Pros: 3 Piece Ball, Decent amount of spin and greenside manners, bargain basement pricing.
Cons: No mattter what it's labeled, (Trionomer, Rabalon, Iothane, etc..) Ionomer just doesn't have that "Urethane-Bite."
This is Callaway's entrance into the 3-piece bargain ball market, and I like it a lot better than their other 3-piece ionomer covered balls. It does not feel as rock like as The Hex Hot and, and it flies better than their over-priced 3-piece Hex Hot Pro. (Believe me, I hit both, and I really didn't see the $7 difference per dozen in performance, though the Hex Hot, at $5 a dozen more did fly a tad bit longer due to its 2-piece construction.) At the street price of $19.99 a dozen, I would match these against the Top Flite Gamer or any other 3-piece ionomer bargain ball on the market. I think it would be in Callaway's best interest to make a Urethane Covered version of this ball, and sell it at $24 a dozen. There is a huge market for just that type of ball. It would certainly be a better buy than the all of the ionomer covered 3-piece balls on the market, though this one does a pretty good job of that.
Distance--4 1/2 Stars
This ball has plenty of distance for a member of its category, but again, The Nike RZN takes top honors in the distance category. However, at $10 more per dozen, one has to start asking oneself if the difference is actually worth it. Once you've crossed into the $29 a dozen market, genuine Urethane covered 3 piece balls of good design are readily available. That means that this particular Strata, and the Top Flite Gamer help fill a particular market niche that puts real meaning in the word "bargain" when talking 3-piece bargain balls. This ball, by nature of its 3 piece design, is far more workable than any 2-piece ball, and that means that if "working" the ball is starting to become an important part of your game, and you're not quite ready to plunk down the dough associated with 3-piece urethane covered balls, then you need to really check this ball out. Off the driver and fairway woods, it is as long as almost anything else in its category.
As I said, it's a much more workable ball than any of its 2-piece counterparts, and even a shade more workable than its own corporate sibling 3-piece Hex Dimpled balls, which tend to lock and load more along a straight line of flight. Most of the true Urethane Covered balls are more workable than this one, and do have better greenside manners, but that's why you usually have to pay the big bucks for them. All in all I'd say that not only are these more workable than any 2-piece, but that they are right up in the average department with 3-piece balls of all types as well. It not only does your basic high draws, power fades, and the like, but it also responds well to slight tweaks of the club's face allowing you to execute (if you have the chops) shots with different degrees of both height as well as directionality. Though such shots aren't as easy to finesse as they are with a genuine tour quality ball, they are possible.--Some shots,however, simply demand urethane covers.
Greens Side Manners--3 1/2 Stars
Okay, as I said, some things simply demand a urethane cover. If you want ball on a string tricks, or plop drop and stops that back up a step or two, you will need a urethane covered ball. Still this is a ball that is to act as a go between for mid-cappers weaning themselves off of 2-piece rocks and beginning to learn to work the ball, and play chip and stop, and things of that nature. If you need that as well as a bit more distance on your drives---this is that ball. There are plenty of 3-piece ionomer covered balls that are over-hyped, and therefor over-priced, but this is not one of those. You can chip it, and watch it spin, and it will start to check the moment it touches down. You can play plop drop and one-hop stop with it. Basically, it has much better greenside manners than any two piece, and it definitely compares well with all ionomer covered 3-piece balls.
Flat Stick--4 Stars
This ball actually has a touch of cling off of the putter's face, and it does have a nice muted click. The cling factor isn't quite as soft as a urethane covered ball, but it is more than simply noticeable. The muted "Click" is also nice, as it times well with impact and the ball comes off the face with a degree of speed that matches the volume of the audible "click". It rolls true to the line neither too slow off the face with a mushy feel, nor too lively off the face with a "POPPY" feel. THe audible click is a nice match to the ball's reaction. On top of everything else,the clingy feel matches the true line. Nice job Strata!
This ball is priced very competitively for what it is. It is a nice 3-piece ball that is more workable and provides more spin than any of its 2-piece counterparts. Considering this ball can be bought for the same price as many of those 2-piece counterparts, as I said earlier, puts real meaning into the "Bargain" part of "3-piece Bargain Ball". There isn't enough spin there to make her do "The Magic Backwards Dance" when you wedge one into the green, but she will throw on the brakes and stop long before she ever dances across said green. You may not want to use this ball to thread the needle between a pair of trees, and go directly after the pin from "The Woods", but if you can pull off that shot, you probably need to be playing a Urethane Covered Ball anyway. For mid cappers learning to work the ball, and just beginning to finesse their greenside shots, this ball is a good buy at this price.