Need To Know
Callaway says its new "Chrome Soft" ball will change the way golfers expect their ball to feel and perform.
It has been over a decade since extremely soft Tour level golf balls have been on the market and you have to go back to Balata-covered balls to find a soft construction that Tour professionals consistently played.
Since the inception of solid core balls with urethane covers, most notably the Titleist Pro V1 in 2000, firmer feeling balls have been the benchmark for distance and Tour level performance.
Golf balls with fast cores have tended to travel a long way, but felt too firm, while softer cores have lacked distance but spun well.
The three-piece construction Chrome Soft features a revolutionary SoftFast core that delivers a combination of soft feel, high ball speeds, low spin for longer distance and exceptional control around the greens.
This 65 compression core Tour ball also features a high performance ionomer mantle in the intermediate layer of the ball to provide fast ball speeds, Callaway’s softest ever DuraSpin urethane cover to ensure Tour-level control around the greens and strong durability, as well as patented HEX aerodynamics to generate low spin off the tee.
Callaway says it has invested years of scientific and engineering resources into Chrome Soft to develop a technology that "challenges the existing benchmark for feel, distance and all-round performance for players of all abilities".
According to Mickelson, the Chrome Soft represents the “best ball” he has ever played, particularly in cooler climates like the United Kingdom.
“I first used the Chrome Soft at the Ryder Cup in colder weather and it’s just phenomenal,” said the 42-time PGA Tour champion, who has now shifted from his 105 compression SR3+ ball.
“This is just the softest feeling ball I've ever hit. It spins well around the greens and what's great is that the average player can see the difference.
“This is just a quality ball inside 100 yards.”
Testing Chrome Soft during a recent Callaway media event in Marbella, my overriding impression is this ball feels every bit like the Titleist Pro V1.
On learning it was £30 per dozen, some £15 cheaper than my dimples of choice, Chrome Soft instantly had my attention.
Distances off the tee were not dramatically different, with drives averaging around the 235-yard carry mark and running out to 270 yards, but short-game control and feel were impressive.
According to Callaway, the reason Chrome Soft is able to achieve Tour-level control into and around the greens, despite its low spin characteristics on full shots, is down to the extremely soft DuraSpin urethane cover.
“DuraSpin urethane grips the clubface and is able to get into the grooves of your wedges for more spin,” said Dave Bartels, senior director of Callaway Golf Ball R&D.
Carry distance with my 52-degree wedge was as expected at about 105 yards, but spin rate was up some 500 RPM from my normal 9,000 and launch angle was consistent, even on mis-hits. I could feel the ball compressing beautifully against the face on centre hits.
Even placing balls in the intermediate and first cut of rough around the greens, balls tended to drop and stop much better with my 56-degree than I would normally anticipate from a three-piece construction.
Whether or not the Chrome Soft provides you with "straighter" shots off the tee, as Callaway claims, due to "less spin being imparted on the ball meaning less sidespin on mishits", I will leave you to decide. I fail to believe today’s golf ball technology has much of a say at keeping you on the straight and narrow.
Chrome Soft, however, brings to the market an extremely soft ball with consistently strong distance off the tee and terrific short-game control around the green. And pleasingly, at an affordable price.
Lefty putting it straight in play says everything you need to know.