Both are two-piece ionomer-covered balls priced to move at $22.99 per dozen. Both releases report a compression of 60 for the standard model and 58 for the Soft Feel Lady version. And both tout a “new” FastLayer core that is Srixon’s softest yet. Even the cover thickness—or in Srixon’s case, we should say “thinness”—is the same.
Even the Soft Feel Brite colors are the same: matte red, matte green and matte orange.
So what’s new and/or different?
It’s hard to say. But we can say OEMs don’t spend a lot of time, energy, effort or money pumping innovation into two-piece ionomer-covered balls that sell for $22.99. Any innovation is usually trickle-down stuff from the next tier or two of golf balls.
Srixon Soft Feel – Lucky 13?
It’s nice when a product’s name places said product’s chief attribute front and center. If you want a ball with “soft feel”, well …
This is the 13th generation of Srixon’s Soft Feel which sits squarely with the Wilson DUO Soft and a handful of other pillow-soft balls in that affordable price range. As mentioned, the Srixon Soft Feel is a little firmer than the DUO Soft (60 versus 45) and, like Wilson, relies on core changes to differentiate the 2023 version from the previous model.
Srixon’s signature core technology is called FastLayer. Srixon is a subdivision of Sumitomo Rubber Industries (the SRI is Srixon). And like its Japanese rubber brother from another mother, Bridgestone, Srixon has engineers capable of some interesting rubber-core wizardry. By adjusting curing temperatures, Fastlayer cores are mushy-soft in the middle and get increasingly firm toward the outside.
The end result is the very rough equivalent of a multi-piece core but in one much easier-to-manufacture piece.
Thin Covers and Spin
Srixon routinely makes the thinnest covers in golf, whether in urethane or ionomer. The standard Srixon Soft Feel cover is 0.063 inches (Z-Star covers are 0.02). In theory, a firm outer core layer pinching against a soft, thin cover is what creates greenside spin. In the case of the Srixon Soft Feel, it’s nowhere near the spin you’d get from a Z-STAR or even a Q-STAR or Q-STAR Tour, but it’s an effort.
The one benefit, besides price, to a soft, two-piece ionomer ball is low driver spin. For the target golfer, lower spin off the tee means your slice won’t be quite so soul-crushing. You might even find the right side of the fairway instead of the right rough. Or maybe the right rough instead of that big lake on the right where your tee shots go to die.
And, yes, low compression does come with a ball speed penalty. But OEMs will tell you balls that hit the fairway tend to roll more than balls that land in the rough. And balls that land in the rough tend to roll more than balls that land in that big lake on the right where your tee shots go to die.
There is some logic to that.
The Srixon Soft Feel uses Srixon’s 338 Speed Dimple Pattern which appears to be the same as it ever was. Srixon categorizes the Soft Feel as high-launch and mid-spin.
Srixon Soft Feel: Price and Availability
If you like a splash of color in your golf, you’ll love the Srixon Soft Feel. The standard Soft Feel is available in what Srixon calls Soft White and Tour Yellow while the Lady Soft Feel is available in Soft White or Passion Pink. For the Dead Heads among us, the Soft Feel Brite models come in three matte colors: Brite Red, Brite Orange and Brite Green.
They’ll run you $22.99 per dozen and will be available in stores and online starting Feb. 16.