In case you haven't noticed, Keegan Bradley is crushing the ball this year. And while the PGA Tour's driving distance stats aren't the most accurate in terms of summarizing a player's raw power, it's safe to say that Bradley and few others on the PGA Tour are hitting shots longer and straighter than ever. How, you ask? Well, the new Srixon Z-Star balls (srixon.com) most definitely have something to do with it.
Z-STAR XV When the first Z-Star XV hit the shelves in 2011, they were designed as a lower-spinning option to the Z-Star. That comparison still holds true, but the newer version has some more playability than before. The XV, which incorporates a four-piece, double-core design, spins more than the original and actually flies longer, especially if you're a player with a fast swingspeed. It's also a great ball for golfers who tend to balloon their shots with too much spin off the tee, as the XV works wonders at providing the much desired penetrating ballflight. Available in Pure White and Tour Yellow, the Z-Star XV is quite possibly our favorite ball that Srixon has ever made. It's crazy long, too.
Z-STAR The three-piece Z-Star remains Srixon's top ball for maximum shotmaking playability. Srixon also makes a point (as seen in the cantankerous commercials with Graeme McDowell in an MMA fighting ring) by letting everyone know that the company's Tour Performance balls are better suited for the better player. Well, we want to agree with that, but these balls are just too darn good to be overlooked by golfers afraid to use a Tour-caliber ball. The "Energy Gradient Growth Core," combined with a soft Urethane cover (there's also a midlayer in there), provides a buttery soft feel with every club, including the putter. According to Srixon, this year's version is both longer and spins more than the previous iteration, making it a popular choice for players who like added versatility around the greens. Sometimes we wished the 2011 version spun more on short shots, and the folks at Srixon obviously heard our call. We've tried these balls and contend that they have as much bite as any ball we've tried–ever. That's a good thing, especially for players who want added control from inside 100 yards.
Excited yet? You should be. Having tried these balls already, we can safely say these are the best high-performance balls we've ever tested from Srixon. If you're not convinced, just watch Keegan Bradley hit a few drives and G-Mac knock it stiff from 100 yards. You'll see what we mean.
SPECS Z-Star • 3-piece construction, 90 compression • New 344-dimple pattern, upgraded from 324 dimples • Spin Skin Urethane Cover • Available in Pure White and Tour Yellow MSRP: $44.95/dozen
Z-Star XV • 4-piece construction, 100 compression • New 344-dimple pattern, upgraded from 324 dimples • Spin Skin Urethane Cover • Available in Pure White and Tour Yellow MSRP: $44.95/dozenSPIN SKIN
If we could give an award for our favorite product name, Spin Skin would certainly take home the prize. It's not just a great name, though. The new Spin Skin cover technology actually improves the friction between the club and the ball (up to 20 percent) by penetrating deeper into the grooves. The resulting effect is more spin and control with your shorter shots. Now, you can't see the Spin Skin, but trust us, you'll feel and see the results after just a few shots. The ball feels like it sticks to the clubface for a boost in spin.
As for how they make it, do you really think Srixon would share their secret? Of course not. The formula for this high-tech cover is probably locked away in a high-security vault. Lucky for you, though, hitting great shots with golf balls featuring Spin Skin technology doesn't require you to know what it's made of.