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UPDATED! Cooperative Member Reviews - Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV balls

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 preconceptions header.jpg
 
Srixon have been good enough to enable ten forum members to put the new, 2015 editions of the Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV through their paces. As was established last year with ball reviews, rather than have every one of them post a 3 page dialog about what they thought about a golf ball, we are having testers answer questions in several pivotal areas of ball performance and give their observations so we can get a collated overview.
 
We wanted to get an understanding of the collective perception of Srixon balls before the testing got underway in earnest, so this first post focuses on preconceptions of Srixon golf balls.
 
Srixon… they make the yellow balls, right?
 
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What's being tested?
The new Z-Star and Z-Star XV are said to combine “next generation SpinSkin™ and Speed Dimples™ innovation to give the “Tour” player unmatched feel and control, and the energetic gradient growth™ core delivers incredible distance.”
 
Z-Star:
ZStarFinal.jpg
 
Z-Star XV: 
XVfinal.jpg
 
MGS Forum Members: Who's testing what?
 
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Each tester received one dozen balls, either the Z-Star or the Z-Star XV, based on the details that they had provided in the testing application process (SS, current ball, etc).
 
Tester group experience with Srixon balls
Somewhat surprisingly, only 7 of our 10 testers have played Srixon balls previously. Of those that have played Srixon balls previously, two have used freebies given out through event sponsorships and two others haven't played Srixon balls for a number of years. 
 
Conversely, one of our testers has played Srixon balls regularly since 2008.
 
What brand of ball are you primarily using (prior to testing the Srixon balls)? [Note, where testers mentioned multiple brands of ball, all have been included]
ball use.jpg
 
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What comes to mind when you think of Srixon balls?
As you can imagine, the responses to this question were pretty varied. 
 
Some of the common themes that emerged were that Srixon is seen as:
  • Graeme McDowell's ball, but not one played by anyone in my golf circle
  • Not highly advertised, not marketed as well as it could be
  • Innovation in Color
  • Quality and Durability
  • A player in the premium ball category, but not really on the radar to actually game. Titleist has been the standard, then Cally/TMaG. Srixon maybe a tick below those companies
  • A decent ball, but at similar price point it's not good enough to force a change from Titleist

 

What characteristics make a good ball?
The last series of questions was to find out our tester group perceptions of what makes for a good ball. As expected, the answers were mostly all over the place, but there were a few commonalities – if you're watching Srixon, this is our wish list … good luck getting all of these in one small, round package…
  • Driver – Distance with low spin and a flat, penetrating trajectory
  • Irons – Consistent and predictable trajectory and distance
  • Wedges – Consistent trajectory and ‘hop & stop' (high & predictable) spin
  • Putter – Predictable distance, softer feel, clean alignment mark
  • Other – Durability and excellent visibility
 
Final pre-testing thoughts…
Everyone is really excited to be testing these, and to see how these compare to their current gamers. Srixon balls have been in the conversation for a number of the guys, but the consensus has generally been that there hasn't been a strong enough reason to make a switch from their current gamer ball. 
Watch this space to see if the latest generation of Srixon balls can change this…
 
Testing Process
The testers have actually had their balls for a couple of weeks now and have been playing with them regularly. I've had some of them give me little snippets of how the testing is going, and I can guarantee this will be really interesting to follow. You'll all get to read about them in a week or two, as soon as I can get all of the survey results together.
 
The main focus of the results will be how the Srixons compared to their gamers, who wants to keep playing the Srixons they received, and how the testing strengthened or changed their opinions of the balls after playing them for a while.
 
In the meantime, feel free to ask questions or leave comments about your own balls (golf balls only please), or what you think of Srixon in general.
 
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Our first group tested the Srixon Z-Star ball. This ball is geared toward golfers in the 90-105mph swing speed range and is toted as having Tour Feel and Spin. As a reminder, our tester group is:

testers.png

 

The review will be broken down by club grouping – all testers were asked to provide feedback as well as a rating out of 100 for various metrics related to performance and/or feel.

 

Driver

Testers found the Z-Star to be very good overall with the driver and comparable to their current gamer, some got slightly more distance, some slightly less. Damon found that he initially struggled with a low ball flight, but a slight change in ball position saw a substantial increase in both carry and total distance.

 

Of note, MmmmmBuddy (who has regularly played the 2014 version of the Z-Star) was really surprised by difference in sound and feel between irons and driver – “Off the irons, the feel was soft and quiet. Off the driver it was VERY loud and hard. Not at all what I was expecting”.

ball in rough.jpg

 

In terms of control, again the Z-Star scored really well, Sluggo noting that, “Soft cuts or baby draws, either way the ball never seems to get out of control… It's close to perfect really”

 

driver.png

Long Irons

The testers were consistently highly impressed with the performance of the Z-Star with the long irons. Distance was excellent across the board, and the stopping power with long irons was surprising. Both John and I commented on this is particular, GolfSpy_Barbajo noting that “anything from 165 – 195yds would hop and stop on the green and it was always within 6-8 inches of the ball mark. That is freaking remarkable!”

long iron.png

 

Mid – Short Irons

It seems that Srixon are really onto something with their SpinSkin technology – the feedback on mid-short irons was the best of the bunch and the only category where all 5 testers scored the ball in the 90s for performance. Soft feel, ideal trajectory and excellent stopping power – Sluggo noting that he's having to do considerably more green repairs than usual ;)

 

For all the praise they received, MmmmmBuddy did notice that a handful of his shots seemed to travel 5-15 yds further than he would have expected. He initially put this down to not having played a lot, but it'll be interesting to see how he gets on further down the track with these. Conversely, Damon and I both noted that one of the strengths we found with the short irons was the predictability.

midshortirons.png

 

Wedges

Performance on full wedge shots was described as excellent by all testers, but also that this is the level of expectation for a tour-level ball, and that there is very little differentiation between the Z-Star and competing tour-level balls. Piercing trajectory, and consistent spin.

ball on green.jpg

 

Partial wedge shots were, again, very predictable and checked up consistently. Damon noted that it was simple to change the ball position in his stance and get the desired change in trajectory and degree of spin. Again, the results were excellent, but not significantly better than tour-ball competition or, as MmmmmBuddy noted, than the 2014 Z-Star version.

wedges.png

 

Putter

This was a tough one to get consensus on – Damon felt that this is where the Z-Star really shone, GolfSpy_Barbajo said it didn't feel great, and the rest of us were somewhere in the middle. It's definitely soft and took me a little while to get used to, but it rolls well and I particularly like the alignment line – simple but large enough to get a good read on where the ball is facing.

putter.png

 

Durability

If putter performance was the most difficult to get consensus on, then durability was definitely the easiest. Unreal.

  • “…virtually blemish free after two rounds”,
  • “Super durable!! I can't make a mark on this ball!!”
  • “18 holes and 2 trees, and no scuffing at all!”

 

Subjective Notes

  • “Feel – 100% better than the Callaway [Hex Black Tour]. I keep describing the feel as solid, deep, heavy – just satisfying”.
  • “Softer off the irons and wedges, but much harder and louder off of the driver and fairway metals”.
  • “This is the best feeling ball I've ever played”.
  • “I thought the ProV was the king of balls forever and ever, but I actually like the Z-Star better… and I don't say that lightly”.

 

Will you continue to play the Z-Star?

Ultimately, after all is said and done, this is the question that we want answered. Is the 2015 Srixon Z-Star enough of an improvement for you to continue using them? Overwhelmingly, the reaction to this question was yes.

 

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Overwhelmingly, the reaction to this question was yes. GolfSpy_Barbajo hadn't made his mind up yet, but it was in contention for an order he was considering. The main reasons testers said that they would make the switch:

·         durability

·         feel

·         consistent spin

 

Sluggo, with the enthusiasm of a newborn lamb in spring, summarized his thoughts well - “It's long, easy to control, flies well, sounds and feels fantastic on contact, spins just right, putts well, lines up well with its arrow, and doesn't seem to wear out! How could you not love this ball?”

 

What we should have maybe clarified was whether testers will continue to use them once their testing dozen was completely sacrificed to the lakes and bushes. Personally, I love this ball, but I would struggle to justify spending $44.99/doz on these when my current ball performs reasonably closely for less than half the price. We will do a follow up on this down the track to get feedback from the guys about this.

 

Performance scoring summary

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Conclusion

There are a couple of conclusions we can draw from this round of testing with the Srixon ZStar balls. First - the durability of these balls is outstanding. When you're looking at a good chunk of change for a top level ball, you really don't want to be changing them multiple times per round. The second is that the area that most testers felt passionately about, or at least had very clear ideas of what they prefer and expect from a tour-ball was around the green and with the putter. Overall, our testers found the Srixon Z-Star to be at least as good as the competition. It seems that the gap that Titleist has had over competitors in recent times is definitely narrowing, and there are a number of extremely high performing balls available.

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Whoa, this has taken a lot longer for me to pull together than I'd have hoped – thanks everyone for your patience. Thanks as well to our testers, who did provide their info to me in a timely manner – I dropped the ball on this one… pardon the pun ;)

The Z-Star XV is geared mainly toward the higher swingspeed players (100mph+) and is toted as having Tour Feel and Distance. Our lucky tester group for this ball was:

 

testers.png

 

There is a good 24mph SS range within this test group, so lets see how they fared.

The review will be broken down by club grouping – all testers were asked to provide both feedback and a rating out of 100 for various metrics related to performance and/or feel.

 

Driver

Perception of driver feel and performance was all over the place with our tester group – 2 testers noted it felt firmer, one softer; two that it was slightly  higher ball flight, one found a lower ball flight. Testers agreed that distance was about the same as their current balls.

KCLeo12 noted that his expectations were that it would fall short in the distance stakes based on its performance around the greens, but was surprised that this was not the case at all.

 

Driver control, score-wise, is where the Z-Star XV scored the most poorly – but at 93% its still pretty good performance. JmikeCPA specifically noting that, as a high-ball player, the flight “could cause me problems in the wind with control.”

 

driver perf.png

 

Long Irons

Consistent performance and performance scoring, but again not spectacular in the long irons. Spongy5 was a little on the fence, noting that “although I don't enjoy the feeling of the Z-Star XV with my long irons, I do feel I hit them longer than the TMag TP-X. I also feel that the roll out is longer with the Z-Star XV.”

 

long irons perf.png

 

Mid – Short Irons

Similar to the Z-Star that was previously reviewed, the new generation SpinSkin made some new fans. Approaching greens with mid and short irons is where this ball really started to impress our tester group. Testers found that they were able to shape and flight shots when they needed to, that there was no ballooning and that where the ProV1x would release a foot or two after it landed, the Z-Star XV would stop where it lands. Additionally, it was noted that the ball really holds its line well into cross-winds.

 

mid-short irons perf.png

 

Wedges

Again, wedge play was identified as a particular strength of this ball. With the exception of Spongy5, who preferred the TMaG TP-X on partial wedge shots, the testers beamed about the level of consistent spin that was prodiced. KCLeo12 noting that the Z-Star XV “outperformed the ProV1 and ProV1x in every wedge category by a large margin.” Jmikecpa also noting that “this ball shines from 100 yards and in.”

 

Not surprisingly then, performance scores were consistently high.

 

wedge perf.png

 

Putter

Putting was identified as being more muted by 4 of our testers, spongy5 again preferring the softer feel and roll of the TMaG TP-x to the Z-Star XV. Aside from spongy5, all of our testers identified that the ball rolled consistently and gave good feedback.

putter perf.png

 

 

Durability

  •  KCLeo noted “this was a huge concern of mine because they felt so soft. I hit a ton of wedge shots and only left one scar on the balls I was using… I had to replace two of the Titleist balls”
  • Dlsmithlaw: “I had one that was a little scuffed but not too bad after 18 holes, 2 trees, 1 cart path and 2 birdies… I used it for another 18 holes and it still looked the same. That is very impressive for a “Tour” ball. This, in fact, is the reason why I might be on my journey to better with this ball!

With the exception of 10Hockey, who found the ProV1x to have a little tougher skin, the rest of our testers were extremely impressed with the durability of this ball.

post-17094-0-43016600-1425334522.jpg

 

Subjective notes

  • The feeling of these is hard to me both in sound and feel, which on the irons I don't like. But they perform very well on everything but my driver.
  • Here is the down and dirty. If you have no issue with potentially losing a couple of yards on your long game and you want to get a ball that's better around the greens, this is the ball for you. Great control from 120yards and in.
  • On the greens and from 100yards the ball was an absolute dream, but I struggled a bit with it on full shots and off the tee.
  • The ball felt so soft off the putter and wedges and then as you progressed through the bag it felt firmer and gave great feedback.
  • While I wish it “felt” a little softer, the performance and durability make up for any subjective concerns about soft feel.

 

Will you continue to play the Z-Star XV?

This is the crux of the review – is the ball good enough to replace your gamer… well… it was not overly convincing. 3 of our testers said yes, 1 said no and one said “Maybe is the best answer I can give. I loved the control of the ball on short shots and on the green, but I need more time with it in the long game.”

If you are to listen to KCLeo12 though, there's not much question – “I will be playing this ball for a very long time. I ordered 4 dozen balls to get me through most of this year”

 

continue to play.jpg

 

The main reasons testers identified that they would make the switch:

  • Durability
  • Better spin and short game performance

 

Performance Scoring Summary

perf summary.png

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Hi guys, the member testing preconceptions post has been added. Special thanks to all testers for getting these to me promptly - and my apologies, this has taken me longer than I'd anticipated to get collated. Do let us know your thoughts on Srixon, and I'm sure the testers will chime in with some personal anecdotes as testing continues!

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As soon as I got the balls I went straight to my garage to hot some putts and get a feel for the Srixon Z Star XV. The cover was very soft and felt very good off the putter. I spent about 2 hours over the next 3 days testing it side by side with every ball I had on hand. This ball was the softest feeling ball. It was very soft be still have great feedback.

 

After that I went out and played a round by myself and I played 2 balls for the entire round. I also hit a the ProV1x side by side to see if there was a difference in distance. On every hole I also picked a yardage inside 125 yards and hit several shots with the Z Star XV and Pro V1x.

 

I don't want to get to much into detail but the XV spun like crazy and was still as long as the ProV1x. On 1 hole I hit 2 identical drives they both traveled 309yards and were 5ft apart. I didn't notice any real distance difference between the 2 balls.

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Upon receiving the Z Star-XV I also started out hitting putts.  I hit the XV side by side with a ProVx1.  I also compared it to the older version of the XV.  The new version certainly seems to feel better than the older version and it clearly felt comparable to the ProVx1.  I would have no problems from a putting stand point in using this ball. I was certainly excited to get this ball out on the course.

 

I generally have too much spin with my driver and 3 wood.  So, I was hoping that this ball would have a little less spin on the long game.  I really like the trajectory of this ball off the driver.  While I didn't hit any 309 yards like KCLeo12, they certainly have good distance and are easily as long as the ProVx1.  They also seem to have very good spin with the short irons and wedges. More details on that later.  I also have been going out after work and hitting a lot of chips and pitches to see how it performs around the green. I must admit I have been a little bit surprised by that in a good way.  

 

One of my main concerns with playing a "tour" ball is the lack of durability. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by what appears to be an increase in durability with this ball.  I will give more details on this soon and will provide some pictures.  

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I am typically a high spin player also and was worried about the same thing. Durability is a big factor for me because I tend to hit a lot of wedges. The durability was way beyond what I expected for a ball that feels so soft

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Ditto to all that. I'm hitting the Z-Star and have found it to be soft, long, and generally indestructible. I've got 3 rounds in with the same first sleeve, and after a wipedown, they still look almost new. Eerie in a way. I finally lost one on the 17th into a weed patch of no return.

I'm not hitting them 309 either, haha, but they are giving me 250-270 all day long. This durability might be a problem because people won't need to buy anymore balls!

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I magically got a 25% off code from GolfNow for Cleveland/Srixon so I just stocked up with 4 dozen XV's. These will be my ball of choice for the year.

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I am testing the Z-star version.  And I am comparing these to the Callaway Hex Tour.Black.  I will be posting my detailed thoughts soon, but right now I must say I am really enjoying these balls compared to the Callaway.  The main difference I have noticed to date is the feel and sound.  The Srixon is much more solid, heavy (if that is the right description) feeling.  All shots - driver, irons, chips, and putts are just more satisfying to hit.

 

Comparing a few on course shots, I found the Z-star to be longer for me off the irons and fairways, but not the driver.  It almost looked like I didn't get enough spin with the driver.  I'll be looking into this much more closely as I continue the testing.

 

Around the green, I find the ball reacts very predictably in regards to spin.  Played off my back foot, the ball comes out low and rolls a good way.  Played off my front foot, it comes off high with much more spin - drop, and trickle out a few feet.

 

So far, very happy with the performance of the ball and one I would easily game.  More to come.

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Good Luck guys!  I am hoping to read about the differences between the new Z Star and the previous Generation Z Star. I played a dozen last summer and really liked how they felt coming off the club.

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Hula Rock that would be my baby. Thanks I live the finish on it

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I was able to play 18 holes this weekend with the Z-Star.  I'll provide all the details with the official write-up, but long story short - I would 100% play this ball with just the slightest of reservations.  From putter to driver and every club in between, the ball performs just about as expected, with a great feel being to me its #1 attribute.  My only slight reservation is overall driver distance.  I need to get to a launch monitor to see if the launch angle or spin is on the low side, and causing the ball to fall out of the air too quickly.  There were just a few drives where I was sure I hit it great, but the distance ended up around 245 - 255, and I expected 265 - 275.

 

Let me know if you all have any questions for me.

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I was able to play 18 holes this weekend with the Z-Star.  I'll provide all the details with the official write-up, but long story short - I would 100% play this ball with just the slightest of reservations.  From putter to driver and every club in between, the ball performs just about as expected, with a great feel being to me its #1 attribute.  My only slight reservation is overall driver distance.  I need to get to a launch monitor to see if the launch angle or spin is on the low side, and causing the ball to fall out of the air too quickly.  There were just a few drives where I was sure I hit it great, but the distance ended up around 245 - 255, and I expected 265 - 275.

 

Let me know if you all have any questions for me.

Maybe the kids are wearing you out. :)

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Maybe the kids are wearing you out. :)

Without a doubt - that is a given!

 

We are all headed over to Innisbrook today to check out the Pros.  Very laid back there on Tuesday, they usually get a bunch of autographs.

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Nice! We're going on Friday. Jerry Kelly actually came over and had a lengthy conversation with Penny a couple of years ago. They mainly talked about the proper way of grilling brats and school. He has a daughter around her age and is from Wisconsin. The PGA gets how important it is to cater to its fan base.

 

This year we have to get out and play Damon! My league starts in a few weeks and since its individual we are allowed to bring guests so long as there is another league player in the group. Any Tuesday that you could make it just let me know. We can tee off any time from 230 to 530.

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I finally got away from my hectic life long enough to play a round with the new Z-Star ball. All I can say is that I am impressed. The ball performed as expected on full shots with wedges and short irons, with the occasional "Hot Shot" that went 10-15 yards longer than expected. (This could be attributed to my lack of playing time). Soft feel on iron shots, but a quite firm, almost hard feel off of the driver.

 

The thing that struck me was the durability. I played one ball for all 18 holes, and the thing looks like it just came out of the box.

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