If you're of a certain vintage you'll have grown up thinking all the best players played with soft golf balls. Being good enough to play with a 'balata' was a dream, even if a thinned wedge led to a ball that smiled back at you.
The Titleist ProV1 changed all that. Its solid core construction, actually first seen in the Callaway "Rule 35" golf ball in 2000, meant golfers got incredible long game distance gain thanks to less spin, higher launch angle and faster ball speed.
All of this made up for the harder feel that was the trade off with the firmer compression and it changed the way Tour level performance golf balls were made.
Callaway's research has continuously shown that soft feel and high performance would be highly desirable to golfers. However manufacturers have struggled to create a significantly softer feeling ball without sacrificing the distance and performance that has become the norm from balls with solid core construction.
Enter Callaway's game changer - the Chrome Soft golf ball. A ball they say will challenge the benchmark for feel, distance and all-round performance for amateurs and also, importantly, for the top golfers in the world.
The Chrome Soft is built around Callaway's new SoftFast Core that has been designed to deliver the sought after soft feel whilst maintaining high ball speeds and low backspin in the long game. Combined with their softest Duraspin urethane cover to date, the Chrome Soft is a Tour-quality golf ball with an extremely soft feel reminiscent of the balata balls of old.
So how does it work?
The reason 'soft feel' has been so hard to achieve in line with the new levels of distance and performance is that although lower compression, softer golf balls spin less with longer clubs. This should be a desirable outcome for more distance, but it has come with a severe speed penalty, especially for golfers with faster swing speeds.
As the materials in golf balls get softer they have also previously got slower, but Callaway believe that their SoftFast core has broken this soft = slow paradigm. By using the highest quality materials and a proprietary manufacturing process, the Chrome Soft retains the maximum amount of energy through impact as the core deforms.
Retaining this energy leads to higher ball speeds and coupled with the reduction in spin from softer balls means greater distance from both the tee and the fairway. Less spin also means less side spin, so the Chrome Soft not only brings great length, but also a tighter dispersion pattern, meaning more fairways hit.
The SoftFast core does not work alone in the Chrome Soft and the mantle of the golf ball, the intermediate layer, plays a crucial role. Made from a high performance ionomer material that is stiffer than that of the core, it helps to recover the energy that is stored in the core when it gets deformed at impact and turns the stored energy into the kinetic energy that creates faster ball speeds.
So the Chrome Soft maintains the distance and spin performance of the modern ball but with the sought after soft feel of the lower compression ball. This is complemented by the soft DuraSpin cover material that grips the clubface for the level of control required by the best players around the greens. It is also extremely durable and Callaway say the Chrome Soft is the most durable ball they've brought to the market.
The last element is the now familiar Hex aerodynamic dimple pattern found on Callaway golf balls. Designed for optimal performance in low spin conditions, for length from the tee, but without sacrificing performance on high spin shots it is an ideal fit to the Chrome Soft and will perform over all head speeds and in all weather conditions.
The Callaway Chrome soft is available from January 2015 in 12-ball packs in a choice of white or yellow colours.