FIRST LOOK: Callaway’s Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X golf balls
With Callaway’s golf ball market share on the rise, the team behind last year’s Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X balls felt they shouldn’t kick back and rest their laurels on what’s already a good thing. The goal this year was to make both balls even better, with specific players in mind for each one.
And speaking of last year — for the last time, I promise — it looks like the ball wizards at Callaway figured out how to make a golf ball that delivers on what many competitive players want: a high-performance product with a high-launch/low-spin ball flight off the tee; a soft, buttery feel, and come time to hit finesse shots, one that yields plenty of wedge spin for precision control.
So what’s different about these golf balls compared to last year? More speed and greater distance.
In the center of the reengineered, four-piece, Chrome Soft golf ball ($47.99) is what Callaway calls a “Dual SoftFast Core.” The inner core area is 34 percent bigger than its predecessor, helping to create a combination of high-launch and low-spin for more distance. The outer core is reinforced with Graphene — a super-strong, yet thin and flexible carbon material — which helps to add wedge spin and improve overall durability. Encompassing the Dual SoftFast Core is a stiff Ionomer Speed Mantle for even more wedge spin, improved consistency and a better energy transfer for additional ball speed.
“Speed is a huge part of it, but we wanted to maintain that softer, lower compression feel that this player loves,” said Jason Finley, Callaway’s global product director for golf balls. “But also create higher launch, lower spin — kind of distance through the bag, if you will. Not just focusing on driver performance alone.”
Additional features in the new ball include a thinner, more resilient urethane cover and a revised approach to Callaway’s HEX Aerodynamics dimple design for less drag and a more optimized trajectory.
Callaway also overhauled its four-piece, Chrome Soft X ($47.99) that helps golfers with faster swing speeds add more distance off the tee while providing plenty of spin to gouge it from anywhere.
“After testing with Tour professionals and elite amateurs, we decided to focus the development of the Chrome Soft X on absolute, raw ballspeed,” said Dave Bartels, senior director of golf ball R&D at Callaway. “We discovered that some of these better players, who already are able to optimize their spin rates and launch angles pretty well, are simply looking to hit the ball with more ball speed off the center of the face.”
The Dual Mantle System of the overhauled Chrome Soft X is where the low-spin distance magic happens off the tee, acting as an explosive power source when compressed at impact between the enlarged core and urethane cover, which is 22 percent thinner than before. With shorter clubs, the ball is designed to be more responsive and controllable, with mid-level spin rates from the fairway and plenty of added juice to hit wedge shots with pin-seeking control.
Both Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X will be available on March 12. The Chrome Soft will include white and yellow options with (and without) the Triple Track Alignment system or the Truvis Technology for better focus and visibility; the Chrome Soft X will be available in white with (and without) Triple Track and in Yellow with Truvis Tech.