Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV golf balls

Srixon is updating its Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV golf balls for summer 2013.

Srixon announced that updated versions of the Z-Star and Z-Star XV will arrive in stores Aug. 8.

According to Chris Beck, Srixon's brand manager, the new balls, which will retail for $44.99 per dozen, have been upgraded in three key ways.

1. A new dimple pattern. The number of dimples on the new three-piece Z-Star and four-piece Z-Star XV has been increased from 324 to 344, and more than 90 percent dimple-coverage has been achieved. The number of different sized dimples, however, has been decreased. Beck says there are only four sizes of dimples on the balls.

"The combination of those two things is actually making a more aerodynamic golf ball," Beck said. "Now, in our testing, we are seeing that the actual pinnacle of the ball flight is extended outward, more downrange, than it was in the previous model. This is equating to about a yard-and-a-half more distance."

2. A new outer coating. Along with the new dimple pattern, the Z-Star and Z-Star XV now have a new coating on the outside of the ball that Srixon calls Spin Skin.

"It's actually a soft, urethane coating that goes on the outside of the new dimple design," Beck said. "It penetrates the grooves a little bit better to give you more spin on short shots."

Spin Skin has produced other benefits, too.

"Our Tour players are reporting to us that they're seeing fewer fliers in the rough," Beck said. "We didn't see that in our initial testing, but it's exciting to see that because of this new, soft coating, they're getting more predictable performance."

Beck attributes the improved performance in the rough to the ball's coating grabbing the clubface more effectively and resulting in more predictability.

3. An enhanced core. "Every year we're trying to make a softer-compression golf ball play like a firmer golf ball, as far as distance is concerned," Beck said. "The softer the ball, the less spin it's going to have [off the tee], but we like the ball speed of a firmer ball."

To make that a reality, the inner core of the Z-Star is designed to be very soft and gradually gets firmer toward the outside. Though Srixon previously used this core technology, Beck says the company has refined it and improved it.

The compression of the Z-Star XV, which is designed for faster-swinging players who want to reduce driver spin, is 104. Because the new, 90-compression Z-Star actually plays soft enough to meet the needs of many slower-swing golfers that want to launch the ball higher off the tee, Srixon is discontinuing the 80-compression Z-Star SL.

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