What you need to know: Srixon’s Z-Star lineup, a family of three multi-layer urethane-covered touring balls, gets a full update for 2023. The majority of the changes focus on how the core of the three balls changes in stiffness. The softer Z-Star is designed for the approach shot and maximum greenside spin, the firmer Z-Star (Diamond) aims to control iron spin and distance while the Z-Star XV blends a softer center core with a very stiff outer zone for maximum speed ball for the most aggressive swing speed.
price: $48 per dozen. The Z-Star, Z-Star ♦ (Diamond), and Z-Star XV will be available on February 15th. Z-Star Divide / Z-Star XV Divide is available April 14th.
3 great things
1. An inside story. The three Z-Star balls have modified their cores to improve performance and the differences between them. It’s all about the way the cores are processed and the specific recipes for rubber and other elements that activate certain sections. In general, the cores of multi-layered urethane-covered golf balls get firmer as they move from a softer center. The degree of this progression from soft to firm, and how severe the difference between the softer and firmer parts of the core determines how the ball will play and feel. Z-Star balls benefit from new core formulations under the company’s FastLayer DG name, but each takes a distinct approach to this package evolution.
The standard Z-Star features a lighter core center and outer section while being stiffer and softer than the other stiffest ball sections. However, it is more powerful than previous versions in an effort to increase the potential distance. This overall soft compression means the Z-Star will feel soft, but the way the core compresses a hard intermediate layer between the cap and core helps create more spin on approach shots and putting green.
The Z-Star XV, which was a dual-core design for greater distance by increasing stiffness in that outer core, became a single-core design. This switching is possible due to the new FastLayer DG core, which allows for a greater difference in the hardness of the outer edges of the core compared to the softer center. Intrinsically new core formula allows the Z-Star XV to achieve ball speed and distance for higher swing speeds the way a dual-core ball might but with a more efficient single-core design.
2. External borders. The three balls again use a pattern of 338 faders on the cover. Its deep dimensional bores are designed for increased lift later in flight to maintain load distance, as well as an overall more penetrating trajectory.
The cover also features a sixth generation shell coating designed to provide more grip for short shots. Known as Spin Skin+, the chemical enhancement of the urethane coating changes the molecular structure to create stronger, more flexible molecular bonds that give the effect. In practice, Srixon research indicates that the coating gives the cap more traction, allowing the urethane to get into the grooves more easily on wedge and iron shots for higher spin.
3. Which one is for me? The Z-Star XV has the thinnest housing and the strongest compression. It targets high-speed players who focus on distance. The standard Z-Star has lower compression and a 20 percent thicker hood (0.6 mm versus 0.5 mm on the XV). It may be the best choice for players who demand the most spin around their greens, and compared to the XV, should offer more than 10 percent more spin on the shortest chips. Meanwhile, the Z-Star Diamond offers a housing the same thickness as the high-revving Z-Star but with similar overall pressure and stability to the Z-Star XV, to help increase distance. Srixon internal testing indicates there’s about eight percent more spin on the shortest shots compared to the XV, but about 100 rpm less spin on those same shots compared to the standard Z-Star.
Once again, the Z-Star lineup will offer the standard model and XV in a two-tone Divide pattern that splits the sphere between half white and half yellow. The idea behind Divide is to help golfers see the spin better, as well as provide a 360-degree aiming line where the two colors meet.