Callaway are claiming that the Chrome Soft golf ball is going to be a game changer as it has managed to get around the issue of a soft ball retaining enough speed to gain distance for higher swing speed players.
It's like the love child that results from the golf ball Christmas party when the soft feel ball has one too many and invites the tour ball back for a coffee.
The new SoftFast core is around a 65 compression, which is much lower than the typical 85-95 compression of traditional tour balls from Titleist and Bridgetone.
At a top secret pre-launch briefing for the ball, I was shown a Callaway video of Phil Mickelson getting very excited about the Chrome Soft. He had slipped some samples around his amateur friends & family and they were all hitting it 6-10 yards further with their irons.
I can't claim to be part of Phil's inner circle, so Callaway slipped me some Chrome Soft too and the first thing you notice when you putt with them on the green is that they are very soft.
This can be a good thing as you could go to a firmer faced putter, or move to an all steel putter from an insert putter, and retain the same ball/putter firmness feel.
Phil also said that the Chrome Soft was more consistent on chips around the green than the previous Speed Regime balls and I would have to agree with him. Once you get over the slightly different feel of the Tour Urethane cover, the Chrome Soft does feel like a premium tour ball in every aspect of the short game. It was almost like going back in time to the days of the balata ball, if you are old enough to remember them.
The durability was also pretty good and with a competitive price point of under £30 per dozen, the Chrome Soft is going to provide very good value for money.
The 3-piece Chrome Soft also features the proven Hex dimple pattern that uses hexagons to ensure there are no gaps between dimples. I like this dimple pattern because most balls that I have tried with it have been much more stable in a strong wind, which happens a lot playing on the links courses I regularly frequent.
Unlike other soft balls I have tried, on impact with the longer clubs it felt and sounded very similar to a premium tour ball, but thankfully not as firm as the Speed Regime SR2.
However if it was going further then it was not immediately noticeable and possibly with a driver club head speed of around 100 mph, I may be a little quick for this version of the Chrome Soft. It is very low spin from the longer clubs so you will need to get your launch conditions right to get the most from it.
Like most soft balls, there is a trade off between softness and speed, so I think this is aimed principally at category 2 golfers who would like something that feels a bit more premium and performs a little better around the greens.
That said, it could see it also suiting some category 1 and 3 golfers too, so it will depend on your swing. As usual with golf ball testing, it is a case of just giving the Chrome Soft a try from the green backwards and see if it works for you.
Phil mentioned that after trying the Chrome Soft he was planning to move from a 105 to an 85 compression ball and I expect that the Chrome Soft concept will appear in a Tour version soon, with a lower compression than most current Tour balls, but with a bit more oomph for better players.
I had better keep in touch with Phil for those.