball flight in yellow. I just couldn't deal with green side spin...back to pro v1 practice balls for $29.99. I wish they made them in yellow.

  31. Derek02 says:

    I completely agree with your assesment that the Z Star spins a lot on full shots, but much less than ProV1x on half wedges and pitch shots. I found that very strange also.

    That being said, isn't you chart for "greenside spin" kind of backwards? The ProV1's have more greenside spin than the Z Stars....?

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