Chrome Soft Golf
Golf Ball Engineer
of Golf Swing Instruction, Instant Golf®
I write this, the 2017 PGA Tour season has
kicked off with several events already in the books. As the new
Spieth, Jason Day, Rory Mcilroy, and Henrik Stenson will be trying
events and in the world rankings.
a great time for a Golf Ball Review, and this
time I am taking a look at the Callaway Chrome Soft golf
ball that was introduced in 2015 and has been tweaked for 2016.
may have seen the advertisements throughout the season describing
this ball as a revolution due to its unique physical properties.
Namely, it is a very low compression (soft) Tour ball.
2016 Chrome Soft is a 3 piece Tour ball which
means it has a large core, surrounded by a thin mantle layer,
is covered in thermoplastic urethane (the dimpled cover material).
3 piece (3-P) Tour balls include the Pro V1, Srixon Z-Star, and
several others. But what sets the Chrome Soft apart from the
other balls is the compression.
Chrome Soft is a 65 Compression Golf Ball.
comparison, the 2015-2016 Pro V1 compression is in the 88-90
range while the Z-Star also comes in around 90.
low compression golf balls are nothing new. There are 2 piece
balls out there in the 50 compression range that are geared towards
slower swing speed golfers or for golfers who prefer a golf ball
that is very easy to compress.
makes the Callaway Chrome Soft unique is the playability of
the ball for golfers of all skill levels and swing speeds,
even Tour pros.
real world test for a new product with Tour ball claims begins
with Tour pro reactions. From the beginning, Callaway staff pro
Phil Mickelson raved about this ball. Sure, he's being paid to
promote the Callaway product line but no Tour player is going
to risk his livelihood by using a new product that doesn't perform.
though he went winless in 2015, Phil had 3 top ten finishes
Soft including a 2nd
place finish at the Masters. Not bad for the 45 year old 5
time major winner.
more amazing, Phil and other Callaway golfers have been switching
from the 103 compression Callaway SR3 Tour ball to the 65 compression
Chrome Soft. That's quite a process considering their scores
depend of shaping full shots and precise feel with greenside
phenom Danny Lee won the 2015 Greenbrier Classic and had 7 top
tens this year using the Chrome Soft so the ball is gaining momentum
As you can see from above and to the right, the ball is available
in white, yellow, and what Callaway calls Truvis technology.
Hence, the 3rd variation is painted like a red and white soccer
gimmick, sure, but a functional gimmick? It's quite possible.
If the pattern increases your concentration or focus on the shot
5-10% then your precision especially on chips and putts will
be enhanced, as will your scores..
of us mark up our golf balls with dots, lines, and use alignment
arrows. You could say this is the next evolution in functional
ball mark-up. Cool.
the balls may stick out like a flare down the fairway or in the
woods for easy spotting. Seeing something blood red on
the course usually wouldn't be a healthy sign unless it is your
like traditional white golf balls so the off the shelf test product
I bought followed suit. Plus no red/white Truvis balls were on
my pro shop shelf at the time of purchase. By the way, Callaway
ball products are getting into smaller pro shops more efficiently
than in years past and that is good to see.
The Chrome Soft sells on average for $37.95/dozen at
retail and web wide. For reference, the 2015 Pro V1 retails
the Bridgestone Tour B330 series runs at $37.99, and the Srixon
Z-Star will set you back ~$30/dozen. These are average prices,
you can always do better (or worse) depending on your frugality.
dimple pattern of this ball is traditional looking which I prefer.
I personally don't like looking down at dimples in dimples, or
4 different sized dimples on 1 ball. There was a time for that
and it was called the 1990's.
had a few expectations when teeing up this ball. You
see, when you have a ball with a low compression core like
the Chrome Soft and therefore
an overall low comp total ball construction, something
has to give. Hence, a very soft core with
a very soft cover does not result in a distance optimal
you then have to firm up the cover. And then you don't have
a Tour ball.
was pleasantly surprised. I use the 3 Piece Pro
V1 as a control when testing all Tour balls. The Chrome Soft
in total driving distance. No issues there. The
ball is noticeably low spinning off the tee. So if you happen
to be a golfer with a slice or hook, your worst shots will
exaggerated with large amounts of uncontrollable driver spin.
are reports about the Chrome Soft increasing hybrid and
iron distance. There are tales of golfers picking
up 1/2-1 clubs in approach shot distance. In other words,
your standard 6 iron may fly the green causing you to only
a 7 iron for the same shot. There was no
such iron differential noted in my testing given my standard
distances through the bag.
did prefer the Pro V1 spin on 8 iron through pitching wedge
shots. It wasn't an enormous difference, but for my game
and equipment/iron set-up it was noted. The
softer ball compression of the Chrome Soft (65 vs. 88)
was felt on the short irons which helped to control the
greens. However, the mantle layer and cover differences
of the Pro V1 handle this requirement differently, and
a bit better for me.
game: Per above, I was real interested in the feel
of the Chrome Soft
around and on the greens given the different urethane
the putter, I was also really surprised. The Chrome
Soft is excellent by my standards. Again, typically
with softer compression product you get a harder cover, but
the case here.
rate putting feel on 3 sound levels, as sound relates directly
- a "snap" (harder
balls, poor feel)
- a "knock" (decent
feel and speed control)
- a "soft
feel, ala urethane covers)
ball rates between the knock/soft click and is comparable
to the Pro V1. I honestly was not expecting this sound/feel
result. Distance control was also excellent.
did find myself wishing I had a few of the Truvis red/white
soccer balls to putt from various distances. It would be
a kick to see that thing rolling across the green and disappearing
into the cup.
feel is perhaps the most subjective aspect of the ball characteristics.
Some golfers like the firm feel, some a more balata-like (soft
rubber) quality. This ball does harken back to the days
of the wound balata product, but with dramatically increased
a manufacturer finds a balance between softer compression,
driver distance, iron spin, and short game feel, they have
a winner. The new Callaway Chrome Soft rises to the occasion
ball and a great ball for the average recreational golfer.
Chrome Soft is a nice addition to the Callaway lineup which
contributes to the overall industry trend of lower compression
product. At $11-12 a sleeve, an 18 hole trial would be a
nice way to
your 2017 Golf,
the Author: Robert Cotter is
a US patent award winning golf ball design engineer
and fine player. His interaction with the top players
in the game led to his discovery of The
Key to a pro caliber golf swing. He is
the author of The
Key To A Repeating Golf Swing which has taught
over 10,000 golfers in 60+ countries and has a success
rate of >97%. Robert's passion is educating the
golfing public about golf ball performance and demonstrating
how the right ball will maximize distance, accuracy,
and spin control for players ranging from beginners
to touring pros.