Getting fit for all 14 clubs in your bag is important, but if you're going to spend the time dialing in your sticks, you should also consider going through the same process with your golf ball.
When it comes to ball testing, there are plenty of popular methods involving drivers and launch monitors. While there's no such thing as a tried-and-true method for all players, finding the right ball usually comes down to a number of determining factors, including skill level and player preference (i.e. whether you're willing to sacrifice a little distance for greenside spin).
Regardless of the ball fitting process you choose, Srixon Golf's brand manager, Chris Beck, said it's important to figure out where your game is before you select a particular model.
"You have to look at your game and see how a golf ball will help you get to that next level," Beck said. "When it comes to fitting, I take a holistic approach. You hear about fitting from the green back or the tee forward, but I feel like they are all important. We have to understand a golfer's game and what attributes of the ball are going to propel them to be better."
For players currently using a Srixon ball or those considering it as a possible option during the fitting process, the company offers three different performance models: Tour, All-Ability, and Game Improvement.
"We stress a balance of performance with our golf balls," said Michael Ross, Srixon Golf's product manager. "I've worked with countless amateurs who played a Tour ball because they thought the greenside performance would help them around the green.
"But the problem was by the time they got to the green they were lying six or seven. That was because off the tee they were playing a ball with a lot of spin or sidespin. So they weren't playing it out of the fairway off the tee which was costing them strokes."
Z-Star and Z-Star XV
Currently used by Hideki Matsuyama, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and J.B. Holmes, Srixon's three-piece Z-Star (90 compression) and four-piece Z-Star XV (105 compression) balls are geared for better players with swing speeds ranging from 90 to 105 miles per hour.
"This ball is built for our Tour-caliber player who's a little bit more discerning," said Beck. "For this type of player they're looking to fine-tune their game and how they can enhance distance off the tee or greenside performance with some greater spin control."
Z-Star is a distance-oriented ball while Z-Star XV offers an improved level of greenside spin. Both utilize a Energetic Gradient Growth core that launches the ball higher and with less spin, along with the company's SpinSkin technology — a unique molecular coating structure on the urethane cover that improves greenside spin by increasing friction between the ball and club surface by 20 percent.
The larger 324 Speed Dimple design reduces air resistance to maintain consistent ball speeds. The pattern produces a more penetrating trajectory and greater stability in the wind.
For the mid-handicapper, Srixon's all-ability Q-Star delivers a combination of durability, distance and greenside performance for the golfer with a swing speed of more than 75 miles per hour.
"It combines the best of both golf balls into one," Beck said. "It gets really good control with low spin off the tee, and then we've added SpinSkin to the ball to help with greenside performance. It's doesn't spin to the point where you'll create a lot of sidespin, but it won't knuckle either. It's a great way to get to the next level."
To improve greenside performance (more spin), Srixon added second-generation SpinSkin technology that's 21 percent softer than the previous version. In addition to being softer, the unique molecular coating structure produces 18 percent more friction than its predecessor.
The ball comes with a larger Energetic Gradient Growth core that gets progressively firmer as you go from the center to the outside of the core for reduced spin and an improved launch.
To reduce aerodynamic drag, the dimple pattern was also reduced from 344 large dimples to a 324 Speed Dimple pattern that combines higher dimple uniformity and surface coverage. The new pattern creates increased distance and better performance in a variety wind conditions.
And then there's Srixon's game improvement Soft Feel ball for the high-handicapper. Designed for moderate swing speeds, the low compression ball launches high with low spin and has a soft 71 compression core formulation that offers distance and feel.
The low compression design also delivers a high MOI, which leads to greater accuracy on miss-hits. A 344 Aero Power dimple design gives the ball a penetrating trajectory with higher lift force, improving carry and distance numbers.
"When I'm looking at a game-improvement golf ball, the performance of that golf ball is typically going to be lower spin, a little bit straighter and more distance oriented," Beck said. "Someone who's going to benefit from that ball is a higher-handicap player who has trouble finding the fairway."
Regardless of the ball that best suits your game, Beck noted it's important to settle on a particular model before you start testing a new driver or set of irons.
"For me, I feel like you choose a ball that does A, B and C for me that's going to help me get better. Once I know what kind of ball that should be, I'll go and get fit for my clubs, and from there I'll dial in the spin and trajectory on the equipment. You hit every shot with that golf ball, so you want to dial in those characteristics."
While most players stick with the same ball for an extended period of time, Beck also stressed that the company's current lineup has three difference models for a reason. As you get progressively better, there will likely come a point where it makes sense to try the next ball in the lineup.
"We believe that if you're playing the right ball for your category, it's going to get you to that next level," Beck said. "At that point, you can consider changing balls. For instance, if you're playing an all-ability ball like Q-Star, maybe you get to a point where you're shooting better and need something like Z-Star or Z-Star XV that you can work more with your irons to hit, say, a tucked back pin."