The reality of this review is that I never expected to be able to post this review until sometime in April or May. The testing begun right after the PGA Show ended in Orlando when I managed to play some golf. Little did I realize up here in Niagara Falls (on the good side) we would experience another freakish winter that would allow golf in February and March. So without further delay it’s time to get down to business.
While attending the PGA Show this year there were a few companies on my short list that I wanted to visit. Among those companies was Srixon/Cleveland/XXIO Golf. To be honest, it was their range of golf clubs for 2017 that I wanted to see in person. I had been completely enamored with the pictures that were getting posted on their social media outlets. Of course, I would swing their clubs but this review as you can see by the title is about their range of golf balls for the 2017 season.
While visiting their booth on the floor of the Orange County Convention Center I “swung” by their booth hoping to discuss opportunities for my blog. This was when I was introduced to Marketing Communications Associate Noelle Zavaleta. The show is a really busy time (as one might expect) for representatives of all of the companies in attendance.But when you have unscheduled people (like myself) dropping by trying to discuss business it just adds a little more pressure to the day. So I spoke to Ms. Zavaleta for a few minutes explaining who I was and what I do and I walked away with a “fitting pack” of golf balls (think of it as an appetizer sampler from Applebee’s) that Srixon Golf was bringing to the market in 2017.
My experience using Srixon Golf balls prior to this review was fairly limited. I did use the AD333 and Soft Feel balls on a few occasions. Generally speaking, these balls were either found on the course or in a range bucket (no they never ended up in the bag). As time wore on I would eventually put optic yellow Z Star golf balls into play during a few Mini-Tour events. Ultimately, it was experimentation trying to settle on a golf ball that made me try them in the first place. I did like the Z Star then but how about the now? Before continuing on let’s talk about what balls they are offering this year.
In 2017, Srixon Golf are offering three new and/or improved golf balls which includes new and improved versions of the Z Star and Z Star XV but also being released this season is the Q Star Tour. As you might recollect the Q Star was released a few years ago and received pretty good fanfare. Coming to think of it… I dabbled with the Q Star as well. But when I was informed that there was a Q Star Tour coming out by Ms. Zavaleta I was extremely intrigued. I think my eyes widened when she told me about them. Below I will give a brief summary of the balls offered by Srixon with the use of some of their literature.
Q Star Tour – Q Star Tour is being touted as a ball that offers golfers “tour technology for moderate swing speed golfers”. Features of the Q Star Tour include “3-piece construction, urethane cover, 324 Aerodynamic Speed Dimple Pattern, lower compression, Spin Skin Technology coating and a softer energetic gradient growth core”. More on the Spin Skin Technology in a little bit.
Z Star – Is designed for players that demand tour-validated technology and exceptional control. This ball features a 3-piece construction with a new Energetic Gradient Growth Core and a softer, highly elastic Spin Skin Coating. The compression of the Z Star is 88 which has been reduced from 90. This is a higher launch with lower spin ball that has a 338 Speed Dimple Pattern.
Z Star XV – The Z Star XV is geared towards the player looking for tour-validated technology and exceptional distance. It’s 4-piece construction features a dual Energetic Gradient Growth Core. The Z Star XV is a golf ball that has a compression rating of 105. The XV also has the 338 Speed Dimple Pattern.
Iron approach spin of the Z Star XV on full display.
At this time, I feel that I should explain the Speed Dimple Pattern and Spin Skin Technology a little more. The Speed Dimple Pattern employed in the Z Star series of golf ball actually features a pattern that consists of five different dimple sizes which contributes to a longer ball flight. The Spin Skin Technology is technology that Srixon Golf R&D developed that made the already soft urethane cover… softer. The softer cover allows irons and wedges alike the ability to deform into the groove upon impact. I believe that it was at the 2015 PGA Show Demo Day where they exhibited the new Spin Skin Technology. Srixon had a machine that featured three Z Star and three of another top brand’s tour level golf ball. As the machine pivoted back and forth the Spin Skin proved that it had a stickier cover than the competitor.
So testing of these golf balls started during a round at The Heights at Cleveland Heights in Lakeland, Florida. The greens at the course featured greens that were firm and had a hint of “hump” like so many golf courses built in the 1920’s. I tested all 3 Srixon golf balls on the practice green before my round of golf begun. Initial observations at this point were inconclusive only because I wasn’t chipping or pitching very well at all. As a matter of fact I was “flipping” a little bit giving none of the balls a fair chance. The first differences I noticed however was with the putter. Over the course of stroking several putts (without identifying the ball first) I was able to identify each ball as it was putted by feel. There is no doubt the Q Star Tour felt the least firm and the Z Star XV was the most firm. At the risk of sounding like “Goldilocks” the Z Star was right in between and was… “just right”? Either way, I was able to tell the difference with the putter. As the testing progressed onto the course I was getting a really good idea of their respective performance. From a distance perspective, in my initial findings I found that the Q Star Tour was the longest of the bunch and I attribute that fact to the fact that is was softer and had a more distance-ball type of number when it came to the lesser amount of dimples.When it came time to compare the three different models against each other I struggled to see the Z Star XV hold on the small firm greens. The Q Star Tour would land and have a little bit of rollout however the Z Star was a “star”. My conclusion as I left Florida was that I definitely needed to do further testing to form a solid opinion. But the Q Star Tour was definitely worth my intrigue.
Appetizers from left to right. Z Star XV, Z Star and Q Star Tour
As the geography, course type and temperatures switched to late February and early March in Niagara Falls testing would continue. I would play golf at a local course called St. David’s Golf Course which tries to stay open year-round if possible. In the days and weeks upon arriving home I grasped the opportunity to play fairly often while further testing the range from Srixon. On a few days I saw temperatures that never got above 3*C (34*F). However, I got some warmer weather as well when temps reached 15*C (59*F). Essentially, over the course of a month and a bit I was able to conduct testing in every type of weather. Including one day where we had sustained 40 mph winds gusting to 50 mph. My level of appreciation for these golf balls from Srixon was at an all-time high. Below I will summarize my findings over the course of these rounds with a ball by ball breakdown.
Q Star Tour – I was very impressed with the distance of the Q Star Tour golf ball. The feel off of the driver was “responsive” and yielded great results. The Q Star Tour is a distance ball with serious tour-level characteristics. The feel off of the putter was soft and the greenside spin was evident. The Q Star Tour for the most part exhibits a little bit of rollout on approaches with irons but does stop and drop with wedges. I would say compared to other golf balls of similar type and the same price point of $29.99 USD the Q Star Tour is at or near the top of its category.
Time to get my Srix-On.
Z Star XV – The Z Star XV as mentioned is a little more firm with its compression rating of 105. Earlier during testing I observed that the XV was “heavy” or felt as such with the driver. I would lighten up on my thoughts and I felt “indifferent” towards the feel off of the driver. Off of the metalwoods and irons I really liked the feel of the XV. Where the XV really shined was in the hardcore winds that I played in. You would think that with the amount of wind that I was playing in it would wreak havoc with the ball staying on line. This was not the case with XV. I was blown away (pardon the pun) by how well it held its line. I remember hitting an 8 iron from just inside 100 yds (4.5 club quartering wind). Expecting the shot to hang up in the wind and be blown to the right of the green I was shocked to see the ball land where it did. Yes the ball moved left to right but I was shocked to see it land beyond the green right over the flagstick. The XV proved to be great in the wind. I became more impressed the last time out with the XV when on a Par 3 from 168 (into the teeth of a 3 club wind) I struck a 5 iron and the shot never wavered an inch. I saw the ball land real close to the pin and when I got up to my shot there was my XV a mere 24″ from the hole. The ball came to rest not even 18″ from the mark. I was quite happy with the approach spin of the Z Star XV. The XV exhibits great distance, holds its line very well in tough conditions and is decent around the greens. With the putter XV is a little more firm than I prefer. There was one blemish that the XV had during testing. It was the fact that the cover on this particular ball wasn’t durable. It had a blemish but the effect of said blemish versus playability wasn’t noticeable. In recreational play it wouldn’t have come out of play. In competition however it would have been replaced and added to the shag bag. I feel that this might have been an anomaly.
Z Star XV… the only blemish on the ball?
Z Star – The Z Star was almost as impressive when dealing with the tough, windy conditions that I described above. I would suggest that it might have ballooned a touch higher in the wind. That said, by no means am I suggesting that the Z Star ballooned excessively leading to distance loss. I absolutely loved the feel of the Z Star off of all clubs especially driver. I thought that the Z Star was terrific in terms of distance and I thought that the Z Star was every bit as good as the XV was in terms of distance. I teed off on a short Par 4 with water right at the end of a dogleg using a hybrid expecting it to land well short of the water. I was shocked when it had hit the water 230 yards later. It was a hurting left to right quartering wind. I have always preferred softer golf balls and the Z Star was my preferred ball of the Z Star series. The combination of the lower compression and my forged irons was “addictive” in terms of feel. The control of the Z Star was TERRIFIC. Even when I bladed a wedge from 115 yds the Z Star held the green leaving me a birdie putt. That shot should have been well off of the back of the green and out-of-bounds. It was at this point that I dubbed the Z Star the “Stroke Saver”. Greenside spin is tremendous as it proved time and time again never failing to check up and stop. Off of the putter the Z Star was perfect. For my purposes, the Z Star is the best of the three from Srixon.
***Z Star and Z Star XV have an MSRP of $39.99/dozen
No matter which ball you choose from Srixon this year you cannot go wrong. There is a reason why Srixon golf balls have wins worldwide on the various professional tours. Honestly, when it comes to choosing a golf ball from Srixon it really depends on what your budget is and which ball addresses your needs best. Please check out Srixon Golf for more information. #JourneyToBetter #PlayABetterBall
Stopping power of the Q Star Tour.
Until The Next Tee!