The Equipment Insider

Srixon dials in on ball riddle

Creating a golf ball that has the right combination of spin , along with softness for feel purposes, is an ongoing head scratcher that Srixon may have gotten closer to figuring out with its Z-Star line

The conundrum for golf ball manufacturers is how to create low spin for distance, high spin for short shots and still keep the feel soft enough to be attractive to most golfers. Srixon believes it has solved the riddle with its Z-Star and Z-Star XV.

Both Z-Star balls are played on the professional tours, with the XV being the firmer of the two and designed for higher swing speeds.

The Z-Star starts with Srixon’s FastLayer core, which is designed to be soft in the center and firm around the edges, which company officials say provides both feel and maximum performance. The Z-Star is a three-piece ball and the Z-Star XV is a four-piece construction with a smaller inner core and a larger outer core.

Srixon Z-Star XV
Srixon's latest evolution of the golf ball are the Z-Star and Z-Star XV offerings. The main difference, according to Jeff Brunski, Srixon vice president of research and development, is compression — 90 and 102, respectively.

“The primary difference between the Z-Star and the Z-Star XV is compression,” said Jeff Brunski, Srixon vice president of research and development. “Both balls have a soft urethane cover; both balls feature our FastLayer core; both balls have a very low drag dimple pattern; and both balls feature our Spin Skin coating technology. The key difference is that the XV is tuned for the fastest swing speed players out there.”

Some testing shows that soft means slow, but Brunski says that speed depends on the way the ball is built.

“Not all golf balls that are a certain compression perform in exactly the same manner,” Brunski said. “A golf ball can be made to 50 or 80 or 100 compression in many different ways; the number of layers, the thickness of each layer, and the stiffness of each layer all combine to create some final overall compression.

“Srixon ball engineers can design a ball to be as fast as possible while still feeling soft by tuning all of these various layers.”

On the outside is Srixon’s version of a urethane cover that Brunski says is the best of all possible worlds.

“Srixon golf balls feature some of the thinnest, softest, and most durable urethane covers in the entire market,” he said. “These three properties are the biggest keys to delivering performance from tee to green.

Srixon Z-Star XV white
The Srixon Z-Star XV ball is firmer than its Z-Star counterpart and designed for higher swing speeds. Both golf balls, though, are played on professional tours.

“It’s probably a little too complicated to explain briefly — not to mention confidential — but the Srixon difference comes down to material engineering and manufacturing capabilities. We use a unique recipe of chemicals to fine-tune our urethane, and unique processes are required to manufacture such a thin and consistent cover.”

To add spin on short irons and shots around the green, Srixon adds its Spin Skin technology, which a very thin but flexible coating on the urethane cover. Brunski says that Spin Skin helps produce more friction with higher-lofted clubs that creates more spin.

“While Srixon and most other manufacturers try to make very soft covers, Spin Skin is an additional technology that produces even more greenside control and durability,” Brunski said.

The final piece of technology on the Z-Star balls is the 338 Speed Dimple pattern. Brunski says that dimples are used for two things: to alter the trajectory of a ball higher or lower and to help the ball fly through the air with less resistance. The 338 Speed Dimple pattern is primarily designed for the latter.

“It is an extremely low drag dimple pattern,” he said. “This makes the ball longer for golfers of all swing speeds. It also makes the ball more stable in crosswinds and therefore less likely to blow offline. The Speed Dimple pattern is one of the key reasons why some of the longest hitters in the game — players like Cameron Champ — prefer the Srixon ball.”

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