Srixon ball launch time means it’s time to catch up with the engaging Jeff Brunski, R&D Director of Srixon, to talk about the new 2017 Z-Star balls and the technology behind them.
What are the differences between the new Z-Star and Z-Star XV and the previous versions?
There are three key differences that end up producing more spin around the green and a little more distance off the tee.
One of the major new innovations is the dimple pattern found on both the Z-Star and the Z-Star XV. The 338 dimple pattern is the lowest drag dimple pattern that we have made and drag is always your enemy for distance, you want as low a drag as possible.
The dimple pattern tends to give a little bit of glide in the second half of the flight. The lift co-efficient, which is the technical term for that, keeps the ball in the air a little longer giving players a little more distance.
We also have a new Next Generation Spin Skin. In addition to the very soft urethane cover on the ball, which is injected into the mould, the Spin Skin is a coating, also made from urethane, which provides an additional layer of soft material to create friction and spin. This is the softest generation Spin Skin we have made and not only does it generate spin it makes the golf ball extremely durable.
When you say it is a softer Spin Skin, how is the material deemed to be softer?
Essentially, you can measure material hardness in a variety of laboratory settings, which gives an objective measurement that tells us it is softer. It is actually the result of bonding and we have some interesting information on chemical and material engineering available on our website for people who are interested in that.
The third thing that is new in this generation of the balls is that the Z-Star has been made a little bit softer in terms of compression, going from a 90 compression to an 88 compression, which means that it feels a little softer, it is going to launch a little higher and spin a little less.
So if you are someone with high swing speed who struggles to keep the ball straight the Z-Star is going to produce efficient launch conditions and be straighter for you because of that little bit lower compression.
The Z-Star XV has been cooked in the core to produce as much distance as possible. As an engineer I worry about saying something is the longest golf ball in golf because it depends on conditions and different player types, but realistically when you get this on a launch monitor it has more ball speed than anything out there, and this is what this is focused on, extreme distance.
Why did you decide to make the Z-Star a bit softer?
In general our Tour players are looking for two types of performance. One is maximum greenside control, spin with the irons on approach with a softer feel and then there are other guys who are looking for every bit of distance they can get and are will to trade off some of the soft feel to get that.
So we try to create two separate offerings to satisfy that and in this generation taking the compression of the Z-Star down a little bit helps to achieve that.
So you haven’t taken the compression down in the Z-Star XV?
No, it is 105 compression, the same as the previous generation, but the core structure is pretty significantly different. All Srixon golf balls have E.G.G. core technology (Energetic Gradient Growth) which goes from softer to firmer within the same component, so with the XV we have got a larger and softer inner core and we have cooked the external core a little bit. I haven’t really been getting into that stuff too much because the average golfer wants to know what the ball can do for their game and with the XV what we have been able to do is with the same compression give people more ball speed.
When you say you have “cooked” the core, what do you mean?
That is not a technical term, but is really what we do. We put the core through a temperature process within a vacuum chamber, with a proscribed recipe of temperature, how it goes up in temperature and cures and then comes down in temperature, which gives you different properties in different regions of the core.
So as well as the Z-Star balls you have also released the Q-Star Tour in the USA?
Yes this is the Q-Star Tour golf ball. There is still the Q-Star in the market which is our 2-piece golf ball for average swing speed players, but what we have done is taken the same approach of wanting to target a golf ball that works for the average player, but give it Tour performance.
This means that this is now a 3-piece golf ball with a Tour urethane cover so the spin around the greens is very similar to the Z-Star and Z-Star XV but the golf ball compression is 75 so your average swing speed player is going to get efficient launch conditions from that. It is particularly high launching on the irons which helps you get more distance from your irons.
As it is softer on the driver and on irons it is going to launch a little higher and spin a little less, which helps accuracy and it helps a lot of average players who spin the ball too much of the driver and the irons.
Around the greens do you expect it to spin as much as the Z-Star?
It does. We have done independent testing with all of our golf balls and although in the US the Q-Star Tour retails at only $29.99, it is spinning nearly as much as golf balls that are selling at $45 or more, so it is great value as the performance around the greens is worthy of that Tour name.
Why would people then go for the Z-Star over the Q-Star Tour?
I think the Q-Star Tour is going to have a very wide appeal. Not everyone should be playing a Tour level golf ball and I recommend that everybody should try the Q-Star Tour and see how much straighter it is and how much higher it makes their iron shots. So at only $29.99 there is great reason to go up to that level if you are currently playing a golf ball that is $24.99 with a cover made of harder materials, you will instantly notice the different feel around the greens.
But if you are demanding maximum performance and what maximum greenside control, you have high swing speed and are a single figure handicap player, that is when I think you would move up into the Z-Star and Z-Star XV.
What do you think about the Kirkland Signature golf ball and the impact it made in the market, even though it appears to have been a one off?
Without talking too much about that specific golf ball is what it tells me and what it tells consumers is that you don’t have to pay more than $30 for Tour like performance. I am not saying the Kirkland ball has that or has not, I will reserve judgement and let people draw their own conclusions, but from a Srixon offering we are providing a pretty amazing value with the Q-Star Tour.
We are trying to be aggressive with the pricing, we know the performance is there, Srixon golf balls have won more global Tour events in the last few years than any other brand except for one. These golf balls have performance there is no question, but if we want to get aggressive particularly in the US we are going to get aggressive with the pricing and give golfers a reason to experience that level of performance.
So with the Q-Star pricing you are moving into AD333 territory?
Yes sub $30 dollars, so moving towards AD333. There are actually golf balls on the market that are more expensive than this that are just generic two piece golf balls. These balls will give you more control around the green and from the rough that is a big difference.
With a three piece golf ball it is hard to explain what you get out of it by adding an extra layer but on a launch monitor it gives you a better combination of the things that give you distance. Ball speed, high launch and low spin.
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